Artillery Duels Intensify in Donbass Region

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Artillery Duels Intensify in Donbass Region

Written by Chris Covert exclusively for SouthFront

The Ukrainian ministry of defense announced Monday that the number of attacks on their forces by Russian supported rebel forces have doubled in the last 24 hours, according to Russian language news reports.

In the meantime, official rebel media in Donetsk claim that more than 40 structures, including residential buildings and at least one school building have been damaged in ongoing Ukrainian shelling since Saturday night.

A total of 94 attacks, up from 51 the previous day and including small arms attacks, were made on Ukrainian forces all along the line of contact in both Lugansk and Donetsk, according to a news account in korrespondent.net.

Locations in Donetsk said to have been hit include Mayorsk, Avdievka, Novgorod and Troiskoye, where the rebels used 120mm mortar fire. 82mm mortar fire was reported in Marinka. In southern Donetsk, rebel forces also used 120mm mortar fire on several locations near Mariupol, and 82mm mortar fire on Ukrainian position in Shirokino.

In Lugansk, rebel forces shelled Novoaleksandrovka and Novozvanovke using 122mm artillery.

A news account which appeared in lb.ua said that one structure in Stanitsa Luganskaya was destroyed by rebel small arms and grenade launcher fire. No Ukrainians were reported wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

The Donetsk ministry of defense said on its website that Ukrainian artillery struck rebel positions in Doentsk a total of 104 times Sunday.

Locations in or near Donetsk city hit by Ukrainian artillery include Trudovskoy, Spartak, the Donetsk airport, Zaitsevo and Gorlovka. In southern Donetsk, Ukrainian artillery fell on rebel positions at Kominternovo, Sahanka and Novoazovskiy.

A total of 40 civilian and residential structures were damaged in Ukrainian overnight artillery attacks on the northern village of Zaitsevo and in Gorlovka and Donetsk city in the previous 48 hours including one school building, according to a separate news release by the Donetsk ministry of defense. Four unidentified civilian were wounded in the shelling.

A later report by rebel official media said that 10 more structures were destroyed and 70 more damaged by Ukrainian artillery fire in both Donetsk city and Gorlovka/Zaitsevo since Saturday night. Western districts of Donetsk city and the Gorlovka region have been under near constant artillery fire since the fall of 2014, with only a brief respite the previous fall and winter, 2015.

Dead/Wounded

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another 10 wounded in a rebel artillery attack Sunday, according to a news account in lb.ua. The report failed to note the location of the impact zone, but rebel officials in Lugansk said three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded in a friendly fire incident in Lugansk. The rebel report also failed to note the location of the incident.

The casualties were reportedly from the 10th Battalion of the Ukrainian 59th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade, which had recently rotated into the forward zone. The report said that artillery units from the Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade were firing artillery on rebel positions in Lugansk, and were adjusting fire when it struck the other unit. The crews apparently were unaware of the presence of the friendly unit before the artillery hit the location.

Lugansk officials say the actual toll is three dead, and that the incident is being hidden from Kiev.

Meanwhile, Donetsk military officials said that a Ukrainian infantry probe left three Ukrainian soldiers dead and another seven wounded. The attack took place at the Donetsk airport on Sunday. The attack was driven back by rebel small arms fire.

Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at grurkka@gmail.com

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