Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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.
- READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT: An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlinâs Dirty War in Ukraine
The Ukrainian military reported this morning that Russian-backed forces had conducted more than 30 attacks last night.
For the second night in a row, Kiev claims that Russian-backed fighters used Grad MLRS, shelling the southern outskirts of the village of Kurakhovo, around 30 kilometres west of Donetsk.
Yesterday morning the Ukrainian military claimed that Grads had fallen outside the village of Zoryanoye. Both settlements are well behind the front line.
Last night, the ATO Press Centre reports, Russian-backed fighters fired on Peski, Novgorodskoye and Opytnoye, all north of Donetsk, with heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and small arms. In addition to those same weapons, Krasnogorovka, west of Donetsk, was repeatedly attacked with anti-aircraft artillery, tanks, 82 and 120 mm mortars.
To the south of the separatist-held city, there was a skirmish between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed fighters near the village of Novotroitskoye, on the highway to Mariupol.
Shirokino, on the coast east of Mariupol, came under repreated fire from grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, 82 mm mortars and, twice after midnight, 122 mm artillery.
In the east, the village of Luganskoye, southeast of Artyomovsk, came under fire from BMP infantry fighting vehicles and grenade launchers.
In the Lugansk region, the Ukrainian military reports 82 mm mortar attacks near Tryokhizbenka and grenade launcher fire on the outskirts of Schastye.
Meanwhile the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed this morning that Ukrainian troops had violated the ceasefire nine times over the last 24 hours.
According to the DNR, Ukrainian troops shelled the Donetsk Airport area, Spartak and Vesyoloye, all north of Donetsk, as well as the Abakumov area in the west of the city and Gorlovka.
At noon today, Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters that three Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded in action over the last 24 hours.
Another seven were wounded and two killed when an infantry fighting vehicle struck a landmine near Optynoye at around 15:30 yesterday.
The soldiers were reported to be members of the first battalion of the 93rd Brigade: Irakliy Kulteliya and Alexei Boldyrev, known as Malysh.
Translation: This is Lyosha Bondyrev – Malysh – killed today. Remember a hero! (published by Igor Gofman).
Colonel Motuzyanyk also reported that the number of soldiers wounded on December 8 was now known to be nine rather than five as reported yesterday.
Nine enemy drone flights were detected in the Donetsk region, most near Avdeyevka and Mariupol. Two Russian drones were also detected flying reconnaissance missions along the borders between the Russian Federation and the Lugansk and Kharkiv regions.
— Pierre Vaux
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced today that they arrested detained seven people, three of them Russian citizens, during a special operation in Kiev last night. The others were Ukrainians – three from Kiev and one from Kharkiv.
Olena Gitlyanskaya, spokesperson for the SBU, wrote on her Facebook page that the detainees were members of a diversionary and reconnaissance group operating in the capital.
She posted a photo of weapons and explosives seized in the raid:
A fourth member of the group was killed after they resisted arrest and shot two members of the SBU’s Alfa force with an automatic weapon. The dead man was described as the leader of the group.
This morning, the SBU confirmed reports that one of the two Alfa troops shot had died later in hospital from a gunshot wound to the head.
More photos of the weaponry seized and video of the immediate aftermath of the raid have been released by the SBU:
According to the SBU, the group was planning on carrying out “terrorist acts in Kiev and Kharkiv.” Eight home-made explosive devices, four kilogrammes of TNT, automatic weapons, more than 40 grenades, more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and bomb-making components were found at the scene.
Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reports that Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s press secretary, told reporters today that the Kremlin has not yet received any information on the arrests from the Ukrainian authorities.
Tkachuk said that investigators were considering the possibility, amongst “several scenarios,” that the armed group were connected to the Russian intelligence services.
— Pierre Vaux