Ukraine Day 810: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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According to the ATO [Ant-Terrorist Operation] report on Facebook today, Russian-backed militants fired 7 times over night on Ukrainian positions, including in Avdeyevka, Peskov and Luganskoye, using grenade-launchers, large-caliber artillery and firearms. A sniper was active in Luganskoye. There was also shooting from firearms and grenade-launchers near Shirokino, not far from Mariupol.
Then this evening, the ATO reported 8 more incidents where Russian-backed militants opened fire. They said enemy snipers had “grown significantly more active” in Shirokino, Avdeyevka and Luganskoye.
Militants also used large-caliber artillery, grenade-launchers and firarms on Avdeyevka, Luganskoye and Taramchuk.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission issued its latest report May 6 for May 5, last Friday, noting “a high level of violence in Donetsk Region with more than 230 explosions” and a “low level of violence in Luhansk region with four explosions recorded”:
In Donetsk region, the SMM noted a marked increase in violence compared to the generally low number of ceasefire violations reported since 2 May, especially in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) where the SMM recorded the majority of the 230 explosions. On the night of 4 May, positioned in Svitlodarsk, the SMM heard 210 undetermined explosions and 580 bursts of heavy-machine gun fire 4-10km south-east and south of its position.
Positioned at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions and 21 single shots of small-arms fire 3-10km north and north east of its position. Whilst at government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 2-4km east-north-east of its position. Whilst in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard four explosions (assessed as impacts, two caused by recoilless-gun (SPG-9) rounds and two by automatic-grenade launcher rounds), and one undetermined explosion, all 5km south-east and south-south-east of its position.
While the OSCE SMM does not speculate which forces are firing when they indicate directions, according to both the pro-Russian Military Maps and the ATO maps for May 7, the firing on Svetlodarsk (Svitlodarsk) likely came from DNR positions, as did the shelling of Avdeyevka (Avdiivka).
The OSCE SMM also reported on battles around Mariupol, where it seems both sides fired at each other:
During the night of 4 May, the SMM camera positioned south-west of government-controlled Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 15 rounds of undetermined indirect fire (in directions from north-east to south-west, south-west to north-east, and from south-east to north-west), three undetermined rocket-assisted projectiles (one fired from north-east to south-west and two from east to west), and six bursts of undetermined tracer fire north-east to south-west, all within an hour around midnight.
The pro-Russian News Front cited a dispatch from war correspondent Ilya Muromsky who said that according to Aleksandr Matyushin, a senior lieutenant in the armed forces of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) who goes by the call sign Varyag [Viking], Ukrainian forces have “virtually surrounded Dokuchayevsk.”
Muromsky said a source in the DNR ‘Ministry of Defense” said that the Ukrainian army was using 82-mm artillery in violation of the Minsk agreement and had fired six mortars in the last day around the Donetsk airport. Matyushin claimed there were increasing casualties both among the Russian-backed military on his side as well as among civilians but provided no details. He said the greatest “hot spots” were Gorlovka, the checkpoint at Yasinovatskaya and Donetsk. He claimed Ukrainian forces fired 604 times on May 5, although OSCE SMM monitors have not reported such a high level of fighting.
He also cited a report May 6 from a fighter from the self-proclaimed “Lugansk People’s Republic” who said on the Bakhmutka Highway, Ukrainian forces were using 120-mm mortar-launchers, SPGs and AGS, and that the pro-Russian side had 5 wounded and Ukrainian side had 4 wounded which was not confirmed by the ATO or Ukrainian media.
The DNR and LNR have continued to bring in heavy military vehicles ostensibly for the May 9 parade, while claiming that Ukrainian forces have been bringing in vehicles to Stanitsa Luganskaya and Schastye.
Inforesist reported citing a radio program by Aleksandr Nevzorov on Ekho Moskvy that “Yakut,” an infamous fighter in the LNR forces, has been captured. “Yakut” was among other ethnic Yakuts from the Russian republic of Yakutia fighting on the side of the LNR caught in reports and videos by foreign reporters or videos uploaded to YouTube. Yakut was among the LNR officials who hoisted the Novorossiya flag of victory over Debaltsevo when they defeated the Ukrainian army in February 2015.
Said Nevzorov (translation by The Interpreter):
The other day they captured Yakut — he is one of the most fierce, dense and ruthless warlords of the terrorists in the Donbass. But the way they caught him was very funny. On the border between Lugandon [pejorative name for Lugansk] and Ukraine, Ukrainian border guards out of boredom hung up a sign that said “LNR fighters who are in Ukraine on special assignment can be let in ahead of the line.” The lines that form there are rather long. And naturally, the Yakut began to insist on his rights — and was immediately grabbed and taken politely but firmly by Ukrainian border guards.
There was no further information on Yakut’s status and the story has not been confirmed.
But the ATO did report on May 6 the detention of an unidentified individual in Lugansk Region during joint operations by a mobile operations group in which both the border guards and the National Guard took part. The report said the individual was stopped at the Lisichansk-Gorsk-Novotoshkivka intersection near the line of contact. When the Ukrainians checked his documents, they found he was carrying a forged passport without a proper stamp. From examination of his mobile phone videos they confirmed he was involved in the pro-Russian forces. The man said that in 2014 he was a driver for a reconnaissance unit of Prizrak [Ghost] Brigade, which was absorbed into other LNR forces after its commander Aleksandr Mozgovoy was assassinated.
This did not appear to be the same person as “Yakut” but we await further clarification.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick