Ukraine Day 966: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday with at least three more injured by shelling this morning.
The Ukrainian military reported 22 attacks by Russia-backed forces yesterday.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told reporters today that two Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded by enemy fire in Novgorodskoye, west of separatist-held Gorlovka, with another two wounded in Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk, and Maryinka, to the west of the separatist-held regional capital.
According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, Ukrainian positions in Novgorodskoye and Avdeyevka had come under fire from BMP infantry fighting vehicles, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.
In the south of the Donetsk region, the Ukrainian military claims that Russia-backed forces made use of heavy artillery yesterday.
The ATO Press Center reports that the seaside village of Shirokino was twice shelled with 122 mm artillery.
Today they pounded our guys from Sakhanka [a Russian-occupied village just east of Shirokino] with everything heavy. From the early morning. They began with 120 and 82 mm mortars and continued with heavy artillery, tanks and Gvozdikas [2S1 122 mm self-propelled artillery]. It’s cruel having to respond to tanks and Gvozdikas with small arms.”
She posted photos of three Ukrainian soldiers, wounded during today’s attack:
Odnorog said that there were yet more casualties, but she did not know the exact number yet.
Earlier this morning, the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk claimed that Ukrainian forces shelled Sakhanka itself with 82 mm mortars.
According to the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic(DNR), a civilian woman, born in 1963, was wounded in the attack.
Elsewhere in the south, the military reported grenade-launcher and machine-gun attacks near Pavlopol and Granitnoye.
In the Lugansk region, where the use of heavy artillery was reported on Saturday, Colonel Lysenko had somewhat more positive news. According to the MOD spokesman, the situation in the region was far calmer yesterday, with only two attacks, conducted with light weaponry, near Tryokhizbenka and Novoaleksandrovka.
The President of the Parliamentary Association of the Council of Europe (PACE), Pedro Agramunt, has declared that he wants Russian delegates to be readmitted to the body.
Russia was excluded from the PACE in April, 2014, after the State Duma voted to approve Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, occupied at the end of February that year by Russian troops.
“Situation, when Russia is absent at the Assembly, does not do any good to anyone – whether it is Russia, or the assembly, or any of other 46 countries”, – said Pedro Agramunt.
PACE president added that he always supported the idea of returning the Russian delegation in spite of “some groups interfering”. Pedro Agramunt insists that he will continue working on this issue and called all the political groups to discuss the question.
The Russia-backed separatists in Lugansk have organized a rally against the deployment of an OSCE police mission to the Donbass.
The leader of the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR), Igor Plotnitsky, called on Lugansk residents to take part in today’s rally – a state-managed event on Theatre Square in the occupied regional capital.
Ukraine’s Liga.net reports, citing a source in the separatist-held city, that students, “not only from Lugansk,” had been rounded up and bussed to the rally in order to provide the impression of popular support for the protest.
Liga reports that three “independent sources” had confirmed the first source’s claim that students had been threatened with downgrades to their exams should they fail to turn up at the rally.
The Ukrainian government first proposed the introduction of an armed OSCE policing mission, to ensure security during local elections in the occupied regions in accordance with the Minsk agreements, back in April this year.
The proposal was firmly rejected by the Russia-backed separatist leadership.
However Russian President Vladimir Putin then gave his overt consent to the idea during a live phone-in-session.
In May, the OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, said that the possibility of such a deployment was indeed under consideration.
— Pierre Vaux