Timeline of the war in Donbass (January–March 2015)

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This is a timeline of the War in Donbass, from 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2015. The timeline follows an ongoing conflict between Ukraine and anti-government pro-Russian separatists allegedly supported by Russian troops in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

January[edit]

1 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the past 24 hours in the Donbass region. Separatist troops fired 23 times on Ukrainian positions during the same period.[1] Pro-Russian militias carried out small arms shootings and mortar attacks on the villages of Trokhizbenka, Nyzhnje, Avdiivka, Chermalyk, Nikyshyne, Petrovsky, Maiorsk and Shumiv.[2]

One civilian was reported killed and two wounded when mortar rounds landed in Chernukhin. Two civilian residences were destroyed.[3] One of the civilians injured was later reported dead by local authorities, one soldier was also wounded.[4]

Rebel forces attacked 12 times during the day according to the Ukrainian military, specially around Debaltseve pocket. Most incidents took place in Debaltseve, Chernukhin, Hranitne, Zolote, Pisky, Staryi Aidar and Popasna. Chernukhin and Zolote were hit by "Grad" rocket fire. Ukrainian troops shot down a drone near Volnovakha.[5]

2 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and five wounded over the past 24 hours.[6] Pro-Russian media reported one militiaman, one security guard and one civilian killed. Nine people were wounded.[7] Rebel militias attacked Ukrainian positions on 16 occasions overnight. The separatists used small arms, mortars, automatic grenade launchers and artillery to target Donetsk airport, Chernukhin, Stari Aidar, Popasna, Vuhlehirsk, Chermalik, Poltavske mining complex, Leninsky and Olenivka. "Grad" rockets landed in Zolote and Olkhovatka.[8] The separatist reported that Ukrainian troops violated the truce on more than 20 occasions.[7]

Ukrainian analyst Dmitry Tymchuk reported single tank incursions around Trokhizbenka, a tactic the rebels used previously against Donetsk airport. According to him, single pro-Russian tanks supported by scouts and mortar fire to suppress antitank weapons shoot three or four rounds on a target before shifting its firing positions in order to attack the objective repeatedly.[9]

The Ukrainian military denounced 13 attacks by separatist forces in the course of the day. Pro-Russian forces fired small arms on Ukrainian soldiers in Chermalik, Chernukhin and Donetsk airport. At Chermalik Ukrainian troops were pinned down by a sniper firing a large caliber rifle from nearby Tavrychevske. There was mortar fire in Debaltseve, Novohryhorivka and Maiorsk. Rebel artillery was active in Krimsky and Troitske, while "Grad" rockets landed in Hnutove.[10]

3 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in the Donbass region over the past 24 hours.[11] Separatist militias opened fire on Ukrainian positions on eight occasions using small arms, mortars, rocket propelled grenades and artillery during the same period. The militias harassed Ukrainian troops at Sokolniki, Donetsk airport, Pisky, Nikyshyne, Olkhovatka, Redkodub and Chermalik.[12]

Pro-Russian scouts in snow camouflage suits executed harassing fire on Ukraine's 92nd brigade positions near Stanytsia Luhanska using automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.[13]

After midday Ukrainian authorities recorded nine rebel attacks on Ukrainian troops firing small arms, rocket propelled grenades, multiple rocket launchers and mortars. The main incidents took place in Donetsk airport, Nikyshyne, Sokolniki, Opytne, Novoselivka, Maryinka, Novomihailivka and Stanytsia Luhanska.[14]

4 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in action over the last 24 hours.[15] The Ukrainian military recorded ten separatist attacks on their troops on the same period. The militias fired small arms, rocket propelled grenades, antitank missiles and artillery on Donetsk airport, Nikyshyne, Novo Aidar, Bohdanivka and Orlov. "Grad" rockets landed in the village of Hnutove.[16] Luhansk Governor Hennadiy Moskal reported a mortar attack on Stanytsia Luhanska last night, and exchange of machine gun and small arms fire in the morning between militants and Ukrainian troops.[17] Pro-Russian sources recorded 16 Ukrainian attacks during the past 24 hours using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, tanks and artillery.[18]

Rebel forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 22 occasions after midday using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and tanks. Maryinka, Donetsk airport, Donetsk city, Krasnohoryvka, Opytne, Severne, Zolote, Nikyshyne, Chernukhin and Krimsky were the main flashpoints.[19]

Ukrainian media reported that antitank missiles were launched on Popasna by rebel troops.[20] Heavy shelling was also witnessed by local residents in Donetsk city, where militias entrenched around the train station fired "Gvozdika" howitzer salvos on the airport. "Uragan" or "Smerch" artillery rockets were launched from Shchehlovskoho cemetery. Fourteen civilians were injured.[21] Rebel media claimed that Ukrainian tanks burst onto the nearby village of Trudovske.[22]

5 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action over the past 24 hours.[23] Militias targeted Ukrainian forces on ten occasions[24] overnight using small arms, mortars, tanks and artillery.[23] The main incidents took place in Pisky, Novotoshkivske, Starohnativka, Orlov-Ivanovka, Hranitne, Maloorlivka and Redkodub. In Starohnativka and Hranitne the Ukrainian troops returned fire.[23][24]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire ten times on Ukrainian positions in the course of the day with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, artillery and tanks. There were incidents in Zolote, Mirne, Chermalik, Donetskiy, Nikyshyne and Pisky.[25] Rebel troops claimed that they captured seven Ukrainian servicemen when riding back from the front on a Gaz-66 truck at a checkpoint in Olenivka, south of Donetsk city.[26][27]

At least 12 members of Ukraine's National Guard were killed and more than 20 injured when military trucks collided with their bus in bad weather. The soldiers were part of a troops' rotation at the time of the accident.[28][29][30][31][32]

6 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded by hostile fire in the Donbass over the past 24 hours.[33] During his daily briefing at Kiev, spokesman Andriy Lysenko also confirmed that seven Ukrainian soldiers were taken prisoner by pro-Russian forces near Donetsk city.[34] The Ukrainian military denounced that the militias broke the ceasefire on 11 instances overnight using small arms, mortars and artillery. The militias targeted Ukrainian troops around Maryinka, Donetsk airport, Pisky, Shumy, Nikyshyne, Kamyanka and Poltavske coal mine.[35] Pro-Russian media recorded eight truce violations for the same period in Oktyabriske and Komsomolets Donbasu coal mines, Nikyshyne and around Donetsk airport.[36]

During the day separatist troops opened fire on 16 occasions on Ukrainian positions with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and artillery.[37] Rebel media, meanwhile, reported Ukrainian mortar and artillery fire near the settlements of Sokolniki, Znamenka, Slavyanoserbsk, Vesela Hora and Stanytsia Luhanska.[38] Fighting also resumed at Donetsk airport, where pro-Russian positions were fired at from Pisky.[39]

7 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and another wounded over the last 24 hours.[40] The militias fired on Ukrainian troops on 15 occasions overnight using small arms, automatic grenade launchers, mortars and artillery. The main targets were Hranitne, Pisky, Taramchuk, Vodiane, Opytne, Donetsk airport, Chernukhin, Petrovsky, Olkhovatka and Redkodub. Ukrainian troops clashed with enemy scouts near Starolaspa, killing two militiamen and scattering the survivors.[41] Some Ukrainian army units attended local churches in the front to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.[42] Separatist media also reported artillery engagements during Orthodox Christmas Eve in Debaltseve pocket, Dzherzinsky, Horlivka, Yenakievo and Vuhlehirsk.[43] Two civilian residences were damaged by shelling in Donetsk city.[44]

On Christmas Day, pro-Russian forces hit Ukrainian positions in eight locations with sniper, mortar, artillery and "Grad" rocket fire, according to the Ukrainian military. The militias attacked Popasna, Zolote, Orlov-Ivanivka, Nikyshyne and Donetsk airport. "Grad" artillery rockets landed in Pisky and Nyzhnje.[45][46] Meanwhile, separatist officials reported ten attacks around Donetsk city at noon. Rebel troops at Oktyabrskaya coal mine were targeted by mortar rounds and rocket propelled grenades from Pisky, while pro-Russian positions at Spartak were shelled by Ukrainian tanks from Avdiivka. The new terminal of Donetsk airport was hit by small arms, mortars and antitank missiles.[47] The Minister of Defence of the Donetsk People's Republic recorded eight Ukrainian attacks on rebel militias by evening.[48] Ukrainian artillery from Olkhovatka shelled rebel-held Yenakievo, mortars landed on separatist positions around Staromyhailivka and Ukrainian tanks fired on pro-Russian troops in northwest Horlivka.[49]

8 January[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action during the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[50] Separatist militias fired on eight occasions on Ukrainian troops during the same period,[51] while separatist authorities denounced 18 Ukrainian ceasefire violations on Christmas late evening.[52] The militias used mortars, artillery and "Grad" rockets to attack Ukrainian outposts around Vodiane, Donetsk airport, Pisky, Tonenke and Kamyanka.[51] The Ukrainian army fired small arms, automatic grenade launchers, tanks and artillery.[53] Ukrainian spokesman Andriy Lysenko claimed that the rebels launched "Uragan" artillery rockets in the Donbass for the first time in months.[54]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 16 instances since midday mostly with heavy weapons such as mortars, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The rebels targeted military posts around Donetsk airport, Avdiivka, Pisky, Berezove, Tonenke, Opytne, Krimsky and Orlivka.[55]

9 January[edit]

According to the spokesman of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Information-Analytical Center Andriy Lysenko, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and eight wounded over the last 24 hours.[56][57] Rebel militias opened fire with heavy weapons on Ukrainian positions on 34 occasions. The separatists fired small arms, mortars, artillery and "Grad" artillery rockets. The attacks focused on Donetsk airport, Vesele, Tonenke, Opytne, Maryinka, Avdiivka, Hnutove, Novotoshkovka, Pavlopil, Raihorodka, Oktyabrisky, Nikyshyne, Krasnohorivka, Kryakovka, Redkodub and Krimsky.[58] Donetsk city council reported two civilian residents killed and seven injured as a result of heavy shelling over the districts of Kiev, Kirov, Kuybishev and Petrovsky.[59]

Luhansk Oblast Governor Hennadiy Moskal stated that the shelling of Ukrainian controlled parts of the Luhansk region had become much more intense since yesterday.[60]

After midday, pro-Russian forces carried out 24 attacks on Ukrainian troops. The separatist used small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars tanks, artillery, antitank missiles and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The main incidents took place in Stanytsia Luhanska, Shchastya, Nikyshyne, Donetsk airport, Pisky, Severne, Maryinka and Hranitne.[61] Heavy fighting erupted near Stanytsia Luhanska between the Ukrainian National Guard and rebel militias. Two guards were killed and eight wounded in the clashes, which lasted for two hours. The militias fired "Grad" rockets in the aftermath.[61][62]

10 January[edit]

Two Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action and another 20 wounded on the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine.[63] The Ukrainian military recorded 14 separatist attacks on their troops over the same period. The rebels fired small arms, rocket propelled grenades, antiaircraft cannons, tank guns and artillery on Donetsk airport, Pisky, Maryinka, Hirske, Maiorsk, Leninsky, Kryakivka, Orlov-Ivanovka, Berezove, Shchastya and Sokolniki.[64]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 34 occasions on Ukrainian positions using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, tanks, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The main targets were Donetsk airport, Berezove, Bohdanivka, Avdiivka, Kamyanka, Taramchuk, Slavne, Doslidne, Vodiane, Severne, Maryinka, Tonenke, Novotroitske, Chernukhin, Nikyshyne, Nyzhnje, Sokolniki, Krimsky and Redkodub.[65]

Two women and a girl from the same family were killed in the village of Kryakivka, Luhansk Oblast, when rebel militias fired "Grad" rockets on the settlement. A rebel tank and several militiamen attempted to scare off detectives working at the crime scene. The separatist fired small arms at the policemen, but were eventually repelled by 12 members of the battalions "Aidar" and "Kiev".[66]

11 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and another ten wounded during the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[67] Separatist troops fired 18 times on Ukrainian outposts during the same period using heavy weapons like artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The rebels also fired automatic grenade launchers and mortars. The attacks focused on Novotoshkivske, Nikyshyne, Chernukhin, Oziryanivka, Shchastya power station, Trokhizbenka, Novomihailivka, Donetsk airport, Pisky, Krimsky and Kryakivka.[68] Conversely, pro-Russian sources accused the Ukrainian army of 45 violations of the ceasefire overnight.[69] Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that six wounded soldiers were successfully evacuated from Donetsk airport.[70]

After midday, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 41 occasions on Ukrainian positions with small arms, mortars, rocket propelled grenades, antitank missiles, tank guns, artillery and "Grad" rockets. The rebels attacked Doslidne, Tonenke, Vodiane, Pisky, Hranitne, Avdiivka, Zolote, Mirne, Orlov-Ivanivka, Nikyshyne, Krimsky, Redkodub, Chermalik, Chernukhin and Kryakivka. Separatist media said Ukrainian troops shelled Donetsk city and launched offensives on Stanytsia Luhanska and Bakhmutka road.[71] The same sources said that their troops in Horlivka endured six hours of "Uragan" and "Smerch" rocket fire launched from Artemivsk and Dzherzinsky.[72]

Two industrial plants were damaged by artillery fire in Donetsk city and in nearby Avdiivka. In Donetsk, 364 workers were trapped inside "Zasyatko" coal mine after a shell hit a power subestation, disabling four boilers and 63 transformers.[73] Meanwhile, Avdiivka Coke Plant was repeatedly struck by artillery rounds that affected the fourth and the sixth floors of the main building and the coke and hydrodesulfurization compounds.[74]

12 January[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action over the past 24 hours.[75] Separatist militias broke the truce 63 times on the same period firing mortars, antitank missiles, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The militias pounded Donetsk airport, Avdiivka, Tonenke, Pisky, Opytne, Hranitne, Uglegorsk, Leninsky, Hnutove, Nikyshyne and Otradivka.[76] Rebel sources claimed that Cossack troops took over the village of Novotoshkivske, but this was dismissed as a hoax by Luhansk Oblast Governor Hennadiy Moskal.[77] Separatist Prime Minister of Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko claimed his fighters had killed and wounded some 200 Ukrainian soldiers in the past 24 hours.[78]

The Ukrainian National Security Council established seven checkpoints around the rebel-controlled territories in order to monitor the movement of people and goods.[79]

Pro-Russian troops carried out 58 attacks on Ukrainian positions since mid-morning using heavy weapons such as mortarts, tanks, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. The militias targeted Ukrainian outposts in 29 settlements, among them Chermalik, Hnutove, Krasnohorivka, Opytne, Pisky, Hranitne, Shchastya and Donetsk airport.[80]

It was learned that the Security Service of Ukraine had captured the week before a 19-year-old female sniper accused of the death of ten Ukrainian soldiers.[81]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated during a Moscow press conference "There is information, very alarming information" that Ukrainian forces were preparing to launch a new military offensive.[78] Head of the parliamentary committee on national security and defense of the Ukrainian parliament Serhiy Pashynsky stated that "We have the information that the terrorist groups and Russian (army) exceeded the size of Ukrainian military. It happened for the first time".[78]

Rebels and Ukraine accused each other of intensifying the fighting.[78]

13 January[edit]

Video of BM-21 Grad explosions near the bus filmed on a car dashcam in Volnovakha

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and ten wounded over the past 24 hours.[82] Separatist militias opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 84 occasions, more that any single day before the December truce. Eleven settlements were hit by hostile fire, according to the Ukrainian military.[83] The control tower of Donetsk airport collapsed after several days of heavy shelling.[84][85] Mortar attacks on Shchastya killed one civilian and injured two Ukrainian policemen overnight.[86] Rebel artillery and multiple rocket launchers fired ten times on Ukrainian positions around Nyzhnje, Shchastya, Stanitsya Luhanska and Krimsky, in Luhansk Oblast.[87]

At least 13 civilians were killed and 15 injured,[88] after a "Grad" artillery rocket[89] exploded near passenger bus at Buhas roadblock near Volnovakha.[85][90][91][92][93] Initially separatists took responsibility for this incident, which they thought was a successful destruction of the Ukrainian roadblock. After the information about civilian bus hit the news, they denied having "even technical possibilities" to shell that area.[94] OSCE experts inspecting the place of incident confirmed that it was caused by "rockets fired from a north-north-eastern direction".[95] which coincides with the earlier analyses pointed to Dokuchaevsk as the shelling origin (the actual launching process was also allegedly filmed by local residents).[96]

Pro-Russian forces fired upon Ukrainian troops around the Donbass 57 times since 6 p.m. using tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. The rebels targeted Ukrainian outposts on 26 locations,[97] among them Donetsk airport and several settlements in Debaltseve pocket, such as Nikyshyne, Orlov-Ivanivka, Redkodub, Kamyanka, Olkhovatka and Yunokomunarivsk. Around Donetsk city there were incidents in Pisky, Avdiivka, Tonenke, Opytne, Maryinka, Hranitne, Zorya and Novokalinovo.[98] The airport defenders lost one-third of the new terminal's area,[99] after fierce fighting there left six Ukrainian soldiers wounded.[100] The rebel bombardment on the airfield died down by late evening.[101]

Another civilian — this time a two-year-old girl — was killed by pro-Russian shelling in the village of Hranitne.[102]

14 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and 17 wounded in the Donbass region on the last 24 hours.[103] Rebel troops launched 75 attacks on Ukrainian positions during the same period. Besides Donetsk airport and surrounding areas, where the militias launched another large offensive, the separatists attacked the villages of Staromihailivka, Taranchuk, Arkhanhelske, Tonenke, Maloorlivka, Leninsky, Shchastya, Maryinka, Pisky and Olenivka.[104] The militias used the TOS-1 thermobaric multiple rocket launcher for the first time since the beginning of the conflict against the village of Vesele.[105] A bomb attack on a "Ural" truck left two Ukrainian soldiers wounded in Teple, Luhansk Oblast, well inside Ukrainian-held territory.[106]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian troops on 85 occasions during the day. The rebel offensive on Donetsk airport continued during the morning.[107] Mortar rounds fell on a school and local residences in nearby Avdiivka, where separatist tanks killed one civilian and wounded another two. Other places hit by hostile fire were Novokalinovo, Opytne, Tonenke, Orlivka, Trokhizbenka, Krimsky, Orlov-Ivanivka, Mius, Redkodub, Kamyanka, Nikyshyne and Mohyla Ostraya. There were 12 "Grad" attacks on Ukrainian outposts.[108]

15 January[edit]

According to the spokesman of the NSDC Information-Analytical Center Andriy Lysenko, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and six wounded over the last 24 hours. Ukrainian positions were fired on 129 occasions and, according to colonel Lysenko, this was a record for this year.[109][110] The attacks focused on Donetsk airport, were a major offensive was underway, Pisky, Tonenke, Krasnohorivka, and Bohdanivka. In the northern front — Luhansk Oblast— the rebels targeted Kryakovka, Verkhnya Vilkhova, Trokhizbenka, Stanitsya Luhanska, Krimsky.[111] Pro-Russian media claimed that the bulk of the Ukrainian defenders had withdrew from Donetsk airport.[112]

The European Parliament condemned "the acts of terrorism and criminal behaviour committed by the separatists and other irregular forces in Eastern Ukraine", calling for holding the sanctions against Russia until it stops its "aggressive and expansionist policy".[113]

From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian troops 40 times using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, flamethrowers,[114] tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers, specially around Donetsk airport. The rebels launched a major assault on the new terminal,[115] killing two Ukrainian paratroopers and wounding seven, according to Ukrainian sources.[114] The nearby villages of Pisky, Avdiivka and Tonenke were also the subject of heavy shelling.[116] Other areas under attack were Krimsky, Sokolniki, Trokhizbenka, Shchastya, and Smile.[115]

16 January[edit]

Ruins of the New Terminal filmed by Pravda DPR, 16 January

Six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 18 wounded in action over the past 24 hours.[117][118] Separatist forces launched 82 attacks on Ukrainian positions on the same period using mortars, artillery and "Grad" rockets. Rebel shelling targeted Donetsk airport, Pisky, Tonenke, Shchastya, Krimsky, Stari Aidar, Trokhizbenka and Frunze.[119] One civilian was killed and three wounded by artillery fire in Avdiivka.[120] Pro-Russian sources claimed that four civilians were killed and six injured by heavy shelling on Donetsk city.[121] Meanwhile, the OSCE mission dennounced 138 violations of the ceasefire between 15 and 16 January, 64 carried out by Ukrainian forces and 74 by the militias.[122]

There were 37 attacks on Ukrainian troops since 6 a.m.[123] The pro-Russian offensive on Donetsk airport continued into the day. One Ukrainian paratrooper was killed and eleven wounded. The rebels launched tear gas grenades to support their assault.[124][125] Heavy fighting around Hranitne killed another soldier and injured four, among them a doctor. One of the soldiers and the physician were members of the "Azov" battalion. The separatists used tanks and artillery. Hostile fire died down by 8 p.m.[126] Other settlements targeted by the militias were Maryinka, Pisky, Tonenke, Opytne, Shchastya, Krimsky, Trokhizbenka, Orlov-Ivanivka and Nikolaevka.[127] At Nikolaevka, north of Mariupol, four Ukrainian servicemen were wounded when their position was hit by mortars, antitank guns and artillery. Rebel shelling on nearby Pavlopil stop when Ukrainian artillery returned fire.[128]

17 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 18 wounded in the Donbass region over the last 24 hours.[129] There were 82 attacks on Ukrainian positions on the same period. The main incidents took place in Donetsk airport, Pisky, Tonenke, Debaltseve, Kamyanka, Popasna, Redkodub, Nizhneteple, Krimsky and Shchastya.[130] A bomb attack was carried out against a checkpoint at Stanitsya Luhanska, when a soldier was given a honey box containing a booby trap by a motorist. One soldier was killed and three wounded.[131]

Shelling of the Donetsk Airport area by separatists significantly increased and as result of a significant push forward their forces effectively surrounded the government forces, cutting supply and enforcement lines. The situation was described as "critical".[132] Communication lines with government forces were also reportedly cut by Russian electronic warfare units operating in the area. In response, Ukrainian forces began a counter-offensive with a number of tanks entering suburbs of Donetsk during the night and morning of 18 January.[133]

Since 6 a.m., pro-Russian forces fired on 43 instances on Ukrainian troops. The militias used antitank missiles, tanks, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers to pound Ukrainian outposts at Trokhizbenka, Novokalinovo, Avdiivka, Opytne, Pisky, Hranitne, Maryinka, Tonenke, Popasna, Zaitsev and Krimsky.[134]

18 January[edit]

Ukrainian headquarters announced that the facilities of the "airport were fully cleared of separatists" with four soldiers killed and 32 wounded in the Donbass area.[135] The same source recorded 69 ceasefire violations by rebel militias. The main incidents took place in Donetsk airport, Krimsky, Shchastya, Trokhizbenka, Opytne, Pisky, Tonenke, Nikolaevka, Maryinka and Maiorsk. The separatists fired mortars, artillery and "Grad" rockets. Hand-to-hand fighting was reported in Maryinka and Maiorsk.[136]

Two Ukrainian soldiers and two civilian were killed in the northern front when Cossack units of the "Great Don Army" fired "Grad" artillery rockets on Trokhizbenka, Shchastya and Popasna.[137] Over the day heavy fighting continued in the airport area and Debaltseve pocket.[138]

Separatist media reported that their forces drove back the Ukrainian tank offensive on the district of Putilov. Three of the tanks were damaged by artillery fire.[139] A key highway overpass at Putilov was later blown up by the militias.[140] The same rebel sources claimed that Ukrainian Su-25s launched two airstrikes over Maryinka and Petrivka using air-to-ground rockets.[141]

Pro-Russian troops opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 63 occasions throughout the day. The militias targeted Bohdanivka, Uglegorsk, Krasnohorivka, Kryakivka, Lenin, Nikolaevka, Novotoshkivka, Novhorod, Novotroitske, Alexandrov, Orlov-Ivanivka, Petrivsky, Slavyanoserbsk, Smile, Starohnativka, Tonenke, Frunze, Krimsky, Heivka, Pisky, Vodiane, Novokalinovo, Odradivka, Chermalik, Nyzhnje, Stanitsya Luhanska, Troitske, Chernukhin, Trokhizbenka and Pervomaisk.[142] Donetsk republic sources said that their army launched a counter-offensive on Ukrainian troops entrenched in Avdiivka and Pisky.[143]

Yuri Biryukov explained that Ukrainian side has been keeping low profile so far and on many occasions proved that it is interested in holding the truce, but it now also had to demonstrate that it can also "punch teeth out" if necessary.[144] One group of Ukrainian paratroopers was reported to be advancing to outskirts of Donetsk and getting involved in occasional fire exchanges with separatists. Journalists close to the Ukrainian headquarters ironically commented that the unit perhaps "has lost its orientation" and advanced to Donetsk "by mistake", mocking the rationale earlier given by Russian government for presence of Russian paratroopers in Ukraine.[145]

19 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 66 wounded in the Donbass region over the last 24 hours.[146]

"Grad" shelling by separatists from Horlivka targeted at Debaltseve was confirmed by OSCE observers based on unexploded ordnances remains. The shelling covered area of 1 km2 and resulted in death of three civilians and 12 wounded. The mission also observed buildings destroyed by incoming artillery fire in Donetsk and Luhansk, but was unable to establish shelling direction.[147]

Separatists broke the truce on 99 occasions overnight. The militias fired rocket propelled grenades, mortars, antitank missiles, artillery and "Grad" rockets on Ukrainian troops in Makarove, Sokolniki, Krasnohorivka, Tonenke, Troitske, Popasna, Chermalik, Talakivka, Krimsky, Shchastya, Trokhizbenka, Stanitsya Luhanska, Pisky, Kirov, Hnutove and Nyzhnje.[148] Pro-Russian authorities claimed their troops had taken over the village of Pisky.[149]

The Ukrainian military recorded at least 34 instances of attacks on Ukrainian positions throughout the day. Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, antitank missiles, mortars, tanks, artillery and "Grad" rockets around Donetsk airport, Avdiivka, Hranitne, Tonenke, Novomihailivka, Bohdanivka, Krasnohorivka, Slavne, Pisky, Debaltseve, Tsentraliy, Leninske, Nikolaevka, Hnutove, Chermalik, Krimsky and Stanitsya Luhanska.[150]

One Ukrainian "cyborg" — the nickname of the Ukrainian paratroopers defending Donetsk airport — was killed and ten wounded during the renewed rebel offensive on the new terminal,[151] where the roof of the second floor collapsed after being blown up by the militias.[152] Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded around Mariupol when separatist troops pounded their entrenchments with mortars, automatic grenade launchers, antitank missiles and artillery. The Ukrainian side returned fire.[153] Ukrainian media reported six Ukrainian soldiers killed as result of the intense bombardment of Debaltseve by pro-Russian artillery.[154]

20 January[edit]

Nineteen Ukrainian soldiers were wounded over the past 24 hours, according to Ukrainian military officials.[155] The civilian administration of Donetsk Oblast said that six people were killed and 55 wounded, including both civilian and military casualties.[156] Separatist militias launched 102 attacks on Ukrainian positions during the same period using rocket propelled grenades, mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. The rebels targeted Stanitsya Luhanska, Krimsky, Verkhnya Vilkhova, Trokhizbenka, Sanzharivka, Donetskiy, Heivka, Pervomaisk, Pisky, Shchastya, Mironovsky, Smile, Novhorod, Maryinka, Krasnohorivka, Tonenke and other settlements.[157]

Pro-Russian forces supported by tanks and artillery launched a large offensive on Bakhmutka road, taking over checkpoint № 31, north of Frunze, and threatening checkpoint nº 29 to the west.[158] The main objective of the rebel operation was to isolate Krimsky. The village of Zholobok was overrun by what the Ukrainian forces described as "Russian troops".[159] At least two Ukrainian soldiers died in the assault, according to commander Semen Semenchenko.[158] Ukrainian officials and soldiers on the ground insisted that the attack was carried out "not by separatists or Cossacks, but by Russians".[158][159]

In Donetsk airport, rebel militias stormed the ground and second floors of the new terminal building. Ukrainian troops continued to hold out on the first floor of the building until the separatists blew up the second floor, causing it to collapse onto them. Several soldiers were killed or trapped in the rubble.[160]

Ukrainian Presidential advisor Yuriy Biryukov reported that a military convoy became stranded in the fog and was ambushed by the militias while attempting to reach Donetsk airport. between eight and eleven Ukrainian servicemen were captured and an undetermined number killed.[161][162]

Since 6:00 a.m. the Ukrainian army recorded 45 attacks against Ukrainian troops. Besides Donetsk airport and Bakhmutka road, the rebels shelled Debaltseve, Nikyshyne, Maloorlivka, Uglegorsk, Kamyanka, Vesele, Avdiivka, Pisky, Opytne, Hranitne and Tonenke. The village of Zorya, near Mariupol, was hit by "Grad" artillery rockets.[163]

21 January[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and 40 wounded in action over the past 24 hours.[164] The militias launched 76 attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight.[165] Fighting continued on Bakhmutka road, where the Ukrainian military was trying to curb the rebel offensive on checkpoints nº 29 and nº 31. Pro-Russian tanks pounded Ukrainian positions near Donetskiy last evening,[166] and checkpoint nº 29 was heavily shelled all night. Dozens of civilian residences were damaged at Krimsky, which endured an intense "Grad" rocket attack.[167] Armoured vehicles attempted an assault on Ukrainian checkpoints nº 517 and nº 717 near Horlivka, but were repulsed with severe casualties.[168]

From 6:00 a.m. to 6 p.m., pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 72 occasions.[169] The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense acknowledged that an indeterminate number of Ukrainian paratroopers were killed in action or taken prisoner in the course of heavy fighting at Donetsk airport. They also reported artillery and "Grad" rocket fire on Avdiivka, Pisky and Tonenke and clashes near Maryinka.[170] The militias resumed their attacks in the area of Mariupol. The main target were Ukrainian outposts at Hnutove, fired at eight times with mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Small arms fire was reported near Chermalik and Talakivka, and mortar rounds fell on Ukrainian troops at Pavlopil and Pervomaisk.[171] The villages of Uglegorsk, Bulavyne and Olkhovatka, in Debaltseve pocket, were under intense fire.[172] At Stanitsya Luhanska, the main bridge on the Seversky Donets was blown up by the rebels.[173] Fierce fighting continued on Bakhmutka road throughout the day, where the militants used heavy artillery and tanks.[174] The nearby village of Krimsky was hit again by "Grad" rockets, and three civilian residences were set on fire.[167]

One civilian woman was killed and a man injured in Zolote when four "Grad" rocket salvos landed in the village.[175]

22 January[edit]

Aftermath of trolleybus being hit with a mortar in Donetsk, killing 15 civilians and wounding 20

Ten Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and other 16 or 19 were wounded over the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[176][177] Among the dead were six Ukrainian paratroopers killed during a rebel assault on Donetsk airport. Other 16 paratroopers were taken prisoner.[178][179] An OSCE report said that 80 Ukrainian defenders of the airport, treated at a hospital in Konstyantynivka, showed symptoms compatible with a poison gas attack, such as convulsions, vomits, dyspnea and loss of consciousness.[180] The Ukrainian army acknowledged that their forces withdrew from the old and the new terminals of Donetsk airport, but kept control of the airfield and its surroundings.[181]

A Dnipro-2 battalion's spokesman released a report claiming that Ukrainian partisans blew up a train carrying coal to Russia in Krasna Mohyla station, near Sverdlovsk.[182]

On 8:40 am several shells exploded in Donetsk at 42 Kuprina Street (south-south-west from the city center), a highly populated place during peak hours, immediately killing seven people on a trolleybus and in a car nearby. Members of the OSCE SMM mission observed craters suggesting "a mortar or an artillery piece" being fired from a "north-western direction".[183] By late evening, the death toll reached 15, with 20 injured.[184]

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that the Ukrainian armoured forces had prevailed in what he described as "tank battles". Poroshenko claimed that three rebel tanks and two trucks loaded with ammunition were destroyed, and several armoured personnel carriers and fighting vehicles captured.[185] The Ukrainian military had reported a "tank duel" near the village of Krimsky at 10 a.m.[186] Earlier, Semen Semenchenko said that members of the Ukrainian 24th Mechanized Brigade knocked down at least three enemy tanks on Bakhmutka road, in the area of checkpoint nº 31. Another tank was disabled by a recoilless rifle while attempting to overrun checkpoint nº 29.[187] Further efforts to surround the Ukrainian position were hampered by the icy roads. The nearby village of Toshkivka was hit by artillery fire from Stankhanov.[188]

A nine-year-old boy was killed, his elder brother and his grandmother wounded when the village of Maryinka, southwest of Donetsk, was shelled by rebel forces.[189]

23 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 50 wounded on the last 24 hours.[190] Separatist troops fired on Ukrainian positions on 115 occasions.[191] Three civilians were killed after heavy shelling in Debaltseve pocket, two in Mironovsky[192] and one in Debaltseve itself. The intense bombardment also left the town of Debaltseve without power. The same happened at Avdiivka and Maryinka.[193] The Ukrainian government announced that they will investigate the presumed use of chemical weapons by pro-Russian forces during the assault on Donetsk airport on 16 January, as reported by the OSCE mission.[194]

Intense fighting continued on Bakhmutka road. Ukrainian sources said that checkpoint nº 31, abandoned by Ukrainian troops after the pro-Russian offensive, remained unmanned and under heavy artillery fire from the Ukrainian side.[195][196] Rebel artillery in the area shelled Krimsky, Trokhizbenka, Novotoshkivka and Nyzhnje. Shchastya, Valuiske and other settlements were attacked with tanks and mortar fire. Anti-aircraft guns were fired on Ukrainian outposts around Krimsky. An assault on Ukrainian positions at Novotoshkivka was beaten off by artillery fire.[197]

The Ukrainian army claimed that a rebel armoured column was driven off with severe losses between Opytne and Vodiane. The Ukrainians claimed that 50 militants were killed, five others taken prisoners, four tanks knocked down and two artillery pieces and a number of armoured vehicles captured.[198]

The main pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko, said his troops are on the offensive and he does not want truce talks with Kiev.[199][200] As he also threatened that he will give an order "not to take any prisoners", the Russian Memorial human rights organisation condemned his statement.[201]

Rebel militias claimed the capture of the village of Krasny Partizan, where they killed four Ukrainian servicemen[202] and made ten prisoners.[203]

Despite retreating from the airport Ukrainian forces continued to shell the facility. On 23 January Russian separatists reported 24 troops killed at the airport by a multiple rocket attack. On 24 January Ukrainian forces carried out another strike on the airport and took 10 separatist troops prisoner near the airport.[204][205]

24 January[edit]

Burnt civilian vehicle from Mariupol after the rocket attack, exhibition in Kiev

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and 20 wounded over the past 24 hours. Pro-Russian forces used grenade launchers, mortars, tanks, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers to pound Ukrainian positions around Donetsk city, in Luhansk Oblast and in Debaltseve pocket. Checkpoint nº 29, near Novotoshkivka, was the target of "Grad" rockets, mortars and artillery on ten occasions.[206] The Ukrainian military reported 27 attacks on their troops overnight.[207]

At least 30 civilians were killed in a morning attack against eastern outskirts of Mariupol.

25 January[edit]

Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 17 wounded on the last 24 hours.[208][209] The Ukrainian military recorded 103 attacks on their troops overnight.[210] Only in Luhansk Oblast, pro-Russian militias fired 44 times against Ukrainian outpost, specially along Bakhmutka road. The main incidents took place on Shchastya, Popasna, Novotoshkivka, Krimsky, Troitske and Stanitsya Luhanska. One civilian was killed in Troitske when Cossacks from the "Great Don Army" launched a mortar attack; another civilian was killed by "Grad" rockets at Popasna.[211] A married couple was also killed at Stanitsya Luhanska. Heavy shelling continued on the town of Debaltseve, which is still without power. More that 60 houses were damaged or destroyed,[212] while the majority of its residents fled the area.[213]

Elsewhere, separatist forces used sniper fire, grenade launchers, mortars, tanks, artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers against Ukrainian positions at Pervomaisk, Sanzharivka, Nikyshyne, Hranitne, Tonenke, Chernukhin, Chermalik, Hirske and Severne. The rebels attempted to storm Novohryhorivka, but the defenders repelled the attack. Pro-Russian tanks assaulted Sanzharivka, where fierce fighting was still ongoing.[214]

Twenty Ukrainian paratroopers from Donetsk airport remained missing after the rebel stormed the new terminal on 19 January. Ukrainian authorities presumed that some soldiers may be still been trapped in rubble after the collapse of the terminal's roof.[203] Another three civilians were killed at Popasna when the self-styled "Great Don Army" resumed the shelling of the town.[215]

A suicide car bomb attack at a Ukrainian checkpoint near Maryinka killed one soldier and wounded another in the night.[216]

26 January[edit]

Seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 25 wounded in the past 24 hours.[217][218] The Ukrainian military recorded 115 separatists attacks on Ukrainian positions on the same period.[219] The rebels used grenade launchers, mortars, tanks, artillery, and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. Heavy fighting continued around Sanzharivka, in Debaltseve pocket, where the pro-Russian forces launched an offensive supported by tanks on 25 January. The main Ukrainian stronghold there was the target of "Grad" rockets on six occasions.[220] Two people was killed in Stanitsya Luhanska after the town was hit by rebel artillery. Most of its inhabitants had been evacuated.[221] In the same area, pro-Russian armoured columns were trying to cross the river Seversky Donets at different points.[222]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces continued their offensive on Sanzharivka. The militias attempted to storm the Ukrainian positions three times, supported by tanks and artillery. The Ukrainian artillery returned fire. Heavy shelling was reported in other locations around Debaltseve pocket such as Luhanske, Mius, Nikyshyne and Troitske. Around Donetsk airport, mortar and artillery rounds fell on Ukrainian outposts in Avdiivka, Pisky Hranitne and Maryinka. In Luhansk Oblast, the rebels used artillery and multiple rocket launchers to shell the villages of Stanitsya Luhanska, Shchastya, Krimsky and Novotoshkivka. In the area of Mariupol, mortar fire hit the villages of Chermalik and Nikolaevka.[223]

27 January[edit]

According to the spokesman of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Information-Analytical Center polkovnyk Andriy Lysenko nine Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 30 wounded over the last 24 hours.[224][225] There were 120 attacks on Ukrainian positions on the same period.[226] Ukrainian Chief-of-Staff spokesman Vladislav Seleznev said that Ukrainian special forces destroyed six training and transport aircraft and four helicopters under rebel control at an undisclosed location. The planes were two An-2, two Yak-52, one Yak-50 and one L-39, and the helicopters four Mi-24.[227]

Separatist media reported that Cossack troops had tighten their grip around the town of Debaltseve, where they had dug trenches. They fired artillery and small arms fire on Ukrainian troops for the third consecutive day.[228] The militias claimed to have taken over the city of Popasna and the villages of Krasny Pakhar and Lozove, almost closing the gap on Debaltseve pocket.[229][230] Later in the evening, the same sources said that Ukrainian forces were withdrawing from Debaltseve.[231] Ukrainian authorities acknowledged that the situation in Debaltseve pocket was dire, but reported that the troops stood at their positions despite repeated pro-Russian assaults. The Ukrainian stronghold of Sanzharivka endured a four-hour tank attack, and another storming attempt on Redkodub was beaten off at dawn after a 40-minute battle. Other settlements at Debaltseve pocket like Nikyshyne, Luhanske, Troitske and Debaltseve itself were the target of heavy shelling. The Ukrainian artillery returned fire.[232]

The Ukrainian military also reported fresh fighting on Bakhmutka road. Artillery and mortar rounds hit Ukrainian positions around Krimsky, Novotoshkivka and Slavyanoserbsk. The Ukrainian troops fire back. In other areas, Novotroitske and Novohryhorivka were hit by mortar and artillery fire. Mortar rounds also fell on Orlivske, north of Mariupol, while rebel artillery pounded nearby Chermalik.[232]

28 January[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 15 wounded in the past 24 hours; 126 separatist attacks on Ukrainian positions were recorded on the same period.[233][234][235] The worst situation remains in Debaltseve pocket, where the militias amassed 2,500 troops, 35 tanks, 50 armoured vehicles, 50 pieces of artillery and 22 multiple rocket launchers.[236][237] The towns of Chernukhin and Debaltseve itself were hit by mortar and "Grad" rocket fire.[238] The train station in Debaltseve was heavily damaged by the rockets.[239] In the northern front the fight for Bakhmutka road continued unabated. Rebel mortar and artillery fire hit Ukrainian outposts around Sokolniki, Krimsky, Makarove, Shchastya, Vilkhove and Stanitsya Luhanska. Nyzhnje and Teple were the target of "Grad" multiple rocket launchers. Ukrainian forces in the region claimed to have destroyed one tank, one self-propelled gun and one "Nona" self-propelled mortar.[240] In the region around Donetsk, Hranitne, Pisky, Opytne, Maryinka and Slavne were shelled by pro-Russian troops with mortars and artillery. Two rebel assaults were repelled by Ukrainian forces in the area of Pisky, Vodiane and Novobakhmutivka.[238]

Without power, gas and water supply for the ninth consecutive day,[241] the residents of Debaltseve were on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.[242] Six people were killed and 12 wounded over the last 48 hours in Horlivka, as a result of heavy fighting in the area,[243] and one woman was killed in Avdiivka when a "Grad" artillery rocket struck her house.[244]

Sources from the "Azov" battalion said that they lost two soldiers killed and six wounded near Hranitne, in the course of an artillery exchange during the morning.[245] The pro-Russian offensive on Debaltseve pocket continued into the evening. The militias fired on Ukrainian troops using mortars, tanks and artillery. There were three attacks on Sanzharivka, Uglegorsk and Debaltseve. The villages of Troitske, Popasna, Mohyle Hostra, Orlov-Ivanivka, Chernukhin, Nikyshyne, Mius, Redkodub, Molodizhne and Novoorlivka were hit twice. Shelling was also reported on Verhulivka, Lozove. Kamyanka and Mihailivka. Around Donetsk city, mortar and artillery rounds fell on Bohdanivka, and "Grad" rockets were launched two times on Opytne, Pisky, Maryinka and Novomihailivka. The village of Nikolaevka, north of Mariupol, was hit by mortar fire.[246]

In Luhansk the Artemivskyi district was hit heavily by incoming rockets, identified by OSCE experts to be 9M55K anti-personnel cluster bomblets typically delivered with BM-30 Smerch launcher, incoming from north-north-west direction. Two civilians died and another two were wounded as result of the shelling.[247]

29 January[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 29 wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[248][249] Separatist forces carried out 103 attacks on Ukrainian positions on the same period.[250] Pro-Russian officials said that seven militiamen were killed in action and 41 wounded overnight.[251] The Ukrainian military admitted that Donetsk airport had lost any strategic importance after the destruction of its main facilities. Ukrainian troops withdrew 1.5 km from the airstrip.[252] In the area of Yasinuvata, the militias entered the village of Verhnetoretske.[253]

Meanwhile, the rebel offensive on Debaltseve pocket continued in full swing. Separatist troops broke into Maloorlivka overnight, but their advance was halted by the Ukrainian defenders.[254] Pro-Russian tanks from Horlivka burst into Uglegorsk early in the morning, meeting Ukrainian forces in the city's centre.[255] Heavy fighting went on into the evening, despite "Azov" battalion's claims that the assault was beaten off and Ukraine's National Guard was "cleaning up" the remaining separatists.[256] Rebel media also reported the capture of Mihailivka, and the destruction of seven Ukrainian tanks and nine infantry fighting vehicles.[257] Six civilians were killed and five wounded in the area in the last 24 hours.[258]

The rebels claimed that 14 Ukrainian soldiers handed themselves to the militias.[259]

More than 600 residents were evacuated from the towns of Avdiivka, Svetlodarsk and Debaltseve.[260] Separatist authorities reported 11 dead in Donetsk city after intense artillery shelling by Ukrainian troops.[261]

Evidence of the presence of Russian troops in the Donbass surfaced today when journalist Lucian Kim published an interview with Ukrainian tank commander Alexei Chaban. The Ukrainian officer described a tank battle on 22 January near Sanzharivka, when he claimed his tank knocked down a pro-Russian T-64 BV tank. Chaban reported that he and his subordinates spared the lives of the crewmembers, who fled in panic. The Ukrainian officer retrieved a mobile phone with a Russian SIM card from the tank, apparently belonging to a Russian tank commander. Chaban published a photograph from the phone on Facebook. The image shows a middle-age man dressed in a Russian tanker uniform atop a tank. Three phone numbers found in the phone contact menu had area codes from the city of Voronezh [262]

30 January[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 23 wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[263][264] The militias attacked Ukrainian positions on 87 occasions overnight.[265]

The rebel offensive on Debaltseve pocket continued.[266][267][268] Fierce fighting was underway in Uglegorsk, where Ukrainian authorities acknowledged that the separatists took control of at least some areas of the town.[269] Militiamen on the ground said that the only remaining resistance came from Ukrainian forces entrenched in the local train station.[270] Pro-Russian artillery killed seven civilians at Debaltseve itself.[271] At this point the frontline was just 15 km away.[272]

In the area of Bakhmutka road, rebel forces fired on Ukrainian troops around Krimsky and Shchastya with tanks and antitank missiles. Shchastya itself was the target of "Grad" rockets. Krimsky and Hirske were attacked three times using mortars and artillery. Near Donetsk city, mortar rounds landed in Pisky and Vodiane.[273]

Near Mariupol, artillery and mortar fire hit the villages of Orlivske and Talavkivka, while "Grad" rockets landed in Hnutove. Late in the evening, the militias fired "Grad" rockets again, this time at Talavkivka.[274]

In Donetsk five civilians were killed and 8 injured from "122 mm artillery grenades" that exploded in Kuibyshevskyi district. OSCE experts identified the grenades to be coming from north-western direction.[275]

Peace talks were aborted amid increasing violence in the eastern Ukraine and fears of a rebel assault at the 500,000 population city of Mariupol.[263]

31 January[edit]

According to the Minister of Defence, colonel general Stepan Poltorak, fifteen Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 30 wounded over the last 24 hours in the Donbass.[276][277] Debaltseve partly fell under the control of rebels troops, he said. In the area of Donetsk airport 14 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 30 captured, the general added.[277][278][279] Three civilians — two in Debaltseve and another in Mariyinsky — were killed when separatist forces shelled the area overnight.[280] The town of Debaltseve and the village of Troitske were hit by "Grad" fire, while mortar and artillery rounds fell on Chernukhin and Redkodub. In other areas, "Grad" rockets and antitank missiles landed in Mihailivka, Pisky, Vodiane, Stari Aidar, Shchastya and Trokhizbenka. Mortar and artillery fire hit Verhnetoretske, Bohdanivka, Petrovsky, Slavne, Valuyske, Luhanske, Sokolniki, Trokhizbenka, Hranitne, Stanitsya Luhanska and Stari Aidar.[281]

Over the last three days, Ukrainian forces evacuated 956 people -among them 161 children- from the towns of Debaltseve, Avdiivka and Svetlodarsk. The rescuers moved out 310 civilian residents from Debaltseve alone.[282]

Ukrainian media reported that Uglegorsk was "now really in the hands of enemy forces", after an ill-fated Ukrainian counterattack which left four Ukrainian army tanks disabled. The remaining Ukrainian troops withdrew from the town.[283] Separatist shelling killed 12 civilian residents in Debaltseve itself.[284] A rebel assault on Chernukhin was repulsed by Ukrainian troops,[285] and a pro-Russian armoured column was spotted by a drone and struck by "Grad" rockets launched by the Ukrainian army near Sakhanka, in the area of Mariupol. One tank was destroyed and an undetermined number of militiamen killed.[286]

February[edit]

1 February[edit]

Thirteen Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 20 wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[287][288][289] Seven civilians were killed and six wounded by artillery fire at Debaltseve pocket in the same period.[290] Brigadier general Isa Munayev was killed in a battle around Debaltseve.[291][292] Donbas Battalion commander Semen Semenchenko was wounded and four of his subordinates killed during an attempt to retake Uglegorsk. Another 11 Ukrainian soldiers were evacuated to a Kharkiv hospital.[293] Seven members of the separatist "Vostok" battalion were made prisoners by Ukrainian forces near Donetsk airport after a rebel mortar platoon was wiped out and its commander killed. The Ukrainians also claimed to have destroyed a multiple rocket launcher.[294] In the northern front, pro-Russian forces launched "Grad" rocket attacks on Popasna, Zolote, Shchastya, Stanitsya Luhanska and Makarove. Three civilians and two soldiers were killed. Other three soldiers were wounded.[295]

In the course of the day, the militias shelled with mortars Stanitsya Luhanska and a number of locations in the area of Bakhmutka road, like Sokolniki, Krimsky, Novotoshkivka. Novotoshkivka was also hit by artillery fire, and "Grad" rockets landed in Krimsky and Zolote. Ukrainian outposts in Shchastya were the target of automatic grenade launchers.[296] A rebel assault on Krimsky was fenced off by Ukrainian troops.[297] Around Donetsk city, Pisky and Tonenke were the target of "Grad" rockets, while mortar rounds struck Pervomaisk. Pro-Russian tanks and artillery fired on Ukrainian positions at Novolaspa and Hranitne. In the area of Mariupol, anti-tank rockets fell on Novoselivka, and separatist tanks shelled Nikolaevka. Fresh fighting was reported in Debaltseve pocket, where the militias pounded Popasna with mortars and artillery. Debaltseve itself was the target of "Grad" rockets on four occasions. "Grad" multiple rocket launchers were also used against Chernukhin. Mortar rounds struck Mius, Mohyla-Ostraya and Orlov-Ivanivka. The separatists attacked Maloorlivka, Novoorlivka and Troitske with small arms and artillery. A rebel assault on Luhanske was beaten off.[296] Earlier, four pro-Russian tanks and one armoured vehicle attempted to overrun a Ukrainian checkpoint at Fashchivka, but were also repelled.[298] One Ukrainian border guard and two soldiers were wounded.[299] A civilian woman was killed and two other residents injured during an artillery attack on Avdiivka.[300]

The Ukrainian military evacuated 204 civilians from Debaltseve and 65 from Avdiivka. Three servicemen -two rescuers and a soldier- and five civilians were wounded by hostile fire.[301]

In a field camp fire in Kherson Oblast six Ukrainian servicemen died and 11 were injured.[302]

Swedish diplomat Carl Bildt, commenting the OSCE statement on the Trilateral Contact Group consultations in Minsk on 31 January 2015,[303] said that the separatist republics and Russia no longer adhered to the Minsk agreement.[304]

2 February[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 30 wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[305][306] In the area of Bakhmutka road, two civilians died and five other were wounded by rebel artillery in the villages of Krimsky and Novotoshkivka.[307] Besides Debaltseve pocket, pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on a dozen of settlements using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, tanks, artillery and "Grad" artillery rockets. The rebels target the villages of Stanitsya Luhanska, Shchastya, Trokhizbenka, Stari Aidar, Vilkhove, Sokolniki, Verhnetoretske, Pisky, Tonenke, Opytne, Novomihailivka, Vodiane and Chermalik.[308]

Debaltseve pocket continued to be the main focus of separatist attention in the Donbass. Since the early hours of the day, pro-Russian militias fired "Grad" rockets on Debaltseve on 12 occasions.[309] Mortar rounds also landed four times in the besieged city. The nearby village of Kommuna was hit twice.[310] The Ukrainian checkpoint at Fahschivka, in the eastern part of Debaltseve pocket, was again attacked by separatist forces at noon. There were two attempts to storm the outpost, one of them by a column of armoured vehicles. Both assaults were beaten back.[299] Popasna's centre was rocked by the explosions of several "Grad" artillery rockets at mid morning, there were no casualties.[311] "Grad" multiple rocket launchers were also used against the villages of Orlov-Ivanivka, Novohryhorivka, Tsentralnyi y Troitske. Mortar and artillery fire pounded other locations inside Debaltseve pocket like Mius, Redkodub, Maloorlivka, Novoorlivka, Troitske and Novozvanivka. Pro-Russian tanks and infantry assaulted the Ukrainian strongholds of Tsentralnyi, Chernukhin and Redkodub, but were eventually driven away by their defenders.[309]

Twenty-eight "cyborgs" were declared missing in the airport of Donetsk by Ukrainian military authorities.[312]

According to militia spokesmen, one ground attack aircraft Su-25 and one helicopter of the Ukrainian Air Forces have been shot down on February 2.[313]

3 February[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 27 wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[314][315] Separatist forces carried out 134 attacks on Ukrainian positions on the same period.[314] According to BBC World News up to 16 civilians had been killed and dozens more injured in the space of 24 hours.[315] Rebel shelling killed six people in the western area of operations, five of them at Debaltseve pocket, and wounded other 18.[316] Separatist authorities from the republic of Donetsk reported eight civilians killed and 22 wounded by Ukrainian artillery. They claimed the Ukrainians fired 63 times on rebel positions overnight.[317]

It was announced that by 2 February 2,000 residents had been evacuated from Debaltseve and Avdiivka.[318] In the afternoon, a consensus was reached between the militias and the Ukrainian army to establish two humanitarian corridors from Uglegorsk and Debaltseve. The recovery of the bodies of Ukrainian personnel killed at Uglegorsk was also agreed.[319]

During the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 73 occasions on Ukrainian positions, most of them again in the area of Debaltseve pocket. The Ukrainian side used small arms, mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. There were attempts to storm Ukrainian positions at Kommuna and Chernukhin, while pro-Russian forces continued their offensive on Fashchivka today with infantry and tanks.[320] The separatist military claimed to have pierced the Ukrainian defences south of Kamyanka.[321] Ukrainian troops in Mariupol reported the destruction of two pro-Russian tanks.[322] In the area of Bakhmutka road and Stanitsya Luhanska, the militias resorted again to single tank attacks on Ukrainian forward outposts, also known as "roaming tank" tactics.[323]

4 February[edit]

Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 25 wounded over the last 24 hours.[324] The Ukrainian military recorded 78 attacks on their troops in the Donbass region on the same period.[325] Six civilians were killed and seven wounded by rebel artillery in the area around Donetsk city, specially in Yasinuvata, Avdiivka, Maryinka and Artemivske.[326]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 42 occasions on Ukrainian positions. The main actions took place again in and around Debaltseve. The militants used mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers.[327] Two Ukrainian soldiers died during clashes with separatist militias at Shyrokyne, east of Mariupol. Rebel artillery fire was also reported at Pavlopil.[328] In Debaltseve pocket, separatist militias claimed to have under their control the villages of Kamyanka, Sanzharivka, Krasny Pakhar, and parts of Novoorlivka and Maloorlivka. The same sources reported the fall of checkpoint nº 29 on Bakhmutka road.[329]

5 February[edit]

Ukrainian T-64BV tank in the Debaltseve area on 5 February

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and 29 wounded over the past 24 hours.[330] Six civilians were killed in Donetsk Oblast -two of them in the town of Debaltseve- and 12 injured as consequence of separatist shelling on Debaltseve pocket, Avdiivka, Yasinuvata, and Yenankievo on the same period.[331] One Ukrainian "cyborg" -the nickname for the paratroopers who defended Donetsk airport- was found alive in the ruins of Donetsk airport's terminal after eight days buried in the rubble. He was evacuated to a hospital in Kiev.[332] Rebel sources claimed that the army of the Donetsk republic assumed full control of Uglegorsk, and that the remaining Ukrainian forces fled to Debaltsevo. The nearest Ukrainian resistance still standing was at "Uglegorskaya" mine, besieged by pro-Russian tanks that shelled the facilities.[333]

Separatist artillery killed five local residents at Debaltseve pocket during the day.[334] In the afternoon, pro-Russian forces fired on Ukrainian positions on 49 occasions in Debaltseve pocket only. Most of the attacks were carried out on Mius, Chernukhin and Troitske. In other areas, mortar and artillery rounds landed in Krimsky, on Bakhmutka road. Pisky and Vodiane, in the surroundings of Donetsk city, were shelled three times.[335] In Sartana, east of Mariupol, several "Grad" rockets landed around Ukrainian positions, setting on fire a "Kamaz" military truck and damaging some pipelines. No civilian or military casualties were reported.[336]

Three mortar rounds were fired at an OSCE patrol by rebel troops near Stanitsya Luhanska. There was no injuries or damage.[337]

6 February[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 26 wounded over the last 24 hours in the Donbass. There were 104 separatist attacks on Ukrainian positions during the same period.[338]

During the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 61 occasions on Ukrainian troops.[339] At dusk, separatist militias used heavy artillery and "Grad" multiple rocket launchers against outposts of the Ukrainian army and the "Azov" battalion around Mariupol.[340] Ukrainian military personnel on the ground said that their troops withdrew from the village of Redkodub (Ridkodub) west of Fashchivka, in Debaltseve pocket, after enduring a week without resupplies. The information was reported by racing driver and volunteer Alexander Mochanov.[341] Earlier Sviatoslav Tseholko, press secretary of President Poroshenko, had announced a successful operation to evacuate wounded soldiers from this area.[342][343] The rebels stepped up their offensive on the Ukrainian checkpoint near Fashchivka. Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten wounded after renewed assaults by separatist infantry. The attack was beaten back with the support of tanks and artillery.[344]

In a short lull of fighting in ongoing Battle of Debaltseve, DPR and Ukrainian forces agreed to establish a humanitarian corridor on 6 February, in another attempt to allow the remaining civilians to escape from Debaltseve.[345] Hundreds of civilians were able to flee.

