Ukraine Day 927: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Lugansk region – the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) – have complained to the Minsk Contact Group of what they claim to be a “terrorist attack” in the regional capital after a monument to separatist “militiamen” was damaged by a blast.
The monument, in the socialist realist style, was unveiled by the leader of the LNR, Igor Plotnitsky, on May 12 this year.
This morning the official internet portal for the LNR authorities, the Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported that at around 3:00 this morning, an explosive device had gone off at the base of the monument, causing minor damage to the feet of a Cossack fighter’s effigy.
In spite of the relatively insignificant damage caused and the absence of casualties, the Lugansk separatists have reacted with outrage.
Andrei Marochko, official spokesman for the LNR “People’s Police,” condemned the blast as an “extremely blasphemous” act of “terrorism.”
Vladislav Deynego, the LNR’s representative at the Minsk peace talks, announced that the trilateral Contact Group and the OSCE had been informed of the incident.
Meanwhile, there were also unconfirmed reports of another act of symbolic resistance in the other self-declared “republic” in Donetsk, at the Cosmos Circus building in the city center.
The Twitter account @relictDon, who posts regular reports from the city and whom we consider reliable, tweeted:
Translation: On the facade of the Cosmos Circus it says GLORY TO UKRAINE!
Translation: Clearly visible to passing traffic on Leninsky Prospekt.
Another Twitter user claimed to have seen the same:
Translation: YEEEEEESSSSS !!!!!!! I Saw it! :))) Just let them write it next time in THICK BLACK PAINT SO IT CAN BE BETTER SEEN! :)))
But neither witness managed to photograph the slogan, reporting a few hours later that it had been covered up:
Translation: They’ve covered it up.
— Pierre Vaux
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says that the latest ceasefire in the Donbass, which came into effect at midnight, is holding.
Poroshenko was speaking at a meeting with students at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute just after noon:
“After 12 hours and five minutes, I want to congratulate you, this regime is being adhered to. They’re not shooting at the front. Throughout all this time there has been one, un-targeted small-arms shooting. No artillery salvoes, nor tank attacks nor mortars.
God grant us that the security components of the Minsk agreements are realised, God grant us that the ceasefire regime holds up, that the artillery and tanks are withdrawn. Better into Russian territory over the Ukrainian border. God grant us that the Ukrainian hostages, who are being illegally held in jails in the Russian Federation and in jails in the occupied territory, are freed. God grant that the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE is granted unfettered access in order to create all the necessary conditions for the implementation of the political packet of Minsk agreements.”
Earlier this morning, the Ukrainian defense minister, Stepan Poltorak, told the 112 news channel that as of 9:00 am, there had not been a single attack in the Donbass since midnight.
Poltorak said that he was receiving updates on the situation on the front line every 15 minutes.
Meanwhile Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), said this morning that Ukrainian forces had adhered to the ceasefire after midnight.
In the other territory occupied by Russian-backed forces, the Lugansk “People’s Police” claimed that there had been one attack by Ukrainian forces after midnight.
According to the report, at 00:48, Ukrainian troops fired on positions near the separatist-held village of Kalinovo, in the west of the region, with automatic grenade launchers.
The two reported attacks aside, the ceasefire did appear to take effect. We have seen no further reports of attacks after midnight in the usual hotspots on social media.
But the good news about the ceasefire was muted by the announcement that one Ukrainian soldier had been killed and another wounded yesterday.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters that the fatality had occurred during a nighttime skirmish outside the village of Bogdanovka, east of Volnovakha, while the other solider was wounded by mortar shelling near Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russian-backed forces conducted 25 attacks yesterday.