Russia-Backed Forces Fire 55 Times on Ukrainian Positions; OSCE Quietly Halts Drone Surveillance Program

October 29, 2016
Home destroyed by shelling in southeastern Ukraine. Photo by ATO, October 26, 2016

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An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Russia-Backed Forces Fire 55 Times on Ukrainian Positions; OSCE Quietly Halts Drone Surveillance Program

At 6:00 am, the ATO reported that Russia-backed forces fired 55 times on Ukrainian positions.
On the Mariupol line, there was artillery shelling and use of grenade-launchers and smal arms near Pavlopol and Starognatovka. Near Talakovka, Taramchuk, Slavnoye, Vodyanoye, Mayinka and Krasnogorovka, 82-mm and 120-mm artillery was used. Militants fired on Shirokino with heavy artillery, grenade-launchers and small arms.
On the Donetsk line, machine guns and small arms were used to fire on the Butovka coal mine. Near Avdeyevka and Troitskoye, 122-m artillery was used and firing continued from a BMP, 82-mm mortar launchers, grenade-launchers and small arms. On the Luganskoye line there was firing near Novoaleksandrovka and Novozvanovka from heavy machine-guns, grenade-launchers and small arms; 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers and a BMP were used near Stanitsa Luganskaya and Krimskoye.
At 16:00, the ATO said in a post on their Facebook page 
that Russia-backed militants had fired 32 times, more than half (17) at Mariupol. Machine guns and small arms were fired on Maryinka; 120-mm mortars were fired at Lebedinskoye, Talakovka, Shirokino, Gnutovo and Vodyanoye; near Krasnogorovka and Troitskoye, 82-mm and 122-mm artillery were used.
On the Donetsk line, machine guns and firearms were used to fire on Svetlodarsk and 120-mm artillery on Artyomov. Near Avdeyevka, there was firing from 122-mm artillery as well as by grenade-launchers, machine guns and small arms. On the Luganskoye line, grenade-launchers, machine guns and small arms were used to fire on Boguslavskaya and small arms and grenade-launchers as well as 82-mm mortars were fired on Novozvanivtsi.

DAN, the news service of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” said that one civilian was injured yesterday on October 28 by shell fire on the Petrovsky District in the western part of Donetsk today, and blamed Ukrainian forces.

Also in the News:

o Trilateral Contact Group to Investigate Makeyevka Shelling

Denis Pushilin, spokesman for the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) said a working group would be formed under the aegis of the Trilateral Contact Group to investigate the shelling of Makeyevka on October 27, DAN News reported.

The group is to provide a report by November 9.  As we reported, the separatists have accused Ukrainian forces of firing on civilian buildings, killing at least one person and possibly 3, and injuring at least 3 and possibly as many as 16. Ukrainian forces say the claim is a “provocation” and the separatists fired on Makeyevka from Yasinovataya.

o Journalist Exposes Poor R&R Conditions for Ukrainian Army journalist Yuriy Butusov reports on the poor conditions for rest for the 58th Motorized Infantry Battalion withdrawn from the front after 11 months of fighting for R&R.

A soldier, Daniel Zubko wrote on his Facebook that the troops were taken to a dilapidated, abandoned factory and forced to camp in the open without facilities. He also uploaded some pictures.

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2016-10-30 02:29:45

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2016-10-30 02:47:45

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2016-10-30 02:29:56 said the Defense Ministry would make an investigation of the conditions for the 58th. 

o Melnichuk Declares ‘1 Trillion Hryvnia ($39.5 Billion)’

Former Aidar battalion commander Sergiy Melnichuk, now an MP has declared 1 trillion hryvnia ($39.5 billion) in assets.

That would make him wealthier than George Soros or Sergey Brin — and has prompted some media to wonder if he made a mistake — or he’s making a comment on the system itself. 

He also owns a 1994 Grand Gerokee Jeep, 1988 GAZ 2411, and an apartment and land parcel in Vinnitsa. 

Melnichuk’s revelations came via the electronic declaration of assets that all MPS are now filling out, to much attention and comment from the press and public.

o Russia Trains for Possible Offensive

Ukrainian Intelligence spokesman Vadym Skibytskiy said Russia was continuing to prepare for a possible large-scale offensive against Ukraine including massive airstrikes against strategic facilities by having bombers train along the Ukrainian border, UA Today TV reported:

By his data, along the state border of Ukraine in the airspace of Belarus Ukrainian Intel noted plane of distant radar detection and guidance A-50U, which was monitoring airspace in the north-western part of Ukraine and guided strike aircrafts. Those were strategic bomber Tu-160, two log range jet bombers Tu-22M3, and two close range bombers Su-34, completing training missions along the state border of Ukraine with training missile and bomb strikes.

o US Ambassador to OSCE Says Russia Still Sending in Troops and Armor to Ukraine

Russia is still sending troops and armor into Ukraine, Amb. Daniel Baer, US envoy to OSCE said at a recent meeting of OSCE’s Permanent Council, reported:

“Despite combined-separatist forces’ restrictions, the SMM continues to document evidence that Russia is sending troops and equipment into Ukraine.”

In his words, taking advantage that the Ukraine-Russia state border is not controlled at night, Russia moves weapons and ammunition to militant-controlled areas in Donbas.

“Russia can and does easily move weapons, fuel, and ammunition across the border, under the cover of darkness, and in the absence of OSCE observers,” he said.

o OSCE Quietly Halts Drone Surveillance Program

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has quietly halted its drone surveillance program as too many of the drones have been shot down, John Hudson in Foreign Policy reports. OSCE won’t say who is responsible for the downing because they can’t gain access to the crash sites, but it is likely the Russia-backed separatists. 

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick