After Wednesday’s fighting which left 10 Ukrainian soldiers wounded and a failed advance by Russian forces, things were no less intense yesterday.
Ukrainian military report Russia’s forces opened up 13 times, this resulting in the wounding of another Ukrainian soldier. Russian UAV flights are also on the up. This increased aerial recon is probably due to the heavy snow which hinders the use of forward patrols and the accompanying winter fog which is severely limiting front line visibility.
It maybe imagined that this gradual rise in fighting may herald some larger military action by Russia’s forces. This however is unlikely. Recent events on the front line more to do with Russia playing fast and loose with all ceasefire agreements. After a few weeks, Russia’s forces have always steadily increased their use of heavy weapons such as mortars.
Having said that, this week they have tried to take advantage of the weather and relative combat calm. As I reported on Wed, they attempted and failed to advance their military positions around the city of Mariupol. Possibly linked to that failed attempt, on Jan 16th the OSCE spotted Russian tanks on the front line. OSCE report.
Located next to civilian houses, 3 tanks were seen in village of Zaichenko, just 3km back front line village of Kominternove. As per the Minsk agreement, neither side is meant to have armour on the front line, and especially not tanks parked next to civilian houses, which endanger the lives of those living there.
On the banks of the Azov Sea, this week Russian forces tried to advance their positions around the abandoned village of Shyrokyne. This attack was duly repulsed.