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OSCE under fire. Savchenko in Donetsk. 92 attacks on Ukrainian positions, 16 WIA #DonbasReports

February 24, MP Nadiya Savchenko in occupied Makiivka. Photo: AFP
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: 83 attacks on Ukrainian positions, 1 KIA. Austria Calls for Russian sanctions rethink #DonbasReports

On February 24, Avdiivka came under shelling from Donetsk again. As usual, it was mostly quiet in Luhansk Oblast according to reports by local residents on social networks, no reports came from Mariupol area.

A mostly quiet morning in Donetsk and Horlivka with some sporadic booms breaking the silence, Yenakiieve (east of Horlivka) hears a gunnery exercise (all time EET, GMT+2):

05:48 Donetsk OblGAI, Larinka: Single heavy booms
06:00 Donetsk: “Bakiny: well-heard war in the north” “Mayskyi market: single booms are heard”
09:22 Troitske, Luhansk Oblast: “No casualties in Troitske, that’s ok there [=it was attacked before]
10:00 Yenakiieve: They are shelling at the range
10:03 [Avdiivka]: At DFS a storage of chlorine [=water chlorination agent], reservoirs of purified water, filters, production buildings were damaged
10:29 Yenakiieve: It rumbles great, my balcony jumps. 11:54 Calmed down
10:49 Horlivka Stroitel: Something has boomed
10:50 Toretsk: Something has boomed great

An odd sound in Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast:

10:57 Lysychansk: What it that sounding like a fighting jet flying by?
11:30 Horlivka Stroitel: Again a blast wave has rolled by
11:35 Toretsk: Another boom, strong, window panes trembled

An “ordinary” cannonade begins between Avdiivka and occupied Yasynuvata:

11:52 Yasynuvata: “Far booms by times” 12:07 “It’s Promzone rumbling” “12:16 rumbling…” 12:24 [still rumbling]
12:00 Makiivka Vostochnyi: Another ka-boom, the west direction
Makiivka: Booms from Mineralne direction
12:17 Makiivka: It is already rumbling constantly, and pretty intense
13:47 Donetsk: Something booms great

Another cannonade is heard in the area of Svitlodarsk (a government-controlled town near the Debaltseve-Bakhmut highway):

14:22 Svitlodarsk Bulge: Tough rumble
14:23 Makiivka: The battle in Mineralne direction is ongoing, now ceases then activates again. Artillery booms, machine guns shoot
14:32 Makiivka: It is the 3hr as [RU] artillery is working from Hryhorivka ettles, so far there were 2 incoming rounds…
14:37 Donetsk: 3hr battle at YaBP, inactive, no small arms, only one boom every 5-10 min
14:50 Donetsk: Before 2 pm the battle was heard only when you’re outdoors, now Kalinivka can feel it [indoors] pretty loud
14:57 Avdiivka: Tough battle near Tsarska_Okhota [=south]. A ‘DNR’ tank worked from Spartak. Damage to the town’s old part
15:22 Donetsk Shakhtarska square: A powerful explosion, northwest
15:22 Donetsk Vetka: It has boomed strong, I’ve jumped with my sofa, the door shuddered
15:32 Avdiivka: Something has boomed [great]
15:34 Donetsk: Something boomed in the city, will be there more fairytales about Tochka-U?
15:50 Yasynuvata: Simultaneously with Makiivka, it sounded loud in Yasynuvata too
15:50 Makiivka: It became much louder, salvos
15:51 Novhorodske: Since noon sounds come from ‘traditional’ directions of Yasynyvata/Avdiivka. Strong, frequent now, sometimes in series

Occupied Pervomaysk activates in Luhansk Oblast:

16:13 Kadiivka: Pervomaysk direction rumbles with heavy guns, maybe even rockets

And the cannonade in the area of Donetsk and Makiivka intensifies:

16:15 Donetsk Naberezhna: [It sounds as if] they are “dropping railcars” in the north
16:27 Donetsk: Almost uninterrupted cannonade, the northwest makes noise
16:31 Makiivka Gvardeyka: “Oh, it rumbles as f*ck”
16:32 Donetsk: “[Russians] are shelling, saluting Savchenko who has arrived. By times, it sounds powerful. North”
16:36 Svitlodarsk Bulge: Either Grad, or some other thing
16:40 Makiivka Gvardeyka: Just hell in Putilovka direction [=northwest of Donetsk]
16:44 Makiivka: Something strange in Hryhorivka direction. Some new sounds, various strength
16:46 Makiivka: “Stir in the direction of [Verknyokalmiuske] reservoir – Mineralne. It rumbles as f*ck”
16:48 Yasynuvata: [pro-RU source] “…impacts within the city limits and just a wild battle”
16:48 Makiivka downtown: Since early morning it rumbles and rumbles, often with heavy single [booms]
16:48 Donetsk Larinka: The north makes noise
16:48 Donetsk OblGAI: A cannonade in the north
16:50 Donetsk: Artillery has started to shell from Smolyanka‘s coke plant
16:50 Donetsk downtown: Strong outgoing single [rounds]

