#DonbasReports: 54 attacks. 2,608 soldiers killed since 2014. Yanukovych denies he asked Putin for troops

Pres. Petro Poroshenko delivers speech to the key military personnel at the operational meeting of the administrative board of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on February 22, 2017. Credit: president.gov.ua

Pres. Petro Poroshenko delivers speech to the key military personnel at the operational meeting of the administrative board of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on February 22, 2017. Credit: president.gov.ua 

2017/02/24 • News, 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: Russia sends 60th illegal convoy to occupied Donbas. 59 attacks on Ukrainian positions, 1 WIA #DonbasReports

February 22 was mostly quiet in the Donbas according to reports by local residents on social networks. All their reports originated from the Donetsk sector, none from Luhansk and Mariupol.

A quiet morning (all time EET, GMT+2):

01:07 Avdiivka: Quiet
03:02 Marinka: Quiet
09:30 Donetsk: Yet another rally in “DNR”. Schoolers are driven to the tank memorial, they stand in two lines up to Donbas Palace hotel, with flags
11:51 Horlivka: A single mortar [round]. Somewhere in the west

Sporadic military activity afternoon:

14:15 Marinka: Heavy booms in the boarding school direction [=east]
14:59 Donetsk Kirovskyi district: From time to time, a cannonade is heard from the northeast, like not too heavy
15:00 Donetsk Smolyanka: Something has f*cking boomed, impressive
15:00 Donetsk Shakhtarska square: Far single [booms]
15:21 Avdiivka: Something has boomed one time somewhere. Avdiivka could hear it
15:24 Donetsk Durna_Balka: 2 explosions at 2-minute interval
15:40 Donetsk Severnyi: We’ve listened to it, loud
15:41 Makiivka Vostochnyi: Multiple Kamaz trucks moved along the bypass road in both directions, their tactical signs were #61 in square, #35 in circle on white, #13 in triangle.
15:58 Donetsk: They’ve started to boom in Durna_Balka closer to Azotnyi
17:00 Donetsk Severnyi: We have listened to the west. From small arms to big [guns]. And it has calmed down again.

And an “ordinary” Donetsk evening begins:

19:15 Yasynuvata [pro-RU source]: “Not intense battle over all day. Now it became serious
20:03 Horlivka: Heavy rounds/impacts are heard north
20:31 Horlivka: Southwest: they fire bit by bit
20:31 Alchevsk: “It has f*cking boomed great” [= an air collector exploded at an oxygen workshop]
22:33 [Avdiivka]: As the darkness fell, small arms has been uninterruptedly working in the area from Promka to Kruta_Balka
23:19 Donetsk: A sound of explosion north
23:35 Donetsk: “Durna_Balka: Pretty tough battle is heard from Pisky/airport direction” “Horsad [hears it] too”
23:36 Donetsk: Heavy [booms] are heard in the northwest, I think it was incoming
23:55 Horlivka Stroitel: Southwest: a couple of heavy salvos

On February 22 the residents of Donetsk, Yasynuvata, Makiivka, Torez, Horlivka have experienced a mobile network outage:

12:12 Donetsk: Lifecell communication down [same reports from Makiivka]
12:56 Torez: “Kyivstar communication down too” “Both Lifecell and Kyivstar worked, then suddenly gone” [Kyivstar doesn’t operate in Donetsk since 2015 as its equipment was stolen to establish so-called “all republic mobile network operator Phoenix”] 18:17 Horlivka [pro-RU source]: “[Mobile] communication is being jammed. No chance to call to Ukraine from Horlivka
19:25 Yasynuvata: It is hard to get each other by phone even within the town if you reach you can hear just every other word

Sometimes it may mean that mobile communication is being jammed by electronic warfare to hide the ongoing deployment of troops and military equipment, but this time Lifecell, the third largest Ukrainian mobile telephone network operator, reported, that its equipment has been damaged in the uncontrolled territory.

2 reports from the occupied territories concerning the civil trade blockade of the railway traffic to occupied territories:

15:17 Horlivka: Horlivka coke plant works. Trains go every night. Probably coke is transported to Russia or local ironworks
16:14 Alchevsk: Almost no smoke over AMK [=Alchevsk metallurgical plant]. 25% of January salaries have been paid at the plant

Alchevsk AMK plant stopped production on February 14 due to lack of iron-ore raw materials as a result of the blocking of railway tracks.

The situation in the Donbas on February 22, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red), ATO HQ (green), OSCE (blue).

The situation in the Donbas on February 22, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red), ATO HQ (green), OSCE (blue).

Ukrainian military: 54 attacks, one soldier wounded

The ATO Headquarters reported 54 attacks on February 22, no fatalities, one serviceman wounded.

Update: From 00:00 to 18:00 on February 23, Russia’s hybrid military forces violated the ceasefire in the Donbas 41 times, which resulted in wounding two Ukrainian soldiers, the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) headquarters reported.

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The forest devastated by war at the 33rd “Stalingrad” checkpoint near Stanytsia Luhanska some 5 km away from the northeast outskirts of occupied Luhansk. The forest devastated by war at the 33rd “Stalingrad” checkpoint near Stanytsia Luhanska some 5 km away from the northeast outskirts of occupied Luhansk. Source

OSCE records more explosions in Donetsk Oblast and none in Luhansk

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has released its report, based on information received as of 19:30, 22 February 2017.

  • The SMM recorded more explosions in Donetsk Oblast compared with the previous 24-hour period and no explosions in Luhansk Oblast.
    • Donetsk Oblast: over 420 explosions were recorded compared with 341 during the previous 24-hour period. The vast majority of those explosions were recorded in the SvitlodarskDebaltseve area.
    • Luhansk Oblast: fewer ceasefire violations overall, no explosions, compared with 26 explosions during the previous reporting period. While in “LNR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard a single shot of small-arms fire 1-2km southwest.
  • The Mission observed impact sites in Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol).
  • The Mission saw weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines. Its freedom of movement was restricted on both sides of the contact line.
  • The SMM, in coordination with the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), facilitated and monitored repairs of critical infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued to monitor the situation of civilians near the contact line and to observe blockade of railway tracks near Hirske, Bakhmut and Shcherbynivka.
  • It monitored a peaceful demonstration of about 15,000 people in Kyiv.

Poroshenko: 2,608 Ukrainian soldiers killed amid Russian aggression

“As many as 2,608 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during the aggression, including 2,200 men from the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said at the operational meeting of the administrative board of the Armed Forces, a gathering of senior military officials, commanders of the Armed Forces, commanders of combat units and formations in the General Staff of Ukraine on February 22.

The threat of full-scale aggression posed by Russia persists, as stated by Poroshenko, up to 50 thousand Russian troops have been deployed in close proximity to Ukrainian borders, they have about 470 tanks, over 1700 armored combat vehicles, about 390 artillery systems and 220 multiple launch rocket systems, about 490 combat aircraft, hundreds of helicopters, 24 warships. The President informed:

In the Donbas, Russia formed two army corps consisting of 6 mechanized brigades, 1 infantry brigade, 3 regiments, 2 artillery brigades and other units. Their management, manning and comprehensive maintenance is ensured by the aggressor – Russia. Regular units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation are additionally involved in these troops. About 3.5 thousand people already.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov believes that Russia’s war against Ukraine is a step in its preparation for the “big war”.

Presently, there are thirty-seven thousand Ukrainian soldiers at the front line in the Donbas, according to Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.

Yanukovych denies he asked Putin to send troops to Ukraine

Fugitive ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych stated that he did not write to Vladimir Putin requesting that Russian troops be sent to the territory of Ukraine in 2014.

