Written by Chris Covert exclusively for SouthFront
One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another four were wounded in an incident Donbas rebel official media are characterizing as a friendly fire incident, according to Russian language news account.
The incident took place near Peski and Staromykhailivka near western Donetsk city Thursday, where Ukrainian forces exchanged fire as they were conducting “uncoordinated actions”, according to a news report which appeared in regnum.ru.
The report said that two tanks and one infantry fighting vehicles of the Ukrainian 128th Separate Mechanized Brigade were destroyed in the exchange of gunfire between friendly forces. Several other Ukrainian weapons were used in the incident, but neither the article nor the source elaborated how many or which kind of weapons were used.
Ukrainian forces involved in the fighting in southeastern Ukraine have a massive problem in such incidents. Official rebel media has claimed in the past that as many as 20 percent of Ukrainian casualties involve some kind of friendly such, including accidental firearm discharges. Normally such an abnormally high accidental discharge rate can be attributed to the nature of Ukrainian forces, using poorly trained conscripts, but Ukraine’s fire discipline problems are compounded by the involvement of untrained private militias, including members of the Right Sektor political groups which man many of those units.
Fighting in Donetsk, Lugansk continues
Exchange of gunfire and artillery fire continued by both sides in Lugansk and Donetsk over the past 48 hours, according to various Russian language news accounts.
The Ukrainian defense ministry said on Wednesday and Thursday that rebel forces fired on their positions a total of 77 times, according to a news report which appeared in lb.ua.
The report said that on Wednesday, rebel 120mm mortar fire fell on Ukrainian positions in Troiskoye, Novoselovka and Avdievka. 82mm mortar fire hit Ukrainian positions in Verhnetoretskovo, Avdievka and Novgorod.
In southern Donetsk, rebel 152mm artillery, and 120mm and 82mm mortar fire hit Ukrainian positions at Lebedinskoye and Shirokino.
In Lugansk, rebel 82mm mortar fire fell on the Popasnaya area, and in Novoaleksandrovka, Boguslavsky and Novozvanovki.
According to a separate report which appeared in lb.ua, in Donetsk, rebels 120mm mortar fire hit Troitskoye on Thursday, while 82mm mortar fire hit Ukrainian positions in Avdievka. In southern Donetsk, rebel 82mm mortar fire hit Ukrainian positions in Shirokino.
In Lugansk, rebel 82mm mortar fire hit Ukrainian positions in Novoaleksandrovka.
The Donetsk ministry of defense reported in its website that Ukrainian artillery struck rebel positions 300 times in the previous 48 hours using heavy weapons.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian artillery hit rebel positions in Donetsk at Donetsk, Gorlovka, Yasinovataya, the Petrovsky district of Donetsk city, Staromykhailivka, the Donetsk airport, Zaitsevo and Spartak. In southern Donetsk Ukrainian artillery hit rebel positions in Dokuchaevsk and Sahanka.
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces repeated their artillery attacks on Zaitsevo, Yasinovataya, the Donetsk airport, Staromykhailivka, Spartak and the Petrovsky district of Donetsk city. In southern Donetsk, Ukrainian artillery hit Sahanka and Kominternovo.
Rebel official media also reported that another 30 residential buildings were damaged by Ukrainian artillery fire in Zaitsevo during the night of July 6th to July 7th. It has been previously reported that a total of 40 residential buildings were damaged from Ukrainian artillery fire last July 4th in Zaitsevo and Gorlovka.
Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org