73 attacks, Avdiivka under shelling again, OSCE reports more ceasefire violations

Governor of Donetsk Oblast Pavlo Zhebrivskyi inspects the aftermath of February 17 evening shelling of Avdiivka. Credit: FB Zhebrivskyi 

More, War in the Donbas

In this series, we are teaming up with the tireless social media activist who goes by English Luhansk on twitter to produce open source updates about the military situation in Donbas. We analyze reports from Donbas local twitter accounts and translate it into a comprehensive overview of what’s going on on the ground. Yesterday’s digest can be found here: Avdiivka under attack, 1 civilian killed. 3 soldiers KIA, 10 WIA. Poroshenko urges to end blockade

February 17 was déjà vu of February 16 for the residents of Avdiivka and Donetsk. It was almost a quiet day along the entire frontline in the Donbas, only separate sporadic outbursts of military activity broke the silence. As always, the vicinity of Donetsk was an exception to the general rule, the same everyday scenario of pointless harassing fire with its evening escalation was applied here by the Russian-backed forces. During this “ordinary” evening battle, residential neighborhoods of government-controlled Avdiivka came under shelling as a day before. This time no civilians have been killed, but two young men got injured.

From the morning until dinner time several separate explosions were heard in Donetsk and Makiivka (all time EET, GMT+2 unless noted otherwise):

08:02 Volnovakha: A strong single ka-boom
09:54 Makiivka: Plume of smoke rises in the direction of Mineralne
11:20 Makiivka: Radyanskyi district has felt an explosion, houses vibrated
11:24 Makiivka: Something has blown up
12:15 Donetsk Scheglovka: Loud salvos, windows tremble
12:17 Donetsk Kalininskyi district: A dull double boom, north?
12:17 Makiivka: Periodically, once each 10-15 min, decent booms are heard
12:19 Makiivka: I didn’t hear [booms] before, have heard just now, it was quiet before
12:20 Horlivka Stroitel: Southwest: strong blast wave came, and another after it
12:27 Yenakiieve: Another blast at the range
12:32 Donetsk: One more strong ka-boom, more of its wave than sound
13:18 Donetsk Kyivskyi ds: It has boomed somewhere far away, barely tangible wave came. Makiivka or what?
13:18 Makiivka: It has boomed far off

Some of the explosions heard in Donetsk, Makiivka and Yasynuvata could be tests
by MakNII (Makiivka Research Institute for Mining Safety), which were announced by local “authorities” in advance:

February 16-18, 20-22 and from February 27 to March 3 from 9:00 to 15:00 [MSK, GMT+3] industrial explosives are to be tested on the premises of MakNII for their approval for underground use at the DNR coal mines

Another afternoon pause, and the evening begins:

16:48 Donetsk: Peace over. Booms in the north
16:50 Makiivka: Very active booms and shooting in the direction of YakovlivkaMineralne
16:50 Makiivka: “Outgoing rounds start”
16:51 Avdiivka: “It has begun [=another shelling]”
16:53 Donetsk Petrovka: We’re listening to heavy booms from the north
16:55 Donetsk: “Botanic garden listens to the northwest from Gvardeyka to Putilovka”
16:55 Donetsk: “Durna_Balka: booms started in the northwest” “Avtomagazin hears salvos
16:55 Donetsk downtown: Powerful booms, windows vibrate
16:55 Donetsk: “DonetskMakiivka: “Bastards have already started outgoing fire”
16:55 Makiivka Gvardeyka: It rumbles, single frequent ones
16:55 Donetsk Kalininskyi district: Not quiet anymore, frequent dull double booms
16:56 Makiivka: YaBP, Promka: a series of incoming rounds have started
16:57 [Donetsk?]: Tanks are shelling towards Promzone
16:58 Makiivka Cheryomushki: North: Frequent, poweful, dull
17:00 Donetsk: From Durna_Balka direction, heavy outgoing fire
17:00 Avdiivka: It becomes louder
17:04 Donetsk Proletarskyi district: Since 16:48 we’re listening to double booms from the north
17:05 Makiivka Vostochnyi: The darkness hasn’t fallen yet, and single loud booms start. The west, Donetsk bypass
17:05 Donetsk: Very strong single artillery salvos
17:08 Avdiivka area UA positions: “Separs’ [=separatists’] tank near Vasylivka is shelling towards us. But it sits between homes and close to waterworks”

Avdiivka is being shelled once again:

17:12 Makiivka: Yes, it rumbles capitally. Outgoing. Heavy. Windows and doors are shaking
17:13 Makiivka: “What’s going on? Impacts? loud”
17:18 Makiivka: “Yakovlivka– Donetsk bypass (Vodopad): they are shelling in full swing [from there]”
17:19 Avdiivka: Town’s old part is rushing to basements
17:22 Avdiivka: Reportedly, an impact on Yuvileynyi
17:24 Avdiivka: Again [imapcts] at the town – #8, Yuvileynyi
17:25 Donetsk: From some place behind Gvardeyka they shell powerfully, maybe [towards] YaBP
17:29 Donetsk: Avdiivka is being shelled from YakovlivkaMinralne right now
17:30 Avdiivka: Power down in the town’s old part, at Khimik settlement it just blinked. Again neighborhoods under shelling
17:32 Horlivka: It’s been a long time since windows clinked [like now]. Outgoing fire
17:37 Avdiivka [Zhebrivskyi:] Avdiivka has been shelled again. Explosions were heard in Khimik area
17:40 Horlivka Stroitel: Southwest: they’re firing again.
17:40 Horlivka: Again single salvos
17:43 Horlivka: From the west-southwest, heavy [guns] are heard
17:44 Avdiivka: Again probably a tank, again 3-4 rounds hitting residential houses. I have no idea what’s happening
17:47 Makiivka Vostochnyi: Gunnery continues from the Donetsk bypass – Vodopad, but not so frequent
17:48 Donetsk: After a short pause, salvos are heard again
17:49 Horlivka: Outgoing. Rounds are well-heard even in the center
17:51 Novhorodske: It’s about 1.5hr as it’s not quiet
18:04 Donetsk: Tough battle in the north. Cannonade. They fire everything and anything
18:06 Avdiivka [Zhebrivskyi]: One of the projectiles hit a 9-storey house. 2 apartments are damaged on the second floor. 2 teenagers have been wounded by shrapnel, they are brought to hospital
18:07 Horlivka: “Orcs are firing various types of ‘humanitarian aid'”
18:07 Donetsk Tekstilschik: One can hear distant double booms with vibration in the air
18:08 Horlivka Stroitel: Shyroka Balka – shooting. AA-gun, machine gun
18:11 Avdiivka [Zhebrivskyi]: Another projectile hit a 14-storey building in Avdiivka. An apartment has been damaged on the top floor. Fortunately, nobody resides there for now
18:14 Avdiivka [Zhebrivskyi]: In hospital, a surgeon explored 2 [injured] teenagers. Luckily, it turned out all right, minor scratches and bruises
18:16 Makiivka: Continue listening to the rumble. Intense, but caliber seems to be lighter
18:22 Donetsk: It sounds loud in Kalininskyi and Kuybyshevskyi districts. Outgoing
18:43 Horlivka: Again heavy rounds
18:59 Donetsk: “Distribution” has started again, heavy impacts in the northwest
19:01 Taramchuk area: Marinka direction makes noise
19:05 Donetsk Petrovka mine no. 10: “It’s been heard indoors”
19:05 Donetsk: “Trudovski: loud” “Petrovka circle: heard powerfully” “Zhilploschadka: batlle became closer and louder”
19:08 Novhorodske: It’s like a layer cake in the direction of SkotuvatahighwayYasynuvata: small arms, booms, flashes
19:12 [Avdiivka?]: Yakovlivka rumbles, like a tank duel + mortars as backing vocals
19:25 Donetsk Kyivskyi district: From the north, Yasynuvata?, rumble of everything and anything comes at short pauses
19:29 Horlivka: Evening “bada booms” continue, is there kind of Minsk scheduled? [=escalations in the Donbas are “ordinary” things before the Minsk meetings] 19:31 Horlivka: Again heavy outgoing rounds, from the south
19:40 Krasnohorivka: Loud booms are heard
19:43 Donetsk: Booms, various strength, come from the west
19:45 Donetsk: From Abakumova-Staromykhaylivka they are shelling Krasnohorivka
19:46 Makiivka: It is equipment making noise?
19:48 Donetsk: As they started to pound since 6pm from behind Putilovka, so they continue at some lulls, sometimes the ceiling drones
19:50 Donetsk Schetinina: Cannonade is heard from Yasynuvata
19:56 Makiivka: “Battle in full swing, now several short series of Grad went out from Batman settlement direction [=uncomfirmed]”
20:00 Donetsk: ~6pm I went along Kyivskyi Ave: first it boomed from YaBP/Promka, then far heavy salvos from Makiivka direction
20:01 Donetsk: [~6pm] then salvos from Oktyabskyi direction, pause, then airport activated – small arms fire
20:03 Donetsk: [~6pm] pause after airport [fire], and again single outgoing ones of smth in the north
20:27 Donetsk: Silence at Cargill. Kind of roaring of equipment is coming from Petrovskoho St
21:37 Donetsk: A couple of minutes ago, ~30 pieces of heavy equipment – SPGs/tanks? went from south northwards passing by Proletarskyi
21:43 Styla: “It’s very loud”
21:44 Volnovakha: A couple of incoming rounds in the fields and return fire at once
21:51 Donetsk: Hardware, ~30 pcs, escorted, driving northwards along bypass.
21:53 Starohnativka: It sounds loud
22:04 Volnovakha: It calmed down. But now incoming rounds have started. Like 122mm
22:08 Makiivka Gvardeyka: And there is UAV circling over Gladkovka, I can see a red dot from Gvardeyka moving from north to south and back
22:23 Makiivka: “By the way, they are firing”
22:26 Makiivka: .”..I heard heavy booms”
22:27 Donetsk Schetinina: Booms. YaBP or Makiivka?
23:08 Donetsk: It has boomed strong
23:10 Horlivka Stroitel: Southwest: salvos again
23:54 Makiivka: “Are you awake? And orcs[=Russian-backed forces] are, they continue pounding”

The situation in the Donbas on February 17, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red) and ATO HQ (green)

The situation in the Donbas on February 17, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red) and ATO HQ (green)

Avdiivka under shelling again: 2 civilians wounded

On February 17, for a second day in a row a residential area of the government-controlled frontline city of Avdiivka came under shelling.

