NSC News & Analysis Center briefing at 12:00 July 4, 2014

In compliance with a decree of the President of Ukraine to renew the active phase of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO), the personnel and units of the ATO forces began to actively disarm and destroy terrorist group in the operational zone. Ukraine’s Armed Forces engaged in heavy air and artillery bombardment on strongholds, checkpoints, arms caches and clusters of terrorists, NSC Secretary Andriy Parubiy reported today at the 12:00 briefing.

The activity levels of militant bands have noticeably declined. The terrorists have suffered serious losses of life, now in the hundreds. In the last week, some terrorist equipment was also destroyed: 1 tank, 1 Zenit launcher, 5 armored KAMAZes with personnel. One KAMAZ was carrying weapons and ammo for militants was captured by the armed forces.

Since the start of the ATO in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast, 17 population centers have been liberated and the Government of Ukraine now controls 23 counties out of 36. In Donetsk Oblast, more than two thirds are in government hands: 13 out of 18, while in Luhansk, more than half are: 10 out of 18. Where the government has recovered control, local governments, police and community services have resumed their work.

During the last week since the ATO was resumed, 4 more settlements were liberated from the terrorists: Zakotne, Raihorodok, Reznikovka, and Raioleksandrivka.

Military action in the conflict zone

During the day on July 3, ATO forces units fought for the strategically important village of Mykolayivka. At the end of the day, our units removed the blockade of Mykolayivka and made it possible to liberate the entire county, together with the National Guard of Ukraine and police forces. The illegal groups suffered serious losses: at least 150 militants were killed and 6 terrorist strongholds were destroyed. Weapons caches in Mykolayivka and Semenivtsi were also destroyed. Ukrainians soldiers took control the Kharkiv-Rostov-on-Don highway. ATO forces unfortunately lost one defender and 4 were injured during these battles. 

During the night of July 3-4, terrorists once again tried to attack and opened fire at the positions of ATO units. Using artillery, they shot at the Luhansk and Kramatorsk aerodromes. The militants also shot some reactive system salvos from a Grad at a checkpoint near the village of Metalist. Ukrainian forces rapidly responded to this firing and opened fire in return from mobile artillery units. The militants’ firing positions were destroyed.

On July 3, massive artillery fire on the part of ATO forces at the strategic ridge called Saur-Molyla in Shakhtarsk County, Donetsk Oblast, destroyed a militant stronghold. Moreover, the terrorists’ Zenit launcher was destroyed, as well as their large caliber Utes machine-gun.

The border area

The battle continues to restore the security of the state border and to destroy terrorists in border areas of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts that are under their control. This is taking place in the continuous presence and movement of Russia’s Armed Forces and military equipment near the Ukrainian border.

Using the aircraft of the State Border Service and engaging private airlines that are cooperating with the SBS, 320 km of the Ukrainian-Russian border and 315 km of the Ukraine-Belarus border have been surveyed.

Summary:
During the last week, border patrol units continued to reestablish control on sections of the Ukrainian-Russian border in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. The Dovzhanskiy crossing was liberated from the terrorists and de-mined. Border troops also successfully repelled an attack by terrorists on the Novoazovsk crossing in Donetsk Oblast.

During this same period, border forces established several violations of Ukrainian air space by two Russian Mi-8 helicopters and one Mi-24 helicopter. Russia continues to support terrorist groups. Under the guise of humanitarian aid, the Russian Federation has been delivering weapons and ammo across the border. Russia also continues to fill the ranks of terrorists with  new militants.

Population centers in the conflict zone

On July 3, terrorists continued to loot and to terrorize locals and kidnap people. In the last week, they have captured and forcefully taken away more than 10 people, tortured or killed tens of peaceful civilians. In addition to this, they have injured and crippled a large number of peaceful residents.

Both robbery and looting continue: the militants have stolen more than two dozen cars from locals when the latter attempted to leave the conflict zone. In addition, 2 combines have been stolen, a number of industrial enterprises have been robbed, and some banks whom the central Government had transferred pensions and salaries for government workers in social services.

During this week, militants also carried out countless acts of terror involving infrastructure. Saboteurs blew up railways 10 times, disrupted the pumping station of the first lock of the Siverskiy Donets-Donbas canal, and damaged the gas pipeline near where the ATO was taking place in Luhansk Oblast.

Several times, terrorists shot at apartment towers in populate areas and towns, including in Stanytsia Luhanska, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, leading to injuries and casualties among peaceful cilivians. Russian propaganda continues to use these facts to blame and discredit ATO forces. We want to note that Ukraine’s Armed Forces have never opened fire in the direction of residential towers, which might have put local residents at risk.

The main objective declared by the President of Ukraine is to ensure the safety of peaceful residents while carrying out the Anti-Terrorist Operation.

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