Donbass blog, July 8: Ukrainian Convicts Deserted with Arms - Russia Warns about Escalation - US Journalists See No Russian Army in Donbass
By mid week the intensity of attacks on the territory of the DPR by Kiev decreased slightly. There were still battles going along the entire front line, with the Ukrainian side using mortars, infantry fighting vehicles, grenade launchers and small arms, while earlier this week the DPR Defense Ministry reported about dozens of bombardments with 122 and 152mm artillery.
The relative calm, however, did not last long. Yesterday the Ukrainian military again used heavy weapons during night attacks. Residents of the northern, western and south-western outskirts of Donetsk reported in social networks on mortar shells explosions, one after the other. Periodically, even the central districts of the DPR capital heard artillery volleys.
The northern outskirts of Gorlovka, the largest city in the north of the DPR, and the Yasinovatskiy checkpoint, located between Donetsk and Gorlovka, suffered intensive artillery attacks on the Ukrainian side.
In the Logvinovo area where, a few days ago, the Ukrainian army had made an unsuccessful attempt to break through, the fighting was especially heavy. According to local residents, they heard artillery fire even with the windows closed.
Kiev has also begun provocative night shelling of the entry and exit checkpoint in the Gorlovka area, only one in the northern sector of the front. According to DPR fighters in positions, every night Ukrainian strike groups advance for 200-300 meters and conduct aimed fire on the checkpoint, after which they come back to their positions, so that, in the morning, to accuse of the attack the DPR army.
According to the DPR authorities, as a result of attacks on the Ukrainian side, two DPR soldiers were wounded, as well as three civilians. In one of the districts of Donetsk 29 homes were damaged and another completely burned, eight civilian cars and a bus were destroyed and a gas pipeline and power lines damaged, which resulted in 132 homes left without gas and electricity.
Residents of localities affected by shelling again had to spend the night in basements. Those whose houses are destroyed and who have nowhere to go, are forced to live in these cellars. In one of the most shelled suburbs of Donetsk residents have been living in such conditions, with children, for a year and a half. It is dangerous for them to go out even during the day, due to the Ukrainian snipers.
After another bombardment of the civilians, the DPR army opened return fire which the press service of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) called, naturally, an unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian positions. There was, as usual, no data on the Ukrainian losses in the press service report, while the DPR soldiers on positions reported, at least, one Ukrainian military killed and four wounded.
Kiev also continues to conceal the scale of non-combat losses in its army. According to the DPR intelligence, during the night bombardment, due to lack of coordination in the Ukrainian army command, one of their units came under "friendly" fire of another. Moreover, the attack was apparently carried out with heavy artillery, as the affected unit lost two infantry fighting vehicles and one tank.
Combat and non-combat losses in the Ukrainian army, as well as the failure of the last two waves of mobilization, lead to the fact that many Ukrainian units in the ATO area are undermanned. Due to this fact, the command of units is doing everything possible to delay the demobilization of their subordinates. In one of the units the documents of the military subject to the mobilization were "lost", which led to riots, resulting, according to the medical staff of a hospital on the Kiev-controlled territory, in six soldiers hospitalized with gunshot wounds and injuries.
To replenish the undermanned units, the Ukrainian authorities also use pardoned criminals. According to the LPR intelligence, a week ago 30 former prisoners arrived in one of the training camps, located near the front line. After a 3-day training session, they were handed weapons and the order to go to the front line. That same night they deserted with arms in their hands. Kiev announced the «Intercept" operation, which has not yet produced any results.
At the same time, the delivery by the Ukrainian authorities of weapons and equipment to the front line does not stop for a single day. Only over the past few days, the DPR intelligence sources on the ground reported the arrival at the different sections of the front of dozens of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, motorized and towed artillery systems, and MLRS "Grad", as well as another group of the military of a private military company.
In addition, according to the DPR intelligence, three days ago a Ukrainian unit of heavy drones capable of carrying a combat load arrived in the south-west of Donetsk.
Two days ago, after a meeting with the ambassadors of France and Germany in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that, by all indications, the Ukrainian authorities are preparing to intensify the hostilities in Donbass. The escalation of tension along the contact line, caused by the constant strengthening the Ukrainian group, is also noted by the OSCE observation mission.
Today, in Warsaw begins the NATO summit, during which it is once again planned to discuss ways of containing Russia and its allegedly direct involvement in the conflict in Donbass.
At the same time, a group of American journalists has just visited Donbass. They interviewed both the DPR army soldiers on positions, literally under fire, and civilians, living under unceasing bombardments and knowing where these bombardments come from. The authors of the video report personally verified that the DPR army soldiers are all locals residents.
‘Here, on this site, there are to be thousands of Russian soldiers, those very soldiers the officials from the State Department keep talking about. But they are invisible. They are not here,’ says Nick Schifrin, the author of the report.