Losses continue to mount in Donetsk fighting
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By Chris Covert
Ukrainian and Russian backed rebels continue to suffer casualties in ongoing fighting in southeastern Ukraine, according to Russian language news accounts.
A news report which appeared in tsensor.net.ua said that rebels have lost six dead and 11 wounded over two days of fighting in and near Donetsk city. Most of the losses were to the rebel 11th Separate Motorized Rifle Regiment, which is posted near Makievka in northeastern Donetsk city. They have been participating in the fighting near Avdievka and in Yasinovataya for two weeks.
A separate news account which appeared in korrespondent.net said that at least two Ukrainian soldiers were killed when their vehicle struck a mine in Avdievka Sunday evening. A Twitter report by an individual identified as Vitaliy Denega said he was uncertain if those losses were from the Ukrainian 58th Motorized Rifle Brigade.
Rebel military officials say that the main Ukrainian unit involved in the fighting at Yasinovataya, the 58th Separate Rifle Brigade has lost eight dead and 15 wounded over the last three days.
The total losses for the Ukrainian side at Yasinovataya comes to 38 dead. Rebel officials have yet to summarize their losses. The last time they reported losses, two rebel soldiers were killed three days ago.
The situation around Yasinovataya is static, with rebel troops dug in along the main road that connects Gorlovka to Donetsk city. Rebels say that Ukrainian artillery continues hitting rebel positions near the road, making normal transport all but impossible. The Ukrainian move into the area comes during the rainy season in Ukraine and Russia, where travel becomes difficult for tracked vehicles and nearly impossible for wheeled vehicles.
It is anyone's guess as to what will happen to the Ukrainian positions once the ground firms up in late spring.
Fighting elsewhere in Donetsk
Another news report posted on tsensor.net.ua quoted the Ukrainian ministry of defense saying rebel activity has been reported in Opytnoye, Novotroitsk, Peski and Marinka, where rebel forces have fired small arms and RPGs at Ukrainian positions.
The report also said that rebel mortar fire was reported near Zaitsevo, which is north of Gorlovka. 152mm artillery fire was reported on Ukrainian targets at Avidievka.
According to a news release posted by the Donetsk ministry of defense on its website, Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire a total of 43 times in 24 hours.
Among the localities hit were Zaitsevo, Spartak, Trudovskoy, and the Donetsk airport. Ukrainian artillery struck the southern Donetsk village of Kominternovo.
Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for Rantburg.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter. You can read past articles about the 2014 war in southeastern Ukraine by clicking here.
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