7 February[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 26 wounded in the Donbass region over the last 24 hours.[346] One civilian resident was killed by mortar fire in his house at Hnutove, north of Mariupol. "Grad" rocket fire was also heard in the eastern area of the city.[347] Six civilians were killed in Donetsk city by Ukrainian shelling, according to rebel authorities.[348]

During the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 68 occasions on Ukrainian positions. The rebels launched two assaults in the area of Debaltseve pocket, one on Novohryhorivka and another on Chernukhin. The attack on Novohryhorivka involved the use of five tanks and roughly 50 militants. Both attempts were repelled by Ukrainian troops. Pro-Russian tanks also shelled Mius.[349] The militias claimed to have suppressed the last Ukrainian resistance at "Uglegorskaya" mine.[350]

8 February[edit]

Twelve Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 24 wounded in the past 24 hours.[351] Four civilians were killed and three wounded in Avdiivka and other towns around Donetsk city during the same period.[352] Across the entire rebel-held area, in the last 24 hours eight civilians were reportedly killed and 14 wounded by Ukrainian military artillery shelling.[353] Ukrainian authorities recorded 111 separatist attacks on Ukrainian positions.[354]

One Ukrainian soldier died and two were wounded when the village of Novoselivka, near Mariupol, was hit by "Grad" rockets early in the morning.[355] In the afternoon, five people were killed and three wounded in Debaltseve when separatist militias shelled the town.[356]

According to separatist media, the villages of Kalynivka north-east of Vuhlehirsk and Redkodub west of Fashchivka were taken by rebel militia without fighting after local units of Ukrainian army has retreated.[357] Ukrainian sources had reported the withdrawal of troops from Redkodub on 6 February.[341]

9 February[edit]

At least nine Ukrainian soldiers died in battle and 26 were wounded over the past 24 hours.[358][359] Seven civilian were reported killed in Debaltseve and Avdiivka as result of heavy rebel shelling in the same period.[360] According to local authorities five civilians were killed and 53 wounded in Donetsk city during the last 24 hours.[361]

During the morning, separatist sources claimed to have taken over the strategic village of Lohvynove, blocking the strategic road between Debaltseve and Artemivsk.[362] Donetsk People's Republic's defence spokesman, Eduard Basurin, later announced that 5,000 to 6,000 Ukrainian troops were trapped inside Debaltseve pocket after pro-Russian forces closed the gap in Lohvynove. He also reported that fighting continued in Chornukhyne and Debaltseve itself and that the militias took over Novohryhorivka and the southern part of Kamyanka.[363] Semen Semenchenko reported that the rebel offensive, led by tanks, armoured fighting vehicles and infantry was contained by a detachment of the "Donbass" battalion and Ukrainian regular forces.[364]

There were almost 80 attacks on Ukrainian positions during the day, most of them in Debaltseve pocket. Three volleys of "Grad" rockets were fired at Novotoshkivske and Krymske, on Bakhmutka road.[365] Luhansk's Governor Hennadiy Moskal reported that the village of Komyshne was damaged by "Grad" rockets fired from Russian territory.[366]

10 February[edit]

Seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 23 wounded during the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[367] In Debaltseve pocket, Ukrainian troops withdrew to positions 4 km away from Chernukhin, according to members of OSCE.[368] Troitske and Chernukhin itself were completely surrounded by pro-Russian forces by early morning.[369]

The "Azov" battalion carried out a successful counteroffensive pushing separatists out of a number of villages east of Mariupol. Pavlopil, Shyronkyne, Kominternove, Lebedynske and Berdyanske were reported to be controlled by Ukrainian army.[370] At evening, separatist artillery shelled checkpoint nº 14 in the eastern district of Mariupol.[371]

The Ukrainian military airfield at Kramatorsk was hit by 41 "Smerch" (or "Tornado-G"[372]) rockets at noon. The rockets were fired from Horlivka by pro-Russian troops. The attack killed sixteen people,[373] other 64 people — 35 civilians and 29 soldiers — were wounded.[373][374][375] A Russian drone was shot down in the area just minutes before the strike.[376]

Separatist forces fired on Ukrainian positions on 70 occasions during the day.[377]

Separatist media have reported increasing concentration of Ukrainian army forces around Avdiivka, north of Donetsk. A new assault on rebel-held Donetsk is expected.[378]

11 February[edit]

Nineteen Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 78 wounded during the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[379][380][381] Separatist forces carried out 104 attacks on Ukrainian positions in the same period.[380] Authorities of the Luhansk republic announced the evacuation of 272 civilian residents from Chernukhin, Hornyak and Tsentralnyi.[382] Taking advantage of the fight for the town, about 340 convicted criminals has escaped from a prison in Chernukhin.[383] Some 80 inmates later came back to jail on their own will.[384] Relentless bombardment continued on Popasna, where one civilian was killed and three wounded[385] and Stanitsya Luhanska.[386] Only 3,000 of the original 22,000 inhabitants remained in Popasna, as the militias attempted to enter the city.[385]

Rebel sources claimed that despite repeated attempts to break out, the detachments of Ukrainian army around Debaltseve remained surrounded by rebel forces.[387] On the other side, the Ukrainian army headquarters have refuted the encirclement of the Ukrainian army in Debaltseve area.[388][389] Six civilians were killed and eight wounded when artillery fire hit a bus station in downtown Donetsk.[390]

12 February[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 21 wounded over the last 24 hours.[391] Fighting continued in the southern front around Mariupol after the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The militias held a defensive line between Sakhanka and Leninske, trying to disrupt Ukrainian freedom of movement by artillery fire.[392] Meanwhile, pro-Russian officials dismissed "Azov" battalion's claim that they had occupied Shyrokyne. According to this source, the Ukrainians advanced on no-man's land through the village only to withdraw to their previous positions under heavy artillery fire.[393] The power station at Shchastya, in the northern front, was out-of-commission after being hit by "Grad" rockets and artillery rounds fired from the rebel-held village of Vesela Hora. Seven districts of Luhansk Oblast were blacked out.[394]

After 17 hours of negotiations in Minsk, the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France signed a ceasefire accord to be implemented on 15 February.[395][396] After the agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the Ukrainian troops besieged by the rebels to lay down their weapons.[396]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on 69 occasions on Ukrainian troops in the course of the day using mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers.[397] The Ukrainian army launched an offensive on Lohvynove, with the aim of retaking control of the road between Debaltseve and Artemivsk. The separatists made a counterattack led by seven tanks, and a major battle raged on.[398] "Donbass" battalion commander Semen Semenchenko later reported three Ukrainian soldiers killed, four wounded, and one tank and one armoured personnel carrier disabled.[399] The militias also launched three assaults on Ukrainian outposts around Chernukhin, Kamyanka and Debaltseve itself.[397]

In the area of Mariupol, pro-Russian artillery continued to pound Ukrainian positions. Pervomaisk was hit by "Grad" rockets, and artillery rounds landed in Chermalik and Nikolaevka.[397] Members of the "Azov" battalion said that Shyrokyne was heavily bombarded with tanks, mortars and artillery. The soldiers also reported a botched attempt to outflank their positions. Several houses were destroyed. Ukrainian artillery and tanks returned fire.[400] Around Donetsk city, The militias shelled the villages of Vodiane and Pisky.[397]

13 February[edit]

Eleven Ukrainian troops were killed and 40 wounded overnight.[401][402][403] Separatist troops fired on 111 occasions on Ukrainian positions in the last 24 hours.[404] Pro-Russian armoured forces retook Lohvynove after defeating the Ukrainian National Guard and the Ukrainian army troops defending the village. The Ukrainians lost three tanks and withdrew when no armoured vehicle support was available. The Ukrainian side claimed to have made 17 prisoners.[405] There was mortar fire in Hranitne[406] and artillery exchanges on Bakhmutka road.[407]

Sources from the "Kryvbass" battalion in Debaltsevo pocket reported eight soldiers seriously wounded and five dead for single day with no possibility of evacuation due to encirclement. Battalion positions were under heavy fire and lack artillery support.[408] Separatist infantry supported by tanks assaulted the Ukrainian lines near Mius, Kamyanka, Chernukhin and Troitske. Debaltseve itself was shelled six times during the day.[409] The positions of the "Dnipro-1" battalion at the strategic village of Chermalik, north of Mariupol, endured the third day under mortar and "Grad" rocket fire.[410] A major tank battle was underway in Shyrokyne between the "Azov" battalion and pro-Russian forces.[411]

Four people was reported killed and 16 wounded during a "Grad" attack on Hornyak.[412] Earlier, four civilians died and five were injured in Shchastya when artillery fire from Vesele Hore hit a coffeehouse in the town's centre.[413]

14 February[edit]

Seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 23 wounded during the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[414][415][416] The Ukrainian military claimed that 14 civilians were killed in the same period when "Grad" rockets were launched by separatist forces on Shchastya, Hornyak and Artemivsk.[417] Two civilian residents were killed by artillery fire in Donetsk city.[418] Cossack troops shelled Novotoshkivka, disabling a major gas pipeline. The attack left several nearby settlements without gas supply.[419]

The US embassy in Moscow denounced that the pro-Russian military power surpassed at the time that of several NATO countries.[420]

Twenty servicemen from the "Azov" battalion were wounded -four of them severely- after hours of fierce fighting in the outskirts of Shyrokyne. They claimed to have caused massive casualties among the militias ranks.[421]

Separatist authorities claimed that their troops had occupied the neighbourhood of "8 March", in the northeastern outskirts of Debaltseve, and that Ukrainian forces had retreat from the train station and the industrial area of the town.[422]

15 February[edit]

Nine Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 39 wounded in the past 24 hours (14th of February).[423][424] A bilateral ceasefire came into force at 00:00 local time. By 05:00 am, the Ukrainian military recorded ten attacks on their outposts, specially at Chernukhin and Zolote.[425] Ukrainian troops were harassed with rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons in Sanzharivka.[426] In the northern front -Luhansk Oblast- two ederly residents were killed when "Grad" rockets landed in the town of Popasna, just within 20 minutes into the truce, according to Governor Hennadiy Moskal.[427] The town of Hirske, on Bakhmutka road, was also hit by "Grad" rockets at noon.[428] In the same area, mortar rounds fell on Toshkivka.[426] Heavy shelling continued on Debaltseve until 03:00 am. The attacks resumed at 06:00 am, when pro-Russian tanks and armoured carriers attempted to storm Chernukhin and launched a mortar attack on the Ukrainian headquarters in Debaltseve itself.[426][429] Separatist sources reported that "besieged" Ukrainian troops violated the ceasefire in Debaltseve at 02:00 am by firing mortars and artillery on pro-Russian forces.[430]

In the afternoon, rebel military spokesman Eduard Basurin said that the militias will continue to shell Ukrainian positions at Debaltseve pocket because, in his own words, this was "our territory".[431] Pro-Russian tanks fired upon Ukrainian troops in Shyrokyne, wounding nine members of the "Azov" battalion. The separatists also attacked nearby Sakhanka with rocket propelled grenades and tank fire.[432] The villages of Chernukhin and Troitske remained isolated by Cossacks from the "Great Don Army". The same troops set up a roadblock at the strategic village of Lohvynove, after the retreat of regular separatist forces.[433] Earlier, militias from the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic prevented OSCE members from entering Debaltseve to monitor the ceasefire.[434] The OSCE mission later confirmed that the truce was broken several times in the course of the morning.[435] The Ukrainian military denounced that the militias carried out more than 60 attacks on Ukrainian positions across the day, particularly at Debaltseve pocket.[436] According to Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznev, rebel tanks at Debaltseve shelled outposts manned by soldiers of the "Kryvbass" battalion, and Cossack troops demanded their surrender. Ukrainian artillery returned fire.[437] Semen Semenchenko reported that two members of the "Donbass" battalion were killed and three others wounded during an ambush near Mariupol.[438]

