Zakharchenko: 300 Ukrainian wounded at Peski subject logo: DONBASWAR
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By Chris Covert

A total of 300 wounded Ukrainians were the cost to the Ukrainian military in the recent fighting in Peski and Spartak, said Donetsk president Aleksandr Zakharcheko in published remarks.

Zakharcheno said that the high wounded in action number was taken from radio intercepts. He also claimed that rebel forces destroyed eight armored vehicles since Monday.

Zakharcheko also said that Mariupol would "sooner or later" be taken by rebel forces, and claimed that the city would fall to rebels "easily", a characterization that even military analysts sympathetic to the Russian backed rebels dispute.

Shelling and firefights between Ukrainian military units holding the northwestern suburb of Donetsk city continue to take place.

Last Monday, according to rebel media, Ukrainian military units attacked two key rebel positions north and south of the airport, Spartak and Peski, driving rebel units back temporarily until a counterattack restored the situation.

Rebel forces attacked Ukrainian positions in Peski last February, just after the fall of the airport, but have never been able to fully invest the town. Rebel attempts top use subsidiary operations to encircle Peski, such as an attempt to take nearby Advievka that February, ended in a bloody failure for rebel forces.

According to remarks published in Igor Girgin's VKontakte page, Zacharchenko said on Thursday he placed the odds of the Ukrainian military beginning offensive operations at 90 percent, because of the heavy concentrations of Ukrainian forces in the region.

It is likely that Zakharchenko's remarks about casualties were intended to mask the heavy cost to rebel forces holding Peski and Spartak against Ukrainian attacks. No casualty figures for killed in action have been announced by the rebels starting with the attacks on Monday.

However, according to pro rebel Russian military analyst Boris Rozhin, casualties for the rebels number into the double digits, mostly from artillery fire, which is now nearly constant in northwestern Donetsk city. Still, Rozhin said the casualties were low considering the intensity of the attacks by Ukrainian forces. He also said that the lessons of Debaltsevo had still not been learned, indicating the rebels may be feeding him much lower casualty statistics.

Rebel media made recent mention of wounded numbering up to 60 on Monday, noting that casualties subsequent to Monday were "much higher."

Ukrainian military journalist Dmitri Tymchuk said that a rebel armored group started firing on Ukrainian positions at Peski and Vodyane starting Sunday night using four BMP-2 IFVs, one T-72BA tank, one T-64B tank and a Zu-23/2 mobile AAA vehicle. That attack may have sparked a Ukrainian counterattack.

Tymchuk also said that rebel mortar including 82mm and 120mm mortars pounded Ukrainian positions at Peski and Optynoye on Monday.

On Thursday rebel reports said that Ukrainian forces shelled rebel positions using mortars a total of five times in northwestern Donetsk at Spartak and Peski. According to data supplied by Donetsk Ministry of Defense spokesman Lt. Colonel Eduard Basurin, mortar fire also was reported coming from Avdievka and Opytnoye.

Ukrainian BMP-2s were reported firing on the Volvo center in Donetsk city

Other reports said that Ukrainian artillery began at around 0700 hrs Thursday near rebel positions at Peski, Spartak and the airport. The shelling stopped 90 minutes later.

Fighting in northern Lugansk

According to data supplied on Girkin's VKontakte page, fighting between Ukrainian and rebel forces continued near Stantitsa Luganskaya Thursday as shootout took place at a nearby fish farm near the Northern Donetsk River. Small arms and RPG fire was exchanged between the two combatants.

Ukrainians brought a tank into a fight near the blockhouse at Trokhizbenka, as rebel forces used mortars against Ukrainian targets. Firefights were reported along T1303, especially near Krimskoye, where rebels fired on Ukrainian targets using small arms and RPGs.

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

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