Donbass blog, July 18: DPR Leader under Ukrainian Attack - Kiev Delivers Missiles to Front - Canada Closes Training Mission in Ukraine

Over the past week, the intensity of shelling the territory of the Republics from the Ukrainian side did not decrease. Kiev mostly used in attacks mortars, grenade launchers, infantry fighting vehicles and small arms, but the number of strikes with the heavy artillery was growing with each passing day.

According to the DPR Defense Ministry, over the week the Ukrainian military made about three thousand rounds on the territory of the Republic, about two-thirds of which were made with heavy weapons. The Ukrainian side attacked in three main directions: in the area of Gorlovka in the north, Donetsk in the center and Mariupol in the south; near Gorlovka the DPR soldiers on positions regularly reported on tank attacks from the Ukrainian positions.

According to the authorities of the Republic, as a result of the bombardments, three DPR army soldiers were killed and another three wounded. Among civilians, one person was killed and 14 received wounds of varying severity, including 15-year-old boy and two elderly women. The attacks by the Ukrainian side also caused the complete destruction of 19 homes and another 184 were partially damaged.

However, the DPR military authorities note that the main feature of the past week was the intensification of provocations by Kiev. Only for two nights last week, the Ukrainian military conducted five attempts to break through the DPR military defenses or, possibly, reconnaissance operations. All the attacks were successfully repelled by the DPR soldiers, with the Ukrainian side having lost in them about 20 men killed and five wounded.

Having failed in advancing deep into the "grey" area, the Ukrainian military turned to the tactics of daily attacks on civilian localities situated there. The territory of one of them, to the north of Gorlovka, with destroyed houses and numerous craters, is reminiscent of a field of a battle just finished, with its residents saying without doubt that those shells came from the Ukrainian side.

In the Yasinovataya area, located between Donetsk and Gorlovka, in the strategic direction if one wants to cut off the north of the center, infantry fighting and mortar shelling have long been going around the clock. On July 15, at the DPR army positions in this sector arrived Alexander Zakharchenko, the Head of the Republic, to personally inspect the observance of the Minsk Agreements regarding the ceasefire.

Immediately after the arrival of the DPR leader, the Ukrainian side opened fire on the positions of the Republican army from the heavy artillery. The witnesses counted 18 landings of shells launched from 122mm D-30 howitzers and 120mm mortars. This bombardment ended up with no casualties, but it occurred a few days after the President of Ukraine Poroshenko had declared from a European rostrum that Ukraine had fulfilled 95% of the Minsk Agreements terms.

Yesterday, Kiev again shelled with mortars the northern outskirts of Gorlovka, where, as a result of direct hits, three houses caught fire. Fire firefighters who came to the spot could not extinguish the flame because of the tight sniper fire from the Ukrainian positions.

Seeking to provoke, at all costs, return fire from the Republics, the Ukrainian army does not only shell the position of the army, civilian homes and infrastructure. In the middle of the past week, during a severe bombardment of Donetsk, some Ukrainian units focused the fire on an Orthodox church and a cemetery next to it.

In addition, according to the DPR intelligence, Kiev is planning a large-scale provocation on the burial of chemical waste located next to Ukraine-controlled Dzerzhinsk. In case of hitting it, as the Ukrainian side has repeatedly done to their own units, accusing the DPR army of the attack, toxic waste will get into the Seversky Donets River which carry it all over Donbass. One can only hope that making these plans public might prevent an environmental disaster on the territory of not only Ukraine but also that of neighboring countries.

Information about constant provocations on the part of Kiev also comes from the Lugansk People's Republic. On July 15, the Ukrainian military shelled once again the only in the LPR crossing point on the contact line, which resulted in a civilian and a LPR military wounded. According to the authorities of the Republic, at the time of the shelling, on the Ukrainian positions were Nadezhda Savchenko, amnestied in Russia, and the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yatsenyuk.

The LPR Intelligence also reports that, in the same area, an anti-aircraft missile system «Strela-10» located on the Ukrainian positions is deployed in the direction of Russia.

The Kiev authorities definitely feel that time is working against them. A few days ago, one of the capital's political scientists announced that in Donbass is developing a new identity of the Republics, which has nothing to do with Ukraine and might result, in a couple of years, in Donbass lost for Kiev forever.

Three days ago, in Mariupol, the largest industrial center in the south of Donbass, seized by Kiev in May 2014, the local pro-Kiev authorities announced the formation of militia which will be led by the former head of the local prison.

Two days ago, the head of the National Police of Ukraine in the Donetsk region said that the local authorities of the Kiev-controlled Dzerzhinsk are preparing the town ‘to meet the rebels and join the DPR’.

The Prime Minister of Canada announced, in spite of Poroshenko’s personal request, that his country would not prolong the work of the training mission in Ukraine after March 2017.

The political party «Samopomosch» («Self-help»), representing the western Ukraine, stated in the Parliament that the powers of the Commander-in-chief should be transferred from the President Poroshenko to the speaker of the Parliament Paruby who, in times of Maidan, had been the leader of its radicals, those, in particular, who opened fire on their own comrades of the «Heavenly hundred».

Kiev has no intention to resolve the conflict in Donbass peacefully. The speaker Paruby said yesterday that not a single bill on local elections on the territories beyond Kiev’s control had been submitted to the Parliament, despite the fact that such a bill was to have been presented for approval to the Republics at the Contact Group meeting held in Minsk last week.

At the same time, Kiev continues to deliver to the front line heavy weapons, radical nationalists and foreign mercenaries.

According to local residents, to the Gorlovka area Kiev delivered a battalion of Tatar radicals, while in Mariupol arrived about 100 nationalists of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps «Right Sector». A Ukrainian soldier who came over to the LPR side spoke about hundreds of mercenaries in the Ukrainian army in the Lugansk sector of the front, most of them Poles and some wearing stripes with Arabic inscriptions.

According to DPR intelligence reports, over the past week the Ukrainian army in Donbass received 122 and 152mm howitzers and motorized artillery systems, 85 and 100mm cannon artillery, 122 and 220mm MLPS, as well as 15 trucks with ammunition. The LPR intelligence reported on arrival at the contact line of a Ukrainian train with «Grad» shells.

The OSCE observers documented once again the lack of heavy arms and equipment at the Ukrainian weapons storage sites, including 10 MLRS, nine tanks, 69 howitzers and 10 units of cannon artillery.

The permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE also said that Kiev is delivering to the front line heavy equipment and weapons, including tanks and missiles «Tochka-U».

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