Ukrainian Joint Forces Accuse Russia-Backed Separatists of Using Laser Weapons; Kuchma Steps Down from Trilateral Group

October 2, 2018
Leonid Kuchma, former president of Ukraine

Ukraine Day 1687: UPDATES BELOW. The Ukrainian Border Guards accused the Russia-backed forces of using laser weaponry after yet another border guard suffered an eye injury, the fifth such incident.

Previous coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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


Ukrainian Joint Forces Accuse Russia-Backed Separatists of Using Laser Weapons; Kuchma Steps Down from Trilateral Group

An OSCE vehicle traveling by the town of Yasinuvata. Photo by 

In its evening dispatch, the Joint Forces Operations (OOS) said that Russia-backed forces had made 9 attacks today, using 82-mm mortar-launchers, an armed BMP, grenade-launchers, heavy machine guns and light arms. Attacks were made on Ukrainian positions near Krymskoye, Novotoshkovskoye, Orekhovo, Luganskoye, Starognatovka, Chermalyk ,and Pavlopol.

The press center of the Joint Forces Operations complained that Russia-backed forces are hindering the work of OSCE observers, reported, citing the OOS Facebook page.

According to, earlier, the OOS reported that in the previous reporting period, four Russia-backed fighters were killed in battle and six were wounded. The report was not confirmed by the separatist side.

Oleg Slobodyan, spokesman for the Ukrainian Border Service, accused the Russia-backed forces of using laser weapons, reported, citing Slobodyan’s Facebook page.

On October 1, a border guard from the Kramatorsk Unit was observing the district of Maryinka through an optical device when a flash was seen, and he suffered trauma to the retina of his eye, losing 80% of his vision. 

He said this was already the 5th incident in which border guards have suffered eye injuries due to the use of laser weapons. In May, Russia-backed forces reportedly received a shipment of laser target range-finders from Russia, said The shipment followed delivery by the US on April 30 of Javelin anti-tank weapons.

Citing OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s October 1 report, the OOS said that monitors are barred access currently from Zaichenko, Sakhanka, Novoazovsk, Tavricheskoye, Bezymyannoye, Yuzhaya Lomovatka and Izvarino along the Mariupol line. “These actions have already become systematic,” said the OOS.

Martin Sajdik, special representative of the Slovak Chair-in-Office made a statement after a meeting of the Trilateral Group today:
“Last weekend was one of the saddest ones in recent times. As you know, on September 30, 2018, three children were killed and one was injured as a result of a mine blast near Horlivka. On the same day, another teenager was injured by shelling in Staromyhailivka.

Obviously, urgent measures for ‘humanitarian demining’ shall be taken. In this regard, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan and I issued a joint statement.

In the statement, we call on the sides – I am quoting now only partially – “to proceed with the rapid and full humanitarian demining of populated areas and entry-exit check points”. We also recall that “mine action is a commitment that has been undertaken by all the sides to the Minsk Agreements.”
The OSCE reported further topics of discussion:
The Economic Working Group continued the discussion of topical issues related to water deliveries in the “Karbonyt” and “Voda Donbasa” supply systems, including further steps to carry out repair works on the south Donbas water pipeline in Avdiivka’s industrial zone.

The Humanitarian Working Group further considered issues related to the exchange of detainees and the search for missing persons. One of the discussion topics was also the possibility to improve contact line crossing conditions on the side of certain areas of Luhansk region at the Stanytsia Luhanska check point.

Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma is stepping down from his role as a negotiator in the Trilateral Contact Group in the Minsk process, reported, citing a post by Darka Olifer, Kuchma’s press secretary, on her Facebook page.

Kuchma had announced September 28 that he was leaving the Group, which was established with representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE to further the efforts to implement the 2015 Minsk agreement for a ceasefire and other efforts to end the war in Ukraine, now in its fourth year.

Olifer said that Kuchma had reached a “critical age” on August 9 when he turned 80, and felt it was time to leave. His replacement has not been named yet.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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