16 February[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 25 wounded over the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[439] The Ukrainian military denounced that the militias didn't respect the ceasefire. They reported 112 attacks on Ukrainian positions, 88 of them in Debaltseve pocket.[440] Converserly, separatist media recorded 17 Ukrainian violations of the truce.[441] The prime minister of the Donetsk republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, issued an ultimatum to the Ukrainian army units in Debaltseve to flee the town by 23:00 "leaving behind weapons and equipment".[442] Yuriy Sinkovsky, deputy commander of the 40th mechanized battalion "Kryvbass" said that several Ukrainian redoubts, specially two at the village of Oktyabrske, were isolated and had lost communications with each other.[443]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 38 occasions on Ukrainian positions using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. The militias attempted to overrun Mius and Debaltseve itself.[444] Fighting was also reported by both sides around Donetsk airport.[445][446][447] Ukrainian border guards recovered from the sea of Azov a drone shot down by machine gun fire over a beach in Yalta, Donetsk Oblast.[448] Rebel shelling on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne left 17 soldiers wounded.[449]

17 February[edit]

Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine wounded over the past 24 hours.[450] The Ukrainian army recorded 45 violations of the ceasefire by separatist troops. The rebels fired rocket propelled grenades, mortars, artillery and multiple rocket launchers.[451]

According to reports from people on the ground separatist militias took control of the railway station and the police barracks in Debaltseve. The stationhouse was previously heavily damaged by shelling.[452] Twenty Ukrainian servicemen were wounded when "Grad" rockets landed around their positions.[453] The Ukrainian chief-of-staff did not confirm the information, but acknowledged that there was fierce street fighting inside the town.[454] Semen Semenchenko also recognized that the situation in Debaltseve was "very hard" and the lack of a "decisive action" could be "costly".[455] A relief column composed by members of the 101 brigade of the Ukrainian army was ambushed by pro-Russian armoured forces. The column was forced to surrender after being outgunned by the rebels. Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were captured, some of them wounded.[456] Later, Russian media showed a line of Ukrainian prisoners marching on a country road. The source claimed that a total of 72 soldiers were captured.[457] Debaltseve had been isolated by the militias during the last five days.[458]

By midday, the situation of the Ukrainian garrison at Debaltseve was "critical", according to the deputy commander of the "Rus of Kiev" battalion. The officer stated that "90 percent" of the town was occupied by separatist troops, who also controlled all the routes of escape.[453] Another officer from the 128th brigade claimed that without a strong aerial and artillery support, Debaltseve pocket will be "a repetition of Ilovaisk." He also conceded that without resupplies, the Ukrainian resistance would collapse within the next 24 hours.[458] By evening, the Ukrainian military had recognized that pro-Russian forces had broken into the town, and that a fierce battle was underway.[459]

Russian president Vladimir Putin called for the Ukrainian troops surrounded in Debaltseve to laid down their weapons.[460]

18 February[edit]

The road from Debaltseve to Artemivsk, surrounded by open steppe

Debaltseve pocket fell to pro-Russian forces in the morning, after several days of fighting. President Poroshenko claimed that Ukrainian army withdrew "in an organized manner", and that 80 percent of the troops were out of the area by noon. Russian media said that Ukrainian soldiers attempted to fight their way out of the pocket after being surrounded by the militias. Deputy minister of defence of the Donetsk republic, Eduard Basurin, reported that Debaltseve was under rebel control, though some isolated Ukrainian resistance remained south of the town. The Ukrainian military reported 22 soldiers killed over the past three days in the area, while separatist sources put the Ukrainian death toll in the hundreds.[461]

In other areas, separatist artillery shelled the village of Luhanske, north of Debaltseve, at noon, killing one civilian resident.[462] In the area of Mariupol the militias fired mortar and small arms on nine occasions on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne. Two soldiers were reported wounded.[463] Earlier, the rebels attempted to storm two Ukrainian outposts in the town. Five settlements were the target of mortar, artillery and "Grad" rockets. around the city of Donetsk, among them Pisky, Vodiane and Avdiivka. Novotoshkivka, in the area of Bakhmutka road, was also hit by artillery fire and "Grad" rockets.[464]

President Poroshenko called for UN peacekeepers to be deployed in the Donbass region. He also said that almost 2,500 servicemen have pulled out from Debaltseve. Six soldiers were killed and more than 100 wounded during the withdrawal. The militias claimed to have taken more than 300 prisoners.[465]

19 February[edit]

Fourteen Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 172 seriously wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[466] The Ukrainian military claimed that separatist militias broke the ceasefire 46 times during the same period.[467] In the southern front alone (around the city of Mariupol), the militias fired 13 times on Ukrainian troops with small arms, mortars and tanks. One soldier was killed and another wounded. There was a seaborne attack using small arms on Ukrainian positions in Shyrokyne.[468][469] A drone was shot down by Ukrainian troops over Dzerzhinsky.[470]

During the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 39 occasions on Ukrainian positions.[469] The militias entered the village of Chernukhin, which had been abandoned by Ukrainian forces during their retreat from Debaltseve pocket.[471] The deputy defence minister of the Donetsk Republic announced that all the settlements in the area of Debaltseve were under control of the militias.[472] This information was confirmed by Ukrainian sources the following day.[473]

20 February[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and three wounded over the last 24 hours.[474] Nikolai Kolesnik, commander of the "Kryvbass" battalion which fought at Debaltseve said that 21 of his men were killed in action and 97 made prisoners. Ten other remained missing.[475] The Ukrainian chief-of-staff reported a total of 110 soldiers captured and 31 missing in Debaltseve pocket.[476] The Ukrainian deputy minister of Defence, Yuriy Biryukov, claimed that 179 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in Debaltseve pocket from 18 January to 18 February.[477] Ukrainian authorities recorded almost 50 attacks by the militias on Ukrainian positions in the last 24 hours. The separatist reported 20 violations of the truce by Ukrainian forces.[478]

Across the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian troops 41 times using small arms, mortars, tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers.[479] Rebel forces from Pervomaisk, Luhansk Oblast, fired heavy artillery on the city of Popasna.[480]

21 February[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and forty wounded over the last 24 hours.[481] Ukrainian troops shot down a drone over the city of Pervomaisk.[482] In Luhansk Oblast, rebel artillery shelled the settlements of Popasna, Krimsky and Troitske.[483] Separatist forces launched a reconnaissance thrust on Ukrainian defences around Shyrokyne. Around Donetsk city, the villages of Vodiane and Stepne were hit by "Grad" rockets, while Avdiivka was the target of mortar and artillery fire.[484] "Grad" rockets also landed in Popasna.[485]

Pro-Russian militias attacked Ukrainian positions on 32 occasions during the day, specially around Donetsk city.[486] Separatist shelling killed three people in a bar in downtown Avdiivka.[487]

Ukrainian government and separatists exchanged prisoners under the terms of the Minsk agreements. A total of 139 Ukrainian soldiers and 52 separatists were freed.[488]

22 February[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and three others wounded during the past 24 hours.[489] The militias launched 12 attacks on Ukrainian troops over the same period using mortars, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Most incidents took place around Donetsk city. The villages of Avdiivka, Pisky, Tonenke and Vodiane were the subject of heavy shelling. One drone was shot down by the Ukrainian army over Starobelska.[490] Ukrainian authorities acknowledged that a counter-battery radar was left behind in Debaltseve during the troops' withdrawal.[491]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian tanks launched two assaults on Ukrainian positions in the southern front, near Mariupol.[492] Members of the "Azov" battalion claimed that the militias were attempting to overrun the Ukrainian forces deployed at Shyrokyne. Several soldiers were reported wounded.[493]

23 February[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten wounded overnight in the Donbass region.[494] The militias broke the ceasefire 27 times in the last 24 hours, according to the Ukrainian military.[495] After a brief period of calm, heavy shelling resumed in the northern front, in Luhansk Oblast. Several houses in Krimsky were hit by artillery fire, and machine gun fire was exchanged in the outskirts of the village. Fighting was also reported at Troitske. In the area of Bakhmutka road, artillery and automatic fire was heard near Trokhizbenka, where Ukrainian troops had set up a number of checkpoints. The city of Popasna was left without water supply after a pipeline was hit by mortar fire in the morning. According to Luhansk governor, Hennadiy Moskal, the attacks were carried out by Cossack troops from the "Great Don Army" who didn't adhere to the ceasefire agreement.[496]

An organization of Ukrainian volunteers reported that 159 bodies of soldiers killed in Debaltseve pocket were evacuated to Dnipropetrovsk.[497]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 24 occasions throughout the day.[498] There was a shooting at a checkpoint in Mariupol between Ukrainian special forces and two undercover militants. One security agent was killed and two wounded. One of the militants was also killed, the other managed to flee the scene.[499] Ukrainian redoubts in Shyrokyne were shelled at noon by militias using tanks and mortar fire. Self-propelled artillery also hit the village of Lebedynske to the northwest.[500]

24 February[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and seven wounded over the last 24 hours.[501] Separatist militias fired upon Ukrainian troops 12 times during the same period.[502] There were attempts to storm Ukrainian positions around the Butivka mining complex, near Donetsk city, and in Shyrokyne, where each side exchanged fire for 30 minutes.[503] Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded when they stepped on a landmine in the village of Krimsky, in the area of Bakhmutka road.[504] The Ukrainian army violated the ceasefire on ten occasions, according to pro-Russian media.[505]

The Ukrainian military recorded 14 violations of the ceasefire by rebel troops across the day.[506] Pro-Russian forces continued to shell Shyrokyne during the morning using small arms, automatic grenade launchers, mortars and tanks.[507] Ukrainian troops reported to have beaten back another assault on the town after a two-hour battle.[506] The rebels claimed to have occupied the villages of Pavlopil and Pishchevyk, in no-man's-land north of Mariupol.[507] A member of the Ukrainian parliament and commissar of the "Kiev-1" battalion Eugeniy Dayday went missing in action along with two other soldiers. His vehicle was found abandoned and riddled with bullets near Kurakhove.[508][509]

25 February[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in the past 24 hours according to the Ukrainian military.[510][511] Separatist forces launched 19 attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight.[512] The militias continued their attempts to assault Shyrokyne.[513] Eugeniy Dayday and two subordinates who had disappeared on 24 February were found alive and well. They claimed that their vehicle was ambushed by rebel troops with rocket propelled grenades, and they had to fight their way into the woods.[514][515]

The bodies of seven Ukrainian soldiers were recovered from the ruins of Donetsk airport.[516]

The militias fired on Ukrainian positions on four occasions since mid-morning.[517] Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko reported that pro-Russian forces launched a tank incursion from Sakhanka, east of Mariupol, led by four T-72 tanks and supported by self-propelled and field artillery.[518] The explosion of a grenade at Donetsk city killed one civilian and wounded two others, according to separatist media.[519] The same sources said that Ukrainian troops opened fire on Donetsk airport when the minister of defence of the Donetsk republic was paying a visit to the area. There were no casualties among the delegation. The radar facilities were also shelled.[520] It was later revealed that the Ukrainian troops shot 23 mm antiaircraft rounds at what they perceived as an armoured column advancing towards Pisky.[521] Rebel tanks fired again on Ukrainian troops at Shyrokyne during the evening.[517] Chermalik, north of Mariupol, was attacked twice with mortar and small arms fire.[522]

26 February[edit]

Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action over a 24-hour period.[523] Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on seven occasions overnight, almost exclusively around Donetsk city, using small arms, mortars and tanks. The militias carried out two assaults on Ukrainian outposts, one at Butivka mining complex and another outside Pisky. Both attempts were thwarted by the defenders.[524] Explosions were heard at Zolote and Svetlichne, in the area of Bakhmutka road. Ukrainian outposts in Krimsky were attacked with small arms and rocket propelled grenades.[525]

Donetsk people's republic prime minister, Alexander Zakharchenko, said that the militias pulled out "90 percent" of their heavy weapons from the 25 km buffer zone agreed in Minsk.[526] The Ukrainian army, meanwhile, began the withdrawal of their MT-12 antitank guns.[527] Zakharchenko threatened to move the militias' artillery back to their previous positions had Ukraine failed to implement the agreement by 27 February at 19:00 hours.[528]

The last 10 days (February 17 to 26), at least 42 armored vehicles of the Ukrainian armed forces have been destroyed by the rebels. On the other side the rebels lost at least 6 armored vehicles.[529]

Also, in the last 10 days, at least 116 armored vehicles of the Ukrainian armed forces have fallen to the hands of the rebels.[530] According to the data of the source, it means that thanks to the fall of the Debaltsevo pocket, the rebels have taken more armored vehicles in these 10 days (116) than they lost in the entire war (108, 80 destroyed and 28 taken by Ukrainian military forces).

