Ukraine Live Day 513: Ukrainian Military Reports 100 Attacks Over Last 24 Hours

July 15, 2015

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With Moskal Headed To Zakarpattia, Poroshenko Appoints New Acting Governor Of Lugansk

RBK-Ukraine reports that President Petro Poroshenko has appointed Yuriy Klimenko to head the Lugansk “military-civilian administration” following the announcement that Hennadiy Moskal is take over the governorship of the Zakarpattia region.

The president’s decree was published this evening on his official website.

According to RBK-Ukraine, Klimenko worked in the SBU from 1996 until April this year and was head of the Lugansk regional branch.

In April, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Lugansk Regional Administration.

Earlier this evening, Poroshenko confirmed Moskal’s move to Zakarpattia, where tensions are high after a shoot-out between members of Pravyi Sektor and local police at the weekend. 

Poroshenko also announced that the heads of the Zarkapttia regional branches of the Interior Ministry and SBU are to be replaced. 

Ukrainska Pravda reports that Poroshenko said that, as of tomorrow, Oleg Voyevodin will take over the regional branch of the SBU. Sergei Knyazev will head the MVD branch.

There will also be a “full reboot” at the regional branch of the State Border Service, Poroshenko said.

The President said that the local authorities have been cooperating with criminal elements since the 1990s. “Everyone knows this,” he said, but they had been ignoring it.

— Pierre Vaux

Russian-Backed Fighters Not Responding To Calls For Ceasefires From OSCE And JCCC; Water Pipeline Ruptured Again

The Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Centre claims that Russian-backed fighters are not responding to calls from the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) and the OSCE to cease fire.

Novosti Donbassa reports that Ertugul Apakan, the chief of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), has said that the civilian population of the Donetsk region is threatened by the destruction of water supply infrastructure. The SMM has been attempting to instigate local truces to allow repair work to be carried out, most notably around the Seversky-Donets-Donbass water canal, which runs into Gorlovka from the north-west.

Today however, Donetsk news site reports that the Donbass Water company has announced that a section of the water canal near Shumy, north of Gorlovka, was ruptured by shelling last night, only hours after repairs, begun on July 5, had been completed at 17:00 yesterday.

SMM monitors and specialists from the regional office operating the canal visited the scene and found two large holes indicating direct strikes by shells.

— Pierre Vaux

Tight Security, Reports Of Arrests, And A Second Assassination Attempt In Donetsk

Following yesterday’s car bombing, which left Yelena Filippova, secretary to the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Aleksandr Zakharchenko, seriously wounded, tensions are high in Donetsk.

Last night, the Donetsk News Agency (DAN), a mouthpiece for the Russian-backed separatists, reported that Yuri Sivokonenko, a deputy in the ‘People’s Soviet’ of the DNR and considered to be one of the chief ideologues of the separatist movement, had been attacked in Donetsk.

According to the report, Sivokonenko was shot at by a group of unidentified men with automatic weapons on Panfilova street. Sivokonenko managed to find cover but was wounded in his hand.

The pro-separatist blogger and newspaper editor known as Colonel Cassad wrote yesterday that several “interesting things” were taking place in Donetsk.

Cassad claims that orders had been issued for the arrest of a number of officials in the DNR military leadership.

Cassad reported that the headquarters of the “intelligence detachment of the Republican Guard” had been surrounded. He spoke with Sergei Petrovsky, a ‘general’ of the DNR, who confirmed that the unit had been surrounded and two officers arrested. The blockade was now lifted, Petrovsky said.

Cassad said that, according to his sources in the security forces of the DNR, the bombing of Filippova’s car was linked to internal conflicts within the separatist ‘republic.’ 

Later, Cassad write that “everything is only beginning,” and added that the practically the entire ‘defence ministry’ of the DNR was being shut down. 

Today, there are reports that the centre of Donetsk has been locked down by security patrols, with rumours that Vladislav Surkov, one of Vladimir Putin’s key advisers, is due to visit.

Surkov has previously been accused of managing the separatists, even giving specific briefings on press statements, according todocuments released by the SBU in February. He was also rumoured to have visited Donetsk at least once earlier this year.

Donetsk news site reports, citing residents on social media, that armed men are patrolling with dog teams. 

Ukraine Reports 8 Soldiers Killed, 16 Wounded Over Last 24 Hours

The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) has announced that eight Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 16 wounded over the last 24 hours.

The NSDC said that the period saw one of the most intense bombardments of Ukrainian territory since the signing of the Minsk agreement in February.

As reported earlier, five Ukrainian soldiers were killed yesterday near Stanitsa Luganskaya by an explosive device.

— Pierre Vaux

Lugansk Governor Moskal Reassigned To Take Control Of Zakarpattia As Tensions Spread

Interfax-Ukraine reports that Hennadiy Moskal is to become the governor of Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia).

According to Ihor Kononenko, first deputy head of Bloc Petro Poroshenko, Moskal’s appointment has already been decreed.

Until now, Moskal has been the governor of Lugansk, heading a “military-civilian administration” in the war-torn region.

Fighting broke out this weekend in Zakarpattia between members of the ultra-nationalist Pravyi Sektor (Right Sector) and the local authorities, sparked by a dispute over alleged cigarette smuggling operations. Some have suggested that the conflict is an expression of a power struggle between the former Party of Regions MP, Mikhail Lano, whose compound was the scene of Saturday’s confrontation, and another MP, Viktor Baloha.

Yesterday, UNN reported that a police source had told the agency that Baloha appeared to have negotiated for the Pravyi Sektor fighters to be allowed to escape the scene after firing on police officers.

The appointment by Kiev of Moskal, seen as an effective, if brusque and somewhat bullish leader, indicates that the central government is taking the crisis in Zakapattia seriously and wants to reassert control.

Moreover, as UNIAN noted, Moskal is well qualified for the role, having served as governor of Zakarpattia from 2001 to 2002. 

Moskal’s replacement in Lugansk has not yet been announced.

Meanwhile, the unrest appears to be spreading in Zakarpattia, with the news that several cars were torched last night in Uzhgorod, around 30 km north-west of Mukachevo. 

Leviy Bereg reports that one of the cars burnt belonged to the regional prosecutor

Yesterday, while the news of his appointment had yet to circulate, Moskal wrote on his official website that the deputy regional prosecutor of Zakarpattia, Ivan Shimon, had leased an office in a building he owned (via his mother) to Pravyi Sektor.

The office, in Uzhgorod, has been turned into ‘mobilisation point’ for the military wing of Pravyi Sektor.


Moskal wrote (translated by The Interpreter):

“The leaders at the prosecutor’s office were perfectly aware of the arsenal of illegal weaponry held by Pravyi Sektor but, instead of bringing the felons to justice, they leased them their premises. So what kind of objectivity on behalf of the Zakarpattia prosecutor’s office can we speak of in the current situation?”

— Pierre Vaux

Ukrainian Military Reports 100 Attacks Over Last 24 Hours

The Ukrainian military ATO Press Centre claimed this morning that Russian-backed forces had conducted 100 attacks over the last 24 hours.

In 19 of the attacks, 152 and 122 mm artillery was used, in 33, 120 mm mortars, and on two occasions, Grad MLRS.

According to the report, the highest number of attacks was seen in the period between 18:00 and midnight.

In the Donetsk area, Ukrainian positions near Avdeyevka, Opytnoye, Vodyanoye and Kirovo were attacked. In the Gorlovka area, positions near Kirovo, Novgorodskoye and Luganskoye came under fire.

In the Lugansk region, Ukrainian troops were attacked near Stanitsa Luganskaya, Novotoshkovskoye, Krymskoye and Tryokhizbenka.

The ATO Press Centre reports that so far today, as of 6 am local time, Russian-backed forces have reportedly shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdeyevka and Opytnoye, as well as Starognatovka, east of Volnovakha, with 122 mm howitzers and 120 mm mortars.

At around midnight, Ukrainian troops repelled an attack by a sabotage and reconnaissance team near Opytnoye.

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (DPSU), reports that checkpoints near Marinka, Zolotoye and Mayorsk have come under attack during the last 24 hours.

According to the report, snipers fired on the Marinka checkpoint (which is one of the busiest civilian crossing points along the frontier) for several hours. Almost one hundred shots were fired overall.

At Zolotoye checkpoint, in the Lugansk region, Russian-backed fighters reportedly used automatic grenade launchers, machine guns and sniper rifles during three attacks. 

The Mayorsk checkpoint, north of Gorlovka, came under fire from mortars, fired from the direction of the separatist-held town. 

While the ATO Press Centre reported only two small arms attacks in the Mariupol area last night, on positions close to the villages of Talakovka and Nikolaevka, the Ukrainian military headquarters there reported attacks this morning.

Yaroslav Chepurnoy, press officer for the headquarters, told that six attacks had been conducted in the area today as of 10 am.

At around 2 am, Ukrainian troops in Orlovskoye, around 15 km north-west of Mariupol, came under small arms fire for around half an hour. Chepurnoy reported that there had in fact been four 122 mm howitzer attacks on Starognatovka.

Beginning around 9 am, Ukrainian positions in Shirokino have been under fire from small arms.

While the Ukrainian government has yet to issue their casualty report for the day (usually given at around noon), the Lugansk regional press centre for the Ukrainian military operation reported this morning that five Ukrainian soldiers were killed just south-east of Stanitsa Luganskaya at around 12:00 yesterday by an explosive device.

— Pierre Vaux