Written by Chris Covert exclusively for SouthFront
A total of 20 Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in a friendly artillery fire incident in Donetsk on Thursday, according to Russian language news reports.
According to a news release posted on the website of the Donetsk ministry of defense, the casualties took place in Avdievka when an artillery unit of the 12th Battalion of Ukrainian 26th Separate Artillery Brigade struck positions of the Ukrainian 58th Separate Mechanized Rifle Brigade. The reason for the incident was improper adjustment of an artillery fire.
Avdievka including the industrial zone to the west, has been a focus of Ukrainian forces since the strong, where Ukrainian forces moved into a gray zone near Yasinovataya, effectively cutting off civilian traffic from Gorlovka, though Gorlovka remains in the Russian backed Donetsk rebels’ hands.
Since then artillery fire into Yasinovataya and the checkpoint that separates Donetsk city from Gorlovka has been under regular artillery fire. Rebels claim that most of the artillery that hits those areas come from artillery emplaced at Avdievka. Rebel forces routinely fire counterbattery attacks into Avdievka in an effort to destroy Ukrainian artillery units.
On Tuesday, according to a news account in lb.ua, rebel artillery units struck several locations along the line of contact, for a total of 38 incidents.
The report said that between 1100 hrs and 200 hrs, rebel artillery hit Ukrainian positions at Avidevka, Optynoye and Zaitsevo for a total of 85 shells. Among the weapons used were 120mm and 82mm mortars.
Over the same period, rebel reports say that Ukrainian fired artillery on several locations in Donetsk using a total of 334 artillery and mortar rounds. Locations hit include Vasilevka, Spartak, Yasinovataya, Zaytsevo, Gorlovka, the Donetsk airport and near the Volvo Center of western Donetsk city. The report said that a total of 154 rounds of 152mm and 122mm artillery were used by the Ukrainians and 180 rounds of 120mm and 82mm mortars.
Fighting in Lugansk
An Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) report on Wednesday confirmed that Ukrainian artillery originating from Popasnaya struck rebel positions in Stakhanov on Tuesday, according to a news release on the Lugansk government website.
The incident took place at around 0140 hrs and involved Ukrainian 152mm artillery. A total of two unidentified non combatants were wounded in the incident. A total of six rounds were fired, two of which hit near residential buildings.
A separate Lugansk government news release posted the following day said Ukrainian forces fired a total of 67 each 120mm and 82mm mortar rounds fell on rebel positions in the northwest area of the line of contact.
Ukrainian sources do not indicate any rebel activity in Lugansk for the same period of time.
Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org