Donbass blog, June 10: Donetsk Under Heavy Fire - 3-year-old Shrapnel Wounded - Childbirth In Basement
By mid-week, the situation in Donbass sharply deteriorated. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, the daily number of attacks on the Ukrainian side reached a level of about five hundred, with constant mortar fire and rounds from heavy artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.
Earlier this week, Kiev attacked along the entire front line: from Gorlovka, in the north of the DPR, to Dokuchaevsk, in the South of the Republic. In Donetsk, the north-western outskirts were shelled, resulting in one civilian wounded and six houses severely damaged.
Earlier, the DPR army managed to push the Ukrainian positions about a kilometre away from Gorlovka to protect the city from Kiev’s attacks, which hadn't stopped for a single day for over a year. In response, the Ukrainian military opened constant mortar fire at the positions of the Republican Army and the northern outskirts of the city. According to local residents, they spent almost all nights in basements.
In one of those nights a local woman went into labor. The fire on the Ukrainian side was so intense that an ambulance was able to reach her only 40 minutes after her son was born. He was delivered by her relatives, none of whom had any medical background. According to doctors, the baby was born healthy; after shelling he and his mother were taken to hospital.
On the same day in the area of Gorlovka a penal colony was shelled, which might have resulted in hundreds of criminals at large. According to the prison administration, the bombardment lasted for about 5 hours, with one of the shells hitting the restricted area, but caused no casualties. This colony had already been shelled last autumn, then there had been wounded three prisoners.
According to the local authorities, over the past days about 20 houses were severely damaged in Gorlovka.
Kiev also sharply tightened the blockade of Donbass, preventing, by all possible means, the movement of civilians through checkpoints.
The checkpoint in Elenovka, to the south of Donetsk, was shelled again over the past few days. The previous bombardment had claimed the life of five civilians, including a pregnant woman, as projectiles had hit directly civilian vehicles.
In the south of the DPR, Alexander Hug, the Deputy Head of the OSCE mission in Ukraine, visited Dokuchaevsk. During his visit, the locals asked him to open a checkpoint in the area. After his departure, the Ukrainian side opened mortar fire at the town. According to local residents, they counted more than 100 landings.
In the LPR, the Ukrainian military shelled a checkpoint of the People's Militia, despite the presence of the OSCE observers there. At the time of the bombardment, there were about 200 civilians, mostly elderly; the Ukrainian side made two rounds at them, presumably from an infantry fighting vehicle. According to eyewitnesses, the OSCE representatives were 100 meters away from the shelling. They started to record it, but received a phone call, after which immediately left.
In the north of the DPR, Kiev unilaterally closed the checkpoint in the Gorlovka area for construct in the vicinity additional engineering facilities in the areas of the "grey" zone, occupied by the Ukrainian army. According to the Ukrainian side, the checkpoint will be closed for two weeks.
According to the DPR intelligence, Kiev is also actively equipping additional firing positions along the entire perimeter of Donetsk. Until recently, there were only mortar positions; now the firing line is remodelled and strengthened, and suitable for accommodating 122 and 152mm heavy artillery. Nearby, trenches are prepared for motorised artillery systems and infantry fighting vehicles.
The intelligence of the both DPR and LPR also continues to report the ongoing amassing on the frontline of the Ukrainian heavy weapons, including tanks, motorised artillery systems of from 122mm to 203mm caliber, anti-tank cannons, anti-aircraft missile and gun systems and infantry fighting vehicles. In addition, according to the LPR People's Militia, over the last days, Kiev delivered 200-300 radicals from nationalist battalions to their section of the front.
On June 8 the Head of the DPR Zakharchenko held the fifth direct line with the people of Ukraine, during which he again answered their questions about the military, political, social and economic aspects of life in the Republic. Compared with the first line, the number of questions to the DPR leader increased approximately four times.
During all lines, the site of Zakharchenko was subjected to massive hacker attacks. This time, however, perhaps because the leader announced the next dialogue to be held with residents of Kiev, the Ukrainian authorities responded by opening artillery fire at the DPR capital.
In the night from 8 to 9 June, Donetsk and its satellite town of Makeevka underwent a 12-hour bombardment by the Ukrainian army which, according to the DPR Defense Ministry, used mortars, infantry fighting vehicles, tanks and 152mm cannons. Heavy explosions were heard in all districts of the city. Locals reported whistling mines and burning buildings. At night, the city authorities reported two civilians seriously wounded (a woman in the stomach and a man in the head), multiple destructions caused by direct hits of projectiles, and their inability, due to the dense fire, to reach the destroyed houses to help their residents.
In the morning of June 9, the DPR authorities reported that, as a result of the bombardment, one civilian was killed and 15 wounded, including a 3-year-old child who, with his mother, had suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and was in intensive care. The bombardment also caused severe damage to 44 houses.
DONi journalists visited one of the districts of Donetsk affected by the Ukrainian attack and recorded the results of the night fire.
The Ukrainian side deliberately shelled residential areas of Donetsk and Makeevka, not positions of the DPR army. According to the Defense Ministry, in repelling the attack of Kiev only one soldier of the Republican Armed Forces was killed and another wounded.
In the morning of June 9, the DPR convened an emergency meeting of the Contact Group in the Minsk negotiations, in the video conference mode, due to the targeted attacks of the Ukrainian army at residential areas of the DPR localities last night.
According to Dennis Pushilin, the head of the DPR delegation at the peace talks, the meeting did not take place due to the Ukrainian side.
At noon of June 9, the Ukrainian army opened fire at the vicinity of the only remaining kindergarten in one of the Donetsk districts shelled at night. According to the DPR authorities, at the time of the shelling, there were children in the kindergarten.