3 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 1 Wounded from Mines, Shelling; Russian-Backed Militants Fire on Ambulance

June 19, 2016
A Ukrainian soldier speaks with a villager whose home was damaged near the front line on June 18, 2016. Photo by ATO

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3 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 1 Wounded from Mines and Shelling; Russian-Backed Militants Fire on Ambulance

Aleksandr Motuzyanik, presidential administration spokesman said at a briefing today that 3 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 1 wounded, Unian.net reported. One soldier was killed in shelling near Talakovka, and two died after stepping on a mine near the Bakhmutka District of Luganskoye, where one was also injured.
The ATO reported on its Facebook page that the militants fired 44 times, including 19 on the Donetsk and Mariupol lines and 6 on Luganskoye.
The greatest amount of shelling was near Krasnogorovka, where militants fired from 82- and 120-mm artillery. Talakovka, Shirokino and Lebedinskoye as well as Vodyanoye and Marykina also fell under fire from machine guns and grenade-launchers.
Zaitsevo, Novgorodskoye and Avdeyevka were struck along with Nevelskoy and the Butovka mine. In Nevelskoye, the militants used 122-mm self-propelled artillery.
In Novozvanovka, militans fired from anti-aircraft weapons and mortar launchers and used machine-guns and grenade-launchers in Popasnaya and Novoaleksandrovka.
The ATO said Ukrainian forces also opened fire “in individual cases.”
Near Zaitsevo, which is not far from the separatist-occupied Gorlovka, militants fired on the Ukrainian position. The ATO reports that they have frequently fired on medics trying to rescue wounded soldiers.
San Sanych, a senior medic in the 4th company of the 2nd battalion of the 53rd brigade who has served 10 years in the army in the ATO since September 2014 working, described one such scene near Zaitsevo (translation by The Interpreter):

The first time that Lyuda [a medical volunteer] and I fell under fire was when we were trying to reach our wounded soldiers in a dugout where a shell had fallen. Despite the fact that the ambulance with the red crosses was well-visible from the enemy positions, the militants opened fire on us from 82- and 120-mm artillery. We barely managed to hide in cover.

The shelling didn’t cease for more than two hours. We couldn’t even stick out our heads; after all, a large-caliber machine-gun and two snipers were at work, and the dugout with the wounded men was about 70 meters away. When it was finally totally dark, the shelling ceased. Likely the militants couldn’t see where to shoot. And only after that did our medics manage to reach the dugout with the wounded men.

Eduard Basurin, defense minister of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” claimed that the Ukrainian forces had fired “300 times” near Zheleznaya Balka, Zaitsevo, Yasinovaya, Spartak, Staromikhailovka, Popichaisk, Kominternovo, Sakhanka, the Petrovsky District and airport area in Donetsk.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick