Ukraine Day 980: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday in the Donbass; another was killed this morning.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told reporters today all of the casualties were the result of enemy shelling.
Two were wounded in Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk; two in Krasnogorovka, west of the separatist-held city; one in nearby Maryinka; one near the Lugansk town of Popasnaya; and another near Lebedinskoye, east of Mariupol.
At around noon today, the Azov Regiment announced on their social media pages that one of their soldiers, Mykola Nicheha, had been killed during a “full-scale battle” near Mariupol.
Nicheha, from Kryvyi Rih, was a member of a special reconnaissance group within Azov.
The Ukrainian military claims that Russia-backed forces conducted 35 attacks yesterday.
Colonel Lysenko told reporters that almost 100 mortar rounds had been fired at Ukrainian positions over the past 24 hours, with the “lion’s share of them” falling on the Avdeyevka industrial park – one of the most violent areas of the front line.
To the west of Donetsk, 82 mm mortars were used to shell Krasnogorovka, while to the east of Gorlovka, the same weaponry was used against positions near Luganskoye.
In the south of the Donetsk region, military spokesman Aleksandr Kindsfater reported mortar shelling near Pavlopol, northeast of Mariupol.
But while the level of fighting in the south dropped off somewhat compared to last week, violence spread in the Lugansk region.
82 mm mortar shells struck the strategically important town of Schastye for the first time since August. Mortars were also used near Krymskoye, to the west.
The Kremlin has expanded upon their official position regarding the possible deployment of an armed OSCE police mission to the Donbass.
Last week, following talks between the Ukrainian, Russian, German and French leaders in Berlin, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that Putin supported the idea of deploying such a mission “in principle.”
Today Slon reported, citing the Interfax news agency, that Peskov has said:
“The President of the Russian Federation responded to the eventual idea of such a mission with his potential agreement. But this was specifically a general conversation. There is no mission yet, no understanding from the OSCE of how this mission could be formed, where it would be deployed and so on.”
Peskov was also asked by a journalist whether the Kremlin would agree to the deployment of peacekeepers on the border between Russia and Ukraine.
“So far no one at all is speaking about where such a mission could be deployed, it doesn’t exist.”
Russia-backed separatists have named the new head of the Sparta Battalion, replacing Russian Arsen Pavlov, aka Motorola, was assassinated on October 16.
Komsomolskaya Pravda reported yesterday that the new commander of the Russia-backed paramilitary unit will be Vladimir Zhora, a 23-year-old from the Donbass town of Slavyansk who uses the call-sign Vokha.
In a video announcement, Zhora said that he had been asked to take over the battalion by his superiors in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic almost immediately after Pavlov’s death. The assassinated commander had, he said, requested he serve as his successor.