On safe ground when I say, last week saw a whole lot of firing going on.
I say firing, because this is a static conflict, with both sides dug in and engaging in long distance firing. Apart from occasional skirmishing, there’s been no actual large-scale fighting in the sense of advances to capture territory since around April of 2015.
Last week, Russia’s forces continued their widespread use of mortars and some artillery fire. To be expected, their use of heavier weapons always leads to increased casualties and damage to property. Oct 14th to 20th: 3 Ukrainian soldiers reported killed and 8 injured.
English spoken Military video update, for Oct 14th to 20th.
For a quick read, visit > Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence website.
For Friday 18th Oct, the photos seen below show the results of a mortar attack. In a deliberate attempt to kill and injure civilians, Russia’s forces fired on the front line village of Vodyane. Over the last 5 years, every house within it has been damaged by shot and shell. The few remaining mostly elderly people, suffer at the hands of Russia’s forces firing virtually every day. Residents lead Russian roulette lives. Never knowing if the next shell/bullet will hit them or their house.
To give an idea of the level of firing on both sides, I’ve added the below OSCE ceasefire violations stats from the weekend and last Friday. One notable feature of late, is the increased firing in the Luhansk region, to the north of the conflict area. Previously, like some sick game, Russia’s forces would routinely swap inflicting the majority of their fire between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
Over the weekend, compared to prev 7 day average & 2018, there was an overall firing drop off. Total of around 1,200 ceasefire violations & 334 explosions. Firing is continuing around one of the proposed military withdrawal areas at the village of Zolote in the Luhansk region.
OCT 19th report for Friday 18th. As you can see, there was a big increase in firing, with around 2,200 violations and 645 explosions. The upsurge was partly due to increased firing in the Luhansk region. In case you’re wondering… the OSCE get their data from monitors on the ground and static camera’s located along the front line.
Pictures from Vodyane Village.
More info on the Ukrainian military – Joint Forces Operations Face Book page.
For civilians and indeed soldiers, the chances of getting killed or injured doesn’t end when the firing stops. Deaths and horrendous injuries from unexploded ordnance occur all too often. Illustrating the point, the above picture shows an unexploded Russian mortar shell in Vodyane. It’s easy to see how such shells can be lay unseen and subsequently explode injuring people and livestock. Farmers using their tractors in the fields and children out playing are particularly vulnerable.
Mortar shell hit one of the vehicle tracks within the village.
Another mortar crater close to houses.
A house scared by shrapnel from previous shelling.
“Grandpa Vasyl” tearfully talked about how the roof of his house had been hit recently. Also showed damage to windows and other parts of his house. On the Ukrainian soldiers defending the village he said “I will never believe that separatists are helping their occupied civilians as much as our soldiers are worrying about us.”
Village of Vodyane, on Ukraine’s south coast.
Everything east of it is occupied by Russia’s forces.
Another shell damaged house.
Ukrainian Marine holding fragments of a mortar shell.