Ukraine Day 953: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Yuriy Harbuz, the governor of the Lugansk region, says that he opposes the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the front line around Stanitsa Luganskaya as he fears the town would be effectively abandoned to Russia-backed forces.
Stanitsa Luganskaya, on the northern banks of the Seversky Donets river northeast of separatist-held Lugansk city, was one of three disengagement areas identified in a draft agreement signed in Minsk last week.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Ukrainian service, Radio Svoboda, Harbuz said:
“I still don’t understand how this can be practically done. Because to withdraw a kilometre… We have Stanitsa Luganskaya, if we withdraw by a kilometre, we will simply lose Stanitsa Luganskaya. I wouldn’t want to give up a centimetre of Ukrainian land. I don’t believe that their side will abide by the ceasefire regime, because there are attacks every day.”
This morning, the Lugansk Regional Administration headed by Harbuz reported that Russia-backed fighters had attacked Stanitsa Luganskaya three times yesterday, using “grenade launchers of various types” and small arms.
— Pierre Vaux
The Ukrainian military claims that yesterday saw the heaviest day of fighting since the latest attempt at a ceasefire came into effect on September 15.
According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, Russia-backed forces conducted 40 attacks across the front line.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told reporters at a briefing today that three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded within the last 24 hours.
The Ukrainian military reports that Russia-backed fighters again used heavy weaponry – 120 and 82 mm mortars – in attacks on Zaytsevo, north of separatist-held Gorlovka.
To the east, 120 mm mortars were reportedly used to attack positions near Nizhneye Lozovoye, on the front line north of Debaltsevo.
According to the military, positions in both these areas, as well as Starognatovka, east of Volnovakha, also came under fire from BMP infantry fighting vehicles, which are armed, depending on the variant, with either 73 mm guns or 30 mm automatic cannons.
ATO Press Center spokesman Ivan Arefyev told the 112 news channel at 9:40 this morning that there had been a further five attacks, near Donetsk, Mariupol and the Lugansk village of Novozvanovka since midnight.
Meanwhile Eduard Basurin, spokesman for the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk, accused Ukrainian forces of having violated the ceasefire 46 times.
According to Basurin, Ukrainian troops fired 19 mortar shells, as well as using small arms and grenade launchers, in attacks onthe outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka, as well as the village of Novolaspa, near Starognatovka.
— Pierre Vaux