27 February[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven wounded overnight in the Donbass region.[531][532] Military analyst Dmitry Tymchuk recorded almost 30 separatist attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight, most of them using small arms. The villages of Opytne, Pisky and Vodiane, west of Donetsk city, were hit by artillery fire.[533] Mortar rounds fell on nearby Avdiivka at dawn.[534] The Ukrainian military reported that their positions near these settlements were pounded and assaulted during the morning by rebel troops supported by mortars, tanks and artillery.[535] In the area of Bakhmutka road, mortar rounds landed near checkpoint nº 29.[536] Rebel shelling on Shyrokyne, east of Mariupol, killed one civilian resident.[537]

Pro-Russian forces continued their efforts in the area of Donetsk city during the afternoon. Ukrainian authorities claimed that there were 16 violations of the ceasefire. There were mortar attacks on Pisky, Berezove and Krasnohorivka. A heavy exchange of automatic fire between the warrying factions was reported at Opytne. In the area of Debaltseve, Ukrainian troops received small arms fire near Maiorsk.[538] Pro-Russian authorities denounced that the Ukrainian military violated the truce on 19 occasions.[539]

One boy died instantly and another was mortally injured when unexploded munitions blew up in Krasne, west of Artemivsk.[540]

28 February[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action in the past 24 hours.[541] Though there was a dramatic decrease in the ceasefire violations by separatist troops, the village of Kamyanka, south of Donetsk city, was shelled by rebel artillery. Militiamen armed with small arms launched an assault on the village of Luhanske, north of Debaltseve, but were forced to retreat after a 25-minute battle.[542]

During the morning, mortar fire in Pisky killed Ukrainian photojournalist Sergiy Nikolaev, who was working for Segodnya newspaper. A Ukrainian volunteer soldier from the "Right Sector" party also died in the attack.[543] Members of the OSCE mission reported that Ukrainian forces fired mortar and artillery fire near Donetsk airport.[544] Heavy fighting erupted when pro-Russian troops tried to advance into Dzerzhinsky from Horlivka through the train station of Phenoly, south of the city. There was an intense exchange of artillery fire.[545] The militias fired machine guns and automatic grenade launchers on Ukrainian troops in Shyrokyne. The Ukrainians returned fire using small arms.[546] In the area surrounding Donetsk city, pro-Russian tanks and artillery attacked Avdiivka. Opytne was the target of automatic grenade launchers and mortars. The militias also shelled Pisky, Vodiane and Berezove.[547]

March[edit]

1 March[edit]

Eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action in the Donbass region in the past 24 hours.[548][549] Pro-Russian militias opened fire 34 times on Ukrainian positions during the same period.[550] The Ukrainian military claimed that the militias, instead of an effective withdrawal, kept their heavy weapons moving back and forth in the buffer zone, in order to deceive OSCE inspectors.[551]

In the course of the day, rebel forces launched 17 attacks on Ukrainian troops. The incidents took place in the areas of Donetsk city, north of Debaltseve and east of Mariupol. Near Donetsk, the villages of Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Pisky and Opytne were hit by mortar rounds. Militants attempted an assault on Ukrainian redoubts around Avdiivka, but were beaten off by the defenders. Near Debaltseve, the village of Mironovske was the target of mortar fire, and rocket propelled grenades fell on Ukrainian positions near Troitske. The Ukrainian army in Shyrokyne was harassed with rocket propelled grenades and mortars.[552]

2 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and other four wounded over the last 24 hours.[553][554] The militias launched 32 attacks on Ukrainian positions overnight using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and artillery. They also carried out two infantry assaults on Avdiivka and Luhanske, but these were eventually repulsed by Ukrainian forces.[555] Three Ukrainian outposts at Shyrokyne were the target of small arms, automatic grenade launchers and mortars.[556] Separatist authorities from the republic of Donetsk denounced ten Ukrainian violations of the ceasefire in the same period, specially around Donetsk airport. The Ukrainian army shelled the area with mortars, tanks and artillery.[557]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on seven occasions on Ukrainian troops with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and 23 mm antiaircraft fire. At noon, fighting erupted around the villages of Pavlopil and Pishchevyk, north of Mariupol.[558] The rebels harassed Ukrainian security forces with automatic weapons in Stari Aidar and Stanytsia Luhanska, where one policeman was wounded.[559]

The Ukrainian minister of internal affairs announced the killing of a special police patrol commander by gunfire in the city of Sloviansk.[560]

President Poroshenko awarded the title of "Hero of Ukraine" to female pilot and member of "Aidar" battalion Nadiya Savchenko, captured by pro-Russian troops last summer and handed over to Russian authorities, who indicted her on murder charges. She was keeping in custody since then.[561]

3 March[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the past 24 hours.[562] The militias broke the ceasefire agreement on 22 occasions during the same period using small arms, automatic grenade launchers, 23 mm antiaircraft fire and mortars.[563] Ukrainian military authorities in the northern front claimed that the separatist were "reluctant" to remove their artillery from the buffer zone in the area. In spite of a sharp decrease in the number of incidents,[564] they reported three machine gun attacks on Ukrainian troops at Krimsky and Sokolniki[565] near the town of Frunze. One Ukrainian soldier was critically wounded.[564]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on 20 occasions on Ukrainian positions across the day.[566] The rebels launched an intense mortar attack on positions manned by members of the "Azov" battalion at Shyrokyne in the course of the evening.[567] A civilian woman was killed by mortar fire in Avdiivka.[568]

4 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another wounded over the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[569][570] Separatist militias opened fire on 47 occasions on Ukrainian troops during the same period.[570][571] In the northern front, Ukrainian and rebel troops clashed near Krimsky - not far from the ruins of checkpoint nº 31 - and Troitske using machine gun fire, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. One Ukrainian soldier was wounded.[572] On the other side, rebels have claimed the 25 violations of ceasefire by Ukrainian forces and no return fire from rebel side.[573]

At noon, a lone pro-Russian tank accompanied by an infantry detachment shelled positions of the "Azov" battalion at Shyrokyne. The Ukrainian soldiers fended off the attack by firing a 23mm antiaircraft cannon.[574]

5 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another wounded in the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine.[575][576] The Ukrainian military recorded 40 attacks on Ukrainian positions and settlements over the same period.[577] Separatist media, meanwhile, reported ten Ukrainian violations of the truce using heavy mortars and automatic grenade launchers, specially in Donetsk airport and the nearby village of Spartak.[578]

During the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 20 occasions on Ukrainian troops.[579]

6 March[edit]

Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action over the last 24 hours in the Donbass.[580] The rebels fired upon Ukrainian troops 14 times in the same period using small arms, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. The militias attempted an assault on Ukrainian redoubts around Shyrokyne.[581] Pro-Russian authorities claimed that the Ukrainian army attacked their positions 15 times using antitank rockets, automatic grenade launchers and mortars. The main incidents happened at Shyrokyne and Pisky, according to these sources.[582]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire 27 on Ukrainian positions in the course of the day. They also launched two assaults on Ukrainian outposts in Butivka mining complex and Maiorsk.[583] Ukrainian partisans claimed to have destroyed two Russian tanks near Novoazovsk, in rebel-held territory.[584]

7 March[edit]

For the first time in several months, the Ukrainian military reported no casualties in the operational area overnight.[585] Separatist militias carried out 14 attacks on Ukrainian troops in the same period using small arms, automatic grenade launchers, mortars and artillery.[586] Authorities from the republic of Donetsk claimed that Ukrainian troops hampered the recovery of bodies in Donetsk airport by firing on the rescuers on six occasions. One militiaman was wounded.[587]

Despite a significant decrease in the number of incidents, pro-Russian forces violated the ceasefire 18 times along the day using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, antiaircraft fire and tanks.[588] Analyst Dmitry Tymchuk reported a tank assault on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne. The attack was repelled by Ukrainian troops at the cost of one soldier killed.[589]

8 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and other three wounded over the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[590][591] There were six attacks on Ukrainian positions in the same period. The rebels used small arms, rocket propelled grenades and mortars to harass Ukrainian troops.[592]

Pro-Russian forces focused their actions on Ukrainian outposts in the area of Donetsk city,[593] where fighting erupted at evening in Pisky.[594] Other settlements around Donetsk like Avdiivka, Opytne and Nevelske were the target of small arms fire, rocket propelled grenades and mortars.[593] In total the Ukrainian military reported 12 violations of the truce by separatist militias along the day.[595]

9 March[edit]

Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded over the past 24 hours.[596] Separatist forces opened fire on Ukrainian troops on 16 occasions overnight.[597] Most of the attacks took place around Donetsk city, particularly on Pisky, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Opytne and Vodiane. The militias used rocket propelled grendes and mortars and even artillery in the case of Avdiivka and Opytne. In the area of Artemivsk, the rebels fired 120 mm mortars and antiaircraft cannons on the village of Troitske.[598] Artillery fire was reported on Bakhmutka road between Krimsky and Novotoshkivka.[599] Separatist authorities claimed that the Ukrainian military violated the ceasefire 25 times in the last 24 hours.[600]

During the morning pro-Russian troops stormed Ukrainian positions around Shyrokyne using small arms and mortars.[601] The Ukrainian military claimed that heavy weapons such as 120 mm mortars and tanks were employed to support the offensive, in violation of the "silent mode".[602] The battle continued well into the evening.[603] Donetsk People's Republic's defence spokesman, Eduard Basurin, said that Ukrainian troops opened fire on rebel positions on 12 occasions across the day.[604]

A railway bridge was blown up in Shipilove, Luhansk Oblast, leaving the railroad between Rodakovo and Krasny Liman inoperable. This was the last railway stretch connecting rebel-held territory with the rest of Ukraine.[605]

10 March[edit]

Nine Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action over the last 24 hours in the Donbass.[606] The Ukrainian military recorded 18 attacks on their troops during the same period.[607] The militias used small arms, mortars and artillery, particularly in the area around Donetsk city. The Ukrainians denounced that the militias shelled Avdiivka with 152 mm howitzers in violation of the Minsk agreement on heavy weapons.[608] In the area of Artemivsk, artillery rounds landed in Troitske, and antitank missiles were launched in Luhanske. In the northern front, the separatists harassed Ukrainian troops at Sokolniki with automatic weapons.[607] Heavy fighting was reported at Shyrokyne, where the clashes lasted until the early hours of the day. Pro-Russian troops assaulted the Ukrainian positions with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and tanks. Ukrainian officials claimed that return fire disabled a tank and blew up an ammunition depot. Two Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in action.[609] Skirmishes were also reported in Maiorsk, north of Horlivka.[607][610] Conversely, pro-Russian media accused the Ukrainian side of 17 violations of the truce overnight.[611]

Separatist forces opened fire on Ukrainian outposts on 24 occasions across the day.[612] The militias continued their attacks on Shyrokyne during the evening with 120 mm mortars[613] and small arms. Heavy mortars were also used against Ukrainian positions in Avdivka, Pisky, Opytne and Butivka mining complex, around Donetsk city. In Nevelske, the rebels pounded the Ukrainian garrison with antiaircraft cannons.[612] In Mariupol, Ukrainian forces opened fire on "hostile drones" overflying the city.[614] As a result of the fighting, 42 settlements were left without electricity supply in Donetsk Oblast.[615]

11 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and five wounded in action in the past 24 hours.[616][617] The separatists carried out 37 attacks on Ukrainian troops over the same period.[618] The militias conducted offensive operations supported by mortar fire and armoured fighting vehicles, according to military analyst Dmitry Tymchuk.[619]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 24 occasions.[620] Late in the evening fighting erupted near Sokolniki in the area of Bakhmutka road, in the northern front. Both sides exchange automatic fire, rocket propelled grenades and mortar rounds. Two Ukrainian soldiers were reported wounded. Mortar fire was also heard around checkpoint nº 29 and the village of Luhanske.[621] Ukrainian sources claimed that an International Red Cross convoy was the target of small arms fire no far from Butivka mining complex, near Donetsk city.[622]

12 March[edit]

According to the spokesman of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Information-Analytical Center Andriy Lysenko there were no casualties in the operational area overnight.[623] Ukrainian military sources in Mariupol reported instead the death of one soldier and eight rebel attacks in their sector, specially near Talakivka and Shyrokyne.[624] According to Information Resistance two Ukrainian servicemen were injured while clearing a minefield near Krimsky and hospitalised.[625] Separatist militias fired on 49 occasions on Ukrainian troops over the past 24 hours with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and heavy artillery. The main incidents took place around Donetsk city and Shyrokyne.[626]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 36 times during the day with small arms, automatic grenade launchers, mortars, and armoured fighting vehicles. The main focus of the attacks continued to be the villages surrounding Donetsk city and Shyrokyne.[627] Three soldiers were wounded at Shyrokyne in the evening. The town was shelled with 120 mm mortars and the Ukrainian positions raked with small arms fire.[628]

13 March[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were reported wounded over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[629] The Ukrainian military recorded 16 rebel attacks on their troops overnight. The militias used small arms and rocket propelled grenades.[630] There was an attempt to storm the Ukrainian positions around Starohnativka, west of Volnovakha.[631] After midnight, Pisky was shelled two times by the separatists.[630] In the northern front, pro-Russian troops entrenched on the southern bank of the Seversky Donets pounded Stanitsya Luhanska with mortar and machine gun fire.[632]

Along the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian outposts on 20 occasions using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and artillery. The Ukrainian army denounced that the militias fired 120 mm mortars and 122 mm howitzers at noon against the villages of Pisky and Avdiivka, in violation of the Minsk agreements.[633]

14 March[edit]

According to the spokesman of the NSDC Information-Analytical Center Andriy Lysenko one Ukrainian soldier was wounded over the last 24 hours in Donbass, while 37 attacks were carried out on Ukrainian troops over the same period.[634] The militias fired small arms, automatic grenade launchers and artillery. The big guns were used against civilian residences in the town of Avdiivka.[635] Right after midnight, the separatists pounded Ukrainian outposts around Donetsk airport twice.[634] According to Information Resistance two Azov Battalion members were wounded in battles for Shyrokyne.[636]

Across the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 11 occasions on Ukrainian positions using small arms, automatic grenade launchers and heavy mortars.[637]

15 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in the past 24 hours.[638] Sources from the "Dnipro-1" battalion announced instead that one of their soldiers was killed in a combat mission in Pisky.[639] The Ukrainian military reported 34 instances of ceasefire violation by separatist forces over the same period. The rebels used small arms, multiple rocket launchers and mortars. Most of the attacks took place around Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne.[638]

Luhansk Oblast Governor Hennadiy Moskal said that the militants intesified their attacks in the area overnight, with mortar fire on Ukrainian troops near Troitske, rocket propelled grenades at checkpoint nº 29 and automatic fire at Krimsky and Trokhizbenka. Hostilities around Troitske continued well into the morning.[640]

Pro-Russian troops fired upon Ukrainian positions on 23 occasions in the course of the day using small arms, automatic grenade launchers, mortars and tanks. The militias focused their efforts on the area around Donetsk city, where the Ukrainian garrisons at Avdiivka and Pisky were attacked with heavy mortars and tanks. There were mortar attacks on Shyrokyne and sporadic small arms fire in Sokolniki, in the northern front.[641] In Shyrokyne, members of the "Azov" battalion returned fire.[642]

16 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action over the last 24 hours in the Donbass region.[643] The Ukrainian military reported 16 attacks on their troops overnight. The militias used small arms, rocket propelled grenades, automatic grenade launchers, mortars, antiaircraft cannons and armoured fighting vehicles. Most of the incidents took place around Donetsk city.[644] Separatist media in Donetsk recorded 34 instances of Ukrainian violations of the truce over the last 24 hours. The Ukrainian army fired rocket propelled grenades, automatic grenade launchers, mortars and antiaircraft cannons.[645]

