Ukraine Live Day 503: Heavy Shelling Between Donetsk and Mariupol

July 5, 2015
An OSCE monitor looks for landmines during a patrol in Shirokino, July 4, 2015. (AP Photo)

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OSCE Says Security Situation In Ukraine Deteriorating Significantly

The OSCE is warning that the situation in Ukraine has become increasingly worrisome over the last week. RFE/RL reports:

The situation in eastern Ukraine has deteriorated significantly in the last week, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned Sunday, with heavy weaponry such as tanks and howitzers spotted along the front lines.

Such weapons were supposed to have been removed according to an agreement signed by the government and pro-Russian separatists in February, the deputy head of the Ukraine mission, Alexander Hug, said during a visit to the port city of Mariupol.

There had been an alarming increase in the number of rebel and government checkpoints, which were becoming targets for attacks and therefore endangering civilians stuck in the queues of cars that build up at them, Hug said.

The same report says that 5 Ukrainian servicemen were killed in the last 24 hours when their vehicle hit a landmine, and 10 others have been injured by fighting across the country. 

James Miller

Russian-Backed Fighters Reportedly Shell Ukrainian Positions 30 Times

Russian-backed fighters fired 30 times on Ukrainian positions, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing the press center for the ATO (Anti-Terror Operation).

At 6:07 am for an hour the Russian Russian bandit formations fired from 120-mm mortar launchers on the positions of the ATO in the area of Starognatovka, which is between separatist-held Telmanovo and the key strategic town of Volnovakha, south of Donetsk. From 6:50 for two hours, the occupiers fired on the ATO forces from a 122-mm artillery in the area of Bakhchevik, southwest of Starognatovka. At 7:40 am shelling with 120-mm mortars began of ATO positions in Nikolayevka which continued for an hour.

The militants also fired on Marinka, Opytnoye, Zolotye, Lozvoye, and Luganskoye. They also sent up 6 drones along the Luganskoye line.

The body of former Azov fighter and police spetsnaz officer Artyom Merkulov, 25, was found this morning in the town of Berdyansk, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing the Berdyansk city site. Eyewitnesses said that he was killed in a brawl with another Azov fighter near a cafe.  Police had no comment.

Ukrinform said his body was found to have numerous bruises and a bullet hole.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick