Ukraine Live Day 602: Showing No Signs Of Withdrawal In South, DNR Accuses Ukraine Of Renewing Heavy Weapons Attacks

October 12, 2015
Members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observe a minute of silence at the site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane crash near the village of Hrabove in Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 17, 2015. The rebel-held east Ukrainian village where a Malaysian airliner was shot down honored the 298 victims at a simple ceremony on Friday as calls grew for an international tribunal to prosecute those who brought it down. After a church service in the village of Hrabove, residents joined a procession across an open field to a gravestone placed near the charred area where twisted metal and body parts came crashing down on July 17 last year. REUTERS/Kazbek Basaev

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While Showing No Signs Of Withdrawal In The South, DNR Accuses Ukraine Of Renewing Heavy Weapons Attacks

Despite the confirmed commencement of weapons withdrawal in the Lugansk region over the last week, the OSCE Special Mission to Ukraine (SMM) reports this evening that Russian-backed forces are still maintaining large quantities of armour and artillery just behind the front line in the south of the Donetsk region.

According to the SMM report, based on information received as of 19:30, October 11, an OSCE drone spotted 30 tanks and four self-propelled howitzers little more than 10 kilometres from the line of contact:

On 10 October, in “DPR”-controlled areas it observed the following: in the area of Sontsevo (60km north-east of Mariupol) 23 main battle tanks (MBTs), in the area of Komsomolskoye (74km north-east of Mariupol) seven MBTs and other military equipment, in the area of Petrovskoye (77km north-east of Mariupol) three self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika) and in the area of Razdolnoye (64km north-east of Mariupol) one self-propelled howitzer 2S1 (Gvozdika). 

At noon today Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters that no Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or wounded over the past 24 hours.

According to the Ukrainian military, Russian-backed fighters fired on Ukrainian positions near Shirokino, east of Mariupol, at 22:55 with small arms.

In addition, the military reported a small-arms attack on positions near Novotroitskoye, south of Donetsk.

The ‘defence ministry’ of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed today that Ukrainian forces had violated the ceasefire nine times over the same period, using heavy weaponry.

According to the ‘ministry,’ Ukrainian troops shelled the villages of Grigoryevka and Tavricheskoye, on the eastern banks of the River Kalmius, with 120 mm mortars and 122 mm artillery.

It is worth noting that these villages lie close to the areas in which the SMM observed large numbers of tanks.


In Donetsk itself, the separatists claim that Ukrainian forces fired on front line positions in the north-west of the city with mortars and grenade launchers.

The ‘ministry’ also referred to an incident on October 10, which resulted in the death of a Russian-backed fighter in Donetsk.

DNR officials say that Ukrainian troops fired on the Vesyoloye (Vesele in Ukrainian) area of northern Donetsk that day.

The OSCE today confirmed that they had seen the body of a man who appeared to have died in DNR uniform at the Donetsk morgue:

On 10 October, the SMM noted a number of explosions at and around the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk airport (8km north-west of Donetsk). At 14:55hrs[1] at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard an explosion to the north, at least 3km away. The SMM could not ascertain the type of weapon or whether the fire was incoming or outgoing (see SMM Spot Report 10 October 2015). According to a Russian Federation representative to the JCCC and a “DPR” member there had been a shelling incident involving casualties in “DPR”-controlled Vesele (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) close to Donetsk airport.

Following the shelling incident in “DPR”-controlled Vesele, the SMM went on 11 October to Kalinina hospital in Donetsk city and spoke to a “DPR” member. He said that one of the injured “DPR” members was in the intensive care unit and it was not possible to talk to him or the doctor in charge of his treatment. At the Donetsk morgue, the SMM was shown the body of a deceased, undressed man, approximately 20 years old. The SMM saw wounds in the head, chest and the left and right side of the groin. The SMM saw the camouflage military-type clothing with “DPR” emblem and assessed that the holes within it were consistent with the hits sustained by the body.

The SMM also reported hearing blasts and small-arms fire on October 11: 

On 11 October, based at the Donetsk central railway station, between 15:05 and 16:50hrs the SMM heard two explosions, 5-6km north-east of its positions. The SMM could not ascertain the type of weapon used or whether the fire was incoming or outgoing. Between 15:05 and 17:10hrs the SMM heard small-arms fire 3 to 6km north-west and north-east of its position.

— Pierre Vaux