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Russian-hybrid forces kill four civilians in Donbas amid Eurovision grand final

A house ruined by the shelling of Russian-Hybrid forces, 4 civilians were killed, 1 wounded here. Avdiyivka, 13 May 2017. Photo: FB Vlad Makhovskii
Russian-hybrid forces kill four civilians in Donbas amid Eurovision grand final

On 13 May, the Eurovision song contest grand final in Kyiv was accompanied by Russian artillery attacks in the Donbas frontline. Artillery of the Russian-hybrid forces killed civilians in Avdiivka, MLRS Grad attack destroyed more objects of agricultural infrastructure at Svitlodarsk Bulge not far from occupied Horlivka. It was another evening of pointless harassing attacks, killing 4 civilians, wounding one more civilian and four soldiers.

The 13th of May was a mostly quiet day in the Donbas frontline according to the posts of local residents in social networks except for the “good morning” skirmishes.  Later in the evening battles flared up in the areas of Mariupol (south of Donetsk Oblast), Avdiivka (northeast of Donetsk), and Marinka (southwest of Donetsk):

17:40 Mariupol Vostochnyi: one can hear it [=battle sounds]
17:55 Avdiivka: Ongoing battle in Promka direction
18:10 Yasynuvata: Increasing battle noise
18:18 Mariupol: The east rumbles
18:21 Mariinka: By times, booms and gunfire
18:22 [Makiivka]: Mortar fire from Mineralne or the 18th Partzyizdu. The 5th outgoing round

Battles continue near Mariinka and Mariupol

18:30 Mariinka: Gunfire, booms in boarding school direction
18:35 Mariupol: It’s very loud at Vostochnyi
18:50 Mariupol: Shyrokyne [sounds] noisy
19:09 Mariupol: A battle near Vodyane. Ruscists are mortaring for already 30 minutes

As the police reported later, a private housing area came under shelling around 19:15, 2 artillery salvos hit the residential area of the Avdiivka’s old part:

19:17 Avdiivka: Town’s old part was shelled. Allegedly, there are fatalities. I even lied down one time [amid the shelling]
19:20 Makiivka: A double salvo of heavy [artillery] from Lisove cemetery
19:31 Avdiivka: Civilian fatalities in Avdiivka. Say hello to Minsk
19:39 Avdiivka: We seem to have civil casualties. Lots of ambulances rushed. Impacts on private housing area
19:48 Avdiivka old part: [There was] an impact in the area of dairy plant, fatalities

MLRS BM-21 Grad bombard Vodyane village east of Mariupol:

19:50 Mariupol: Oh, a boom, it’s loud even in the center
19:51 Mariupol: [Vodyane -] ruscists have used Grad
19:56 Toretsk: Strong ka-booms in Mayorsk direction + gunfire
19:58 Toretsk: Far weighty booms
20:00 Mariinka: no special intensity, booms and gunfire continue
20:02 Avdiivka: Again it falls somewhere
20:10 Yasynuvata: From dawn to 6 a.m. they shot single salvos (Yasynuvata suburb). In the course of the day, there were several boom from there
21:01 [Vodyane]: A couple of houses on fire [after recent RU Grad attack], still burning. No Ukrainian casualties…
21:08 Mariupol: [Vodyane -] Ruscists have ceased

Occupied Horlivka activates, a city between Donetsk and Debaltseve:

21:29 Horlivka Stroitel: southwest – ka-booms are heard from afar from the south
21:30 [Mariupol]: “Separatists have casualties in Kominternove. Near windmills and in #Sakhanka [they were shelled tough]
21:40 Avdiivka: It’s loud here again
21:43 Marinka: About 1hr ago, there was a strong hit…

As the Eurovision grand final begins in Kyiv at 22:00 EET,  Popasna, a frontline town in Luhansk Oblast, comes under fire too:

21:56 Popasna: They are firing. Massive booms
22:23 Horlivka: Heavy outgoing and still [from positions] close to residential area…
22:33 Svitlodarsk bulge: Today is restless outdoors day and night, the keep firing
22:34 Horlivka: Heavy outgoing rounds from the north

Two full loads of MLRS BM-21 Grad go from occupied Horlivka northwards hitting the area of Svitlodarsk:

22:37 Horlivka: Grads?
22:37 Yenakiieve: Horlivka – the 2nd outgoing Grad load
22:37 Horlivka Stroitel: From city’s south, outgoing Grad loads fly north
22:37 Svitlodarsk: It falls, the door vibrate
22:38 Horlivka: outgoing MLRS Grad via
22:39 Novhorodske: Ozeryanivka direction – something horrible, longer than the longest lasting Grad and another series in 30 seconds
22:41 Horlivka: Outgoing MLRS Grad from city’s north

Bombardments are still ongoing in the areas of Popasna and Horlvika:

22:45 Popasna: Uh, great salvos here. No time for the songs. Appreciate peace and silence
22:48 Horlivka: There were sporadic salvos, then uninterrupted sound of jet engines [=MLRS]. Like some Baikonur, not Horlivka
22:50 Popasna: “F*ck, as separatist pound, 152mm fall on the outskirts, it is very close, and very loud”
22:53 Horlivka: I think there were more than 2 loads [of outgoing Grad MLRS] from 2-3 places. The uninterrupted hum was too long
22:56 Novhorodske: The cannonade intensified for ~1.5hr then ceased. Then a hit nearby. Pause. Those 2 loads form the line towards #block88
23:05 Horlivka: Periodically, something is heard from the north, but now it’s not Grads for sure
23:24 Novhorodske: Huge moon. Light. Sparse gunfire from the same direction [=east]

Attacks mostly finished about midnight.

