Ukraine Day 789: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday April 15, a car bomb went off in the afternoon in the village of Novoalekseyovka in Kherson Region, killing a bicyclist and injuring 4 bystanders.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] reported on its Facebook page today that fighting had lessened today by contrast with last week, but Russian-backed militants still fired 24 times, 5 times of which were untargeted, mainly at Avdeyevka, using large-caliber artillery, grenade-launchers and firearms. The “quiet regimen” was violated 7 times in the industrial zone of Avdeyevka, said an ATO spokesman.
Militants also fired on Granitnoye, Stanitsa Luganskaya, Popasnaya, Novotroitskoye, Luganskoye and Maryinka.
Regarding last week, the OSCE Special Monitoring Missing reported a “marked increase in violence during this reporting period with over 4,000 ceasefire violations through the Donetsk region, 500 of which were explosions,” in its report April 15 (about April 14) and described an increase in attacks in Lugansk Region and continued refusal of the Russian-backed forces to keep heavy armed vehicles in storage.
The SMM observed a higher number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared to the previous day. Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard, in the span of 4.5 hours, 310 explosions (six were assessed as caused by mortar rounds and 18 caused by automatic grenade launcher rounds), 40 cannon rounds (30mm) and at least 2,700 bursts and single shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire (2,000 were recorded in an 18-minute period) at locations ranging from south-west to north-west at 0.5km-6km of its position.
In government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) the SMM heard five impacts of mortar (120mm) from 3-4km north-east from its position, four rounds of heavy machine-gun and 15 impacts of recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds 2-3km east from its position, four impacts of mortar (82mm) 3km north-east of its position and one impact of 82mm mortar 2km south-south-east of its position, all in a 26-minute timeframe.
During the night of 13-14 April, the SMM heard 36 undetermined explosions at locations 5-7km north and north-north-east, and 7-10km north-west of its position in Donetsk city centre. Positioned at the Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions at locations 3-8km north-west, and two explosions assessed as 82mm mortar rounds and 21 single shots of small-arms fire at locations 3-5km north-west and west-north-west of its position.
During the evening of 13 April the SMM heard more than 150 undetermined explosions of mortar and artillery and more than 100 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 5-10km south-south-west of its position in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk).
In Luhansk region, the situation remained relatively calm, with a low number of ceasefire violations recorded. Whilst in the vicinity of “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (29 km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 30-40 shots of small-arms fire 500m of its position from an undetermined direction. The SMM heard a number of ceasefire violations it assessed as training in different locations outside the security zone: 1km south of “LPR”-controlled Malomykolaivka (36km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 50 explosions approximately 9-12 km north-north-east of its position assessed as coming from a known training area in Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk). Positioned near “LPR”-controlled Yasne (25km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 20 undetermined explosions 3-4km south-west of its position assessed as coming from the training area in Myrne.
In these reports, OSCE SMM does not specify “incoming” or “outcoming” fire nor assess which side it might be coming from, but if they hear firing from the north-west at the Donetsk rail station, this may be coming from the Ukrainian positions. And while they are in Gorlovka, they are likely hearing firing from the forces of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR).
Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, denied reports from Ukrainian Defense Ministry that 38 Russian soldiers had been killed fighting in Ukraine in recent days, Unian.net reported.
“It looks like the guys spent the day well yesterday, and here they’ve written this nonsense,” he said.
Ukrainian intelligence said that on the night of April 15-16, 38 bodies of Russian servicemen said to be killed in battle were transported back to Russia through the Donetsk checkpoint marked “Cargo 200,” the military term for the return home of the coffins of those killed in battle.
The Ukrainian Military Intelligence said in a statement that the losses came from battles near Avdeyevka and were from the reconnaissance divisions which were attempting diversionary and reconnaissance missions in the area.
He said on April 14, 9 soldiers from the 11th Separate Motorized Regiment based in Makeyevka were wounded. He said 9 dead and 11 wounded were brought to the Central City Clinic No. 9 and City Clinic No. 5 from Yasinovataya and Novotroitskoye; the wounded were from a separate storming battalion in Donetsk.
There were no independent confirmations of these claims.
Yesterday April 15, a car bomb went off in the afternoon in the village of Novoalekseyovka in Kherson Region, Unian reported. One bicyclist who happened to be riding by was killed, and at least four other bystanders were injured by shrapnel or suffered burns. Buildings were severely damaged.
The car had earlier been driven into the center of town by an unknown person and was parked for some 12 hours before the bomb went off, scattering debris for several hundred meters. About six kilograms of TNT were used, said police.
Police have characterized the incident as a “terrorist attack,” and believe the car was deliberately placed near cafes and the train station where there would be more pedestrians, said Unian.
Locals said the bomb went off when younger children in a nearby school were usually released, but on that day, they happened to be let off early and the bomb missed them. Older children happened to be held late some minutes and also remained safe.
In a statement to the press, Valentina Sycheva, first deputy head of the Kherson Regional State Administration said (translation by The Interpreter), referring to neighboring Russian-occupied Crimea:
“These are our neighbor’s methods of waging war. Undeclared, hybrid war, terrorist acts. These are all Putin’s methods of explaining to people how good it is in Russia.”
Police are investigating the car, which was a Zhiguli registered in Odessa which had had four owners in the past. A composite sketch of a suspect has been made, and video surveillance cameras have also caught a suspect on tape. Authorities say, however that the perpetrator has likely already left Ukraine and returned to Russia and it will be difficult to catch him.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick