1 Ukrainian Soldier Dead from Mine Explosion; 2 Soldiers WIA; 2 Civilians Injured; 7 Police Injured in Ammo Blast

June 23, 2017
Ukrainian forces training in Kharkiv Region in June 2017. Photo by ATO

Ukraine Day 1222: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. One Ukrainian soldier died of a mine explosion and two were WIA today; two civilians were injured.

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

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


1 Ukrainian Soldier Dead from Mine Explosion; 2 Soldiers WIA; 2 Civilians Injured; 7 Police Injured in Ammo Blast

Scene of an explosion at a police base in Mariupol June 23, 2017. Photo by 0629.com.ua 

One Ukrainian soldier died of his wounds today following the tripping of a mine at the Svetlodarsk Bulge, Col. Andriy Lysenko reported at the Defense Ministry briefing today, said Liga.net.

He said two other Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action today.

There were 29 attacks from Russia-backed forces today, he reported.

According to the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] report, 13 of these attacks were on the Maritime line.

Militants fired on Ukrainian positions at Shirokino with 120-mm mortar launchers, grenade-launchers and small arms. In the evening, they struck Maryinka and the area near Pavlopol with 82-mm mortars and infantry weapons; Gnutovo and Lebedinskoy were also attacked.

A local woman was wounded in Maryinka when Russia-backed forces fired mortar-launchers on residential areas, Liga.net reported, citing Anton Mironovich, speaker for the general staff.

On the Donetsk Line, Avdeyevka was attacked on both the south and northeast sides. Kamenka was struck by grenade-launchers, small arms, a BMP, and an anti-aircraft system. A sniper was also active. In the evening, militants blanketed Avdeyevka with an 82-mm mortar-launcher, grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns.

On the Lugansk line, militants fired 120-mm mortars at Ukrainian positions near Krymskoye; in the evening Novoaleksandrovka, Donets and Troitskoye were also attacked with infantry weapons. Schastye, Zhyoltoye and Lobachev were also attacks.

388,000 people are without water due to shelling by Russia-backed forces which has prevented repairs.

The separatist news service DAN-Info said Ukrainian forces fired on Dokuchayevsk, and a local administrator said one woman, born 1963, was wounded.

The self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” also said 17 towns were fired on by Ukrainian forces with tank weapons, mortar-launchers, grenade-launchers, an armed BMP, a BTR and small arms.

In Other News

o Firing Near OSCE MissionAgain

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission issued a Spot Report today detailing yet another incident of gunfire near their team

On 23 June an SMM patrol comprising two armoured vehicles and six members was stationary in a residential area in government-controlled Zolote-4, approximately 300m north of the Zolote disengagement area (60km north-west of Luhansk). All patrol members were outside the vehicles. At 10:38, in less than a minute, the patrol heard high-intensity outgoing small-arms fire (approximately 50 to 100 shots), two explosions assessed as outgoing mortar (82mm) fire, and three outgoing shots of automatic grenade launcher (AGS-type), all approximately 100m south-east. At 10:42, the SMM heard three to four bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, followed by uncountable small-arms shots 150-200m south-east. At least one shot, assessed as fired from south-east, made a distinct whistle sound while flying overhead, so low that SMM patrol members bent down. At the same time, approximately 10m east of its position, the SMM saw a woman in the street also bend down.   

The SMM patrol members then headed to their vehicles and left the area, driving west towards a government checkpoint 300m north of the Zolote disengagement area. Along the road, the SMM noted the Ukrainian Armed Forces pointing their weapons south, towards the Zolote disengagement area, and two Ukrainian Armed Forces vehicles (green sport utility vehicles) driving at a high speed east towards Zolote-4. At 10:46 the SMM patrol reached the top of a hill 1km north of the checkpoint, from where it saw white smoke rising 3km south-east assessed to be inside the Zolote disengagement area. The patrol returned safely to its base in Sievierodonetsk. The SMM informed the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) about the incident.

The implication is that because the firing was outgoing, in a Ukrainian-controlled area, and the team saw Ukrainian armor go by on the road and Ukrainian forces shooting, that the weapons firing whizzing over their heads came from the Ukrainian side. 

o 7 Mariupol Police Injured in Ammunition Accident

The Mariupol city news site 0629.com.ua reported today that a shell from a grenade-launcher exploded today at the Metallurg Sanatorium on the Chernihov Police Battalion base, injuring 7 policemen. Evidently a policeman’s own ammunition exploded. They were all hospitalized, some with serious wounds

o Poroshenko Says He Will Sign Defense Deals Soon

Reuters reported that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he will be signing defense agreements with the US soon following his meetings at the White House and Pentagon last week:

“And very important agreements will be signed, including agreements on defense cooperation, including an agreement on defense procurement and an agreement on military-technical cooperation.”

There was no specification that the “defense procurement” would involve lethal weapons, which has been approved by Congress but was not authorized by President Barack Obama while he was in office. It is not clear if the Trump Administration will authorize them. 

The US has provided some non-lethal items like bullet-proof vests and MREs.

o “Peoples Republics” Aren’t Giving OSCE Medical Access

The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic are not providing medical information to back up claims of injuries of the civilian population, Liga.net reported.

“In our reports, you can see examples of such restrictions,” said Alexander Hug, deputy head of mission. He said the mission would do more if they had access.

In a number of cases of recent claims of civilian casualties, OSCE was given some written reports of patients but did not always see the patients themselves. They also met with neighbors or townspeople who gave them accounts of injuries. 

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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