Day 731: Both Sides Report Heavy Fighting Overnight, With 1 Ukrainian Soldier Killed, 3 Wounded

February 18, 2016

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

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For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.


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


Major Shopping Centers Evacuated In Moscow, But Bomb Threats Dismissed As Hoax In Kiev

As we’ve been reporting, Moscow’s largest shopping center and a chain of grocery stores have been evacuated, the result of a bomb threat. The Presidential Administration also received a threat:

Apparently bomb threats were also made in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, but those have been dismissed as a hoax. 24 today reports:

At one airport passengers and staff were evacuated. A search was conducted there and at a several other sites.

One subway station in the city centre was temporarily closed, the rest continued working without interruption.

Kyiv bomb threats exposed as hoax

Police in Ukraine's capital say several strategic points were claimed to be mined

View full page →

Feb 19, 2016 00:58 (GMT)

It’s not clear if the incidents in the two neighboring countries are related.

James Miller

Samopomich Leaves Coalition, But Lyashko’s Radical Party May Still Save Yatsenyuk

As expected, the Sampomich party has followed Batkivshchyna in withdrawing from the coalition government today, however prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk may still be saved by Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party.

Samopomich leader Oleh Bereziuk said that the decision to leave had been reached at an emergency meeting of the party’s leadership this morning, Leviy Bereg reports.

Bereziuk said that yesterday, the Ukrainian people “had been witness to the over collusion between the upper leadership of the state on the one hand, and the oligarchs and the forces under their control on the other.”

“An attempt at finally cementing the power of the kleptocrats and the oligarchs in Ukraine took place. A powerful union became apparent, which included the Bloc Petro Poroshenko and Popular Front parties, as well as the wreckage of the Party of Regions, controlled by a number of Oligarchs. Such actions have de-legitimised the government of Ukraine and are attacks on the state system of the country and finally broke up the parliamentary coalition of European Ukraine.”

With the loss of both Batkivshchyna and Samopomich, the coalition now holds only 221 seats, five short of a legislative majority. 

But Oleh Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party, which withdrew from the coalition in December last year, has said that he is ready to bring his MPs back into a new coalition.

Interfax-Ukraine reports:

“When those who rule the country are unable to find a common solution and unable to build the country, we’re offering an action plan, we’re ready to take part in the formation of a new [parliamentary] coalition, in new program of action, in the formation of a new government that will be able to pull the country out of the abyss,” he said in parliament on Thursday. 

Leviy Bereg reports that Yatsenyuk has said that he will hold consultations with the Radical Party today, followed by meetings with the President and the leadership of his party.

The prime minister appealed to Poroshenko, saying that:

“We do not have the right to allow the awful scenario of the collapse of the country and we do not have the right to repeat the mistakes of 2005…

Everyone must join hands, forget their past grudges and take full responsibility upon themselves for the fate of the country and go and go and go forwards…

I’m reaching out my hand to President Poroshenko and his party.” 

— Pierre Vaux

Both Sides Report Heavy Fighting Overnight, With 1 Ukrainian Soldier Killed, 3 Wounded

The Ukrainian military reports another night of heavy shelling in the Donbass, with one soldier wounded by mortar fire outside Marinka, and another two wounded and one killed by a tripwire mine in Peski.

According the ATO Press Centre, there were 47 attacks over the 24 hours preceding 6:00 this morning.

The heaviest fighting was seen in the Donetsk and Gorlovka areas.

To the north and west of Donetsk, 82 mm mortars were used to shell Opytnoye and Marinka. Positions near Krasnogorovka was attacked a total of six times, the report says, with mortars, anti-aircraft artillery and infantry fighting vehicles.

To the north of Gorlovka, Ukrainian positions near Mayorsk were shelled with 122 mm artillery while grenade launchers and heavy machine guns were used in attacks across the front line from Peski to Luganskoye.

In the Lugansk region, Ukrainian troops outside Tryokhizbenka, on the northern banks of the Seversky Donets river were attacked with small arms.

Towards the coast, military spokesman Aleksandr Kindsfater told that there had been attacks on Ukrainian positions near Chermalyk, Bogdanovka and Shirokino.

According to Kindsfater, 82 mm mortars were used to shell the positions near Chermalyk. 

Ukraine’s 5 Channel reported yesterday evening from the area, interviewing soldiers who showed them a field kitchen and vehicles damaged during the attack: 

The soldiers say that the attack took place in the middle of the day, from positions less than a kilometre away over the River Kalmius. They counted more than 70 impact craters.

The ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claims meanwhile that Ukrainian forces shelled separatist-held territory 102 times over the past 24 hours, using 82 and 120 mm mortars, as well as infantry fighting vehicles and recoilless rifles.

According to the DNR, Ukrainian attacks were directed on the northern and western outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka.

In Staromikhailovka, west of Donetsk, the DNR claims that a school building was damaged by shelling last night. 

— Pierre Vaux