Eastern Ukraine: Front Line Update

How’s things on the front line?
Without question, it’s a whole lot quieter since the start of the July 27th ceasefire. Most notable, is large-scale reduction in the use of weapons such as mortars and other artillery. Heavy weaponry is responsible for the bulk of the military and civilian casualties and damage to property. So less low-flying shells is a good thing.

Now it’s not all good news, as we’re still seeing daily small-scale firing which over recent weeks is edging up. In the Donetsk Oblast (province), much of the firing is centered around the Ukraine held town of Avdiivka (opposite occupied Donetsk city) and on the Azov Sea south coast, near Ukraine held city of Mariupol. Reports of Russia’s forces using grenade launchers, machine guns and occasional mortar fire is on-going in these areas. Elsewhere along the 500km front line, shooting is on-going but sporadic.

OSCE Ceasefire Violation map showing firing over the weekend. Firing was observed around Avdiivka (Yellow markings near Donetsk city), including 34 explosions, and near Mariupol city at the bottom of the map. At the top of the page in the Luhansk Oblast, 87 ceasefire violations of small arms fire was recorded. OSCE report.

Yesterday Nov 29th, Near Ukraine held town of Luhanske, Ukrainian military report Russia’s forces (RF) attempted to plant a number of anti-personnel mines beyond their positions. Spotted by Ukrainian troops, the RF soldiers were fired on and promptly fled the area leaving behind the below mines and equipment. Presumably sent up to follow the progress of their soldiers, the white Russia’s forces UAV was shot down at the same time. Ukraine military report.

Winters now arrived on the front line. Header pic shows Ukrainian soldiers on the front line.

Ukrainian Casualties since start of Ceasefire.
Despite the lack of lead, people are still dying. As of Nov 25th, Ukraine report 4 soldiers killed & 14 wounded since July 27th. However, the number of civilian casualties injured during combat firing is substantially down. Having said that, in occupied Ukraine, civilian deaths and injuries due to mines and handling explosive devices keep on getting reported. OSCE report Oct 30th, three related men – father, son and nephew died when an explosive device they were handling exploded. Sept 20th, 3 boys aged 10, 8 and 2 were injured after a man set light to a metal tube containing gunpower which he’d found. The 2 year old lost an eye. OSCE daily reports.

Covering the period from Nov 2nd to 15th, the above OSCE Status Report shows the number of ceasefire violations had doubled from the previous 2 weeks. Total of 469 compared to previous 238.

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