Ukraine Day 797: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
- READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT:
At least three Ukrainian soldiers were killed before the Ukrainian military briefing on Sunday afternoon. Associated Press reports:
Oleksander Motuzyanik from the presidential administration told a briefing Sunday that what appears to be the worst death toll in months came after the troops were shelled by Russia-backed separatists’ heavy weaponry.
Local officials in the government-controlled town of Maryinka reported an hour and a half of heavy fighting that forced an evacuation of workers repairing a gas main damaged by a previous attack.
Yesterday we reported heavy fighting near Avdeyevka:
Fighting continued there today. Unian.info reports:
“The ATO forces have managed to maintain their positions despite [Russian proxies’] firing tactics when they used different types of weapons simultaneously and intensified their attacks along separate stretches of the frontline. The enemy has mounted 41 attacks over the period under review,” the ATO HQ wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
“The hottest spot was in the Donetsk sector, where militants were shelling the town of Avdiyivka, using 120mm and 82mm mortars. The illegal armed groups also fired grenade launchers, machine-guns and small arms on Ukrainian defenders,” the source said.
Russian proxies attack Ukraine 41 times, Avdiyivka remains the hottest spot
"The ATO forces have managed to maintain their positions despite [Russian proxies'] firing tactics when they used different types of weapons simultaneously and intensified their attacks along separate stretches of the frontline. The enemy has mounted 41 attacks over the period under review," the ATO HQ wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
The self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” also reports heavy fighting in many of the same areas, though the numbers of incidents they are reporting are far higher than the Ukrainian governments reports. TASS reports:
“The Ukrainian military shelled Zaitsevo and Trudovskiye from 19:30 through to 02:00, and they launched five shells of 152mm caliber, 56 mines of 120mm caliber, and 73 mines of 82mm caliber,” the authorities said. “They also made 48 fire strikes from IFV.”
Earlier, the republic’s defense ministry said over the past 24 hours the Ukrainian military almost 300 times shelled the republic’s territory close to the front line.
300 such incidents would be an extremely high number, and while fighting is heavy that number may be an exaggeration. Still, neither side is clinging to the illusion that the ceasefire is holding.
The Ukrainian government is threatening to close some of the checkpoints between territory held by Russian-backed fighters and the rest of the country if fighting continues at this pace. TASS reports:
“We think it will be right to open those checkpoints that are out of service now. The Zaitsevo and Maryinka checkpoints are now working beyond their capacity. However expediency and possibility are two different things, the more so as people’s security is a top priority task,” the UNN agency quoted him as saying.
He said the check point in the village of Stanitsa Luganskaya could resume its operation if there is no shelling in the vicinity. “However there is direct threat there, hence there are no grounds to hope that this issue could be settled soon,” he said.
— James Miller