Bellingcat investigators confirmed that Russia-backed militants have been constantly firing Grads from the residential area of the separatist-controlled territory of eastern Donetsk, Joinfo.com reports.
“The press center of the Ukrainian “Anti-Terrorist Operation” reported that at least 100 Grad rockets were fired by combined Russian-separatists forces in the Donetsk sector on January 31…Recently uploaded videos show at least half of these rocket launches, which have been geolocated to a residential sector in eastern Donetsk. Recent satellite imagery and witness accounts confirm the geolocation, revealing the firing locations for Russian-separatist Grad launches,” the report says.
“Social media accounts from a local pro-Ukrainian VK.com group in Donetsk monitoring outgoing and incoming shelling suggest that combined Russian-separatists forces have been constantly firing Grads from the separatist-controlled Donetsk bypass highway near Auchan hypermarket.”
“The five videos published on 31 January 2017 show four different attacks with at least 60 launched rockets from the area. While we can only see this many rockets, the recorded sounds in the videos suggest that additional missiles were launched in these four attacks. At least two different launch locations were used for this attacks,” the report said.
The investigators said that “available evidence clearly documents that on 31 January 2017, multiple attacks with MLR systems were launched in a proximity of the hypermarket Auchan in Donetsk. The location deep inside the so-called “DNR” and the firing directing pointing toward Avdiyivka clearly document the responsible side for these particular attacks.”
“One launch site is around 200 meters east of the hypermarket, and in fewer than 500 meters from a school and residential area. The second launch site is in a proximity of the bypass and around 600 meters from an industrial area and 1000 meters from a residential area. Some of the attacks occurred during the day while the nearby bypass was also used by civilians,” the report sums up.
The report also says that Grads’ positions in the residential area provide that the Ukrainian troops will not launch a counter attack to suppress the Grads’ fire because this would risk civilian lives in the area.
“However, the repeated usage of the launch site 200 meters east of the hypermarket Auchan strongly suggest that the selection of this area happened on purpose, deliberately risking the lives of the civilians in the area,” the report said.