4 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 5 Wounded in Battles in Last 24 Hours; Ukrainian Army Returns Fire in Shirokino

March 18, 2017
Home damaged in Avdeyevka March 18, 2017. Photo by ATO

Ukraine Day 1125: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 5 wounded in the last 24 hours, the Ukrainian military reports.

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.


An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


4 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 5 Wounded in Battles in Last 24 Hours; Ukrainian Army Returns Fire in Shirokino

A shell fired by Russia-backed forces came through the roof of the home of an 87-year-old pensioner March 18, 2017. He was unharmed and police helped to evacuate him. Photo by ATO. 

Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 3 wounded in night-time battles in the past 24 hours, Apostrophe.ua reported, citing the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] dispatch at 6:00 am. This includes the 1 soldier killed and 1 wounded at Lobachevo, reported yesterday. 

In the dispatch at 18:00, the ATO reported 36 more attacks and 2 more soldiers wounded. Thus the total is 4 killed and 5 wounded for the past 24 hours.
There were 112 attacks in the previous day on Ukrainian positions, many with heavy artillery, Apostrophe reported, citing the ATO.
On the Donetsk like, heavy weapons, tanks and 120-mm mortar-launchers were fired on Avdeyevka, including on the old town.
On the Lugansk line, mortars and SPGs were used on Novozvanovka, Slavnoye and Katerinovka.
On the Mariupol line, there were attacks on Lebedinskoye, Shirokino, Gnutovo and Vodyanoye with 120-mm mortar launchers and 122-mm artillery; 120-mm mortars were fired on Talakovka and Chermalyk. Grenade-launchers and 82-mm and 120-mm mortars were fired on Maryinka and Krasnogorovka; later in the day 122-mm and 152-mm artillery was brought in.
Then today there were further attacks on Avdeyevka with 82-m and 120-mm mortars and grenade-launchers and 120-mm mortars fired on Nevelsk and Luganskoye; Peski also fell under fire from heavy machine guns as did Zaytsevo.
Apostrophe reported two homes were damaged in Avdeyevka on Lermontova St. One shell went through the roof and landing in a room of an 87-year-old pensioner; fortunately he happened to be in the next room at the time and was unharmed. Police evacuated him to a shelter.
Homes were also damaged on Geroyev Chernobylya, Yubileynaya and Lermnotova streets in Krasnogorovka, Apostrophe.ua reported.
On the Mariupol line, 122-mm artillery was used on Vodyanoye; small arms were used on Gunotovo and a BMP fired on Shirokino.

On the Lugansk line, 120-mm mortars were fired on Troitskoye; grenade-launchers were used near Krymskoye as well as 85-mm and 120-mm mortars; a tank fired on Tryokhizbenka and an SPG on Popasnyaya.

Espreso TV reported that Shirokino is particularly targeted again with “provocations”, citing a post from the ATO.

The Mariupol Operations Group told journalists that the Ukrainian brigade commander in the area of Shirokino gave the command to fire back after a deluge of shelling today from Russia-backed forces.

The ATO uploaded a video of Ukrainian marines en route to battle on the beach in Shirokino, showing young soldiers speaking Russian and Ukrainian. One soldier said that “within five minutes” of firing from a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft weapon mounted on a truck, the Russia-backed forces were on the run.

“Meter by meter, we are liberating our homeland,” said the soldier. 

While the levels of fighting and casualties seem higher than they were six months ago or last year, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission says there has been a lessoning of ceasefire violations in its latest report for March 17 dated March 18.

To be sure, the SMM team noted that bullets flew over their own heads and they heard explosions and small-arms fire as they went to check the status of the Donetsk Water Filtration Station, and were forced to leave the area.

The SMM visited a 15-year-old boy wounded March 16 in Valuysk, 20 km northeast of Lugansk. He said he had been shot in the leg while at his home.

Prompted by the Russian JCCC, the SMM also visited sites where residents said their homes had suffered shell damage reportedly from the direction of Ukrainian positions. There were no casualties. The SMM also heard explosions in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area which is slated for disengagement but which keeps having setbacks. The SMM also noted heavy armor on both sides of the conflict despite agreements to withdraw such armor beyond the line of contact..

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick