The militants of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic terrorist organization (DPR) are building up fortified positions near the village of Kominternove, occupied on Tuesday, which is only 23 km north-east of Ukrainian-controlled strategic port city of Mariupol in Donetsk region, Commander of the Azov regiment, MP Andriy Biletskiy said on TV, UNIAN reports.
According to him, on December 22, about 12-15 units of militant armored vehicles were deployed in Kominternove, as well as artillery reserves.
“They started to build their first fortified position in front of Kominternove, concrete structures. They are pulling construction equipment, mining the roads and the area around. So I think that they occupied the village for the long haul,” – Biletskiy said.
“Tactically, the fact that the Ukrainian forces were withdrawn from Kominternove (it was almost always controlled by the Azov regiment before withdrawal) is Ukraine’s very big mistake. Now it [the close presence of militants] will be looming over the Ukrainian positions in Shyrokyne and in Pavlopil, which returned under the Ukrainian control a few days ago,” Biletskiy said.
He said that gaining control over Kominternove by separatists had significantly improved their positions for a possible future offensive.
“This is serious. The fact that we are surrendering without a fight, is another thing… We can only be absolutely sure that the separatists have significantly improved their positions for launching the attack,” Biletskiy said.
Also, the spokesman of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine for ATO issues Colonel Andriy Lysenko said on “5 TV Channel” that the separatists are trying to divert Ukrainian army’s attention from something more important, they are plotting in the ATO area.
“The occupation of Kominternove by the militants can only be a maneuver of distraction from something more meaningful,” – said Colonel. “Therefore, the Ukrainian military command is also focusing on other (Donetsk and Luhansk) directions.”
It should be recalled that earlier OSCE SMM reported no access to Kominternove due to security concerns, such as mines, trip wires, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance in the area of the village.