“I did not ask for Russian troops in Ukraine. That’s not true,” Yanukovych insisted in his interview with Russian and Ukrainian journalists in Moscow on February 21. According to him, it was not a letter but a “declaration” intended to “protect the people of the Donbas.” Yanukovych added that he did not betray his people, but tried to protect them within the scope of his power and authority.

At a meeting of the UN Security Council on March 4, 2014, Permanent Representative of Russia Vitaly Churkin stated that Yanukovych asked that troops be sent to Ukraine, UAwire reminds. Churkin presented a photocopy of the original letter. In late January 2017, the UN Secretariat passed the letter on to Kyiv and Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, called Yanukovych’s letter to Putin an irrefutable documentary evidence which proves Yanukovych guilty of treason.

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Yanukovych is not the only forgetful person in Russia, Russian lawmaker Iosif Kobzon has forgotten he received a “DNR passport” in 2016:

Meanwhile, on February 22 Russian media published excerpts from an “open letter”, allegedly sent by Viktor Yanukovych to US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Russian President Vladimir Putin, PACE President Pedro Agramunt, Council of Europe’s Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.

Yanukovych calls on leaders to “initiate the creation of a special commission of the Council of Europe to monitor the investigation of crimes committed on the Maidan” and offers to include the leaders of terrorist organizations “DNR” and “LNR” in the Normandy contact group. The fugitive president calls terrorist leaders “the representatives of the protesting side representing the Donbas people” in his letter.

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  • Alex George

    If they’ve only paid 25% of salaries for January at the Alchevsk plant then occupied Donbass truly is becoming like Russia… ;o)

  • Alex George

    An interview with one of the few suspects in the Maidan killings who did not escape to Russia: http://en.hromadske.ua/articles/show/traces_of_revolution_berkut

    The way this former Berkut Lt-Col leaps around trying to evade responsibility is astonishing. At one point he parrots off that the shooting in the Maidan was two-way, yet as soon as his reporters ask for details, he resiles from that – I guess he knows there is not the slightest indication of protesters shooting at Berkut. He probably doesn’t sound convincing even to himself.

    And then at other times he talks about hearing that weapons were being used against security forces, but never anything that he saw himself.

    Its like reading transcripts of unsuccessful de-nazification after WWII, the real hard core nazis who would blot anything out of their minds if it contradicted their fanatical beliefs.

    • veth

      Friday, 24 February, 2017, 10:35 Politics 68 Russia wants UN to pay for its air strikes on Syria

      A Russian delegate at the talks on Syria in Geneva caused an uproar when he said Russia wants the West to club together to pay for the damage inflicted to Syrian cities by Russian bombers.

      Russia deputy foreign minister Mykhail Bogdanov said world countries will have to pay tens of billions of dollars for the reconstruction in Syria, Shipilov reports, citing The Financial Times.

      “They came to Syria, played havoc with the country, destroyed everything and now demand that others are to pay for it,” one of the European participants at the talks fumed.

      It is well known that Russian bombers caused most of the ruinations in Syria’s large cities.

      So, EU and America must pay for the destruction by the Russian Army in Donbass?

      • Kruton

        Like I said,consistent.

  • veth

    Savchenko arrives in Donetsk……………………………

  • veth

    Russia vetoes UN-proposal that Syria must stop killing civilians by using chemical weapons.

    • Kruton

      Russkis are consistent ,lol!

  • zorbatheturk

    The ruSSian war machine must be stopped. It is a menace to civilized societies. Ruck FuSSia!

  • Dirk Smith

    Crush Muscovy.

  • Vol Ya

    yanukovich, you corrupt russian swine, you do not speak for the people of Ukraine, in fact you stole billions of dollars from the people of Ukraine and you slaughtered hundreds of innocent Ukrainians. you need to come to Ukraine and accept punishment for your crimes against the people of Ukraine. come back to Ukraine you bandit, there is a bullet waiting for you. it is just what you deserve, you lying piece of russian shiitt.