Hennadiy Moskal said that fighting continued in the northern front between pro-Russian forces entrenched in Zholobok and Ukrainian troops manning checkpoint nº 29. The exchange of mortar and small arms fire lasted until the first hours of the morning. The villages of Krimsky and Sokolniki witnessed heavy machine gun fire, while artillery and tank fire was heard in Stanitsya Luhanska. Automatic fire was reported in the main Ukrainian positions around the city. Artillery rounds also landed in Troitske.[646]

Sources from the minister of defence of the Donetsk republic said that two pro-Russian servicemen driving a "Kamaz" truck were killed when their vehicle was hit by a Ukrainian tank near the village of Zaichenko, east of Mariupol.[647]

17 March[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and other five wounded during the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[648] The Ukrainian military recorded 30 separatist attacks on Ukrainian troops in the same period. The rebels opened fire with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, tanks and artillery.[649]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 20 occasions on Ukrainian positions using small arms, automatic grenade launchers, mortars, antitank weapons, armoured fighting vehicles and tanks.[650]

18 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and five wounded in the past 24 hours.[651] The militias broke the ceasefire 11 times overnight. In some cases the Ukrainian army returned fire. Five attacks took place in the area surrounding Donetsk city, were the rebels shelled the villages of Avdiivka, Opytne and Pisky. Small arms fire was reported at Shyrokyne and Chermalik, in the southern front.[652]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 28 occasions along the day. The rebels used small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, tanks and artillery. Avdiivka was attacked three times by tanks and two by artillery. Butivka mining complex was hit by heavy artillery three times and in one occasion by tank fire. Small arms and rocket propelled grenades were fired at Ukrainian troops in Pisky, Lozove, Maiorsk and Kirov. Shytokyne was the target of a 120 mm mortar barrage.[653]

19 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in the last 24 hours.[654] The militias broke the ceasefire on 17 occasions overnight using small arms, mortars and artillery. Rebel activity concentrated in the direction of Donetsk city, were artillery and mortar fire hit Avdiivka and Butivka mining complex. Ukrainian troops received harassing fire in Pisky and Opytne. Small arms fire was also heard in the villages of Maiorsk and Leninske, south of Artemivsk.[655]

During the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 37 instances on Ukrainian positions. The bulk of the attacks took place around Donetsk city. Pisky, Opitne and Krasnohorivka were the target of automatic fire and rocket propelled grenades. Pisky was also shelled by 120 mm mortars four times during the evening. Pro-Russian tanks shot into Avdiivka on three occasions. In the area of Artemivsk, there were exchanges of small arms fire in Luhanske and Maiorsk. In the northern front, the rebels attacked Ukrainian redoubts in Sokolniki, Trokhizbenka and Stanytsia Luhanska.[656] Near Stanytsia Luhanska, a group of eight militiamen attempted to take control of a bridge in ruins right on the demarcation line between the warring factions. The separatists withdrew after a brief skirmish.[657] Another bridge on the Seversky Donets near Trokhizbenka was blown up by unidentified assailants in the evening.[658] At Shyrokyne Ukrainian and rebel troops traded small arms fire for the space of one hour.[659]

20 March[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action over the past 24 hours.[660] The separatists launched 15 attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and, for the first time in a month, "Grad" multiple rocket launchers.[661] The "Grad" rockets landed in Sokolniki, in the northern front, where rebel tanks also opened fire on four occasions.[662] Ukrainian outposts at Sokolniki and Stanytsia Luhanska were the target of small arms and rocket propelled grenades. The village of Donetskiy, in the same area, was struck by 120 mm mortar rounds. In the surroundings of Donetsk city, the villages of Krasnohorivka and Pisky were hit by 120 mm mortar fire.[661]

In the course of the day, pro-Russian militias fired 27 times on Ukrainian positions.[663] Hennadiy Moskal reported the death of two soldiers near Novotoshkivka, on Bakhmutka road, after stepping on a multiple IED (improvised explosive device).[664] Two civilian workers from the energy company DTEK were killed and another wounded when their vehicle struck a landmine near Svetlodarsk, north of Debaltseve.[665]

According to Ukrainian media, heavy fighting since July 2014 left the village of Pisky completely destroyed.[666]

21 March[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven wounded in action during the last 24 hours.[667] The militias carried out nine attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight. Most of the action took place in Pisky and Shyrokyne.[668] Rebel troops used small arms, heavy mortars, tanks, howitzers and "Grad" rockets. The rockets were fired on Ukrainian outposts in the area of Bakhmutka road.[669] One civilian was killed when the separatists shelled Avdiivka.[670]

In the early hours of the day, pro-Russian scouts exchanged fire with Ukrainian forces near Opytne. The fighting lasted six hours, after which the intruders withdrew.[671] Gunmen ambushed a Security Service of Ukraine's convoy in the city of Volnovakha, killing one serviceman.[672] By evening, pro-Russian forces had violated the ceasefire on 30 occasions using small arms, mortars, antitank weapons, tanks and artillery.[673]

22 March[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action in the Donbass region over the past 24 hours.[674] Separatist troops launched ten attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight, including an assault on the Ukrainian garrison at Vodiane. The rebels used small arms, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. Most of the hostilities took place in the northern front, with mortar attacks on Trokhizbenka and small arms fire in Sokolniki and Stanytsia Luhanska.[675]

Across the day, pro-Russian forces opened fire on 32 occasions on Ukrainian positions with small arms, heavy mortars, antitank missiles, tanks and artillery. Shyrokyne was the target of mortar fire and antitank missiles, Avdiivka was attacked with tanks and artillery and automatic fire was heard in Luhanske, Leninske and Shumy, in the area of Artemivsk.[676]

23 March[edit]

Six Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in action during the last 24 hours.[677] The militias broke the ceasefire on 12 occasions overnight, including an attempt to overrun the Ukrainian garrison at Sokolniki. Another infiltration attempt by separatist troops was beaten back at Shyrokyne, which was also the target of a mortar attack. The main rebel effort was concentrated on the area around Donetsk city, were 120 mm mortar rounds landed in Pisky, and tanks shelled the village of Opytne.[678] Pro-Russian media reported five militiamen wounded over the past day, and 52 attacks carried out by Ukrainian forces. According to them, the Ukrainian side used small arms, automatic grenade launchers, antiaircraft cannons, mortars and tanks. The most intense actions took place in Shyrokyne and Spartak.[679]

Pro-Russian forces opened fire 26 times on Ukrainian troops in the course of the day using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, tanks and artillery. Separatist infantry attempted to storm Ukrainian positions around Avdiivka, which was also the target of tank and mortar fire.[680]

Separatist media claimed that Ukrainian shelling killed one teen in the district of Petrovsky, Donetsk city, and one little girl in Horlivka.[681]

24 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and eight wounded over the past 24 hours.[682] Separatist troops launched eight attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight. Pisky and Avdiivka endured an hour-long mortar barrage, while small arms fire was reported in Leninske and Shyrokyne.[683]

By evening there had been 23 instances of attacks on Ukrainian positions by pro-Russian forces. The militias also launched an infantry assault on the Ukrainian garrison at Maiorsk, but were beaten back by the defenders. The separatists used small arms, rocket propelled grenades, antitank weapons, mortars and tanks.[684]

Separatist media reported the shelling of residential areas of Horlivka by Ukrainian forces. One house was destroyed.[685]

25 March[edit]

Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action during the last 24 hours.[686] Separatist troops launched ten attacks on Ukrainian positions overnight. Most of the incidents happened around Donetsk city, where the rebels pounded the village of Pisky and Butivka mining complex with 120 mm mortars. In the northern front, Troitske was also the target of heavy mortars, fired from separatist positions at Stakhanov. In the south, the militias continued their relentess shelling on Shyrokyne.[687] Pro-Russian media said that the Ukrainian army fired upon their troops on 16 occasions using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, armoured fighting vehicles, tanks and artillery. Four militiamen were wounded.[688]

By evening, pro-Russian forces had opened fire 23 times on Ukrainian positions. The militants used small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and tanks. The main actions took place around Donetsk city. The village of Pisky was hit six times by mortar barrages, while Opytne was the target of rocket propelled grenades and tanks. Ukrainian outposts in Avdiivka and Butivka mining complex were harassed with small arms fire. In the area of Artemivsk, the separatists fired rocket propelled grenades and mortars on Leninske, Maiorsk and Shumy. Rebel infantry launched an assault on the Ukrainian garrison at Sokolniki. The Ukrainian army thwarted the attempt.[689]

At least four civilians were killed and 17 wounded where the bus they were riding on struck a landmine on the road between Artemivsk and Horlivka.[690][691] The militia attacked the area with mortar fire right after the explosion.[692]

26 March[edit]

No casualties were reported by the Ukrainian military over the past 24 hours in the Donbass region.[693] The separatists broke the ceasefire on ten occasions overnight. The militiamen fired 120 mm mortars on Avdiivka and Pisky, around Donetsk city, and on Troitske, in the northern front. They also harassed Ukrainian troops at Novoselivka, Kamenka and Shyrokyne, where the fightning continued unabated.[694]

Pro-Russian forces fired on Ukrainian positions 29 times in the course of the day. In the area of Donetsk city, Hranitne and Pisky were hit by mortar fire, while rocket propelled grenades landed in Avdiivka and Opytne. Shyrokyne was again the target of small arms and 120 mm mortars. Ukrainian outposts in Leninske were raked by machine gun fire. Automatic fire was also fired on Shumy and Maiorsk.[695]

According to Hennadiy Moskal, rebel snipers entrenched on the southern bank of the Seversky Donets slaughtered 80 sheep from a flock near Stanitsya Luhanska in order to feed their troops.[696]

27 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in eastern Ukraine over the last 24 hours.[697] The militias carried out eight attacks on Ukrainian troops overnight firing automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades and mortars.[698] One civilian was killed by mortar fire at Shyrokyne.[699] In the northern front, fresh fighting was reported around Stanitsya Luhanska, where the rebels fired machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. Exchanges of machine gun fire were also reported at Krimsky, and mortar or artillery rounds landed in Troitske.[700] A gas pipeline was damaged by rocket propelled grenades near the village of Zolote.[701]

By evening, pro-Russian troops had opened fire on 26 occasions on Ukrainian positions using small arms, rocket propelled grenades and mortars.[702] Heavy fighting erupted in Shyrokyne at evening, according to members of the "Azov" battalion. The rebels pounded the Ukrainian garrison with machine gun fire, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. The explosions of 120 mm mortar rounds were felt as far as Mariupol. The Ukrainian army returned fire. By this date, more than 50 percent of all residential buildings in Shyrokyne were reported damaged beyond repair.[703]

28 March[edit]

Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action in the past 24 hours.[704] The separatist broke the ceasefire on eight occasions overnight firing small arms, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and "Grad" artillery rockets.[705] Rebel troops also used antiaircraft cannons, tanks and artillery against the Ukrainian garrison at Avdiivka. The "Grad" barrage landed around Ukraine's checkpoint nº 29 and the village of Novotoshkivka. The rebels launched a total of 60 rockets. After the bombardment, two teams of pro-Russian special troops were engaged by Ukrainian troops in the area.[706] Separatist media recorded 27 violations of the truce by Ukrainian security forces during the last day. According to them, the Ukrainian side used heavy mortars, fighting armoured vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and tanks. The attacks took place in Spartak, Donetsk airport, Horlivka and Shyrokyne. One militiaman was wounded in action.[707]

The militias had opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 14 occasions by evening. Pro-Russian forces used small arms, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and mortars in the attacks. The main incidents happened at Avdiivka, Maiorsk, Leninske and Shyrokyne. In the area of Leninske, Ukrainian troops returned fire.[708]

29 March[edit]

Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action over the past 24 hours.[709] The Ukrainian military recorded six rebel attacks on their troops up to midnight. The militias fired "Grad" artillery rockets on the village of Smile, on Bakhmutka road, while 120 mm mortar rounds landed around Ukrainian entrenchments in nearby Sokolniki. Shyrokyne was also shelled after sunset.[710]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another wounded during the evening when pro-Russian forces launched a 90-minute artillery barrage on Ukrainian positions at Hranitne with 122 mm and 152 mm howitzers.[711] Shyrokyne was also hit by 120 mm mortar fire, according to members of the "Azov" battalion.[712] Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded, one of them critically, when pro-Russian infantry fired small arms and rocket propelled grenades on the observation post they were manning in Trokhizbenka, near a bridge in ruins on the Seversky Donets.[713]

30 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and three wounded over the last 24 hours.[714] The militias fired on Ukrainian troops on eight occasions overnight using small arms, rocket propelled grenades and 120 mm mortars.[715]

By evening, pro-Russian forces had opened fire upon Ukrainian positions 12 times with machine gun fire and 82 mm mortars. The main incidents occurred in Avdiivka and Opytne, in the area of Donetsk city, and in Krimsky and Sokolniki, on Bakhmutka road.[716] Later in the evening, heavy fighting erupted at Shyrokyne after the militias fired mortars on this village from their positions at Sakhanka.[717]

31 March[edit]

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in the past 24 hours.[718] The Ukrainian military recorded 11 violations of the truce by separatist forces last night. The rebel shelled Ukrainian redoubts in Shyrokyne, Sokolniki and Krimsky.[719]

Pro-Russian troops opened fire on Ukrainian positions on 26 occasions in the course of the day with mortars, armoured fighting vehicles, tanks and artillery.[720] Members of the "Azov" battalion reported a two-hour bombardment with mortars and artillery on Shyrokyne during the evening.[721] Separatist tanks later joined the shelling. The rebels also used tanks to attack Avdiivka, Opytne and Berdyansk. Armoured fighting vehicles fired on Ukrainian troops at Pionersk, near Pisky. Ukrainian marines clashed with pro-Russian scouts near the village of Luhanske, south of Artemivsk.[720] Hennadiy Moskal reported that three Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in Luhansk Oblast, two after stepping on an Improvised explosive device near the village of Komyshne and another during a gunbattle with rebel scouts at Syze, east of Stanytsia Luhanska.[722]

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