Day 713: 2 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 5 Wounded; 2 Civilians Killed This Weekend in Donbass

January 31, 2016
Bullet holes in the wall of the Marinka entry/exit checkpoint maintained by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, reported to have been fired by Russian-backed militants on January 28, 2016. Photo by ATO.

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five wounded and 2 civilians were killed as well this weekend in the Donbass, according to officials and news reports.

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

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


2 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 5 Wounded, 2 Civilians Killed This Weekend in Donbass

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, one in combat and one from a tripwire explosion, and four were wounded on the Donetsk line in the last day, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, presidential administration spokesman for ATO affairs reported, according to One of the soldiers killed and one wounded came under shell fire near Zaytsevo; two were wounded near Optynoye from grenade-launcher fire; one died and one was wounded from the tripwire near the Butovka coal mine.
Ukrainian military intelligence says two civilians were killed in the Donbass, reported, although no details were provided about the names or place (translation by The Interpreter):

As a result of so-called law-enforcers using firarms in public places, two local residents were killed.
The Defense Ministry added that the command of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” 1st Army Corps was taking measures to conceal the crime.

This morning, the ATO reported that in the past day, Ukrainian positions has been fired on 36 times at Peski, Troitskoye, Avdeyevka, Luganskoye and Pervomayskoye, according to, citing the ATO’s Facebook page.
Last night at 18:00 militants opened fire from 82- and 120-mm artillery at Zatysevo. The Ukrainian stronghold at Trekhizbenka along the Luganskoye line was fired on from a grenade-launcher at the position at Stanitsa Luganskaya was shelled with 120-mm artillery. There was also firing on the Mariupol line in Krasnogorovka and Novotroitskoye and on Shirokino with anti-aicraft system.
This afternoon Kiev time, ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] reported that Russian-backed militants fired on their positions near Opytnoye and Peski with heavy machine guns and grenade-launchers; at Novgorodskoye they also fired from a BMP. The most intensive fire was on the position in Krasnogorovka, using 82- and 120-mm heavy artillery.
Avdeyevka, Marinka, Troitskoye and Verkhnetoretskoye were also attacked, for a total of 36 violations of the ceasefire.
Early this morning the ATO had reported that the Russian-backed militants were firing on their positions and also on civilian residences and infrastructure. They issued the following statement (translation by The Interpreter):

Along with this, the heralds of fake creations have not ceased disseminating lies, deflecting the blame for their own crimes on the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF).

Thus, the well-known fake-o-mat Eduard Basurin of the so-called DNR, which calls himself sometimes “speaker,”  sometimes “deputy head of the militia headquarters,” and sometimes even “deputy commander of some incomprehensible bandit formation” recently once again accused Ukrainian soldiers of shooting civilians:

Mr. Basurin piled on the horror: ‘The DNR possesses facts of the use of the UAF of combat armor against civilians. In particularly, on the Gorlovka line, Ukrainian forces without warning fired on civilian transport, trying to get around a UAF checkpoint’
So what did this future resident of the Lukyanov pre-trial detention center mean?

In fact, on January 28 at 21:10, pro-Russian mercenaries from the so-called DNR fired from a BMP and AGS [automatic grenade-launcher] at the Ukrainian State Border Service’s Marinka entry/exit checkpoint. On January 30, 2016 at 22:20, a Ukrainian block post located near the Mayorsk checkpoint fell under fire from the militants as well.

According to surveillance information, members of the DNR terrorist organization are preparing further provocations on the Artyomsk line. In connection with the fact that the number of provocative shellings by pro-Kremlin fighters of Ukrainian entry/exit checkpoints is increasing, and in order to disrupt a possible provocation by militants (the shelling of convoys of civilian automobiles from checkpoints which was announced by Mr. Basurin), the ATO command on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions is reviewing the option of temporarily closing the entry/exit checkpoints, with corresponding appeals to international organizations which monitor compliance with the Minsk agreements.

Below are photos of the consequences of the shelling by the DNR terrorists of the Marinka checkpoint and the direction from which the firing came. And also from the surveillance camera which recorded the moment of shelling.

Traffic has been reduced in the last day through all checkpoints at the line of contact, Unian reported, citing the State Border Guards. They cited the following figures: 4,420 people and 950 vehicles at Zaytsevo; 3,130 people and 925 vehicles at Marinka; 4,295 people and 1,440 vehicles at Novotroitskoye; 1,560 people and 490 vehicles at Gnutovo and 1,915 people at Stanitsa-Luganskoye. Today there were only 200 people and 100 cars at Zaytsevo, they said, and only 150 cars at Marinka at the entry and 70 at the exit. There were no lines at Novotroitskoye and Gnutovo.
Anatoly Garkavenko, age 25, a sapper, former member of the OUN Battalion and member of the 93rd Separate Mobile Brigade was also reported killed in combat. It is not clear if he was one of the unnamed soldiers killed reported by the ATO.
Yesterday, January 30, Andriy Lysenko, presidential administration representative on ATO issues, in addition to reporting on the 2 Ukrainian soldiers wounded on a tripwire near Zaytsevo noted above, said Ukrainian positions by the Donetsk Airport were fired on, and that the previous day, militants had fired on Zaytsevo with 82- and 120-mm caliber artillery and on Novgoroskoye from a BMP.  He said snipers had intensified firing on the Mariupol line and fired on marinka and Krasnogorovka; there was firing on Shirokino and Starognatovka as well. DNR fighters fired on Gnutov with an 82-mm mortar launcher, and used the same to fire on Novozvanovka on the Luganskoye line.
In other news:
— Marina Cherenkov, who was kidnapped yesterday by DNR militants, was able to contact her mother and spoke to her for just a moment to say she was alive and well, reported, citing Hromadske TV 

— A group of volunteer medics fell under fire near the Mayorsk checkpoint on January 31 as they were travelling in a marked medical vehicle to pick up two wounded soldiers at a military hospital, Unian reported.

Yarina Chagovets of the Sisters of Charity of the ATO Kharkov said the medics managed to get out of the vehicle when they heard shell fire, but a volunteer doctor and a Ukrainian soldier guarding the checkpoint were hospitalized with shrapnel injuries.

Chagovets said that despite his shrapnel wound, the doctor continued to provide first aid to the others. All four wheels, the windows and the radiator of the car were damaged. 

With this wounded checkpoint guard, the total number of wounded Ukrainian soldiers, in addition to the 4 mentioned by ATO spokesmen, was brought to 5 this weekend. 

— President Poroshenko has fired 86 judges on charges of violating their oaths, Unian reported; 83 were in Russian-occupied Crimea, and 3 were dismissed for making “unlawful decisions” regarding Maidan activists. The statement announcing their dismissal said they had not been neutral in trying the cases

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick