3 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Battle; 2 Civilians Injured in Shelling; 1 Feared Abducted

July 18, 2017
Flag of "Malorossiya" (Little Russia), the purported state declared by the self-declared "Donetsk Peoplle's Republic"

Ukraine Day 1247: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in battle and two civilians were injured in a shelling attack. A civilian is feared abducted.

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

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


3 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Battle; 2 Civilians Injured in Shelling; 1 Feared Abducted

Homes damaged in Avdeyevka earlier this year. Photo by Ukrainian military. 

UPDATED with State Department comment on Malorossiya (see below). 

Russia-backed forces attacked Ukrainian positions 10 times, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation]. Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in battle.

On the Donetsk line, militants fired on the Butovka mine and also Avdeyevka with 82-mm mortars, grenade-launchers and small arms. They also attacked Peski with 82-mm mortars.
Two civilian men, born 1955 and 1961, were wounded when a shell hit a home on Shevchenko St. in Avdeyevka, Pavlo Zherbrivskiy, chair of the Donetsk Region administration reported.

On the Lugansk line, militants attacked Krymskoye and Donets with small arms and grenade-launchers.

o Friends report that Lyudmila Surzhenko, a partially deaf resident of Lugansk, may have been abducted by separatists after crossing from occupied Lugansk into Stanitsa Luganskaya on July 13, the Kharkiv Human Rights Group reported.
Messages have been sent from her phone, but it appears to be other people using it, not Surzhenko.

o Aleksandr Zakharchenko, self-styled head of the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic” announced today a plan to create the state of “Malorossiya” (Little Russia), AP reported.

The purported state would include not only areas the Russia-backed separatists control but the rest of Ukraine, minus Crimea.
The announcement stirred up a lot of attention, but didn’t involve the other “people’s republic” in Lugansk, nor did it appear to have Russia’s endorsement.

The French Foreign Ministry called on Russia to condemn the announcement, which they said violated the Minsk agreements, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The government of Germany also condemned the announcement, saying Zakharchenko had nbo legitimate right to speak for this part of Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing Deutsche Welle.

The US has not made a statement.

UPDATE: State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the announcement was an “area of concern”, TASS reported.

Meanwhile Vladimir Degtyarenko, self-styled head of the self-delcared People’s Council of the “Lugansk People’s Republic” said his group had not taken part in the creation of “Malorossiya”, Ukrainska Pravda reported. He said they had learned of the action from the press.

o Coal-miners are striking in Lugansk Region.

o On Thursday, July 20, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny will debate Russia-backed separatist leader Col. Igor Strelkov (Girkin). 

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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