Ukraine Day 861: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The situation in the Donbass continued to deteriorate over the weekend with further heavy shelling and reports of casualties on both sides of the frontier.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters today that one Ukrainian soldier had been killed and four wounded yesterday.
Meanwhile the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed that a civilian had been killed in Gorlovka as a result of Ukrainian shelling last night.
Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the DNR, told reporters that a team from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) would visit the scene.
In addition, the SMM last night confirmed reports that two children had died in separatist-held Kominternovo, east of Mariupol.
While the OSCE has yet to issue their report on the incident, the Donetsk News Agency (DAN), a semi-official DNR media outlet, reports that both children, aged six or seven, died yesterday morning after coming into contact with live electrical cables from a pylon that had been knocked down by shelling.
According to Oleg Morgun, the separatist-backed head of the Novoazovsk district administration, the power lines were knocked down when Ukrainian forces shelled the village with 82 mm mortars.
In turn, the Ukrainian military claimed this morning that responsibility for the children’s deaths lay with the separatist local authorities, alleging that the power lines had been left lying live on the ground for some time.
According to yesterday’s statement from the ATO Press Center, Ukrainian units did not engage in any fighting in the area ahead of the incident, and representatives from the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) would be able to verify this.
This morning, the ATO Press Center claimed that Russian-backed forces had conducted 36 attacks across the front line yesterday.
According to the report, Russian-backed fighters used 82 mm mortars and automatic grenade launchers to attack Ukrainian positions near Novoaleksandrovka and Novozvanovka in the Lugansk region yesterday. Outside nearby Popasnaya, Ukrainian troops were attacked with guided anti-tank missiles.
Near Gorlovka, Ukrainian positions near Zaytsevo and Novgorodskoye were reportedly attacked with automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.
Around Donetsk, Russian-backed fighters reportedly used mortars to shell positions near Troitskoye, Novoselovka Vtoraya, Avdeyevka and the Butovka mine, while BMP infantry fighting vehicles fired on those near Opytnoye.
Some of the heaviest fighting was seen in the south of the Donetsk region.
Military press officer Vitaliy Kirillov told Mariupol news site 0629.com.ua that Russian-backed fighters had repeatedly attacked positions near Starognatovka, Vodyanoye, Novotroitskoye and Talakovka, in addition to Maryinka, west of Donetsk.
Single attacks were also reported near Granitnoye, Taramchuk, Pavlopol and Chermalyk.
According to Kirillov, the positions near Talakovka and Vodyanoye were shelled with both 120 and 82 mm mortars, the latter of which were also used against positions near Chermalyk.
Kirillov said that Ukrainian troops in this area had returned fire nine times yesterday.
— Pierre Vaux