Written by Chris Covert exclusively for SouthFront
The Ukrainian Army has lost as many as a dozen soldiers since Saturday, including a friendly fire incident in Lugansk, according to Russian language news report.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian ministry of defense says Russian backed rebels attempted to launch three recon probes in the Marinka area in Donetsk and three probing attacks at Novozvanovki in Lugansk. All attacks were driven back,
According to the Lugansk government website, Lugansk police reported that a Ukrainian artillery fire on July 25th targeted their own troops, killing six and wounding 20.
The news release did not mention where the attack took place. Direct fire battles have been taking place near Stanitsa Luganskaya in Lugansk in recent days. Stanitsa Luganskaya has been an issue between the two combatants since the end of 2014.
According to the news release, and quoting Lugansk ministry of defense spokesman Andrei Marochko, artillery elements of the Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade adjusted an artillery fire which targeted the 30th Battalion, causing the casualties.
Rebel officials have been saying for more than a year that friendly fire incidents such as the Stanitsa Luganskaya incident and minor incidents such as accidental firearms discharges account for a large number of Ukrainian casualties, and go unreported by top Ukrainian ministry of defense officials.
The official rebel report in Lugansk says Ukrainian commanders are trying to hide the losses suffered in the friendly fire incident.
Donbass rebel probes
Two rebel probes were detected and driven back in the Marina area of Donetsk on the night of July 25th to July 26th, according to data supplied by the Ukrainian ministry of defense, as reported on lb.ua,
The first attack was detected at 1907 hrs, said to be at platoon strength, but was driven back with small arms and automatic grenade launcher fire. A second probe attempt at 1920 hrs was not successful as well. The Ukrainian side said rebels suffered losses but did not describe the nature of the losses.
Last Thursday, as previously reported, one rebel and one Ukrainian foot patrol fought at Marinka with losses for the Ukrainians totaling one dead and one non commissioned officer captured,
A third rebel probe was engaged by Ukrainian troops at Avdievka on Monday evening at around 1720 hrs, according to the same lb.ua report. Unspecified losses for the rebel side were reported by the Ukrainians.
A fourth rebel probe took place on Saturday morning, but was only reported on Monday in a separate lb.ua news report.
At around 0820 hrs, a rebel patrol was spotted at Novozvanovki in Lugansk, and was fired on by Ukrainian troops. Two rebel effectives were killed in the exchange, and four were wounded by Ukrainian counterfire. The rebel unit then withdrew to their own lines.
Subsequently, according to the report, rebel forces fired a number of heavy weapons into Ukrainian positions including 82mm and 120mm mortar fire, which lasted 25 minutes. Rebel forces expended a total of 80 rounds of artillery shells of both types. Fire was reported from SPG-9 73mm recoilless rifle, 23mm antiaircraft autocannon and 125mm tank gun fire until 1350 hrs. The bombardment killed one Ukrainian effective and wounded another two.
A second rebel probe totaling 20 effectives took place at around 1410 hrs, when the rebel unit came within 50 meters of Ukrainian positions before being fired on. Rebel forces lost two more dead and five wounded, and the probe was forced back.
Two hours later a second exchange of gunfire took place between the two forces with losses for the Ukrainians totaling one dead and three wounded. Ukrainian forces claim that radio intercepts indicate rebel losses in the last attack totaled five dead.
Ukrainian Artillery fire in Donetsk
Ukrainian artillery units hit the industrial area near Yasinovataya Sunday night total of 69 122mm and 152mm artillery shells striking rebel positions, according to a news release posted by the Donetsk ministry of defense.
The shelling at Yasinovataya started at around 2130 hrs and ended at 2330 hrs.
Elsewhere in Donetsk, Ukrainian artillery units fired a total of 295 82mm and 120mm mortar shells at rebel positions, most of it night shelling, according to official rebel media. Locations around Donetsk city struck by Ukrainian mortars fire include the Donetsk airport areas and at Trudovskoy,
In southern Donetsk, towns hit by Ukrainian artillery fire include Sahanka and Novoazovskiy.
On the evening of Monday, July 25th, Ukrainian artillery once again renewed their attacks at Yasinovataya and at Spartak, starting at 2100 hrs, according to a separate official rebel media report. This time Ukrainians used 122mm artillery in their attacks, totaling 12 shots.
A residential building at Spartak was struck by Ukrainian artillery and was destroyed by fire.
A total of 184 82mm and 120mm mortar rounds were fired on rebel positions between 2100 hrs on Monday night and 0200 hrs Tuesday morning. The artillery attacks originated at Avdievka, Opytnoye and Vodyanovo