Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 07.05.2018
Russian occupation troops, in violation of international humanitarian law, are shelling civilians in eastern Ukraine.
On May 6, Russian armed forces twice bombarded the village of Zaytseve with 152-mm and 122-mm artillery. Zaytseve lies close to the north of the city of Horlivka, which is under temporary and illegal Russian administration. The Joint Forces Operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine issued this statement: “According to preliminary data, one person was wounded as a result of the shelling, while a residential house caught on fire. Rescue teams and paramedics are now working at the scene. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine was briefed on the incident.”
By firing artillery at civilians, Russia is committing a war crime. By using heavy artillery at all the Russian terrorist troops are in direct violation of the Minsk Agreement of 12 February 2015. According to Minsk, artillery with a calibre greater than 100 millimetres should have been withdrawn from beyond a 50 kilometre-wide security zone. But Russia has deployed heavy artillery right up to Putin’s invasion-of-Europe battlefront.
The Ukrainian military used Minsk-permitted weapons to suppress the enemy fire, whereupon the Russian military used Minsk-proscribed weapons to attack Ukrainian strong points.
Two days earlier, on May 4, Russia had also shelled the residential area of Zaytseve with 122-mm artillery. Six houses were damaged but there were no casualties.
Russia attacked the village of Luhanske in the ’Svitlodarsk Bulge’ area of the battlefront, north of occupied Debaltseve, on May 6. The Russians bombarded a residential area of Luhanske with Minsk-proscribed 120-mm mortars.
On May 5, Russian invader-occupiers attacked the Hnutove checkpoint twice with anti-tank guided missiles. They did this during a busy morning when there were many civilians there. The Joint Forces Operation estimates there were 400 civilians at the supposedly ‘safe crossing’ at the time. Luckily, there were no injuries, but two civilian vehicles were destroyed and the checkpoint had to be closed for the day.
From the outskirts of the city of Mariupol in free Ukraine to the Hnutove checkpoint to the north-east is 17 kilometres by road. From the Hnutove checkpoint, it is under six kilometres to the east, across the battlefront, to the Russian-occupied Ukrainian village of Verkhnoshyrokivske. This minor road is the southern-most crossing between free Ukraine and Russian-occupied Donbas, as the Russians have blocked the M14 coastal highway.
Early reports from the night of May 6-7 indicate a heavy Russian bombardment of the town of Popasna in Luhansk region. Residents of Popasna took to Twitter to report the attack. “Russian terrorists are pounding with heavy artillery for more than 3 hours at #Popasna direction,” said one. “Now it's become really sad. It's been a long time since it fell so powerful and close. I've started thinking about [going] to the basement.” said another.
Russia has launched five aimed attacks at civilians in eastern Ukraine in the past 48 hours. Zaytseve, Hnutove, Luhanske, Zaytseve again, and Popasna have been bombarded with artillery and missiles from the Russian invader-occupiers of Donbas. What Russia is doing is a war crime.