Popasna (facing occupied Pervomaysk and Kadiivka) reports explosions:

16:50 Popasna: Booms are heard outdoors. We became disaccustomed to them, it was quiet in the town lately
16:52 Makiivka: Chaotic loud constant explosions in [Verknyokalmiuske] reservoir direction, not like salvos [=return fire?]
16:53 [Yasynuvata]: A “full-fledged” battle at Horlivka_route, with use of small arms, tube artillery, maybe MLRS
16:54 Yasynuvata: “Horlivka route: loud from 2 sides, we’re tired of them pounding all day”
16:54 Donetsk: Southwest: a boom

Avdiivka reports incoming large-calibre artillery, Donetsk reports outgoing rounds:

16:55 Avdiivka: “F*ck, incoming rounds here at Promka, at least 152mm, 5 for now, floors shake at Khimik
16:55 Avdiivka: “F*ckup, close impacts have been started”

Either Ukrainian return fire or closer Ukrainian positions come under attack (in Pisky or Opytne):

16:56 Donetsk Zakhidnyi bus terminal: A serious impact not far away
16:56 Donetsk: [southwest] 2 more [booms], a wave hits buildings. 16:56 a couple more
16:57 Donetsk Kalinisnkyi Druzhba: Now something heavy has started to fire, from closer position in the north
16:57 Donetsk: Very strong explosions in the direction of railway station, Pisky

Donetsk keeps shelling Avdiivka:

16:58 Avdiivka: It’s very loud. Probably, incoming [artillery] within the city limits
16:59 Donetsk: Vasilek at Mahistralnyi was silent for few days, because humanitarian aid was delivered. Now it has boomed 4 times
16:59 Avdiivka: Incoming [artillery] at the town, heavy [hits]
16:59 Makiivka: “Outgoing rounds shake my doors”
17:00 Makiivka: Continuous cannonade in Mineralne direction. Artillery, in’s and out’s, machine gun bursts
17:00 Donetsk: “[Russians] are shelling from the city’s west”
17:00 Donetsk: “Funny sounds started recently, with some long echo”
17:00 Makiivka: The battle intensity doesn’t decrease
17:01 Donetsk: Artillery is shelling with aftersounds, both salvos and hits are heard, from Scherbakova park, landings in the north
17:01 Avdiivka: “Some strong impacts. What weapon?”
17:02 Donetsk: A wasteland near Panfilivska mine facing Pisky: launches go from there

Another series of artillery rounds hits Avdiivka from Donetsk:

17:05 Donetsk: Heavy outgoing rounds
17:06 Donetsk Kirovskyi district: In spite of the noise of southwest wind, sporadic loud gunnery sometimes comes from north
17:06 Donetsk railway station: Artillery single rounds. Very distinct. Not frequently, but it is already more than 10 rounds.
17:06 Makiivka: And we have outgoing rounds with strong hum, the house jumps
17:10 Donetsk Kyivskyi district: Promka direction rumbles with heavy incoming rounds. It’s heard distantly, but strong vibration…
17:14 Donetsk Shakhtarska: Series of heavy salvos, it feels like it flies overhead from downtown, long flight
17:18 Donetsk: By sound, they are pounding from Polihrafichna St, it goes towards Pisky
17:18 Avdiivka: Incoming again. Sounds as hell
17:18 Donetsk: A new series [of salvos], the wave shakes the building
17:18 Donetsk Shakhtarska Sq: 15 min ago there were 5 heavy salvos, 152mm? Maybe from Durna_Balka
17:20 Donetsk Kyivskyi: Are the sounds coming from airport? Heavy outgoing salvos with and without aftersounds
17:20 Avdiivka: “Again incoming hits. Heavy as f*ck”
17:25 Donetsk Azotnyi: Astonished by salvos
17:26 Avdiivka: The explosions are somewhat plangent

A parallel attack is reported being heard from Pisky direction (government-controlled, west of Donetsk):

17:45 Donetsk: “Severe combat” in Pisky direction

A rare report from occupied Luhansk:

18:04 Luhansk: “Almost no local separatists in uniforms on the streets over the last few months here, yesterday celebrating ones were seen”
18:12 Avdiivka: Reportedly, #294, Lenina street was hit, no casualties
19:10 Donetsk: “The downtown hears it so good, because they are shelling from the area of the maternity home at Panfilova
19:17 Donetsk: It became more frequent. Artillery. One salvo every 2 seconds
19:50 Donetsk: 2 covered Kamaz trucks and a Ural truck went northwards along Universytetska