The Governor of Donetsk Oblast Pavlo Zhebrivskyi reported damage and casualties:

17:37 Avdiivka has been shelled again. Explosions were heard in Khimik area
18:06 One of projectiles hit a 9-storey building. 2 apartments are damaged on the second floor. 2 teenagers have been wounded by shrapnel, they are brought to hospital
18:11 Another projectile hit a 14-storey building in Avdiivka. An apartment has been damaged on the top floor. Fortunately, nobody resides there for now
18:14 In hospital, a surgeon explored 2 [injured] teenagers. Luckily, it turned out all right, minor scratches and bruises

Translation: The Moscovites are shelling Avdiivka. A hit on a boiler-house of the regular school no. 4. Gas caught fire, shut off. Projectiles fall on the outskirts and Ukrainian Army positions.

The Head of Donetsk Oblast Police Vyacheslav Abroskin provided more details:

There have been impacts on buildings. Yuvileynyi block: an apartment building is on fire. Two civilians have been wounded, born in 1997 and 2002.

A floor slab was ruined between the second and third floor at #8, Yubileynyi:

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Artillery attacks village

The government-controlled village of Trudivske (Volnovakha area, between Donetsk and Mariupol) was shelled on February 17 about 22:00. Preliminarily, 122mm artillery attacked the village. No casualties among the military and civilians are reported.

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February 17 reports by local residents on the shelling of Trudivske:

21:43 Styla: “It’s very loud”
21:44 Volnovakha: A couple of incoming rounds in the fields and return fire at once
21:53 Starohnativka: It sounds loud
22:04 Volnovakha: It calmed down. But now incoming rounds have started. Like 122mm

73 attacks, 1 civil volunteer perished, 4 soldiers wounded in action

The Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters reported 73 attacks on February 17th, no fatalities, but 4 servicemen were wounded in action.

  • Donetsk sector
    • Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka were repeatedly attacked with use of 120mm mortars, a tank, grenade launchers, large calibre machine guns and small arms
    • Mortars and grenade launchers were used to attack Novoselivka Druha, Opytne, Verkhnyotoretske, Kamyanka, Zaytseve, Novoluhanske, Pisky.
    • Nevelske came under sniper fire.
    • Avdiivka has been shelled, 2 civilians wounded
  • Maripol sector
    • 122mm artillery was used to shell Pavlopil
    • Krasnohorivka, Novohryhorivka, Starohnativka, Pavlopil came under fire of 120mm and 82mm mortars
    • Grenade launchers, small arms were used against Vodyane, Pavlopil, Talakivka, Shyrokyne
    • Sniper fire on Hnutove
    • Trudivske was shelled with use of 122mm artillery
  • Luhansk sector
    • 120mm mortars and ATGM were used to attack Krymske
    • Novooleksandrivka, Novozvanivka, Katerynivka were attacked with grenade launchers

A Ukrainian civil volunteer, a representative of one of the national charities, was killed at about 16:30 near the village of Krymske on February 17.

OSCE SMM reports more ceasefire violations

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has released their report, based on information received as of 19:30, 16 February 2017:

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations compared with the previous reporting period in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Petrivske and Zolote, but its access remained restricted… The SMM noted weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line and noted weapons missing from storage sites. It observed the blockade of railway crossings near Hirske. The SMM facilitated repair of a power line between Svitlodarsk and Horlivka. It visited two border areas currently not controlled by the Government. The Mission followed up on the situation at a camp for Crimean Tatar activists near Chonhar.

Over the reported period (from 19:30 of February 15 to 19:30 February 16) the SMM recorded 7.5 times more explosions in Avdiivka-Donetsk area than a day before:

  • The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including over 600 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (80 explosions). Most of the explosions recorded by the SMM occurred in Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.
  • In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 16 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (14 explosions).

    “DNR” refuses to hand over scholar Ihor Kozlovskyi to Ukraine

    Donetsk scientist-theologian Ihor Kozlovskyi has been held captive for more than a year by the Russian-backed separatists’ organization “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”), his nephew Denis Kozlovskyi states. The scientist was arrested in January 2016, according to his wife, Valentina, he was arrested for his “wrong conversation” on Facebook, UAwire reports.

    On February 16, Ihor Kozlovskyi marked his 63rd birthday, it’s the 2nd birthday in a row he is spending in captivity. The representatives of “DNR” refuse to include Ihor Kozlovsky in the lists of prisoners for exchange claiming that ‘he is a citizen of the DNR and is not subject to extradition to Ukraine’, Denis Kozlovskyi told LB.ua.

    Debaltseve

    The Civil Initiative “Army.SOS” has posted recent aerial photographs of occupied Debaltseve, a city in Donetsk Oblast captured in February 2015 by Russian and Russian-backed forces.

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