83 attacks on Ukrainian positions, 1 KIA. Austria Calls for Russian sanctions rethink #DonbasReports

Occupied Olenivka (south of Donetsk), aftermath of February 21 morning shelling According to the OSCE, "The damage caused by an unknown projectile fired from a southerly direction". There is only occupied Dokuchaevsk south of Olenivka. 

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

On February 23, the Russian “Defender of the Fatherland Day” has been marked by the Russia’s hybrid army in the Donbas with artillery salutes in Donetsk. As usual on holidays, “ordinary” harassing military activity increased.

A restless morning at Svitlodarsk Bulge and south of Donetsk:

05:46 Svitlodarsk: Svitlodarsk Bulge is rumbling
06:03 Donetsk Kirovskyi district: It rumbles far away southwest, like Marinka direction
06:20 Donetsk Tekstilschik: 05:50-06:05 Tekstilschik has listened to a true cannonade, like rockets
06:20 Marinka: Now it’s quiet, but from 6am they fired a bit
06:25 Donetsk Tekstilschik: Booms became rare, medium strength
06:33 east Horlivka: Kalinovka can hear [shells] going out, Svitlodarsk catches them
06:35 Donetsk Proletarskyi district: Towards sinrise, several launches by ‘DNR’ artilery have been heard from northeast direction
06:35 Starobesheve: Starobesheve is listening to uninterrupted strange noise
06:36 Horlivka: “[UA shell] at Zaytseve, Holmivskyi” @UAhorlivka “I didn’t hear incoming”
06:36 Marinka: Artillery in south. Maybe OlenivkaDokuchaevsk, at Marinka CP we’ve seen it flying from Olenivka towards Donetsk
06:40 Makiivka: Since morning, RU artillery is heard from the direction of Mineralne. Sporadic bursts of heavy [MG]
06:51 Makiivka: Lifecell mobile communication is still down in the city [=since Feb22]
06:58 Svitlodarsk Bulge: They still have been fighting since about 05:30, now it’s louder
07:01 [Donetsk]: A tough cannonade in the south, southwest awoke us. They started at 6:00 sharp. Olenivka again?
07:24 Svitlodarsk: “They seem to have gone silent, let me touch wood”
08:51 Donetsk: 2 covered Ural trucks with troops 61 in square went towards Gvardeyka

5 incoming or outgoing rounds near Avdiivka afternoon:

13:47 Avdiivka: A bit of rumble – some 3 booms. 13:50 Two more

And the “holiday” evening begins:

16:20 Donetsk: “Bastards are alredy celebrating at Spartak[=sounds of battle]
16:31 Makiivka Gvardeyka: Heavy booms have started, YaBP direction
16:52 Makiivka Gvardeyka: Some booms sound much furhter north of YaBP. One incoming round closer to Yakovlivka
16:59 Makiivka: “Hey, Donetsk, what is rumbling over there?”
16:59 Donetsk Machinery plant: Distant cannonade has started in the northeast
17:12 Donetsk: Artillery is shelling towards Promka from Donetsk, multiple [rounds]
17:20 Donetsk Shakhtarska square: Far strong booms from the north
17:22 Donetsk Naberezhna street: Heavy booms in the north
17:25 Donetsk Kalininskyi RIK: Strong salvos from north-northwest for about 5 minutes
17:26 [Yasynuvata?]: Kruta_Balka “warms up” for already about 1.5hr, probably it’s tanks
17:28 [Yasynuvata]: “Tanks are working from the direction of Horlivka bypass, another tank from Promka direction”
17:29 Donetsk: “They shoot celebrating their orcs’ holiday” [=RU army day]
17:29 Donetsk: Invoming at Pisky, something heavy
17:35 Donetsk: Very strong explosions north of Donetsk
17:40 Donetsk: “Shakhtarska square: heavy artillery rambles far off” “Azotnyi: 2 hours of boom-boom non-stop”
17:45 Donetsk: ButovkaScheglovka – hell, everything jumps, they seem to fire “small ones”
17:50 Makiivka: Another loud battle is heard from Mineralne direction

Horlivka joins the “celebration”:

18:04 Horlivka: That’s it, drunk enough here too, they have started to fire
18:10 Makiivka: Gvardeyka, Karla_Marksa listening loud. Vostochnyi: powerful
18:10 Horlivka: Artillery started to work – single, double rounds, salvos sound from behind the Block no. 88
18:15 Donetsk: The north sounds loud today
18:27 Horlivka: Zaytseve is raising a racket. Salvos from northwest. Landings in the north. 18:30 And quiet
18:41 Horlivka: It was like a single impact. they’ve solicited
19:07 Donetsk: Southwest: shooting
19:08 Horlivka: Southwest: shootout begins – small arms, a mortar
19:15 Donetsk Kalininskyi: Horrible rolls from the north/northwest. Far off
19:18 Debaltseve: “Debaltseve joined the war”
19:24 Makiivka: It’s very loud at Hryhorivka, it even shakes the house. Probably artillery salvos have started
19:27 Donetsk Kalinisnkyi district: “And what has it boomed? I was about to my cup…”
19:34 Donetsk: It’s very loud, Zhabunki and Pisky direction
19:45 Donetsk: Pisky direction: small arms at work

The 152mm artillery “salute” begins in Donetsk:

19:56 Donetsk Kalininskyi district: What great f*cking sounds, very loud, it’s the first time I hear such heavy
19:59 Donetsk: Something horrible flew by for already 2 times
19:59 Donetsk: Strong booms – southwest. 20:00 5th [boom]
20:00 Luhansk: It it a salute or Vostok can hear incoming?
20:00 Donetsk: It has begun, Bosse can hear outgoing
20:01 Donetsk: 7th [boom]
20:01 Donetsk: 8th outgoing round, heavy
20:02 Donetsk: 10th [outgoing round]
20:03 Donetsk: At Myrnyi, tough rolls of cannonade
20:03 Donetsk pasta factory: airport direction rumbles rolling
20:03 Donetsk downtown: Artillery salvos rock the house
20:03 Donetsk: 12th [outgoing round]
20:03 Donetsk: They f*cking pound consistently, at the same intervals
20:03 Donetsk: Something great flies out. As for me, like from Durna_Balka direction
20:04 Donetsk: “Girls, my father said me it’s a salute – he saw it, they’re shelling from Shakhtar stadium…”
20:04 Donetsk Putilovka: It is loud as f*ck!
20:04 Donetsk: 15th [outgoing round in a row]
20:04 Makiivka: And now it’s not a salute, but howitzer salvos have started, very loud
20:05 Donetsk: Flashes at Scherbakova
20:05 Yasynuvata: “What a holiday! The cannonade doesn’t cease”
20:05 Donetsk: “Very loud rounds in downtown. as usually in a bar, OSCE observers have probably slopped their cocktails about”
20:05 Donetsk: Very loud like 152mm artillery salvos [from position] closer to downtown
20:05 Donetsk: 18th [outgoing round]. Windows tremble, car alarms howl
20:06 Yasynuvata: It rumbles from Promka to Vasylivka
20:08 Donetsk downtown: Outgoing artillery
20:08 Donetsk: “[not Shakhtar stadium] I saw flashes further south, salvo 3 sec after. former Dolphinarium ‘distributes’ it”
20:09 Donetsk: Since 20:00 very loud explosions, pounding for 5-7 min, is it a salute?
20:12 Donetsk Leninskyi district circus: Dishware is falling from dishracks
20:13 Donetsk: “Just f*ckup,
20:13 Donetsk [Russian militant Zhuchkovsky:] “[We’ve] congratulated Ukrainians on Feb23. With the largest caliber…”
[=not salute?] 20:15 Makiivka Gvardeyka: “They are shelling from Hryhorivka ettles, incoming in Promka area”
20:15 Donetsk: They’ve ceased

Later artillery activity:

20:17 Makiivka Gvardeyka: Booms become even louder, vibration sometimes comes. DNR artillery joined
20:17 Luhansk: Outgoing rounds from behind the woodline near 30_Rokiv_Peremohy street
20:25 Debaltseve: [sounds of war]
20:30 Donetsk: Southwest: shooting
20:31 Yasynuvata [pro-RU source]: “They greet and greet, ours [RU] them [UA], those are not quiet, entire skyline in flashes”
20:35 Makiivka Vostochnyi: Serious rumble all evening, west direction
20:56 Horlivka [pro-RU source]: “Rerun” of the morning “concert,” northwest is loud. Explosions in Zaytseve direction
20:59 Donetsk Schetinina: Loud salvos
21:00 Makiivka: Salvos from Lisove area
21:04 Makiivka Vostochnyi: They seem to have “saluted” from Lisove cemetery, it was flying out with rocket plangent noise
21:04 Donetsk [pro-RU source]: Heavy [projectiles] fly
21:06 Donetsk: 20:59-21:03 3 series of booms, as DMZ hooted. The north.
21:25 Donetsk: F*ckup, where is it all flying?””
21:26 Horlivka: “Trade partners”[=RU] are still itching, they shell heavy guns north of Horlivka
21:35 Yasynuvata: Rifle] bursts – Vasylivka
21:35 Donetsk railway station: It rumbles, seldom but heavy, far away
21:42 Horlivka: Northwest direction: rare salvos, sporadic small arms’ fire

Occupied Dokuchaevsk (south of Donetsk) joins the “celebration”:

21:43 Dokuchaevsk: A war at the ettles. And it’s no way a salute
21:55 Makiivka: It’s like impacts in Mineralne area. And AA-gun bursts
22:05 Makiivka: Artillery has been shelling non-stop since 5 pm, glow in YaBPHospodar direction
22:28 Donetsk: “Donskoy: continue listening” “Vetka: it rumbles strong, flashes at Spartak are seen.”..
22:30 Donetsk: “Single heavy outgoing rounds, the impression is like from furniture factory or Scherbakova direction”
22:35 Makiivka center: Strong rolling heavy booms
22:38 Donetsk Proletarskyi district: It’s pretty loud
23:25 Dokuchaevsk: It sounds very loud, heavy [guns]

The situation in the Donbas on February 23, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red), ATO HQ (green), OSCE (blue). Updated: the data from the next OSCE SMM report added

The situation in the Donbas on February 23, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red), ATO HQ (green), OSCE (blue). Updated: the data from the next OSCE SMM report added

A photograph of the glow seen in Donetsk during the “salute” has been posted:

Videos of “saluting” salvos heard in Donetsk were published too, no fireworks display while shelling:

Ukrainian military: 83 attacks, 1 soldier killed, 2 wounded

The ATO Headquarters reported 83 attacks on February 23, 1 serviceman killed, two wounded.

25-year-old Mykola Hutsalenko, a commander of an assault platoon, passed away in Mechnikov Dnipro Regional Hospital on February 23, 2017. Mykola had been seriously wounded during a combat mission near Vodyane, Mariupol area on February 21. Mykola was from Pervomaysk, Mykolayiv Oblast.16806721_642683109248828_6793603556336410835_n

 OSCE records more explosions in both Donbas oblasts

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has released its report, based on information received as of 19:30, February 23, 2017. The Mission recorded more explosions in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous 24-hour period.

Donetsk Oblast: Similar number of ceasefire violations, but more explosions (460) were recorded, compared with the previous 24-hour period (420 explosions). During the early morning hours of February 23, the SMM recorded more than 300 explosions over less than two hours while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk.

Luhansk Oblast: The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, with 41 explosions compared with 20 recorded in the previous 24-hour period.

Other key points of the report are:

Weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines.
The disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Petrivske and Zolote, but the access of the Mission remained restricted.
The SMM faced three conditional restrictions of its freedom of movement in areas outside of government control south-west of Donetsk and near Horlivka.
The Mission visited two border areas currently not under control of the Government.
It continued to observe the blockade of railway tracks near Hirske.
In various cities the SMM observed generally peaceful public gatherings related to socio-economic demands.

OSCE: Ceasefire violations return to “normal abnormality”

OSCE SMM Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center on February 24:

Last week OSCE monitors in Ukraine saw 20% decrease in the number of ceasefire violations and 80% decrease in the use of proscribed weapons. The de-escalation is comparative; less violence than early February flare-up but just a return to normal abnormality.”

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Austria Calls for Russian sanctions rethink to bring progress

Speaking in an interview in Vienna on February 23, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said that the European Union may need to consider new ways to put leverage on President Vladimir Putin to bring more success and be less economically damaging to Europe, Bloomberg reported.

Asked if he favored a partial lifting of penalties in exchange for progress in adhering to the so-called Minsk peace process, Kern said “absolutely.”

“Austria would be better off, and the concept that we are imposing sanctions and then will come to good conclusions with Russia has not worked out,” the chancellor said. “I think we need a different concept,” the Chansellor said,

Rasputitsa, “welfare tourists,” ATGM hits BMP, Olenivka February 21 shelling

Spring came to the Donbas, the snow melts and so-called rasputitsa season has begun, muddy conditions make travels on unpaved roads difficult. Thus, Russian-terrorist offensive attempts may be stopped until the mid-May, when the soil dries out again. Allegedly, harassing artillery fire will remain intact.

Ukrainian military officer Serhiy Mysyura has posted a video of a trench at positions near Avdiivka being flooded by meltwater:

A photograph of so-called “welfare tourists,” citizens who reside in the occupied territories and illegally receive pensions and welfare payments in government-controlled cities:

A recent video of a Russian BMP IFV being destroyed with ATGM:

The OSCE report on Olenivka February 21 shelling visualized on the map, the report may describe another provocative shelling by the Russian-hybrid army in the Donbas:

 

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