Ukraine’s civil war is still very much ongoing. Both sides are exchanging fire. Civilians and soldiers continue to die on both sides.
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Due to its slow, simmering nature, events in Novorossiya rarely make headlines, so people forget there is a real war going on.
Donetsk, Friday, June 6, 16.30 pm. Exclusive to Russia Insider
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By the end of the week, the intensity of the shelling of DPR territory by the Ukrainian side again increased significantly, reaching about five hundred attacks per day on the weekend, according to the DPR Defense Ministry. Kiev used mostly mortars, including heavy ones, and in some places mortar attacks were accompanied by fire from infantry fighting vehicles and grenade launchers.
On the weekend, heavy explosions were heard at night in all districts of Donetsk. Residents of the DPR capital wrote in social networks about windows shaking and the howls of incoming projectiles. They also noted the high frequency of the bombardments, with two or three landing every five minutes, as well as the short time between the launch of projectiles and their explosion.
Over the week, as reported by the Ministry, Kiev carried out more than two thousand attacks, the vast majority of which were with heavy weapons. The most intense bombardments occurred in the Donetsk and Gorlovka directions.
Residents of the western suburbs of Donetsk say that there is no truce whatsoever, and attacks on the Ukrainian side occur daily and usually continue throughout the night.
As a result of shelling, five DPR soldiers were killed and four wounded. There were also civilian casualties, two civilians being killed and one injured. In addition, report local authorities, over the weekend ten houses there were damaged, four of them partially destroyed. The scale of destruction over the week amounted to 41 buildings.
The DPR army opened return fire from, according to the press centre of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) headquarters, mortars, grenade-launchers, heavy machine-guns, and small arms. The press centre also noted individual rounds from infantry fighting vehicles and anti-aircraft systems in the west of Donetsk. On the whole, the ATO headquarters reported 71 bombardments by the DPR, resulting in five wounded Ukrainian soldiers. There was no information on the level of destruction in their report.
Two days ago Kiev shelled again the Donetsk filter plant. The destruction of this infrastructure may not only lead to 400,000 residents of the Donetsk region being deprived of water supply, but also to a man-made ecological disaster, due to the fact that the plant contains significant amounts of chlorine.
The Ukrainian side has also tightened the blockade of Donbass. According to local residents, officers of the Kharkov branch of the SBU arrived at some checkpoints in the Donetsk region two days ago, following which control of cars and civilians increased sharply. Civilians are not allowed to bring to DPR territory any food or money, even in small amounts for personal use.
Yesterday, probably trying to provoke the DPR return fire at any cost, the Ukrainian military committed another armed provocation against civilians crossing the contact line.
In the area of Gorlovka the Ukrainian side shelled a civilian bus that was passing inspection at the DPR checkpoint. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, the attack was carried out with grenade launchers and small arms, resulting in one civilian wounded.
A month ago, a similar bombardment by the Ukrainian military of a line of civilian cars at a checkpoint to the south of Donetsk led to the death of five civilians, including a pregnant woman.
The lack of discipline and control in the Ukrainian army units is recognised not only by the authorities of the Republics, but by Ukrainian sources as well. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, from the beginning of the conflict to February 2016, over 2,500 Ukrainian military were killed and about 9,000 wounded in Donbass. Two days ago, the General Military Prosecutor of Ukraine said that over a thousand of the dead and three thousand of the wounded were non-combat losses. Among the reasons for the latter, he cited suicide, alcoholism, careless handling of weapons, and hazing.
Such a situation in the Ukrainian army inspires very low morale in the troops. Over the past week, according to the DPR Defense Ministry, 30 Ukrainian military deserted from the front line, only seven of which Kiev managed to detain. In this regard, the Security Service has stepped up its activities in the ATO area to identify unreliable soldiers in the Ukrainian army.
The Ukrainian side also bears heavy losses due to conflicts between Ukrainian soldiers and the nationalist battalions. According to DPR intelligence, only over the past week, in the south towards Mariupol, a clash occurred between an army unit and the Aidar Battalion, which resulted in 16 Ukrainian soldiers killed and 12 wounded. To the west of Donetsk, a clash between another army unit and a unit of the Right Sector, which was trying to "push" the Ukrainian military to the front line, resulted in the loss of 15 people on each side.
The atmosphere of complete lack of control in the nationalist battalions, as well as the robbery and kidnapping of civilians for ransom, is described in particular by a captured nationalist from the Aidar Battalion.
Nevertheless, Kiev continues to amass on the contact line nationalists, mercenaries and heavy weapons. Over the past week, according to DPR intelligence, the Ukrainian command delivered to the front dozens of tanks, "Grad" and "Uragan" MLRS’s, howitzers, anti-tank cannons, motorised artillery systems, including 203mm "Peons", armoured personnel carriers (see below pictures of weapons mentioned), as well as about a hundred foreign mercenaries.
The OSCE observers also documented the withdrawal from the storage sites of Ukrainian heavy mortars, tanks, howitzers and self-propelled artillery systems, mostly of 152mm caliber.
Two days ago, Martin Saydik, the OSCE Chairman Special Representative in the trilateral contact group on the implementation of the peace plan in the east of Ukraine, visited two localities in the "gray" zone. Under the terms of the Minsk Agreements, this area should be demilitarised. However, these localities were seized by the Ukrainian side in the spring of 2016.
The DPR authorities stated that Martin Saydik’s report, lacking requirements for Kiev to immediately release the captured areas of the demarcation zone, would signify the OSCE’s unconditional support of Kiev’s aggressive violations of the measures required to resolve the conflict.
Information on weapons mentioned in this article
The Donetsk International News Agency is a private, non-profit information agency located in the center of the city of Donetsk. It is headed by Finnish journalist, Janus Putkonen and has 10 full time journalists on staff. Approximately half of them are natives of Western European countries. Its website is: www.dninews.com
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