Ukraine Live Day 544: Shelling by Russian-Backed Fighters at Highest Number in Six Months: ATO Spokesman

August 15, 2015
Blogger Andrei-bt published a photo purporting to be the latest model Russian tank T-90A being used in Ukraine. Via

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here. An archive of our liveblogs can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

Please help The Interpreter to continue providing this valuable information service by making a donation towards our costs.

For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.

For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

LGBT Cultural Event Attacked in Odessa with Smoke Bombs; 10 Arrests, No Injuries

At least ten people were arrested today in Odessa after throwing smoke bombs at an LGBT cultural event, reported.

According to a report from the chief of police for Odessa Region (translation by The Intepreter):

Young people in masks threw the fireworks into a building where representatives of queer culture were holding a buffet to open up a festival. There were no injuries.

Anna Leonova, organizer of the festival stated:

Several dozen people from some radical marginal association made an attempt to break inside…As a result they threw smoke bombs at us and fireworks. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

More than 60 people were inside the building when it was attacked.

The buffet was part of a planned Odessa Pride 2015 event from August 14-16 which is to include art classes, a scavenger hunt, discussions on gay tourism and gay images in mass culture, a film festival and a photo exhibit.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

Shelling by Russian-Backed Fighters at Highest Number in Six Months: ATO Spokesman
Tension continues to grow along the front line as shelling continued today, Andrei Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian presidential administration on ATO (anti-terrorist operation) issues said today, according to a report from Unian.

Lysenko said the number of shelling incidents was at the highest it had been in six months. No Ukrainian soldiers were killed, but two were wounded in the last 24 hours.

He said that Ukrainian positions as well as residential areas were shelled (translation by The Interpreter):

On the Donetsk line, the situation continues to remain extremely difficult. The enemy is violating the quiet regimen all along the line of content. The enemy is most often using Grads in this area and 152-mm artillery.

Lysenko noted heavy artillery firing in the area of the Svetlodarsk Reservoir, the Donetsk Airport and the Mariupol line.

No heavy weapons were observed on the Lugansk line although there were 82-mm mortar launchers, grenade launchers and firearms used.

Asked at a press briefing why the attacks had increased, Lysennko said that it may be due to Ukraine’s Independence Day approaching on August 24.

We don’t know the fighters’ plans for certain, but taking into account the situation and observing the dynamics of the increase in intensity, we can forecast that right toward Independence Day, the fighters want to make an unpleasant surprise for us.

Fighting was also reported by bloggers on Twitter.

Translation: #Avdeyevka incoming heavy artillery started up in Peski. With the sunset, the werewolves wake up.

Elsewhere in the news:

o A car was set on fire in front of the US Embassy in Kiev.

o Blogger Andrei-bt published a post today with pictures said to be taken in the Lugansk Region, purporting to be the latest Russian T-90A tank, reported. We are currently verifying this information.

o Police arrested a former fighter of the Vostok Battalion in the town of Berestki in the Krasnoarmeysky District of Donetsk Region outside the conflict zone, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported on its web site. The fighter, born 1992, whose name was not given was detained as he attempted to move 2 RPGs and RGD-5 and F-1 grenades from a hiding place at his aunt’s house to another location.

o Newly-elected Polish President Andrzej Duda proposed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the format of the Minsk peace talks be changed to include Poland, reported.

┬áIn a telephone conversation, President Duda, who took office August 6, said said that along with the “strongest” European nations of Germany and France currently in the talks, Ukraine’s neighbors, including Poland, should also be involved. The proposal will be further discussed at a forthcoming meeting of heads of states.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick