Two Civilians Wounded As Donbass Fighting Rumbles On Despite Ceasefire Deal

September 8, 2016
Smoke rising near separatist-held Bezymyannoye this morning. Photo:

Ukraine Day 934: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.

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


An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Russian Navy And Air Force Harass Ukrainian Patrol Vessel Monitoring Stolen Gas Rigs

The Ukrainian State Border Service (DPSU) claims that the Russian military is aggressively hindering Ukrainian Sea Guard patrols in the Black Sea.

According to the DPSU, the Podillia, a Stenka-class patrol vessel, set out yesterday to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea between Odessa and occupied Crimea.

Set as default press image
Podilia at centre. Photo: Igor Terokhin
2016-09-08 18:13:35

At the end of last year, Russia began drilling for gas in gas fields in this area, using rigs seized from the Chornomornaftogaz firm after the annexation of Crimea. According to the Russian government, these gas fields now come under Russian jurisdiction. 

Set as default press image

Russia preparing to drill for oil in Ukraine's marine economic zone

The rig "Tavrida", 2005 (UNIAN Photo) Russia seized three offshore oil drilling rigs from Ukraine worth hundreds of millions of dollars UPDATE: Ukraine's Foreign Ministry expresses deep indignation regarding Russia's internationally wrongful acts which are once again aimed at violating sovereign rights of Ukraine as that of a coastal state for exploring and developing natural resources in its territorial sea and continental shelf, guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

View full page →

Sep 08, 2016 16:41 (GMT)

Ukraine argues that the Russian drilling activities in this area are in violation of international maritime law, as the gas fields lie within Ukraine’s exclusive maritime economic zone.

The Podilia was yesterday inspecting activity on the Holitsynske and Odeske gas fields, denoted on the EuroMaidan Press map below:

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 17:44:51

According to the DPSU, two Russian Black Sea Fleet ships and a Sukhoi Su-24 bomber harassed the Podilia during its mission.

The DPSU released video footage recorded during the mission: 

The report says that the Smetlivy, a Russian Kashin-class guided missile destroyer, trained its guns on the Podilia.

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 18:31:38

Notably, the Smetlivy was involved in an incident in December last year, in which it fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing boat near the Greek island of Lemnos in the Aegean.

Another Black Sea Fleet vessel, the Priazovye, a Vishnya-class intelligence collection ship, allegedly carried out “dangerous maneuvers” near the Podilia yesterday.

Earlier in the day, the DPSU reports, a Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 made several passes as the Podilia approached the gas fields. On one occasion, the supersonic bomber reportedly flew as low as 50 meters above the Ukrainian vessel.

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 18:42:24

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 18:42:24

This incident occurred within hours of another close call over the Black Sea involving a Russian military jet.

According to the Pentagon, a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter flew within about 10 feet of a US P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance plane yesterday.  

Set as default press image

US says Russian jet flew 10ft from plane over Black Sea – BBC News

The Pentagon says a Russian fighter plane flew within about 10ft (3m) of one of its reconnaissance aircraft operating over the Black Sea. US officials described the intercept by the SU-27 jet on Wednesday as "dangerous and unprofessional". Russia's defence ministry said the US plane had been approaching Russian territory and the SU-27 pilots had adhered to international rules.

View full page →

Sep 08, 2016 17:48 (GMT)

Meanwhile, a DPSU surveillance plane filmed armed men on the seized Chornomornaftogaz rigs, adopting prone firing positions as the Ukrainian Sea Guard ship approached.

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 18:46:38

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 18:46:40

— Pierre Vaux
Two Civilians Wounded As Donbass Fighting Rumbles On Despite Ceasefire Deal

Two civilians were wounded by shelling last night in the government-controlled village of Verkhnetoretskoye, northeast of Donetsk, as “low-level” fighting rumbles on despite a ceasefire deal having come into effect on September 1.

The Donetsk regional police reported that two men, born in 1954 and 1964, were in a critical condition in hospital after Russian-backed forces shelled the village at around 19:50.

Confusingly, while the police refer to an explosion causing the injuries during the attack, the Ukrainian military reported that only machine guns and small arms were used in attacks on Verkhnetoretskoye. 

The military did, however, report that Russian-backed forces had shelled both nearby Avdeyevka and the village of Shirokino, on the Azov coast, with 82 mm mortars.

According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, Russian-backed forces conducted a total of 20 attacks yesterday.

To the east of Shirokino, Mariupol news site reports that a source of theirs in separatist-held Bezymyannoye says that Russian-backed forces accidentally shelled the village this morning.

According to the 0629 source, the 9th assault infantry regiment of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), was conducting an exercise today, simulating a response to an amphibious attack by Ukrainian forces.

Russian-backed forces conducted their own amphibious assault drill earlier this month in this same area:

0629’s source said that mortars and heavy artillery, including Grad rockets, were used in today’s exercise.

“At first there were clouds of dust, sand and water, then it began to fall along the coastline on the retirement homes.”

Set as default press image
2016-09-08 13:31:13

The report says:

“According to available information, the impact of shells on the coastal area of Bezymyannoye occurred as a result of a targeting error, causing a deviation in the line of fire. The source does not rule out the possibility of civilian casualties.”

The DNR has not made any acknowledged the incident or made any counter-claims so far, nor is there any other source for this story.

But the Russian-backed separatists did accuse Ukrainian forces of shelling the nearby village of Sakhanka last night.

According to the DNR, Ukrainian forces used 82 and 120 mm mortars to shell Sakhanka, as well as the outskirts of Donetsk city.

The deputy commander of the armed forces of the DNR, Eduard Basurin, claimed today that Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire 128 times yesterday, using mortars on 55 occasions.

One incident for which Ukrainian troops have taken credit took place on the front line near government-controlled Maryinka, southwest of Donetsk city.

Vyacheslav Vlasenko, a fighter with the Ukrainian Donbass Battalion who goes by the call-sign Filin, posted a video this morning showing what he said were burning enemy ammunition and fuel stores.

Марьинка. Сепарам холодно. Сепары… – Вячеслав Викторович Власенко | FacebookDetails… →
Sep 08, 2016 13:00 (GMT)

The video appears to show fires in the Trudovskiye area of Donetsk’s Petrovsky district, which is indeed in separatist-held territory.

Vlasenko claimed that the Ukrainian troops had only fired on the stores in response to an attack by Russian-backed fighters. He did not say whether the video was filmed this morning or yesterday.

If the video was filmed yesterday, it could possibly be connected with the reported death of a Russian-backed fighter.

At 16:01 Kiev time yesterday, the semi-official DNR news site, the Donetsk News Agency (DAN), posted a report, citing separatist military sources, that a separatist fighter had been killed in the Trudovskiye neighbourhood.

The report claimed that the soldier had died after fighters from the Donbass Battalion fired on his position with an RPG.

— Pierre Vaux