Donbass blog, July 15: 2-day Hell in Donetsk - Ukrainian Breakthrough Attempts - OSCE Watches Bombardments on Internet
The period of relative «calm» in Donbass, which was observed by the end of last week, has come to an end, apparently, due to fresh delivery of artillery shells at the Ukrainian positions. The number of daily attacks on the DPR territory from Kiev has not changed significantly, but along with mortars, the Ukrainian military have again started to use heavy, 122 and 152mm artillery, with the daily number of about 60 rounds, according to the DPR Defense Ministry.
At the same time, since the beginning of the week the Ukrainian side has been making attempts to break through or find weak spots in the DPR army defenses. On the night of July 12, after a mortar attack on the western outskirts of Donetsk, the Ukrainian military attacked theDPR position. A little later, another unit of the Ukrainian army decided to conduct reconnaissance in the south-west of the DPR capital.
The DPR military authorities reported that both attacks had been repelled, with Kiev having lost five men killed in the first and up to seven in the second.
The third attempt to break through was reported by soldiers of the DPR army, located on the border between the DPR and LPR. There the Ukrainian military’s attack ended with them having been ‘driven into a tight circle’, according to the Republican soldiers, and after a couple of hours from the front line came a laconic report that ‘the surrounded are being finished off’.
The next day, reporting the losses caused by ‘an unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian army positions’, the speaker of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) announced that the DPR army had received ‘new Russian weapons’.
It was residents of Gorlovka, having again to spend the night in basements, who paid for Kiev’s failures on the front. The locals reported almost non-stop fire from mortars and grenade launchers, which came in series of rounds. The men in the DPR positions also reported several rounds from howitzers on one of the outskirts of the city, as well as a few rounds from a tank they had heard in the general din.
According to the local authorities, there were no casualties but, as a result of the attack, at least 15 houses were damaged.
The following two nights the Ukrainian side launched intensive attacks on Donetsk. Kiev was shelling the DPR capital with mortars and artillery from all sides. The social networks were full of reports from the northern, western and southern outskirts about trembling walls, shattering windows, shells whistling over people’s head and close explosions. Due to the lack of basements in the city, many residents spent the night in their bathrooms, the safest place in multi-storey buildings.
The DPR authorities reported that, as a result of the first shelling in Donetsk, one civilian had been killed and two women wounded. An ambulance taking one of them to hospital had also come under fire. In addition, the attack on the Ukrainian side resulted in 44 houses and a mine damaged, six streets left without electricity, due to the destruction of a substation, and another three without gas, due to a damage to a pipeline.
The second bombardment, on the night from 13 to 14 July, resulted in another two women wounded, two houses completely destroyed by a direct hit, and another eight damaged.
That same night, Kiev undertook another two attempts to break through the DPR defenses, to the west and south-west of Donetsk. Both attacks were also repelled, with the Ukrainian side having lost nine men killed and seven wounded. The DPR army also suffered losses of two soldiers killed and another two wounded.
There were also ongoing battles in the Yasinovataya area located between Donetsk and Gorlovka, the Avdeevka industrial zone, the «hottest» spot of the front recently, and in the south of the DPR. Moreover, in the area of the Yasinovatsky checkpoint and the Avdeevka industrial zone Kiev no longer limited itself to night shelling from all arms available in this section of the front, but constantly opened fire from mortars and grenade launchers at the DPR army positions even in the daytime.
In the south of the DPR Kiev shelled front-line localities of the Republic with mortars and infantry fighting vehicles. The DPR Defense Ministry proposed the OSCE observers to go together to the «hot» spots and document the results of bombardments, but their offer was refused. Representatives of the mission explained that the localities were too far and the mission staff watched online footage of what was happening with their cameras in Shirokino, a town in the "grey" area, seized by the Ukrainian military in the spring.
Kiev also continued to deliver weapons and equipment to the front line, at the same time stepping up sabotage and intelligence activities. Over the past days, the DPR intelligence reported the arrival at the Ukrainian side of the front of tanks, a mechanized platoon of infantry fighting vehicles, 122mm howitzers and motorized artillery systems, as well as MLRS «Grad». Ukrainian drones continuously fly over Donetsk and Gorlovka, with assault ones repeatedly seen among them.
In addition, the DPR intelligence sources on the ground reported that in Kiev-controlled Slavyansk the Ukrainian military were equipping landing grounds for combat and military transport helicopters.
In Amvrosievka area situated in the deep rear of the DPR, there were frequent night skirmishes with Ukrainian subversive groups aiming to damage a strategically important railway line. Mines had already been repeatedly found and neutralized along it before, and in recent days, apparently, attempts to undermine the line resumed.
Two days ago in Gorlovka, the DPR MGB (Ministry of State Security) detained two Ukrainian spies recruited by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and trained on the Kiev-controlled territory of Donbass under guidance of foreign instructors. The presence of such a camp, located to the south-west of Donetsk, was confirmed by the DPR intelligence sources on the ground. The saboteurs had been tasked to physically eliminate a high-ranking officer of the DPR army.
Massive attacks on the DPR territory by Kiev took place against the background of another meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk. The Ukrainian party actually disrupted the negotiations, not having submitted any draft laws on local elections, amnesty and constitutional reform for discussion and agreement with the Republics. At the same time, the representatives of Kiev announced that Ukraine was currently agreeing ways of settling the conflict in Donbass ‘in other formats’.