5 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Battle; 2 Military, 2 Civilians Hurt by Mines; 1 Dies in Car Blast

May 14, 2016
A bomb went off in a car in Donetsk on Artyoma Street near a campus. Photo via @666_mancer

Ukraine Day 817: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.

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


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5 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Battle; 2 Soldiers, 2 Civilians Hurt by Mines; 1 Reportedly Killed in Car Blast

Although fighting was less than in recent weeks today, violence in Donetsk and the presence of mines meant more casualties.
Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the presidential administration on the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] said 5 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded as a result of Russian-backed separatist shelling of the industrial zone in Avdeyevka; two more soldiers were wounded when they set off a tripwire near Novoselovka-2.

Two civilian women were also hospitalized after suffering multiple shrapnel wounds from mines in Maryinka, Gordonua.com reported, citing a statement from the National Police in Donetsk Region. They were listed in stable condition.

Last year, 25 civilians died from mines in Donetsk Region, including 4 children, 8 women and 13 men, says Gordonua.com. In addition, 70 civilians were wounded: 5 children, 28 women, 37 men. Of these most set off trip wires, and a half dozen ran over mines in tractors while plowing fields.

Practically every day, we recount the shelling of Avdeyevka, Opytnoye and other towns to the north or northwest of the Donetsk Airport, which now lies in ruins, taken by the Russian-backed forces in January 2015. It seems as if the war might go on forever for these towns as Ukrainian soldiers continue to defend them.

But as an article in Unian summarizing a program on TSN points out today, there’s virtually nothing left of those towns and it’s a war of attrition.

In Opytnoye, there are less than 60 people, and in Pesky, only about 9 residents remain. A solder with the call sign “Akhmet” talked with TSN (translation by The Interpreter):

There is no electricity, water or gas in Optynoye. The defense is being maintained by the TransCarpathian 128th Mountain Infantry Brigade. The soldiers from the 128th says that now the situation is more or less stable, but the terrorists still make themselves known. ‘In the evening, they fire 7.62 bullets. Sometimes a [grenade from] an SPG [grenade-launcher] flies by.’

The positions of the Ukrainian soldiers are almost adjacent to the destroyed Donetsk Airport. The weather tower is still standing and is quite close by – “a few hundreds meters,” said one soldier — and often the militants shoot at Ukrainian positions from it.

Some of the toughest Ukrainian soldiers are defending these positions. TSN describes one soldier with the call sign “Fizruk” who fought at the battle of Ilovaisk in August 2014, where he was wounded, but went back in the war and was among last to retreat from Debaltsevo in February 2015, when he was wounded again. He then headed to the front again after he recovered and currently defends Optynoye.

There were also reports today of violence within Donetsk.  A grenade was thrown into a building courtyard in one incident, and there was a car blast in which one person was killed in another incident.

OSCE reported more violations than usual in its report today which was about yesterday’s observations.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick