Written by Chris Covert exclusively for SouthFront
A total of seven Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in ongoing fighting in Donetsk and Lugansk over the last two days according to Russian language news accounts.
In Troitskoye in western Donetsk, on the night of July 8th to July 9th, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and another 10 were wounded in shelling by Russian backed rebels, according to a news report which appeared in lb.ua. The article quoted Ukrainian journalist Yury Butusov from his Facebook page, who said the artillery attack was a prelude to a rebel attack, which was repelled by Ukrainian forces. A separate lb.ua report said that the Ukrainian ministry of defense reported one additional dead and six more wounded. The report failed, however, to elaborate on where the deceased died, or whether the incident took place in Troitskoye.
A total of three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 16 were wounded in rebel artillery attacks on Saturday, according to yet another lb.ua news account. The location of where the soldiers died was not reported by the Ukrainian ministry of defense, the main source of the news account.
The Donetsk ministry of defense reported on its website that Ukrainian artillery struck rebel positions a total of 552 times between Friday and Saturday. The number of incidents which include Ukrainian small arms, grenade launcher, BMP infantry fighting vehicle and RPG rocket fire number well over 1,000.
Locations in Donetsk struck by Ukrainian artillery on July 8th include Zaitsevo, northern Gorlovka, Spartak and Yasinovataya. In southern Donetsk, Ukrainian artillery hit rebel positions at Dokuchaevsk, Sahanka, Kominternovo and Novoazovskiy.
During the same time frame, according to an lb.ua report, rebel artillery struck Ukrainian positions in western Donetsk including at Avdievka, Zaitsevo, Mayorsk and Luganskoye. The report said the rebels used 120mm and 82mm mortars on those locations.
In southern Donetsk, the Ukrainian ministry of defense said that rebels used 122mm artillery and 120mm mortars on several locations including at Shirokino. The report said rebels fired on Ukrainian positions a total of 72 times, but that includes small arms and RPG rocket fire.
The Donetsk ministry of defense reported on its website that on Saturday, Ukrainian artillery hit locations in western Donetsk, including at Zaitsevo, Gorlovka Yasinovataya, Spartak, the Donetsk airport and the Petrovsky district of western Donetsk.
In southern Donetsk, Ukrainian artillery hit rebel positions at Dokuchaevsk, Sahanka and Kominternovo.
Ukrainians reinforce Schastye
According to a new release posted on the Lugansk People’s Republic website, the Ukrainian Army has reinforced the riverside city of Schastye with a tank company and several squads of riflemen.
On July 8th and 9th, several foreign and domestic volunteer squads were rotated into the town, as Ukrainian army units were rotated out. Nationalities for the rifle squads include from Poland and Georgia. Some of the squads are staffed by members of the Right Secktor political party. The news release quoted Lugansk ministry of defense spokesman Major Andrei Marochko saying that some of the volunteers were of “African appearance.”
A total of 150 effectives were moved into Schastye, roughly a rifle company. A total of 2,000 effectives are said to be deployed at Schastye.
Schastye has been a Ukrainian stronghold since the summer of 2014, when Ukrainian units retreated from Lugansk city after claiming to occupy the airport. Lugansk rebel forces since have attempted to surround the city, to little avail.
Schastye is situated on the left bank of the Northern Donetsk River and astride a major highway leading north.
Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org