Ukraine Live Day 688: Fighting Reported Near Gorlovka As Situation ‘Deteriorates’

January 6, 2016

Both sides report fighting around Gorlovka, with Ukraine claiming 14 attacks on their positions overnight. Kiev and the Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk have also accused each other of bringing heavy weaponry back to the front, with Ukrainian military intelligence reporting the presence of Russian thermobaric missile launchers.

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

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Ukraine Reports 21 Attacks So Far Today

The Ukrainian military claims that, as of 18:00 local time, Russian-backed fighters have conducted 21 attacks so far today, on Orthodox Christmas Eve.

According to this evening’s ATO Press Centre report, four Ukrainian defensive positions in the Marinka area, southwest of separatist-held Donetsk, came under simultaneous fire from small arms and grenade launchers. 

Ukrainian troops in Shirokino, east of Mariupol were attacked with small arms, while snipers targeted soldiers in Zaytsevo, north of Gorlovka.

In addition, the report claims that there were several incidents of “untargeted” fire, with small arms and heavy machine guns used near Peski and Opytnoye, north of Donetsk, as well as multiple grenade launcher attacks in the Gorlovka area, near Mayorsk, Novgorodskoye and Luganskoye.

Earlier this evening, the Press Centre published a claim that Russian-backed fighters had made an unsuccessful attempt to cut a pipeline supplying gas to Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk, on December 31. 

The military warns that another attempt may be made after the Orthodox New Year on  January 14.

— Pierre Vaux

Fighting Reported Near Gorlovka As Situation ‘Deteriorates’

The Ukrainian military reports that the situation “has deteriorated” with 14 attacks recorded overnight by the ATO Press Centre, giving a total of 23 within 24 hours.

According to this morning’s report, Russian-backed forces “repeatedly opened fire with heavy machine guns and small arms” on Ukrainian troops near Novgorodskoye, Zaytsevo, Mironovsky, Luganskoye and Troitskoye.

Near Luganskoye, a Ukrainian defensive position was attacked with automatic grenade launchers while positions south of Troitskoye were twice fired on with rocket-propelled grenades.

To the north of Gorlovka, positions near the village of Mayorsk came under 82 mm mortar and “grenades from various launchers” for around half an hour. This is the first use of mortars reported by the Ukrainians since December 30.


In the Donetsk area, the Ukrainian military claims that Russian-backed fighters used small arms and anti-aircraft artillery to fire on Peski. At around 4 am today, there was another attack on the village with small arms.

There are also unconfirmed reports of the use of 122 mm artillery north of Donetsk:

Translation: #Avdeyevka small arms like mortars on Opytnoye. At night they shelled Opytnoye and the vineyards (around Avdeyevka) with 122 mm. Spiritual f***ers.

Ukrainian military intelligence reported today that heavy weaponry had been recorded near Novogrigoryevka, Donetsk and Makeyevka, including TOS-1 Buratino thermobaric missile launchers. 

Buratinos, Kiev claims, were used during the final battle for Donetsk Airport, and their presence months later in the Donbass has been confirmed by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence says that representatives from the OSCE Mission have been informed of these claimed discoveries.

Meanwhile the separatist Donetsk News Agency (DAN) reports, citing the intelligence wing of the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), that Ukraine has also returned heavy artillery to the front line.

According to the report, the arrival of a trainload of artillery hardware was recorded northeast of Mariupol, near the village of Fedorovka. This load allegedly included four 152 mm howitzers, two self-propelled anti-tank missile systems and a truck carrying ammunition.

The DNR claimed this afternoon that seven Ukrainian 82 mm mortar shells had fallen on separatist-held territory over the last 24 hours, with attacks on the outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka. 

Far to the east, TSN reports that Georgiy Tuka, governor of the Lugansk region, reported fighting last night near Stanitsa Luganskaya, northeast of the separatist-held regional capital.

According to Tuka, a shoot-out with small arms and grenade launchers on the southern banks of the Seversky Donets river was heard in the town. Tuka suggests that infighting may have broken out between separatist fighters.

— Pierre Vaux