Ukrainians, separatists exchange artillery fire in Donetsk subject logo: DONBASWAR
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By Chris Covert

Ukrainian and pro Russian separatists exchanged artillery fire throughout the region north of Donetsk Sunday, while Ukrainian security forces have detained a number of individuals in Donetsk and in Ukraina they claim are spies, according to Russian and English language reports.

Ukrainian artillery units, mostly positioned at the airport, continued firing on targets in Donetsk, including firing on the Kuibyshevsky, Leninsky and Kirovsky districts.

According to a report in the pro Russian Voice of Sevastopol, militia counterbattery fire has killed a number of Ukrainian troops including nine from the Ukrainian territorial Defense Battalion Dnepr, while a "Right Sector" volunteer unit has lost half its strength. Militia say that a unit of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade has lost "several dozen" effectives.

Pro Russian militias say that civilian casualties in Donetsk are at least 20 dead.

An observer group from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe came under Ukrainian mortar fire while in Donetsk. One of the vehicles was destroyed by fire. Donetsk Defense Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko reportedly claimed that the mortar unit was subsequently destroyed along with its fire control observer.

Further to the north of Donetsk increased activity by both sides was reported as Ukrainian forces are said to have tripled their number at the airport.

Militias also say that Ukrainian artillery fire from Zhdanovka hit the Khanzhonkovo district in Makeyevka.

Pro Russian militias say that fighting has taken place near Debaltsevo, and near the village Krasny Partizan and Zhdanovka between Gorlovka and Makeyevka. This area has been a severe point of contention between both forces as late last month when a Ukrainian unit attempted to take the area by storm, but instead was stopped.

Militias claim they have a Ukrainian military unit surrounded in the area.

Pro Ukrainian sources claim that pro Russian militias are preparing attacks in the region. According to Ukrainian military blogger Roman Burko, militias are marshaling forces near Gorlovka for an attack towards Dzerzhynsk. A separate attack is reportedly due to take place by militias towards Debaltsevo and Bakhmutivka.

A Ukrainian military unit identified as the Ukrainian 25th Brigade currently holds the area around Zhdanovka, which prevents, according to Burko, militias from unmolested maneuvers in the area. An attack on this unit would resolve the militia's problem.

Ukrainian security forces claim to have captured a number of spies and saboteurs in and around Donetsk.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained three individuals they say were conducting reconnaissance on Ukrainian deployments near the town of Volnovakha, which is between Donetsk and Mariupol. The three detainees were reportedly part of a Donetsk special forces unit called OPLOT. Arms and ammunition were also seized in the arrest.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained three individuals, one Russian and four Ukrainians, they say were operating under the direction of Donetsk officials and officials from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

According to official Ukrainian information, the three are suspected of planning attacks on Ukrainian forces in Mariupol.

The detainees were identified as R.A. Aniskin, Russian, “C” Ukrainian, and a third individual who was not identified, but was apparently tied to Donetsk government officials.

The raid also netted four AK-74 rifles, four RPO-A “Shmel” rocket launchers, three RPG-22 grenade launchers and two mines with detonators.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained three individuals suspected of planning a guerrilla cell against Ukrainian forces. According to the news released, published by Burko, the group was to have five cells, and had invited trainers from the Russian Federation for help. None of the detainees were identified.

Chris Covert writes about foreign military issues for He can be reached at

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