Horlivka can hear artillery after it was quiet since morning:

19:56 Horlivka: Southwest: well, it has started to boom here
20:05 Horlivka: Southwest: Heavy arms are shelling, red signal flare in the south. Rtutnyi: heavy outgoing rounds

One of Donetsk residents summarizes:

20:47 Donetsk: In total: 6-hour battle, nary incoming round in both Yasynuvata and Donetsk. Hell in Avdiivka. That’s it
20:56 Donetsk: It has become very loud at Tekstilschik

Avdiivka can also hear the battle in the area of Pisky (south of Avdiivka):

20:58 Avdiivka: VodyanePisky: very strong explosions in that direction. They fall in series by several hits
20:58 Donetsk: Petrovskyi forestry [southwest Donetsk] is attacking Krasnohorivka with large caliber guns
21:02 Horlivka: “Bastards reloaded [=shelling starts over]. Loud, very loud”
21:04 Horlivka: It’s begun, single heavies, a salvo every 10-15 seconds
21:04 Donetsk: Salvos are heard, 5-6 pieces in the battery, maybe Durna_Balka or Biryuzova, very powerful
21:05 Donetsk Kirovskyi: Salvos are heard in Kirovskyi [according to a live webcam]
21:05 Horlivka: A battery of SPGs [is shelling]
21:06 Donetsk Kirovskyi district: Not far away in the west, strong ka-booms over the last several minutes. Echoes, panes clink
21:15 Donetsk: They shelled from some place at #Abakumova. Loud and frequent, it was like 120mm mortar
21:28 Donetsk Kirovskyi district: [webcam] Salvos again, single ones, at pauses
21:30 Horlivka: For more than an hour, loud heavy outgoing rounds are heard in the whole city from the west
21:45 Makiivka: 5 salvos. Suddenly. Light ones. Car alarms went off. And hush
21:50 Yasynuvata: [pro-RU source] Sporadic booms, Vasylivka direction
22:08 Horlivka: Southwest: ka-booms come from afar

More of fuels and lubricants has been delivered from Russia to the occupied part of Luhansk Oblast:

22:09 Rovenki: From Monday [Feb13] to Friday [Feb17], tank wagons have been unloaded at approach lines of the oil depot

Another scheduled harassing attack begins in Dokuchaevsk area (south of Donetsk):

22:16 Dokuchaevsk: At 22:00 sharp, they have started fighting – small arms, mortars and something else.

And it is finally quiet in north Donetsk, it “passes the torch” to Dokuchaevsk:

22:20 Makiivka: It has gone silent
22:22 Volnovakha: It has started to boom from time to time
22:23 Yasynuvata: Ongoing battle. Now more of small arms and heavy machine guns
22:23 Dokuchaevsk: The battle is tough, they fire everything they have
22:24 Dokuchaevsk: A tank is shelling from a position nearby, loud
22:33 Dokuchaevsk: The have ceased. Tanks were shelling for about 5-10 minutes
22:49 Dokuchaevsk: “Holy mama mia! is that so? A single incoming something”
22:50 Dokuchaevsk: The 2nd incoming [round], “hefty” one
22:55 Makiivka: Sporadic shooting in the direction of Mineralne
22:55 Dokuchaevsk: And [RU] tank shut up at once
23:08 Dokuchaevsk: That tank seems to have shelled only from Mikrorayon

Avdiivka is being shelled again:

23:19Avdiivka: Explosions and flashes in the direction of the coke plant. The darkness in the city [=power down]
23:20Novhorodske: After a quiet hour, 2 strong hits. And quiet then
23:32Dokuchaevsk: A damn tank emerged again, it is shelling. This time it is further [from the residential area]
23:34DonetskDonskoy: After a short lull, booms are heard again coming from Makiivka direction
23:34[Yasynuvata]: “120+mm artillery came into play from Yakovlivka direction [=outgoing]
23:34Avdiivka: …power outage in the whole town
23:36Makiivka: Large caliber outgoing rounds

The situation in the Donbas on February 26, 2017, according to reports by local residents on social networks (red), ATO HQ (green), OSCE (blue). Updated according to the Feb27 OSCE SMM report.

Ukrainian military: 92 attacks, 12 soldiers wounded, 4 injured

The ATO Headquarters reported 92 attacks on February 23, no fatalities, 12 soldiers were wounded in action, 4 more injured.

On February 23, Sgt Mykhaylo Dobroleta, 24, was killed by a bullet near Avdiivka:

OSCE records more ceasefire violations in both occupied regions

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has published its report, based on the information received from 19:30, February 23 to 19:30, February 24.

