Ukraine Live Day 562: Ceasefire Holding, But 2 Anti-Smuggling Patrol Members Killed

September 2, 2015
Map provided by the Ukrainian military | September 2, 2015

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If There’s A Ceasefire, Why Are Russian-Backed Fighters Massing Armor And Jamming OSCE Drones?

So far Ukraine is seeing its second day of ceasefire, and as we reported below for the most part it is holding. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. The OSCE is witnessing the ceasefire holding, but they are also simultaneously warning that Russian-backed forces appear to be massing just behind the front lines. In fact, their drones are still crashing after their signal is interrupted by jamming equipment.

Take these excerpts from their report published yesterday but dated August 31:

At a “DPR” training area and shooting range in Rozy Liuksemburh (45km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard five explosions and shooting, which it assessed to have been fired from infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), anti-tank guns (ATGs) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM).

At 10:13hrs, while flying south of “DPR”-controlled Sontseve (59km north-east of Mariupol), all contact with an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was abruptly lost. Contact with the UAV was not restored by 13:45hrs, by which time the UAV must have run out of fuel. At this point, following the procedures, the aircraft was declared lost. An SMM patrol went to the last known location over which the UAV was flying on a field 1.5km south of the village, where the SMM was stopped by two armed “DPR” members, who denied the SMM further access to the area*. However, when looking towards the probable crash area, the SMM could observe burned patches on the ground.

The SMM also revisited four “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. In two areas, it found that all previously recorded weapons were present. In the third area, the SMM observed five mortars (120mm PM-38) were missing. In the fourth area, the SMM observed that the serial numbers of three howitzers (122mm D-30) did not match the numbers previously recorded, and one anti-tank gun (100mm MT-12 Rapira) was missing. In a fifth area, the SMM was denied access*.

In “DPR”-controlled Sontseve, the SMM observed a parked truck with an anti-aircraft gun mounted from 100m south from its position. Until the moment contact was lost between the UAV and its base, the UAV observed concentrations of military hardware in “DPR”-controlled areas close to the contact line: notably seven main battle tanks (MBTs), twenty-five armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and four multi-purpose light-armoured towing vehicles (MT-LBs) in and around Komsomolske (73km north-east of Mariupol),  five  self-propelled howitzers (2-S1 Gvozdika,122mm) and eleven APCs in and around Rozdolne (46km south-east of Donetsk), two MBTs in Michurine (55km north-east of Mariupol), and two MBTs in Bezimenne (30km east of Mariupol).

In the report, Ukrainian military holding areas were in full compliance with the Minsk agreement.

As we’ve been reporting, the jamming equipment seen in separatist territory in recent months was almost certainly supplied by the Russian military.

The OSCE has not released a report from yesterday yet, but the Ukrainian military spokesperson, Colonel Andriy Lysenko, is still reporting sightings of enemy drones:

James Miller
While Ceasefire Appears To Be Holding, 2 Anti-Smuggling Patrol Members Killed Near Schastye

The latest ceasefire in the Donbass has lasted into a second day, with almost no attacks reported along the front line. This is, in itself, a significant achievement. Previous ceasefire deals have been violated within hours or even stillborn, such as that signed days before the capture of Debaltsevo in February.

The Ukrainian military reports that “practically complete” adherence to the ceasefire regime over the last 24 hours.

According to the military’s ATO Press Centre, there were only minor incidents:

From 18:00 until midnight, the militants opened fire erratically on Ukrainian troops’ positions. At around 23:00, our defensive position near the village of Krymskoye, in the Lugansk region, was fired at by criminals with small arms.

Overall, throughout September 1, the illegal armed formations violated the ceasefire five times.

So far today, September 2, between midnight and 6 am, one incident of the enemy using weapons has been recorded. At 00:30, from the direction of the village of Lyagushachye, criminals hit our positions in Opytnoye [north of Donetsk] with a grenade launcher.


Meanwhile the pro-separatist Donetsk News Agency (DAN) reports that the administrations of separatist-held front-line towns have reported no attacks by Ukrainian forces.

There was, however, one deadly incident on the front line.

Georgiy Tuka, the governor of the Lugansk region, announced on his Facebook page this morning that a ‘combined mobile group,’ patrolling the frontier to combat smugglers, had been attacked near Schastye.

Two members of the patrol were killed and four wounded. One of the dead was a personal friend of the governor.

No suggestion was made in Tuka’s post as to the identity of the attackers.

On August 27, another ‘mobile group’ was attacked near Schastye. Their vehicle was damaged but there were no casualties.

— Pierre Vaux