There are reports this morning of heavy fighting on the outskirts of the separatist-held city of Donetsk.
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For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.
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Pavel Gubarev, the former ‘people’s governor’ of Donetsk during the early phases of the Russian-backed conflict in 2014, has been appointed ‘mayor’ of the separatist-held town of Yasinovataya.
The order for Gubarev’s appointment to head the administration of the town, which lies just northeast of Donetsk, was signed by Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), on January 27.
Gubarev, who has been a member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity party and then the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, took part in the occupation of administrative buildings in Donetsk and declared himself the “people’s governor,” vowing to hold a referendum on secession from Ukraine.
Although he was arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in March, 2014, he was subsequently released as part of a prisoner exchange.
By the autumn of that year, Gubarev had fallen somewhat in the ranks of the separatists and, despite a cameo appearance in a music video calling for a united Russia “from Kamchatka to Odessa,” his Novorossiya party was excluded from the DNR ‘elections’ by the separatist authorities on October 12.
Gubarev’s woes did not end there.
In January last year, he was, by his own admission, abducted and questioned by Chechen fighters who were apparently dissatisfied with comments he had made about Ramzan Kadyrov.
Then, in June, he was arrested and briefly detained by fighters from the Russian-backed Sparta Battalion in Donetsk. Gubarev was accused of firing a sniper rifle from a window and described by Sparta commander Arsen Pavlov as a drug addict.
Gubarev’s return to an official post, albeit one far less significant than the one he initially claimed, does suggest that he is out of the woods now with regards to his fellow separatists.
— Pierre Vaux
While Donetsk residents reported heavy fighting this morning, the Ukrainian military claimed that Russian-backed fighters had conducted 56 attacks over the previous 24 hours, as of 6 am today.
According to the ATO Press Centre, most fighting was centred around Donetsk and Gorlovka, with mortars, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms being used.
Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a military press officer for the Presidential Administration, announced that two Ukrainian servicemen had been wounded.
As a result of the continued attacks on Zaytsevo, civilians will no longer, as of tomorrow, be able to pass through the checkpoint there. This prevents movement between separatist and Ukrainian-controlled territory in the area.
In the south of the Donetsk region, Ukrainian troops were engaged in a battle northeast of Mariupol.
Military spokesman Aleksandr Kindsfater told the 112 television channel today that the skirmish had taken place outside the village of Pishchevik and lasted around an hour.
According to Kindsfater, a diversion and assault group of Russian-backed fighters approached the Ukrainian lines using woodland for cover before opening fire on an observation post with grenade launchers, small arms and sniper rifles. The attackers were eventually forced to withdraw, the spokesman said.
The last recorded attack in the Mariupol area, Kindsfater claimed, took place at around midnight.
Information Resistance, a Ukrainian independent military analysis group founded by MP Dmytro Tymchuk, reports further attacks in the south, with mortars allegedly used against positions near Sakhanka and Starognatovka, as well as the Lugansk region.
According to their report, automatic grenade launchers were used to attack positions east of Troitskoye, on the western fringes of the region, while 120 mm mortars were used near Stanitsa Luganskaya.
Meanwhile the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claims that Ukrainian forces shelled separatist-held territory 109 times over the last 24 hours.
According to the DNR, one woman was wounded as a result of the attacks, conducted with heavy mortars and grenade launchers on the outskirts of Gorlovka and Donetsk.
— Pierre Vaux
There have been reports this morning of intense fighting heard to the north and west of the separatist-held city of Donetsk.
These come not only from residents on social media, but also the separatist-backed head of the Kuybyshevsky district administration, Ivan Prikhodko.
Novosti Donbassa reports that Prikhodko wrote on his Facebook page this morning that fighting, with mortars and small arms, was under way at the Volvo Centre, a separatist-held position southeast of Ukrainian-held Peski.
It is in this area that Information Resistance claims that reinforcements of four BMP infantry fighting vehicles and 50-60 troops were deployed yesterday, with another 82 mm mortar battery nearer to Donetsk Airport.
Translation: From the direction of Peski you can hear fighting. Automatic weapons being used, as well as something heavy.
Translation: Avdeyevka Fighting under way towards Opytnoye, with the use of grenade launchers and small arms. Very intense.
Translation: Some sort of trash has started up. Non-stop gunfire. Artillery mixed up with small arms.
Translation: #Donetsk haven’t been such bangs for a long time. The orcs have gone on a rampage, usually they sit in their holes during the day, small arms and explosions at Donetsk Airport since 7 in the morning.
Reports of fighting to the west and southwest of the city:
Translation: From the direction of Durnaya Balka – f***ing powerful salvoes. #Donetsk
Translation: #Donetsk Topaz 11:23 (local): it’s started again, distinct bangs from the southwest…
Translation: The separatists have opened their closet. Tanks have gone towards Marinka. Ranging fire in every sector. Such phenomena don’t happen without orders from the very top.
— Pierre Vaux