Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Donetsk Blog Feb 23: Tank Shelling - Asian Snipers - Disappearances

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

This is a new, and, we hope, not long-lived feature on Russia Insider.  Ukraine’s civil war is still very much ongoing.  Both sides are exchanging fire. Civilians and soldiers continue to die on both sides.
DONi was recently founded by a Finnish journalist and Russian businessman whom we know, and we have every reason to believe that their reporting can be relied on as truthful.  More information about the agency follows below this report.
Due to its slow, simmering nature, events in Novorossiya rarely make headlines, so people forget there is a real war going on.
Donetsk, Tuesday, Feb 23, 16.30 pm. Exclusive to Russia Insider
(Attn readers: this is frequent feature - if you would like to have clarification of facts mentioned here, additional information, more explanation of why certain events are happening, please ask us in the comments section, or email the author at:   [email protected]   This will help us provide you with information you want to have.)

Donetsk has experienced a second day of heavy shelling of an intensity not seen since the previous winter. DONi reporters heard and felt explosions that shook windows even in the center of the city. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, as well as residents of the northern and western suburbs, the city is being shelled by Ukrainian tanks.

Gorlovka, a city to the north of Donetsk, is also under heavy attack. The local authorities report a private house having been directly hit by a mortar round, which left the roof partly destroyed and collapsed the ceiling and one of the walls. An elderly woman was wounded.

The incidents of shelling of DPR territory by the Ukrainian army numbers in the hundreds. The DPR Armed Forces returned fire in an effort to prevent further destruction of towns and villages. The ceasefire is still not being observed by either side. 

(Credibility - DONi closely follows the reports of the governments of the DPR and their Ukrainian counterparts and secures independent confirmation when possible.  In our experience, the DPR’s claims are correct approximately 95% of the time, whereas official Ukrainian reports are almost never correct, and for all appearances, deliberately so.)

There were also direct clashes on the front line. An observation post of the DPR Army was attacked by a group coming from Ukrainian positions, resulting in three DPR soldiers being killed. According to the survivors, the attack looked more like an unauthorized attempt to break through the DPR defense line than a sabotage group raid. Such attacks are typical of the nationalist volunteer battalions, who do not answer to the regular Ukrainian army line of command.

The Ukrainian military authorities continue to deliver snipers to the front line. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, another group of up to 11 snipers arrived yesterday, among whom, local residents reported, were two women of Asian appearance.

Also recently on the front line has been observed the arrival of the Ukrainian SBU and MIA special forces units. Local residents reported that a former children’s camp was being used by these units to conduct their training. The main objective of such special forces is identification and detention of unreliable citizens. It seems likely that the SBU and MIA are planning such operations on a massive scale on the territory controlled by Ukraine.

It is therefore unlikely to be a coincidence that people have begun to disappear on the Ukrainian side of the front line. A few days ago a man and a woman were reported missing by local authorities. According to neighbors, the woman was taken from her home by the Ukrainian military, while the man went to the shops and has not been seen since. It is possible that they were arrested by the SBU as suspected DPR sympathizers, as many of the localities that are near the front lines were under DPR control when the majority of residents took part in the referendum of 11 May 2014.

In addition, DPR intelligence report from their sources on the ground alarming threats by the Ukrainian military warning local residents of their upcoming forced relocation deepter into Ukrainian-controlled territory. Such reports indicate either the Ukrainian authorities’ desire to radically deprive the DPR Army of its “eyes and ears”, or their intention to launch a full-scale attack on the Republic in the near future.

The further amassing by Kiev of weapons and military equipment on the front line does not make such an attack look any less likely. Over the past two days the Ukrainian side are reported to have delivered to the front 19 tanks, 10 motorized artillery systems, 23 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, and one “Grad” MLRS (see below pictures of the weapons mentioned).

Information on weapons mentioned in this article

Image icon maxresdefault.jpg
A mortar is a tube-like cannon which fires a projectile which explodes upon impact. They have ranges of up to 3 miles
Image icon sau-mstas.jpg
A motorised artillery system
Image icon aacb513e1bac893dede07d5236a91a3e.jpg
An armoured personnel carrier
Image icon bmp-2.11609.jpg
An infantry fighting vehicle
Image icon 1424187184_6.jpg
A MLRS “Grad”

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:


Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.