As the Mission reports, more ceasefire violations were recorded in Donetsk Oblast (including 1,200 explosions), compared with the previous 24-hour reporting period (about 460 explosions), with the majority of explosions concentrated in the #Avdiivka-#Yasynuvata-#Donetsk #airport area (“some 1,000 explosions”).

In Luhansk Oblast the SMM also recorded more ceasefire violations with some 150 explosions compared with the previous reporting (41 explosions). The Mission assessed 115 explosions as artillery rounds in the western parts of Luhansk Oblast.

The Special Monitoring Mission also reported:

The SMM followed up on reports of damage to the Donetsk Water Filtration station caused by shelling. On two separate occasions, in Yasynuvata and Pikuzy, armed men opened small-arm fire close to the SMM.

The SMM observed weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line.

The Mission continued to observe blockade of railway tracks near Hirske, Bakhmut and Shcherbynivka.

The SMM monitored a public gathering in Odesa.

Illegal armed group attacks OSCE and steals their drone

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has published its spot report describing 2 attacks on the observers on February 24. The first incident occurred in occupied Yasynuvata:

At 13:27 on 24 February 2017, the SMM heard a burst of small-arms fire (three to five shots) at close range while preparing to launch a mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the north-western edge of non-government-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk)… The SMM patrol members took cover behind one of their vehicles and saw four men in military-style camouflage clothing carrying AK-variant automatic assault rifles… The men shouted “Stand still!” in Russian and then approached, with two of the men kneeling and aiming their weapons at the SMM while the two others advanced in short movements. One of them seized the mini-UAV from the ground. The SMM members loudly identified themselves as OSCE in Russian and English. The four men withdrew with the mini-UAV. When 15-20m away, one of them fired a burst of small-arms fire (three to five shots) that impacted on the snow about five metres from the SMM vehicle, behind which the patrol was taking cover.

Another incident took place in occupied Pikuzy in Mariupol area:

Around 12:15, two men carrying AK-47s and wearing military-style camouflage clothing typical of “DNR” members engaged in conversation with an SMM patrol member in the centre of non-government-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol). One of them, apparently intending to demonstrate that his firearm was functional, pointed the weapon into the air and fired a round.

No OSCE observers were hurt or vehicles damaged.

Avdiivka has been shelled again

On February 24, residential areas of Avdiivka came under shelling.

Earlier that morning the Donetsk filtering station (DFS) stopped operating after the night shelling, it caused water shortages in Avdiivka, Yasynuvata and the north parts of Donetsk city. Governor of Donetsk Oblast Pavlo Zhebrivsky reported: “At the Donetsk Filtering Station, a storage of chlorine [water chlorinating agent, not a gas warfare], reservoirs of purified water, filters, production buildings damaged Luckily, no casualties among personnel”.

The attacks on the town of Avdiivka started towards evening and stopped late at night, heavy weapons banned under the Minsk Agreements were used in the bombardment.

The video shows how the cannonade has sounded in Donetsk:

The sound of salvos as they were heard in Plany settlement, Makiivka:

About 23:00 Avdiivka has lost power due to massive artillery strikes.

The images show the next morning in the old part of Avdiivka (town’s south and southeast):

The police of Donetsk Oblast reported no casualties, one private home and an agricultural enterprise burned down,  6 buildings were damaged in the shelling.


MP Nadiya Savchenko visits occupied Donetsk

Ukrainian lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko visited the occupied areas of Donetsk Oblast on February 24 to meet with Ukrainian prisoners of war there. According to the Russian News Agency TASS, Savchenko was accompanied by Volodymyr Ruban, head of the Ukrainian center for prisoner releases of the Officer Corps public movement.

Following her visit with six prisoners, Savchenko told reporters that her goal is to arrange an “all for all” exchange of prisoners held by both sides. Later she has published a list of 34 Ukrainian POWs she visited in occupied Makiivka.

On February 24, Tetyana Rychkova, a lawmaker from the Poroshenko Bloc faction, said from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada, that Savchenko had “incited servicemen to overthrow the authorities in Ukraine” and called on the Prosecutor General’s Office and the SBU to investigate her actions.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) plans to meet with Ukrainian Member of Parliament Nadiya Savchenko regarding her recent visit to occupied Donetsk. Head of the SBU chief’s staff Oleksandr Tkachuk told Interfax-Ukraine on February 24, that no criminal case was opened on the grounds of the provided information, only preliminary check was under way. Tkachuk also said that SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak has already ordered military counterintelligence service to carry out the relevant work and question servicemen that deputy Rychkova had mentioned.

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