Ukraine Live Day 637: Fighting And Casualties In The Lugansk Region

November 16, 2015

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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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: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.

Unverified Claims Of Grad Use In Donetsk While Ukraine Reports 21 Attacks Today

Novosti Donbassa reports, citing a source in Donetsk, that Russian-backed fighters are firing Grad rockets in the western Petrovsky district of the city.

According to the report, Grad launches were heard at 18:05 (16:05 GMT).

Novosti Donbassa reports that residents of the Ukrainian-held suburb of Marinka are reporting intense shoot-outs near Novomarinka and the veterans’ hospital.

Some residents are, however, suggesting that the noises heard are thunder.

Heavy snow is reported in the area:

Translation: Volnovakha now.

Donetsk news site quoted residents on social media as reporting flashes of light near Donetsk Airport with others telling their neighbours not to panic.

Translation: Well I don’t know if it’s a storm or not, but to the south there were 4 flashes in a row again. #Donetsk

Translation: I can confirm

Translation: Donetsk 18:05 (Kiev time) something heavy boomed, sounds like it was from Durnaya Balka, Azotniy was lit up like it was daytime. Flew somewhere far away, didn’t hear an exposion. Into Avdeyevka?

Meanwhile the Ukrainian military has released their evening report of fighting between 6 am and 18:00 today.

According to the report, Russian-backed fighters fired on Ukrainian positions 21 times in this period.

Ukrainian positions north of separatist-held Gorlovka, near Zaytsevo and Mayorsk and, in the Donetsk area, Nevelskoye, Peski, Krasnogorovka and Marinka were attacked. 

According to the military, 82 mm mortars were used against both Zaytsevo and Krasnogorovka. 

— Pierre Vaux

Putin Says Russia Has Proposed Restructuring Of Ukrainian Debts

President Vladimir Putin said today that Russia has made proposals to Ukraine for restructuring their debts to the country.

The state-owned TASS news agency reported that Putin said:

“We have made, in my opinion, an unexpected off to our partners. We have not just agreed to restructure the Ukrianian debt, but have proposed better terms than the International Monetary Fund was asking of us.

We were asked to postpone payment of $3 billion until next year. I said that we are prepared for a deeper restructuring. We are prepared to receive no money at all this year, and to receive a billion next year, another billion in 2017, and one more billion in 2018.” 

Interfax reported that Putin said that Russia has asked for the USA, European Union or “one of the established international financial institutions” to provide guarantees of Kiev’s payments.

The Interpreter translates:

 “If our partners believe that Ukraine’s solvency will increase, and we hope for this, if they believe this, then let them give guarantees. But if no guarantee can be given, then it means that they don’t believe in the future of the Ukrainian economy.”

On Friday the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, said that his government would bar any payments to Russian unless a restructuring agreement was reached.

As reports, the Ukrainian finance minister, Natalie Jaresko,  said that same day that she was willing to discuss debt restructuring with her Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov.

We have yet to see any response to Putin’s remarks from Kiev.

— Pierre Vaux

Ukraine Prepared To Return Heavy Weaponry To Front If Fighting Worsens

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, has told reporters that the OSCE has been informed that Kiev is considering returning heavy weaponry to the front line given the worsening situation on the front line.

The Interpreter translates:

“In the event of further deterioration of the situation, our commanders will be forced to return artillery and mortars to the first line of defence in order to defend Ukrainian soldiers and protect the lives of our servicemen. The OSCE Mission has already been notified of this.”

— Pierre Vaux

Fighting And Casualties In The Lugansk Region

Ukrainian government and military sources report fighting in the Lugansk region yesterday, with three soldiers killed by what was reported to have been a radio-controlled bomb.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, said today that the blast occurred near the village of Zolotoye. Lysenko said that a radio-controlled explosive device was used in the attack, which killed three sappers.

On Saturday, Lysenko announced that five Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and four wounded in combat over the previous 24 hours, with fighting taking place near Schastye and on the Bakhmutka highway near Novotoshkovskoye.

On that same day, another Ukrainian soldier was killed and eight wounded during a mortar attack on Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk.

Today, the governor of the Lugansk region, Georgiy Tuka, reported further fighting on the Bakhmutka highway.

In a statement from the Lugansk Military-Civil Regional Administration on Facebook, Tuka said that Russian-backed fighters had attacked the foremost Ukrainian position on the highway, checkpoint 29, with anti-aircraft artillery.

Tuka said that the number of attacks in the region was growing daily, “which speaks of a new escalation of the conflict on the part of the terrorists.” The use of anti-aircraft artillery, he wrote, was notable because they had not been used for a while in the region.

According to Lysenko, 82 mm mortars, manufactured during the Second World War, were also used in the attack. 

Meanwhile the Lugansk police reported that Russian-backed fighters had fired on Stanitsa Luganskaya, to the northeast of Lugansk city, with small arms.

According to the report, the attack took place last night with the fighters firing from the southern banks of the river near the monument to Prince Igor.


Overall, the ATO Press Centre reported 16 ceasefire violations by Russian-backed fighters over the last 24 hours, with five direct attacks on Ukrainian positions.

According to the report, Russian-backed fighters used small arms and automatic grenade launchers to fire towards Novogorodskoye, Marinka, Opytnoye, Peski and Avdeyevka.

Colonel Lysenko also reported mortar shelling near Donetsk Airport

On the Azov coast, Ukrainian troops in the village of Shirokino, around 10 kilometres east of Mariupol, were reportedly attacked with mortars, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms.

Around 40 kilometres north of Shirokino, Lysenko reported attacks on the village of Granitnoye:

In turn the separatist Donetsk News Agency (DAN) website claimed that Ukrainian troops had shelled the occupied village of Sakhanka, just northeast of Shirokino.


According a DAN source “in the security structures of the DNR” (self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic), reports of Ukrainian shelling were received at 21:00 last night, with the bombardment lasting for around an hour.

Overall, the DNR accused Ukrainian forces of having violated the ceasefire 23 times over the last 24 hours, with attacks on the outskirts of Donetsk, Gorlovka and also the village of Bezymennoye, east of Shirokino.

— Pierre Vaux