15:21 Oct. 13, 2016
Villages near Mariupol have become a new hotspot in the conflict region, where hundreds of shellings are reported every day
While Ukraine may have fallen off in Western media, that now mostly pay attention to the situation in Syria, the intense combat still rages on in the Donbas region, where never-ending attacks rock towns and villages day and night.
Government-controlled Avdiivka was previously reported as the most violent location in the whole warzone, but as of late it has been nearly eclipsed by the southern areas of the Donetsk region, where fighting has peaked in villages, 20 kilometers east of Mariupol. One of them is Shyrokyne, a small resort by the Azov sea, and Vodyane village, both have been nearly demolished by the shelling over the last two and a half years.
On late Monday, October 10, SMM OSCE camera, installed in Shyrokyne, registered hundreds of explosions and shots in just a few hours.
‘The SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, within four hours, 34 explosions (22 assessed as impacts from undetermined weapons and 12 undermined explosions), more than 238 bursts of anti-aircraft-gun (ZU-23, 23mm) fire (233 fired from west to east and five from south-south-west to north-north-east) and 20 undetermined rocket-assisted projectiles (all fired from west to east) at an undetermined distance north-north-east', OSCE report said.
On the next day, October 11, Ukraine reported of a drastic increase in wounded soldiers overnight, though without specifying the exact area where it had happened.
‘Two Ukrainian servicemen died, 8 were wounded and three suffered from contusion in the past 24 hours', Defense Ministry spokesman Andrii Lysenko said.
But unofficial reports, made by Ukrainian volunteers, claimed that the absolute majority of the wounds had been received in the Shyrokyne area. And that just during one hour the militants reportedly launched 200 projectiles, using self-propelled artillery, high-caliber mortars and grenade launchers.
‘There is a problem in the Mariupol sector, they keep shooting with everything they have. The biggest number of attacks were registered there, the escalation is significant', said Donetsk region governor Pavlo Zhebrivsky in an interview with Ukrainian media.
The echoes of war are also rocking the city of Mariupol itself, as residents of its eastern districts say they hear the cannonade even with their windows shut.
The fierce fighting has been going on in the area for the past several days, and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. Why the combat has flared up there remains a mystery so far, though experts say Russian is just trying to increase pressure on Ukraine, hoping Kyiv would give in to its demands.
Read also: Mariupol residents protest OSCE inactivity
Ukraine, in turn, stresses so far the situation is under control, adding its servicemen are fully prepared to react to militant's possible attempt to break through.
Kyiv says it cannot lose the Shyrokyne-Vodyane area, as it is crucial to defending Mariupol. So Ukrainian soldiers continue to fend off the Russian-backed combatants, who, by the way, launched 777 projectiles in the Mariupol sector overnight, as Ukraine reported today, October 13.