Water filtration plant resumes operations subject logo: DONBASWAR
Posted by: badanov

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By Chris Covert

A water filtration plant resumed operations on Thursday, four days after shutting down, according to Russian language news accounts.

The plant had been shut down since March 13th because, according to rebel military officials, Ukrainian forces started shelling the facility. Ukrainian military officials in turn, accused the rebels of the mortar attacks on the plant, saying rebel mobile mortar units were rushed to an area, fired, then withdrew.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Ukrainian ministry of defense command for operations in Donetsk, Colonel Andrei Lysenko accused rebel forces of shelling the plant to cause a humanitarian crisis in the area.

All sides have denied the charges.

A local ceasefire was agreed to by both sides two days ago, but the ceasefire did not take place until Wednesday. Rebel officials complained that the Ukrainian representative of the joint monitoring group led a group from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to a location six kilometers from the water plant conducted by the Ukrainian joint monitoring group chief of staff, a Ukrainian officer identified as Colonel Romanyuk. The group, which included Russian and Ukrainian officers as well as members of the OSCE, came under mortar fire, and was withdrawn to the Ukrainian side of the line.

Donetsk ministry of defense spokesman Colonel Eduard Basurin claimed that Colonel Romanyuk's trek was intended to stop rebel forces from responding to Ukrainian attacks.

The problems with the water treatment plant stemmed from an attack and occupation into a neutral zone between Ukrainian held Avdievka and rebel occupied Gorlovka, at a town near a critical road junction named Yasinovataya. Artillery and sniper and counter sniper operations have been raging for nine days in the area, as rebel troops dug in and Ukrainian troops attacked rebel positions.

The plant services towns on both sides of the line of contact, including western Donetsk city, Avdeevka, Krasnogorovka, Yasinovataya and Spartak.

According to a news account in tsensor.net.ua, four joint patrols manned by Russian and Ukrainian officers will continue in the area.

Fighting on the line of contact

Rebel Donetsk military officials say that Ukrainian forces have fired on their troops in Donetsk, violating the ceasefire 43 times. Artillery attacks were made on locations including suburbs in Donetsk city, Spartak, the Donetsk airport and Zhabichevo.

Yasinovataya where the bulk of the fighting between rebel troops and Ukrainian forces was hit with artillery including at nearby settlements Kashtanovoye and Zhdanov.

Ukrainian artillery hit the northern Gorlobvka village of Zaistevo on Wednesday, wounding two unidentified civilians.

Rebel official reports are that artillery units with the Ukrainian 56th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, the Ukrainian 58th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the Ukrainian 93th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade have done the bulk of the attacks on residential areas in Yasinovataya.

The 58th Motorized Rifle Brigade, according to rebel news releases, is the main Ukrainian unit involved in the operations at Yasinovataya.

Ukrainian troops withdrawing

According to a separate news report on the rebel Donetsk ministry of defense website, Ukrainians have withdrawn the Ukrainian 72nd and 93rd separate mechanized brigades from operations in the Donetsk area.

Rebel military officials claim that desertions are at a high, and that Ukrainian soldiers are paying bribes for transport from Donetsk.

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 Ukraine by clicking here.

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