Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.10.2018
The 244th week of the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine has seen fighting all along the Donbas battlefront. The attacks by the Russian invaders have been mostly low-intensity bombardments, with intermittent assaults by sabotage and reconnaissance groups. What is notable is that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation violate the Minsk Agreement ceasefire every day and night, and there is no sign that Putin wants to end his war.
The press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports that the base of the defending Ukrainian troops near Schastia was exposed to fire from automatic and easel grenade launchers for almost three hours on October 22. Schastia is 18 kilometres north of the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk, on the Siverskyi Donets River. That river marks the front line in this sector of the battlefront. The Russians bombard Schastia from a firebase near the occupied village of Obozne.
More often than not, Ukrainian defenders do not strike back at Russian attackers. JFO policy is to adhere to the Minsk Agreement ceasefire when at all possible – the exception being when the lives of Ukrainian defenders or civilians are in danger. Also, the Russians follow ‘human shield’ terrorist tactics, and open fire from residential areas, shooting from among the houses and apartment blocks of Ukrainian civilians. The JFO does not shoot back in these cases.
Near Verkhniotoretske the Ukrainians found a target of opportunity when the Russians positioned men and armour in a fortified position, away from a residential area. To forestall an attack on Ukrainian positions defending Verkhniotoretske, troops of the JFO attacked the Russian fortification with armed drones and with artillery. The Ukrainian army liberated the formerly “grey zone” village of Verkhniotoretske, which lies between the Russian-occupied cities of Donetsk and Horlivka, on 30 November 2017.
The JFO press service conveyed Ukrainian military intelligence reports that on October 21 eight soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were killed, and 2 were wounded. This was an unusually high casualty rate for the Russian side, but it reflects the recklessness of their attacks.
Ukrainian army engineers are making another former “grey zone” village firmly a part of Ukraine. Novohryhorivka lies between the Russian-occupied city of Dokuchaevsk and the city of Mariupol in free Ukraine. The front line to Russian invasion-occupation forces used to run right through the village. Now, a road is being rebuilt to connect Novohryhorivka with the town of Starohnativka. Once cut-off from free Ukraine, the 65 or so villagers in Novohryhorivka are once again a part of the wider community. The battlefront is now approximately three kilometres to the east of Novohryhorivka. Another swath of territory is now under Ukrainian control.
When the Russian Federation attacks Ukraine, the defenders hold firm. When Ukraine strikes back, measurable damage is inflicted on the enemy. And metre by metre, Ukrainian land and people are being liberated from the invader-occupiers from Muscovy.