Fighting in Yasinovataya threatens water supply for 400,000 subject logo: DONBASWAR
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By Chris Covert

The continuing artillery battle between Ukrainian forces and Russian backed separatists around Yasinovataya has shut down water for 400,000 residents in Donetsk and Gorlovka, according to Ukrainian and rebel media.

The battle for Yasinovataya, now in its seventh day, has forced the rebel government in Donetsk to shut down a water filtration plant in the area due to Ukrainian shelling.

However, Ukrainian military officials say it was the unsighted 82mm mortar attacks by rebel gunners which have threatened the local water supply. Their statement is the first admission in six days that fighting has even taken place in the area, despite repeated news releases by rebel military officials.

An unidentified spokesman for the Ukrainian ministry of defense antiterrorist operation -- the Ukrainian command effort in dealing with the rebel insurgency -- said that rebels have mounted 82mm mortars onto trucks in order to move them rapidly from one point to another. The 82mm mortar is normally transported by truck, then moved to firing positions by its crew, just not aboard vehicles.

The latest from the Donetsk ministry of defense for the situation near Yasinovataya is that Ukrainian forces continue to pound rebel positions on the road junction, effectively shutting down road communications between Donetsk city and Gorlovka.

According to rebel news statements, Ukrainian forces hit the Yasinovatskiy checkpoint for 40 minutes on Saturday and again on Sunday for 20 minutes. Both times Ukrainian forces used 82mm and 120mm mortar fire, as well as some tank gunfire on those positions.

Ukrainian media said that rebels hit Ukrainian positions near Yasinovataya with 122mm artillery deployed to Krutaya Balka on Sunday. In a news account which appeared in Gorlovka Pravda on Saturday, rebel officials claimed Ukrainians were using 152mm artillery on the Yasinovatskiy checkpoint.

Rebel military officials claim a total of four riflemen have been wounded defending the road. Rebel media also says that Ukrainian forces have lost more than 30 dead and 70 wounded. Ukrainian officials say their losses total seven wounded, all in Lugansk, a fair distance away from Yasinovataya.

Rebel officials say that Ukrainian forces have violated the ceasefire along the Donetsk line of contact more than 200 times in 24 hours. Targets hit by Ukrainian forces include at Spartak, the Donetsk airport, western districts of Donetsk city and at Zaitsevo, which is north of Gorlovka. Among the localities hit by Ukrainian fire in southern Donetsk is Kominternovo.

Ukrainian military officials say that rebels have violated the ceasefire a total of 20 times, including at Zaitsevo and Mayorsk, in northern Donetsk. Kamenka, south of Donetsk has also been hit by rebel artillery fire.

Ukrainian media said that rebel used 122mm artillery in some attacks.

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 Ukraine by clicking here.

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