Ukraine Day 983: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
- READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT:
The Ukrainian military reports a dramatic escalation in fighting in the Donbass.
After a week of official reports of around 30-40 attacks per day, the Ukrainian military today claimed that Russia-backed forces conducted 72 attacks yesterday.
This is the highest number of officially reported attacks since August and the abortive introduction of two ceasefire attempts.
Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters at a briefing today that one Ukrainian soldier has been killed and three wounded.
According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, the heavist shelling was seen in the south, near Mariupol, and to the north and west of Donetsk city.
Military spokesman Aleksandr Kindsfater told Mariupol news site 0629.com.ua that Russia-backed forces had used 152 and 122 mm artillery to shell Ukrainian positions near the villages of Shirokino and Vodyanoye, to the east of the port city.
Translation: Mariupol. am I messed up after Donetsk or can I really hear distant salvos in the center?
To the northeast, Pavlopol was reportedly shelled with 120 mm mortars. These same weapons were, Kindsfater claimed, used twice to shell Vodyanoye again in the early hours of this morning.
Grenade-launcher and machine-gun attacks were reported across much of the wider front line in south, near Talakovka, Starognatovka, Pavlopol, Gnutovo, Lebedinskoye, Granitnoye and Taramchuk.
To the west of Donetsk, the Ukrainian military claims that the Krasnogorovka suburb came under fire from 82 mm mortars and a tank. Maryinka, just to the south, was shelled with 120 mm mortars and fired on by BMP infantry fighting vehicles.
This photo, posted on VKontakte yesterday afternoon, purportedly shows smoke rising from Krasnogorovka:
North of the separatist-held city, Ukrainian positions at the Butovka mine and in Avdeyevka were reportedly shelled with both 82 and 120 mm mortars.
Translation: Avdeyevka 0.19 we’ve been ‘woken up’ at the Promka [front-line industrial park], artillery duel. The glass and window frames are trembling in the village.
Meanwhile near Gorlovka, Ukrainian positions in Zaytsevo were reportedly shelled with mortars, while those in Mayorsk and Novgorodskoye came under BMP, anti-aircraft-artillery and grenade-launcher fire.
In the Lugansk region, 82 mm mortars were reportedly used to shell positions near Novozvanovka, while grenade launchers and machine guns were used in attacks near Tryokhizbenka, Krymskoye, Zolotoye, Troitskoye and Novoaleksandrovka.
Further attacks were reported this morning near Gorlovka and Donetsk.
Vyacheslav Abroskin, chief of the Donetsk regional police, reported on Facebook that Russia-backed forces began shelling Toretsk, north of Gorlovka, at 6:30 this morning.
At 7:20, Abroskin wrote, shells, believed to be from 82 mm mortars, began falling on residential areas of the town, damaging several houses.
Heavy shelling has also been near other key sections of the front line in the Donetsk region this morning.
Meanwhile Eduard Basurin, military spokesman for the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk, claimed today that two of their fighters had been wounded in the past 24 hours.
According to Basurin, Ukrainian forces fired on separatist-held territory 314 times over that period, shelling the outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka.
One house was reportedly burnt down after being shelled in the southwestern Trudovskiye neighbourhood of Donetsk, near Ukrainian-controlled Maryinka.
— Pierre Vaux