On December 3 and 4, 2020, Russian hybrid occupation forces in the Donbas shelled positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the village of Vodiane in the Donetsk Oblast using 122 mm cannon artillery systems and 120 mm mortars prohibited under Minsk protocols. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in their situation update for the area of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO).
Ukrainian side of the JCCC promptly notified the OSCE representatives about the use of prohibited types of heavy weapons by the armed formations of the Russian Federation.
Also in the Vodiane area, 4 cases were recorded of remote mining of Ukrainian positions by Russian occupants using portable mining kits and prohibited POM-2 anti-personnel land mines.
Based on our analysis Intelligence data on 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the Russian Federation in the occupied Donbas, we can assume that the shelling of the Ukrainian positions near Vodiane village was carried out by the 9th Separate Assault Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Marines (military unit 08809, permanent station at Novoazovsk, occupied part of Donetsk Oblast). This regiment of hybrid Russian forces is characterized by low discipline. In addition, the area of responsibility of the 9th Regiment is periodically used to provide their first real combat experience to artillery men of the Russian Army, recent graduates of Russian artillery schools.
InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community has already published precise coordinates of the identified permanent bases of 2S1 Gvozdika 122-mm self-propelled howitzers of the Russian occupation forces. One of these locations is an industrial site in the village of Novoazovsk, 17-20 km from Vodiane.
As InformNapalm volunteers noted back in September 2020, relying on numerous intelligence signs, Russia actively used the ceasefire to build up the combat capability of its occupation forces in the Donbas: did engineering work, mining of new areas and replenishment of ammunition by covert cargo trafficking through uncontrolled areas of the border.
According to the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian occupation forces have recently increased the number of reconnaissance groups and sniper pairs at the front, looking to carry out subversive operations in the gray zone, shoot at the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to provoke return fire, as well as inflict personnel losses.
Let us also recall that on November 29, 2020, a modern Russian short-range UAV was shot down in the war zone. This type of UAVs is used for artillery reconnaissance and target designation as well as artillery fire adjustment.
And on November 8, the newest Russian artillery reconnaissance system Navodchik-2 was spotted 12 km from the line of contact (at the approximate coordinates 48°31’40.2″N 39°24’01.6″E). The system is designed to perform reconnaissance and special tasks, in particular, to provide targeting coordinates for barrel artillery and multiple rocket launch systems (MLRS) at the battalion level.
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