Ukraine Live Day 610: Both Sides Begin Withdrawing Tanks And Artillery From Debaltsevo Area

October 20, 2015

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Electricity Pylons Near Frontier With Occupied Crimea Damaged By Blasts

UNIAN reports that two high-voltage electricity pylons have been damaged by explosives near the frontier with Russian-occupied Crimea in the early hours of this morning.

According to the report, 82 mm mortar shells were placed on the pylons of the 330 kV line between Melitopol and Dzhankoy, near the village of Chongar.


Two of the shells failed to explode. Police officers and rescue workers are now working on the scene. A group of ordnance technicians from the Interior Ministry is to arrive to defuse the unexploded shells.

The State Emergency Service in Kherson region was informed about the incident by protesters involved in a campaign to block trucks carrying food and goods from Ukraine to Crimea.

UNIAN notes that another tower near Chongar was damaged by a blast on October 6. That pylon has since been repaired.

— Pierre Vaux

Explosive Devices Kill 1 Soldier, Wound Another And A Civilian Over Last 24 Hours

Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, has announced that one Ukrainian soldier has been killed and another wounded by an explosive device near Novotroitskoye, south of Donetsk.

Motuzyanyk did not specify what type of device was involved.

To the north of Donetsk, a civilian woman was wounded yesterday when she set off a land mine near the Ukrainian-held town of Avdeyevka. 

The Donetsk Regional Military-Civil Administration said that she has been taken to hospital with blast-trauma injuries.

— Pierre Vaux

Both Sides Begin Withdrawing Tanks And Artillery From Debaltsevo Area

The Ukrainian military has announced that the second phase of artillery and tank withdrawal will begin today in the Debaltsevo area.

According to the statement on the ATO Press Centre Facebook page, Ukrainian tanks, artillery pieces with calibres of less than 100 mm (larger weapons should already have been withdrawn in accordance with the second Minsk agreement) and mortars will all be pulled back no less than 15 kilometres from the contact line.

In turn, the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), announced today that they were withdrawing tanks and artillery from the same area.

The pro-separatist Donetsk News Agency reported this morning that ten tanks had already been withdrawn from Debaltsevo itself. 

The Ukrainian army and Russian-backed forces have already withdrawn heavy weaponry in the Lugansk region.

The Ukrainian lines to the north of Debaltsevo, which fell to Russian forces in February this year, saw regular fighting over the last year, until the introduction of a ceasefire on September 1.


The ATO Press Centre claimed today that no ceasefire violations by Russian-backed fighters had been recorded overnight in the Donbass.

But Dmytro Tymchuk, a Ukrainian military analyst and founder of Information Resistance, claimed today that Russian-backed fighters in the separatist-held city of Donetsk had provocatively opened fire with small arms onto no-man’s land and their own positions near the Marinka suburb and Donetsk Airport. 

He also claimed that reinforcements were moving towards the front line in Donetsk.

Writing on his Facebook page, Tymchuk said that up to 600 fighters, split into four groups, had arrived in the north of the city, bringing with them significant numbers of AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers and SPG-9 recoilless rifles.  

These weapons are capable of inflicting significant damage but are not covered by the current agreement on weapons withdrawal.

— Pierre Vaux