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There are at least three different accounts for a shoot-out involving the Aidar Battalion which left some Ukrainian fighters killed and injured.
According to a post from Yury Kasyanov on his Facebook page (translation by The Interpreter):
Saboteurs attacked Aidar fighters who were guarding a hospital in Schastye. We have three dead, two wounded. The bandits — there were five of them — were destroyed. They drove on to the grounds of the hospital in a medical vehicle which they had hijacked from a nearby district, after killing the doctors.
According to VKulake, which used Kasyanov as a source:
Translation: Russian terrorists committed an attack on the hospital in Schastye.
In this version, too, the medical vehicle is hijacked and the doctors are killed as well, and three Aidar fighters are killed and two wounded.
According to Glavkom, a group of Aidar fighters were ambushed by the Russian-backed separatists, but only two died and three were wounded.
“Our soldiers were changing [secret positions] in the district of Old Aidar when they were ambushed. The [separatist] fighters threw grenades at them. As a result, two of our men died; one is seriously injured and another is in stable condition, one with a facial wound and the other with a light hand wound.”
Yuliya Yevdokimova, press secretary for the Aidar Battalion, said the attack occurred on the night of December 18-19. The soldiers who died were nicknamed “Dinamit” [Dynamite] and “Sasha Ryzhiy [Red-head].
Yevdokimova discounted the story published in the media that the separatists supposedly attacked a hospital in Schastye and killed doctors, and then three Aidar fighters.
“This information does not correspond to reality. There was no attack on the hospital,” she said.
Hromadske TV reported that they had received news of an attack “under unexplained circumstances” in which two soldiers were killed and three injured. They cited Hannibal, the head of Aidar’s medical service, as the source for the account.
He said the wounded were taken to Hospital No. 59, and also discounted the rumor published by Kasyanov that there had been an attack on a hospital.
“There has been no attack on the hospital in Schastye, and no doctors killed,” he said.
LB.ua reported the story, but now that story has been removed from their web site.
From this story, it appears there was an internal conflict within Aidar itself, when a group dubbed “the blacks” attacked “Dinamit’s grop,” according to an unidentified Aidar source.
The shoot-out took place in Schastye, and five fighters were said to be killed in the battle.
The “blacks” are those said to be involved in looting and were “after the Aidar combat area,” said the source. Hannibal had reported earlier that Aidar had come upon some “saboteurs.”
It’s hard to know what’s going on here, but it seems likely that no doctors were killed and no hospital was attacked, and that it was an internal conflict, although it’s also possible that Russian-backed fighters set up some kind of provocation.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get to the bottom of stories like this in the war in Ukraine when people publish stories on social media without any sources, when journalists often don’t have any way of checking those sources anyway, and when both battles by the two warring sides as well as some factions with each other occur — along with provocations.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The popular pro-separatist blogger @borisich_glass who has been covering the war in southeastern Ukraine has published more than 50 pictures of dozens of houses destroyed during fighting on December 13 in the town of Nikishino, (Nikishyne in Ukrainian) about 19 kilometers to the southwest from the hub of Debaltsevo.
The separatist fighters have repeatedly broken the agreed “silence” placed on top of the often-ignored ceasefire.
A key to understanding why civilians are shelled is also seen in pictures that @Borisich_glass has published showing the separatists entering the town — which then can attract retaliatory fire when they shoot from it, as well as damage from indiscriminate fire.
Translation: The guys from today’s walk. There was a heavy fog.
Translation: And also…on one of the streets in Nikishino.
This blogger and the civilians he is talking to are convinced that the Ukrainian army is to blame for their destroyed homes but Ukrainian military has denied it is aiming retaliatory fire.
The Ukrainian ATO [Anti-Terrorism Operation] said in a report today
that Russian-backed separatists had shelled the populated areas of
Sokolniki, Schastye, Nikishinko, Kirovo, Mayorskoye (Mayorsk) and Chernukhino (Chornukhyne ) as
well as the Donetsk Airport multiple times, Gordonua.com reported.
As we reported December 18, five
Ukrainian soldiers have died in the ATO. Fighters have
shelled the Ukrainian positions 26 times in the last 24 hours, said the
The ATO reported that the separatists also fired on the towns of Ridkodub, and Novogrigorovka (Novohryhorivka).
The Ukrainian military has claimed that while they are remaining in
position soldiers are not firing back due to the terms of the “silence”
declared December 9, on top of the badly-broken ceasefire declared in
Photo by ZN.Ua.
A nine-year-old girl named Karina
Belonog, a pupil at School No. 2 was killed and her mother hospitalized
unconscious with shrapnel in her head after they were struck as they
walked on the Artyomovskoye Highway in Nikitovsky District in Gorlovka, multiple separatist sources reported.
The towns hit are mainly along the front line to the north and
south of the hub of Debaltsevo. This map was made December 11-12 by the pro-separatist blogger dragon_1:
Translation: Dispatch: Debaltsevo-Enakievo — powerful artillery duel, the enemy suffered huge losses at Chernukhino.
Translation: Kirovskoye now — the Russkies banging with artillery. Chernukhino today — we have losses on our side due to shelling. Gorlovka update: one civilian girl killed, 1 wounded.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick