A roundup of the latest news.
The July 21st ceasefire is largely holding. As a consequence, Ukrainian military and civilian casualties are significantly lower, but still mounting up. Sunday Aug 27th saw one Ukrainian soldier killed and 3 wounded; with another reported wounded yesterday.
Regrettably on Monday, Russia’s forces again used mortars. Give or take, since start of ceasefire they’ve stuck to firing grenade launchers, anti-tank rocket propelled grenades, sniper fire and heavy/light machine guns. It’s a no-brainer to realise heavier weapons such as mortars have the potential to cause far more injuries to civilians/soldiers and damage to property. Hopefully their use yesterday was just another one-off provocation attempt, designed to prompt mortar fire from Ukrainian forces.
Stanytsia Luhanska Bridge Pedestrian Crossing.
Pictures taken over the weekend from Stanytsia Luhanska, show a dramatic change in the surrounding landscape. As seen below – looking back towards Russia’s forces positions, you can now see the Siverskyi Donets River. Trees and vegetation have been cleared from around the damaged section of the bridge.
Currently there’s a stumbling block to getting the bridge repaired.
Ukrainian military report Russia’s forces haven’t started removing their military position on the bridge edge (Above pic below the flag). Over the weekend, the OSCE had reported seeing the Ukrainian military dismantling their position and noted some limited clearing of the Russia’s forces position. Today Ukraine military report Russia’s forces having established another defensive position close to the bridge.
Hopefully these issues can be overcome and for the sake of the thousands of people using the crossing every week, both sides can just get on and repair the bridge.
With Russia excluded from the G7 Summit in France, Putin attended the G1 summit in Moscow. The second chair was pure Russian optimism. Russia was bared from attending the G7 group of nations due to Putin’s annexation of Crimea & military actions in eastern Ukraine.
My image poking fun at sulky Putin.
Latest OSCE fortnightly report – July 29 to Aug 11.
Welcome reduction in firing observed: 2,700 ceasefire violations – prev fortnight 6,000.
4 civilian casualties reported prior to this period.
126 weapons violations (heavy weapons seen on/near front line): 83 by Russia’s forces.
39 OSCE patrol movement restrictions: 38 of them by Russia’s forces.
Snakes in the Grass.
Russia’s Donetsk republic reports an increase in snakes. Maybe some Russian snakes have crossed the border?
Sticking with the Donetsk banana republic.
They’re now up in arms about Ukraine digging new trenches and repairing current ones. For the last 5 years, both sides have used ceasefires to improve their military positions. It’s what every army around the world does. For some strange reason (lol) the repeated reporting by the OSCE of new firing positions dug by Russia’s forces has been overlooked by Russia’s propaganda machine.
I used Google Chrome to translate the above Donetsk republic web page.
God knows what an “offending” servicemen looks like?
Below are a few recent OSCE reports on Russia’s forces new fortifications.
SMM = OSCE: Special Monitoring Mission.
Russia’s forces are called – armed formations.
New trenches near Zernove, Molodizhne and Petrivske
On 20 August, aerial imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence of a new trench running north-east to south-east for about 100m, as well as an extension to an existing trench running for about 20m south-west to north-east in a training area south of Zernove (non-government-controlled, 70km south of Donetsk) (not seen in imagery from 5 August 2019).
On 21 August, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted for the first time a 30m-long trench running north-west into a field from a treeline with a mortar firing position about 500m north-west of Molodizhne (non-government-controlled, 63km north-west of Luhansk) (not seen in imagery from 5 May 2019).
On 22 August, near a checkpoint of the armed formations on road C-051532 between Styla (non-government-controlled, 34km south of Donetsk) and Petrivske, the Mission saw four members of the armed formations digging inside deep trenches, partially covered with logs, as well as unoccupied camouflage-netted firing position located around 20m north of the trenches.
On 18 August, inside the disengagement area near Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), aerial imagery available to the SMM revealed trench modification by filling in a branch of a 30m long trench near the forward positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, about 280m south of its northern edge and about 650m east of its western edge (not visible in the imagery from 6 August 2019). Outside the disengagement area, the same aerial imagery revealed a 15m long extension of a previously reported trench, assessed as belonging to the armed formations. The imagery also revealed the presence of a tank outside the disengagement area’s eastern edge (for previous observations in the area.
Trenches and mines on a road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve.
(Ukraine controls Svitlodarsk & Russia Debaltseve).
The SMM saw a 7m-long trench cutting the asphalt surface of road M-03 between Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk) and Debaltseve (non-government-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk). About 300m further on the same road, the Mission saw another 6m-long trench also cutting the asphalt surface of the road. Around 60m south-east of the second trench, the SMM again saw a line of 11 anti-tank mines positioned across the same road.
Back in Dec 2018, the OSCE has previously reported this road position as one dug by Russia’s forces. The cutting of trenches across the road is them improving this position.