1311Free Fire Zone: Winning the War on Terrorism One First Down at a Time

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By Chris Covert

Rebel news sources say that a Ukrainian armor column traveling near Mariupol in far southern Donetsk near the northern coast of the Sea of Azov was ambushed by Russian backed rebel guerrillas, according to Russian language news accounts.

According to a VKontakte page belonging to Russian reserve FSB Colonel Igor Girkin, and quoting a source from Russian language news publication Red News, the guerrilla group damaged a number of vehicles including US-made Humvee utility vehicles. The post claims a total of 18 Ukrainian effectives were wounded in the encounter, and as many as 14 Ukrainians dead. The rebel group suffered wounded in the attack as well, but the numbers of wounded and the number of Ukrainian vehicles damaged in the attack were not disclosed in the news article.

According to the post, rebel guerrillas hit the lead vehicle in the convoy, and then began hitting the others in sequence using RPG and small arms fire.

Elsewhere in Donetsk, official rebel reports are that Ukrainian artillery fire has increased over the previous day, hitting several areas in western and northern Donetsk.

Ukrainian artillery hit several districts in Donetsk city, including Kalinisky, Oktyabrsky and Nikitovsky district, as well as at Spartak, Putilovsky and at the Donetsk airport.

Ukrainian news account say that rebel artillery has been hitting Ukrainian positions in Avdievka, Opytnoye and at Peski, using 122mm tube artillery and 122mm rocket artillery. Ukrainian reports also say that rebel artillery damaged a private residence in Avdievka. One of the main targets for the rebels is the coke plant, which has been under continuous rebel artillery fire. Damage in the plant included electrical and heating systems.

Rebel ground units fired on Ukrainian positions at Peski using tank and heavy machine gun fire, according to Ukrainian media.

Ukrainian artillery also hit rebel positions at Gorlovka. Ukrainian artillery hitting these areas is said to have originated from Dzherzinsk, Zaitsevo and Golm. Rebels claim that in Gorlovka they have not responded to Ukrainian artillery fire except under "extreme circumstances", but reports from other rebel news sources say they do fire counterbattery strikes at Ukrainian artillery positions.

According to a post on tsensor.net, a Ukrainian news website, the rebels responded to Ukrainian artillery on Gorlovka with artillery fire using BM-21 122mm rocket artillery launchers.

Rebel media says that Ukrainian artillery and rocket artillery continue to hit rebel positions at Novolaspa and at Starognatovka. Those fires are being launched from Volnovakha. Ukrainian reports say rebel artillery is hitting their positions near Starognatovka as well, using 152mm artillery.

Ukrainian reports say rebel artillery hit their positions near Mariupol in the early morning hours. A rebel artillery attack also was reported in the Ukrainian news outlet 0629.com.ua in Andreevka, which is near Mariupol, and was said to be a BM-21 rocket artillery strike. That attack sparked fires in the village. Rebel reports say Ukrainian artillery continue to hit rebel positions at Sahanka with artillery fires coming from the eastern approaches to Mariupol.

Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at grurkka@gmail.com and on Twitter. You can read past articles about the 2014 war in southeastern Ukraina by clicking here.

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