Ukraine Live Day 545: A ‘Big War’ Brewing?

August 16, 2015

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.

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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?

Ukrainian Military Gives New Assessment of Russian Strength In Ukraine – And Across the Border

Leaders of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) have given their latest assessment of Russian strength. The Independent reports that Ukraine believes there are more than 50,000 Russian troops are on the border, and more than 9,000 are already inside Ukraine:

Almost 9,000 Russian Federation Armed Forces personnel are believed to be based inside Ukraine, according to reports from the country’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) seen by The Independent on Sunday. The rest are based in the neighbouring Rostov region of Russia, including mechanised assault units and communications command systems.

This is in addition to 33,400 so-called “illegal armed formations” of Russian-backed separatist soldiers inside eastern Ukraine, with 400 main battle tanks and close to 2,000 armoured troop carriers reported to be at “full combat readiness”.

Ukrainian military intelligence reports seen by The IoS suggest that 300 Grad missile systems are based inside Ukraine – 200 with Russian-backed separatists and 100 with Russian Federation forces – including a number of rocket systems based inside the Donetsk city football stadium.

Yesterday Ukraine reported a record number of shelling incidents:

Today Ukraine reports heavy fighting across the entire front:


Earlier Today the Ukrainian military reported that three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and another six wounded over the previous 24 hour period.

RFE/RL reports that German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the situation in the Donbass was “explosive” and peace talks needed to be urgently held in order to avoid  “a new military escalation spiral.”

And yet there are already reports of more Russian armor crossing into Ukraine today:

James Miller