Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 26.04.2018
Russia attacked Novoluhanske, Ukraine with rockets – again. Novoluhanske is a town on the battlefront where Russia is invading Europe in Donbas.
The press centre of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine reported that on April 25 Russian occupation forces fired on Ukrainian defensive fortifications near Novoluhanske from Grad rocket launchers, 152-mm artillery, 120-and 82-mm mortars, and the armament of a BMP (a Russian armoured infantry fighting vehicle). The ‘Svitlodarsk Bulge’ (the battlefront north of occupied Debaltseve) was a particular target of the Russians. They also struck Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk, using 152-mm artillery and 82-mm mortars. Russian occupation forces picked targets that are in close proximity to the Vuhlehirska Reservoir on the Luhan River and the Vuhlehirska power station.
In total, Russian armed forces invading Ukraine in Donbas made 76 attacks on April 25. Most of these attacks were made with weapons that are proscribed by the terms of the Minsk Agreement. Multiple launch rocket systems are forbidden, but Russia used them against Novoluhanske. Tanks are forbidden, but Russia used tanks against Novoluhanske and Malynove. Artillery with a calibre greater than 100 millimetres is forbidden, but Russia used heavy guns of that type in attacks against Novoluhanske, Svitlodarsk, Luhanske, Novhorodske, Zaitseve, Troitske, Novozvanivka, Novoselivka, Verkhniotoretske, the Butivka mine, Vodyane, and Hnutove.
Russia is waging open war against Ukraine in Donbas. As well as Minsk Agreement-proscribed weapons, Russian armed forces used infantry fighting vehicles, anti-tank missile complexes, rocket-propelled guns, grenade launchers, large-calibre machine guns, and small arms. The Russians deployed snipers to attack Ukrainian defenders near Hnutove. On April 25, the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported incurring 11 casualties. Eight Ukrainian defenders were wounded in action. Three Ukrainian soldiers suffered combat injuries.
It appears from the first combat reports that the Grad rocket attack on Novoluhanske was against defensive positions of the Ukrainian armed forces. Grad multiple launch rockets systems, though, are not precision weapons. This is not the first time Russian occupation forces have attacked Novoluhanske with Grad rockets. On 18 December 2017, Russia launched 40 rockets at civilian targets in the town of Novoluhanske. The rockets damaged approximately 50 buildings in the town, setting fire to several structures. Eight civilians were injured in the rocket attack four months ago. Six of the victims were elderly women and one victim was a six-year-old child.
Whether used against soldiers or civilians, Grad rockets are a terror weapon. Russia uses these weapons deliberately. They use them to terrorize Ukrainians. They also use them to show they can “get away with it” – that there will be no ill-consequences to the Putin regime for waging war with rocket terror weapons in the heart of Europe. Western democracies other than Ukraine paid no attention to Russia’s Grad rocket attack on Novoluhanske on 18 December 2017. Because the Western press embargoes news about Russia’s war against Ukraine, and because Western politicians and diplomats ignore the reality of Russian aggression, it is to be expected that the Putin regime will “get away with” the Grad rocket attack on Novoluhanske on 25 April 2018 as well.