Ukraine Live Day 648: Russian Servicemen Briefly Detained In Ukrainian Border Town

November 27, 2015
The border runs along the centre of the road in Melovo, with Ukraine on the left and Russia on the right. Photo:

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Both Sides Report Fighting And Shelling In Donetsk Area Last Night

The Ukrainian military reports continued attacks by Russian-backed fighters in the Donetsk area.

According to Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, the Ukrainian held town of Krasnogorova, west of Donetsk, was shelled six times yesterday with 82 mm mortars.

To the north of the city, a group of six Russian-backed fighters reportedly attempted to storm a Ukrainian position near Kamenka, but were repelled after a shoot-out.

The Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Centre reported earlier that Russian-backed fighters had violated the ceasefire 14 times between 18:00 and 23:00 yesterday, with almost all the attacks occurring in the Donetsk area.


According to the report, Peski, Opytnoye and Krasnogorovka were fired on with grenade launchers, anti-aircraft artillery, heavy machine guns and small arms.

Colonel Lysenko also reported a small-arms attack near Chermalyk, northeast of Mariupol:

Ukrainian military analyst and founder of Information Resistance, Dmytro Tymchuk, claims however that there were two more significant attacks overnight. 

According to Tymchuk, Russian BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers opened fire near the front line on the Azov coast, north of separatist-held Sakhanka. With the BTRs providing a covering distraction, a group of Russian-backed fighters allegedly attempted to break through Ukrainian lines but were repelled.


Tymchuk also claims that another attempted breakthrough, supported by fire from BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, failed near Opytnoye.

Meanwhile the pro-separatist Donetsk News Agency reports, citing a source in the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), that Ukrainian forces shelled northern areas of Donetsk and the site of the ruined Donetsk Airport last night with 120 mm mortars.

— Pierre Vaux

Russian Servicemen Briefly Detained In Ukrainian Border Town

Two Russian servicemen were detained yesterday by Ukrainian border guards in the border town of Melovo, in the Lugansk region.

Oleh Slobodyan, head of the press office of the Ukrainian State Border Service, wrote on his Facebook page this morning that two Russian citizens, dressed in military uniforms, were detained yesterday near the Melovo border crossing.


According to Slobodyan, the men wore the insignia of the Internal Troops of the Russian Federation.

As it turned out, they were servicemen from one of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops, headed to the town of Armavir (Russia), they said “to pass exams for the right to wear the dark green beret.”

Dark green berets are worn by intelligence and spetsnaz detachments in the Interior Troops after passing tests.

The detainees claimed that they had accidentally crossed into Ukraine.

Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reports that the men have now been returned to Russia, after being fined 10,000 rubles for violating the border.

Earlier, Vasily Panchenkov, head of the Interior Troops press office, told RIA Novosti that both men were indeed members of the Interior Troops, and had been headed to a training facility in the Krasnodar region (where Armavir is located).

The train they were travelling on, which was headed from Moscow to Vladikavkaz, stopped at the Chertkovo station, which is located directly on the border.

The servicemen reportedly left the carriage and walked down the street, not seeing any signs of the border before being detained. 

The border between the Ukrainian town of Melovo and Russia’s Chertkovo runs through several streets.




The presence of Russian servicemen in Melovo may well have raised suspicions given that a Ukrainian air defence radar was attacked near Melovo on March 24 this year. Given the distance from separatist-held territory far to the south, it looks unlikely that those attackers could have come from anywhere but Russian territory.

— Pierre Vaux