Ukraine Day 946: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The Ukrainian military reports 22 attacks yesterday, including the use of mortars.
According to the ATO Press Center, Russian-backed forces shelled Ukrainian positions in Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk, with 82-mm mortars, in addition to using grenade launchers, machine guns and small arms.
Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in this area.
Ministry of Defense spokesman Colonel Andriy Lysenko said that one received a gunshot wound, while the other two were injured after a tripwire grenade went off.
Ukraine’s TSN news channel filmed soldiers in the industrial park or promzona on the front line on the outskirts of Avdeyevka during a brief lull in fighting yesterday:
The military claims that there was a skirmish last night near Novozvanovka, in the Lugansk Region.
According to the ATO Press Center report, a group of Russian-backed fighters approached the Ukrainian line from the direction of separatist-held Kalinovo, but were repelled by fire.
Attacks across the rest of the front line were reportedly conducted with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns or small arms.
Three further attacks were reported between midnight and 7:30 this morning by Ivan Arefyev, spokesman for the ATO Press Center.
Arefyev told the 112 news channel that positions in Starognatovka, east of Volnovakha, and Luganskoye, east of Gorlovka, had come under attack from BMP infantry-fighting vehicles.
Nearer Mariupol in the south, there was a small-arms attack this morning near Pavlopol.
Meanwhile the Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk accused Ukrainian forces of violating the ceasefire 53 times.
Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), claimed today that Ukrainian troops had shelled the Donetsk suburb of Yasinovataya, southeast of Avdeyevka, with 82 mm mortars.
A delegation of members of the European Parliament visited front-line areas in the Donetsk region yesterday.
Germany’s Rebecca Harms, Poland’s Michał Boni and the Czech Republic’s Jaromír Štětina travelled to government-held areas near Donetsk city, including the front-line suburb of Maryinka, scene of some of the heaviest and most regular fighting over the last two years.
The visit was not formally endorsed by the European Parliament, which advises against any travel to the conflict zone. Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, governor of the Donetsk region, noted that while the European Union considers the area unsafe for MEPs to visit, the EU is still calling for elections to be held in the separatist-occupied territories.
This topic was discussed at a forum in Kramatorsk, a town that was taken over by Russian-backed forces in the spring of 2014 but later liberated by the Ukrainian army.
Štětina, a former war correspondent, told Novosti Donbassa that he believes the Minsk process will never resolve the conflict, having been ineffective from the beginning.
Instead, he proposed that Ukraine be supplied with weapons and sanctions against Russia intensified.
The prospect for the former, though formally approved by both houses of the US Congress, has always been slim as long as Western governments are wary of any direct confrontation with Russia. The latter, too, seems unlikely, given the growing pressure in several EU member states for the relaxation of sanctions, most particularly in France and Italy. The departure of the UK form the EU, and the strong possibility that Francois Hollande will lose the presidential elections in France next year mean that Russia stands a good chance of being rid of economic sanctions next summer.
— Pierre Vaux