Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 78 times in the past 24 hours with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as killed in action and two as wounded in action, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters, Joinfo.com reports with reference to UNIAN.
“In the Donetsk direction, Ukrainian positions near the village of Zaitseve came under 152mm artillery fire. The enemy also opened fire from 120mm mortars near the villages of Mayorsk, Verkhnyotoretske, and the town of Avdiyivka, while from 82mm mortars on the Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka, Verkhnyotoretske, Troyitske, Novoselivka Druha, and Butivka coal mine. Russian occupation forces used grenade launchers of various systems and heavy machine guns to shell Avdiyivka and the villages of Pisky, Nevelske, and Luhanske. The occupiers also opened fire from a tank on the defenders of Butivka coal mine,” the ATO press service posted on Facebook.
In the Mariupol sector, the enemy fired 120mm and 82mm mortars on the Ukrainian positions near the villages of Shyrokyne and Vodiane, as well as grenade launchers and machine guns on the Ukrainian positions near the villages of Hnutove, Talakivka Shyrokyne, and Vodiane. The Ukrainian Marines’ positions came under sniper fire.
In the Lugansk direction, the occupiers fired 82mm mortars, grenade launchers and machine guns on the Ukrainian positions near the village of Novozvanivka. The situation in the ATO zone remains tense but controlled.
NATO representatives are arriving in the town of Balaklia, Ukraine, to conduct demining operations in the area where a large-scale fire engulfed a military munitions depot on March 23, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration Yulia Svetlichna said on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.
“I can say that NATO envoys are already arriving to carry out demining the military munitions depot, at the request of the president,” Svetlichna said. She also noted that the city’s electricity supply would be resumed on Sunday, while gas services would be renewed before next Thursday. Svetlichna emphasized that the residents had already been provided with humanitarian aid. She also reported on the preparation of applications for financial assistance from the Cabinet of Ministers to carrying out restoration work.
It should be recalled that overnight Thursday, March 23, a fire broke out at Ukraine’s largest munitions depot in Balaklia, Kharkiv region.
Mass detonations led to an evacuation of nearly 20,000 residents of nearby settlements. There were no casualties among the military, but one civilian woman was killed and several others were injured.
President Poroshenko said on March 23 that he instructed the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the State Emergency Service “to attract NATO assistance for humanitarian demining in Balaklia.”
On March 24, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze said that the United States and Slovakia had already expressed their readiness to assist Ukraine in demining the military arsenal in Balaklia in the framework of cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center.
A meeting of foreign ministries representatives of the Normandy Four countries is being held in Paris without the participation of the Russian side, a source in the diplomatic circles told Interfax-Ukraine on Friday.
“A Normandy format meeting at the level of political advisors is taking place in Paris without Russia’s participation. Vadym Prystaiko is representing Ukraine,” the source said.
Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister Prystaiko said earlier that the Russian side has refused to participate in this meeting.
The Normandy format of the negotiations on Donbas envisages the involvement of Ukraine, Germany, Russia and France.