Ukraine Live Day 628: Russian-Backed Militants Shell Ukrainian Positions; Grad Rocket Hits Donetsk

November 7, 2015
Part of a rocket which landed on a home at 96 Solnychenko St. in the Kuybyshevsky District of Donetsk, said to be fired from a Grad system. Screen grab from video uploaded to Youtube by Patrioticheskiye Sily.

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Russian-Backed Militants Shell Ukrainian Positions; Grad Rocket Hits Home in Donetsk

Russian-backed militants shelled Ukrainian positions in Avdeyevka and
Peski, the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] said on its Facebook today, according to a report.

The Interpreter has a translation:

Around 6:00 a sniper was firing on Avdeyevka in the
direction of Spartak. And about 13:50 separatists fired from
grenade-launchers and firemars in the direction of Zhabichevo and the
Donetsk Airport on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Peski.

Soldiers are continuing to de-mine the warehouse in Svatovo, site of an explosion and have destroyed more than 2,000 explosives.

The separatist news outlet DAN News reported

that Ivan Prikhodko, head of administration of Kuybyshevsky District
said that a Grad hit No. 96 Solovyanenko St. at 6:50 am, damaging a
home. He claimed it was fired by Ukrainian forces from the direction of
Peski. There were no injuries.

Prikhodko posted a video on his Facebook page.

Eduard Basurin, spokesman for the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s
Republic” (DNR) said nationalist battalions not under the control of
Kiev fired the Grad in order to disrupt the Minsk agreement, DAN reported.

has claimed that members of Azov, Dnipro, and Lviv battalions numbering 2,000 have
deserted the Ukrainian army and have deployed along the line of contact
with 50 units of armor. But no other source could be found to confirm
these claims

He also claimed these
battalions were firing on Donetsk from home-made cannon “like ISIS” and
that they could have stolen ammunition from Svatovo, the site of a
recent explosion.

LifeNews, a pro-Kremlin station close to police and intelligence, reported that
a Grad hit a home in Kuybyshevsky District of Donetsk, but did not
detonate. The missiles were made in the Soviet era and approximately 1
in 40 fail, says LifeNews. OSCE monitors came to the scene to record the
Grad shell, and the missile was disabled by emergency workers.

But the Donetsk city site quoted a number
of commentators on social media
who said the lone rocket could have
been fired from a portable 9P132 Grad-P (Partizan) capable of firing
long-range with significant damage which is not very precise, and which
can use the same ammunition as a BM-21 Grad. This weapon  had been seen in
the hands of the separatists and was said to be supplied by Russia; a
link was supplied to a video of separatists firing from a Grad-P
in July
of this year.

The micro blogger @666_mancer tweeted a video of the incident produced by pro-separatist reporter Graham Philips with a drone.

Translation: Here’s another video from 96 Solovyanenko.

The pro-separatist New Front uploaded a video also said to show the aftermath of a Grad in Donetsk.

The Grad rocket hit a relatively affluent neighborhood with multi-storey
town houses where DNR prime minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko was said to

Translation: #Donetsk 3rd city [rocket] landed right near Zakharchenko’s home which he pinched.

However, other bloggers said he no longer lived in that area.

The Ukranian JCCC issued a report today noting
the worsening of the situation since October 18, the ATO reported. The
recorded 26 violations of the ceasefire and 361 provocative shelling on
the Ukrainian positions and grey zone in order to provoke fire. The
areas most hit were around the Donetsk Airport, Pesky, Opytnoye, Marinka
and Shirokino The escalation accompanied preparation for the Normandy
Quartet talks; particularly noteworthy was the shelling of Krasnogorovka
on November 6 with 82 mm artillery just as the Normandy talks were
under way in Berlin. Shelling continued in the area of Zaytsevo on
November 7 even as the DNR claims to be withdrawing artillery.

Ukrainian JCCC said that the Ukrainian side was attempting to withdraw
armor and de-mine, but this was hampered by continuing attacks by the
separatists. They also expressed concern about repeated blocking of OSCE
SMM monitors to areas under separatist control, and the use of
electronic warfare devices, which the Ukrainian army does not possess in
its arsenal, to hinder the operation of the OSCE SMM’s drones. The
Ukrainian JCCC called for increased numbers of monitors, installation of
surveillance cameras in the area of Donetsk Airport and Shirokino and
active use of drones.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission report for November 6, released today, did not contain any mention of the alleged barrage in Staromikhailovka.

However, they did visit Krasnogorovka (Krasnohorivka), a suburb in
the west of Donetsk to examine residential areas shelled there as we reported.

Following up on reports of shelling at three locations
in Krasnohorivka, the SMM observed one fresh impact crater in the town.
The SMM conducted a crater analysis and assessed that it had been
caused by an 82mm mortar and was likely fired from the east. While at
the site, the SMM observed a large fire and a lot of smoke some
600-1000m east of its position. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer
suggested that this fire was caused by automatic grenade launcher
impacts, which had occurred some 30mins prior to the SMM’s arrival. At
14:34hrs, the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an impact about 1-1.5km
south of its position, and left the area due to security
considerations. At the two other locations in the town, the SMM observed
impact craters and no shrapnel. As a consequence the SMM was unable to
assess the site properly.

In government-controlled
Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed five Ukrainian
Armed Forces soldiers attending to an injured fellow soldier. The
Ukrainian Armed Forces head of the JCCC office in Marinka later informed
the SMM that two soldiers had been injured in the area earlier that day
as a result of triggering a tripwire explosive device in the northern
outskirts of Marinka.

In separate news developments today, there was a shoot-out in a bar
in the town of Tatarbunara in Odessa Region on the Odess-Reni highway, 2
kilometers from the regional center today, Apostrof and reported. Three people were killed and one was wounded. A local law-enforcer reported:

There was a conflict between two companies during which shots
were heard fired from an unidentified weapon. As a result of the
incident 4 men were hurt; 3 died and 1 was taken to a medical facility
in serious condition.

Others involved in the incident fled the scene in cars.

Apostrof reports that on November 2, there was a firefight between police and several car-jackers who also escaped. reports that in in the town of Shostka in Sumy (Sumskaya) Region, a young man fired a traumatic pistol at a group of communists celebrating the traditional October Revolution Day (by the old calendar).

About 40 communists gathered at the statue of Lenin when a young
man confronted them and asked them to take away flowers they had laid.
The man then picked up the flowers and threw them out himself, saying
the monument would be gone soon. He then took out a gun, but the
demonstrators grabbed it from him. It turned out to be a trauma pistol
which he had a license to carry. Police were called to the scene, and
later the young man filed a report claiming he was beaten.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick