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 claims that Russian-backed fighters conducted 14 attacks today, as of 18:00 local time, and 35 yesterday, with the majority focused in the Donetsk and Gorlovka areas.
According to this evening’s report from the ATO Press Centre, Russian-backed fighters used small arms, automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns to conduct several attacks on Ukrainian positions near Opytnoye, Peski and Avdeyevka, to the north of separatist-held Donetsk.
Similar attacks were conducted near Luganskoye, on the highway between Artyomovsk and Debaltsevo, east of Gorlovka.
To the west of the separatist-held town, Ukrainian troops near Novgorodskoye came under small arms fire twice.
Hromadske reported this afternoon that the Donetsk Regional Administration had announced that a civilian woman had been killed in the village of Dzerzhynsk, just north of Gorlovka.
According to the report, the woman died when a shell struck a building in the village at some point between December 25 and 27.
It’s not clear if this is the same person who was reported killed in the neighbouring village of Zaytsevo on December 26, whose body was brought to Dzerzhynsk:
This morning, the military reported that Ukrainian troops in Shirokino, east of Mariupol, had last night come under “targeted” fire from grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry claimed in a statement today that Russian regular troops were now stationed in Kominternovo, a village around 10 kilometres outside Mariupol that was captured last week.
According to the statement, “a company of the 9th Independent Motor-Rifle Regiment of the 1st Army Corps of the Centre for the territorial troops of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” was deployed in the village.
It is worth noting that residents of Kominternovo have told the OSCE that the armed personnel occupying the village wore camouflage uniforms without insignia, which is typical of Russian regular forces deployed in Ukraine.
— Pierre Vaux
The Dniprovsky district court in Kiev has ordered that Hennadiy Korban, leader of the UKROP party, be held in custody for a further 60 days, following dramatic clashes in the courtroom last night in the controversial and politicised trial process.
Ukrainska Pravda reports that the judge, Mykola Chaus, approved the Prosecutor’s Office request that Korban be detained until February 25.
Korban himself responded that his lawyers would appeal the decision and asked his supporters to be calm before he was led from the hall.
“I ask for you to maintain order, because this may now lead to casualties. I don’t want anyone to be injured because of me.”
Last night, a large group of masked men gained access to the courtroom and attacked Korban’s supporters, who claim that the Prosecutor-General, Viktor Shokin, is pursuing the case for political reasons.
UNIAN reported that police in the court failed to intervene and stood by observing as the men started beating supporters and journalists.
The group, who UNIAN refers to as titushki – provocateurs or hired thugs named after Vadym Titushko, a mixed martial arts fighter who attacked reporters in 2013 – was repelled after being sprayed with a fire extinguisher.
Video uploaded by the UKROP party:
Despite the lack of action against the attacking group, police, UKROP claims, detained two party activists – Valentyn Simansky and Vadym Sarakhman.
A party representative said, citing the words of masked police officers, that “‘they [the detained] have been taken away,’ and now they’re threatening me and all others, saying that they will take all of us out of here.” “It’s lawlessness,” he added.
Yehor Sobolev, an MP in the Samopomich party (which is part of the governing coalition), arrived with fellow MP and former commander of the Donbass Battalion Semyon Semyonchenko at the courthouse last night and told reporters that the men who burst into the hall were in fact disguised law enforcement officers.
Gordon.ua reports that Sobolev said that the men had been tasked with abducting Korban so that they could inform him of his arrest in another room.
Sobolev claimed on his Facebook page that one police officer had told him that the attackers were members of the Alfa special forces unit of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).
Sobolev warned that “a tragic end” would come to those he “who has decided to become a new Yanukovych.”
Korban himself was only brought into court late yesterday after having been taken away in an ambulance on December 25 and undergoing a coronary stenting procedure.
His lawyers now have until December 31 to submit an appeal.
He is charged with creating a criminal gang and funding it via embezzlement, kidnapping and car theft.