Avdiivka: 4 civilians killed, 1 wounded, 2 children orphaned

On 13 May about 19:15, Ukrainian town Avdiivka came again under the shelling by the Russian-hybrid forces: 4 civilians were killed and 1 wounded as the shell hit the courtyard of their house; 2 children barely escaped death. The shelling was conducted from the territory controlled by pro-Russian criminal gangs:

Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs published a photograph of two girls from Avdiivka who orphaned that evening, the comment reads, “Girls orphaned in a blink by terrorists, 6 and 7 years old. They still didn’t get what has happened. The police contacted their relatives, an aunt and grandmother.”

Read also: Avdiivka under attack, 1 civilian killed. 3 soldiers KIA, 10 WIA. Poroshenko urges to end blockade #DonbasReports 16 February 2017

Olha Kurochkina, Oleh Borysenko, Maria Dyka, Olena Aslanova were killed. Another man, 27-year-old Artem, was severely wounded in the head. He was brought to a local hospital and later on that day evacuated to Dnipro city. Chief doctor of Mechnikov hospital Sergii Rozenko published MRI images of Artem’s wound:

Fifteen minutes before the Eurovision song contest grand final kicked off, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who was going to attend the event announced that he would skip the final because of the deaths of civilians in Avdiivka.

On the next day, 14 May, Head of Donetsk Oblast civil and military administration Pavlo Zhebrivskyi assured that the Administration will defray cemetery expenses, provide financial support to repair the damaged house and resolve a problem of children custody.

The US Embassy in Kyiv expressed their condolences to the victims of the attack on Avdiivka:

Geolocation of 13 May attack on Avdiivka

The OSCE SMM (Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine) confirmed casualties and mentioned that south-facing wall of the house was damaged by the explosion, according to the SMM, 122mm artillery caused the damage:

On 14 May the SMM followed up on a report by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) about civilian casualties in Avdiivka. At Sapronova Street 53 the SMM saw a fresh impact on the roof, a hole in the south-facing wall, broken windows and door. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by an artillery (122mm) round fired from a southerly direction. The SMM spoke with the police, who told the SMM that out of the five people who had been situated near the impact site on 13 May four had died. At the Avdiivka hospital medical staff told the SMM that four people had died and their bodies were in the morgue of the hospital. Medical staff told the SMM that one person had survived the impact and had been transferred to a hospital in Dnipro.

Andriy Hartanovych collected the tweets of @zdenek80 in one post, “They fired Akatsia [2S3 152mm self-propelled gun – YZ] from behind the wagon depot of Yasynuvata [occupied town east of Avdiivka – YZ]. They come from Chervonohvardiyka [northwest district of occupied Makiivka about 5 km away] and shell from the same positions in fields. No precise fire is returned on them. 100% match by the time [of attack on Avdiivka]”:

Makiivka residents heard a double salvo going out from Lisove cemetery:

19:20 Makiivka: A double salvo of heavy [artillery] from Lisove cemetery

However, the InformNapalm volunteers have discovered that #55, Sapronova street, Avdiivka might be attacked from a position on the premises of Tochmash plant in Donetsk, about 10 km south of Avdiivka. An artillery detachment of occupation forces was discovered using this position in summer-fall of 2016.

All Russian artillery positions are well-adjusted in 2015 and 2016. There is no need for adjustment fire. That is why this attack was most probably intended.  The artillerymen new they attack a residential area in Avdiivka. What for? To ruin the holiday.

Occupation forces continue to destroy agricultural infrastructure

On the evening of Eurovision grand final, Russian-hybrid forced used not just heavy artillery, but also BM-21 Grad rocket launchers to attack the area Svitlodarsk from occupied Horlivka.

As the ATO headquarters reported, 60 Grad missiles launched at 22:38 once again damaged agricultural infrastructure in Donetsk Oblast. Near Novoluhanske settlement, one of the farms of the Bakhmut Agrarian Union holding was set on fire, a gas pipe was also damaged in the area.

Objects of agricultural infrastructure are systematically destroyed by Russian-terrorist forces in Donetsk Oblast. For example, they destroyed a grain depot in Solodke south of Donetsk on 22 August 2016, a farm in Avdiivka on 24 February 2017,  the agricultural equipment of HarvEast holding in Talakivka, a village in Mariupol area, on 27 February 2017, and many other farms and storages near the frontline.

In total, occupation forces attacked Ukrainian troops 61 times on May 13, the ATO HQ reported. Four Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in action.

On the next day, 6 Ukrainian soldiers got wounded in 49 attacks. Two more troops were wounded as of 18:00 on 15 May.

The pointless harassing attacks continue in the Donbas. Russian-hybrid forces attack Ukrainian strongholds and frontline settlements without any military purpose. Usually, mortars and small arms are used in attacks, heavy artillery or tanks or multiple launch rocket systems are sometimes involved. It is so-called harassing fire tactic when Ukrainian army is subjected to random and intermittent attacks. The tactic is used to keep as troops as local residents alerted, to increase the stress levels of the military and civilians. Because when there is no war, it is hard to explain for the local residents why the occupation forces are there in Donetsk. 

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