Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 06.08.2018
The Russians are picking up the attack. Sunday, August 5 was a day of intensified fighting all along the battlefront in Donbas where Russia is invading Ukraine. The Russians are well-supplied with ammunition, sent from the Russian Federation by rail and by truck convoys thinly-disguised as ‘humanitarian’ aid. Most sectors of the battlefront were active: the Bakhmut Road, the Svitlodarsk Bulge, Horlivka, Donetsk, and the eastern approaches to Mariupol.
The Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports that Russian occupation forces made 40 separate attacks on August 5.
Russia launched several attacks against Route 66, known by the Ukrainian soldiers as the Bakhmut Road. Ukraine has strong fortified positions outside Krymske and Novotoshkivske, and the Russians were attacking those. The Russians are vulnerable along the Bakhmut Road, and tenuously hold the ground from the village of Zholobok to the block posts eastwards. Should Russia lose control of Route 66, the road to now-Russian-occupied Luhansk city will be open.
The Svitlodarsk Bulge is a section of the battlefront north of Russian-occupied Debaltseve. On August 5, Russian occupation forces bombarded the villages of Luhanske and Svitlodarsk. Against Luhanske the Russians used an 82-millimetre mortar.
Russian forces fired Minsk Agreement-proscribed 120-millimetre mortars from occupied Horlivka towards liberated Pivdenne. One social media account noted: “No orcs in the city, that means they’re at their positions” (Ukrainians refer to the invasion-occupation troops as “orcs”). A battle ensued, following on from the Russian bombardment, focussing on areas to the west of the city of Horlivka, Pivdenne to the west and Novhorodske to the south-west. Eventually, Ukrainian counter-battery fire kicked in and the battle ended.
There was a battle north of Donetsk, around the ruins of the airport. The Russians regularly strike at Ukrainian defensive fortifications outside the village of Opytne. Russian forces launched surveillance drones to cover the battle. West of occupied Donetsk, the Russians attacked Ukrainian defenders at Maryinka. There is a “safe corridor” humanitarian crossing at Maryinka, which the Russian side regularly harasses.
Most Russian attacks occurred against Ukrainian defensive positions that guard the eastern approaches to the city of Mariupol. In its press statement, the JFO named the villages of Shyrokyne, Vodyane, Lebedynske, Hnutove, Pavlopil and Chermalk as being the targets of shelling by Russian occupation forces. The Russians use grenade launchers, large-calibre machine guns and small arms regularly, Against the Mariupol approaches the Russians also used the armament of a “BMP” infantry fighting vehicle. Ukrainian defenders at Hnutove faced shelling with 82-millimetre mortars, while defenders at Lebedynsk endured a bombardment with 120-millimetre calibre mortars.
One Ukrainian servicemen was wounded as a result of enemy attacks. Ukrainian military intelligence reports that among the attackers there were two Russian soldiers who were killed and seven Russian soldiers who were wounded.
Russia is visiting the miseries of war on Ukraine. The Russians are shelling the villages of Shyrokyne and Vodyane, on the Sea of Azov, and Pivdenne, outside Horlivka, just to destroy them. Along the Bakhmut Road, the Russians are trying to dislodge the Ukrainian defenders, but they have had no success whatsoever after months of fruitless attacks. On the eastern approaches to Mariupol, the Russians are trying to goad the Ukrainians into a ceasefire-violating response, but the professionalism of the Ukrainian Marines in that sector means Russian attempts at ‘provokatsya’ have failed.
August 5 was a typical day for the Russian army that is invading Ukraine in Donbas.