Ukraine Day 915: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Dmytro Yuryevich Muravsky, head of the information coordination center at the Defense Ministry’s department of communications and press, has posted to Facebook pictures and videos of the war in southeastern Ukraine.
One much discussed photo taken June 4, 2016 in Shirokino (Shyrokine), a town near Mariupol on the Azov Sea coast wrested from Russian-backed militants earlier this year, shows two Ukrainian soldiers helping a third who was wounded to escape, just as a shell strikes behind them. Nearby is an abandoned baby carriage — nearly all the residents have left the town and only a few remain.
The ATO and 112 TV reported Russian-backed militants shelled Shirokino on June 4, 2016 with 82-mm artillery. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission did not happen to cover Shirokino that day.
Recently, Muravsky returned to the front this past week and published an account of recent fighting in Shirokino. He filmed some interviews with Ukrainian soldiers and at one point they all had to run for cover as a sniper’s bullet struck the road near them.
Muravsky also uploaded some more photos he had taken in Shirokino this summer. One shows a soldier running up a village road pushing the same baby carriage as in the other photo, now full of ammunition.
An exhibit of his war photography will be held in Kiev from August 23-September 4 at the Museum of History.
Here is Dmytro Muravskyk’s Facebook entry for August 20, translated by The Interpreter:
All these photos were made in the village of Shirokino in the summer of this year.”
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
In Lugansk Region, militants fired on Zheltoye and Zolotoye with grenade-launchers, 82-mm mortar launchers were fired on Stanitsa Luganskaya, and firearms were used on Popasnaya.
o Maryinka Among ‘Hottest’ War Zones
Today, Lt. Col. Vadim Bakay, press officer of the Ukrainian Joint Control and Coordination Committee wrote on the ATO’s Facebook page that Maryinka was among the “hottest” of the war zones.
The town is fired on by the Russian-backed fighters nearly every day. The residential areas suffer significantly each time. Artillery of 82-mm, 122-mm and 152-mm caliber has been used, as recently as August 18. Incendiaries are fired that make the roofs of homes catch on fire. The JCCC documented all the addresses where damage occurred, and said fortunately there were no civilians wounded.
o Militants Engage in ‘Self-Shooting’ to Pin Shelling on Ukrainian Army
Lt. Col. Bakay also posted an article on the ATO’s Facebook page today summarizing research of craters, shells and other evidence in the town of Kadiivka (formerly called Stakhanov before the de-communization) which is near the line of contact. They defend the Ukrainian Army against claims by the forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic, that they are shelling civilian areas in this town.
The ATO notes that Russian-backed separatists claim that 700 shells a day are fired at the time. “What is this but a lack of a sense of reality?” they ask. If that many shells really were fired every day in this area, the town would have long ago been flattened. They say that claims are made of 152-mm artillery instead of 82-mm artillery, so that the known distances which the artillery are capable of shooting can be reconciled. They want to avoid admitting that they themselves are firing from certain areas in Lugansk Region, which the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observers have confirmed.
On August 18, the pro-Russian media said that the Ukrainian Army had fired on Kadiivka with 122-m artillery. In theory, shelling could come from Ukrainian-controlled Popasnaya, Troitskoye and Novozvanovka, those towns nearest to the line of contact. Yet the distance from each of these towns used in Ukrainian defense positions is at least 18 km, which significantly exceeds the distance the 122-mm artillery is capable of firing.
The ATO believes that because there has been less fighting in Lugansk lately, and therefore the pro-Russian forces would find it harder to show the Ukrainian army firing on civilian areas, they had to find a location where they could make this point. This was hard to do in these more rural regions, unlike the area around Donetsk where there are many homes close together.
So they chose Kadiivka. But why not Pervomaysk or Kirovsk? Because those towns are much closer to the line of contact, and what the militants want to claim is that heavy artillery with greater distances are being used in violation of Minsk. So the “self-shooting” which the militants organize to pin it on the Ukrainians is done from Kirovsk and Pervomaysk. The distance from those towns to Kadiivka is far enough that residents can’t see where the firing is coming from, but can only hear and see the impacts.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick