According to the Ministry of Defence of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Ukranian Army has misinterpreted the column of its own 18th Batallion of the 28th Mechanized Brigade moving very close to Mariupol January 24th, 2015 as if it belonged to ‘separatists’ or de jure the DPR freedom fighters, and shelled it from the Stary Krim area (see the map) located on the Western side of Mariupol. Mariupol as a whole as well as Stary Krim are fully controlled by the Ukrainian Army.
So, the Ukranian Army shelled its own military column by using multiple rocket launching system “Grad” and “Uragan”. Their missiles were flying across and above Mariupol. Some of them landed at the 18th Batallion column position, some of them at the residential areas of Mariupol killing more than 60 civilians and wounding more than 100 people. That is why Kiev is fully responsible for these atrocities.
The DPR resistance units are deployed more than as close as 20 km on the East near Shirokino (see the map). They do not have “Grad” or “Uragan” MRLS or heavy artillery in that area. So, de facto the DPR units have not been able to hit Mariupol.
They claim they do not have any intention to capture Mariupol – their aim is remove the common border line with Ukraine in some other places so that the Ukrainian MRLS were not been able to shell residential areas in Donetsk and other cities in Donbass. Their aim is justifiable: the overall number of KIA in Donbass are 5038 civilians only. All of them have been killed by the Ukrainian Army.
So, the shelling of the 18th Batallion column and a residential area in Mariupol by the Ukranian Army is either as its military mistake (miscalculation of its Intelligence), or as a mere provocation with the aim to disrupt a peace process and to enhance additional economic sanctions versus Russia.
Russian MFA has strongly criticized the shelling of Mariupol by the Ukrainian Army. The Russian MFA official representative Alexander Lukashevitch said that the Ukrainian authorities are de facto slowing down the proper investigation of the recent Mariupol case.
Videos containing recordings of Saturday’s GRAD strikes at Mariupol:
Professor Vladimir Kozin was directly engaged in NATO-related issues during his 40-years-long professional career in the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was one of the leading negotiators from the Russian side at the most of the Russia-US diplomatic and military talks on disarmament, strategic deterrence and other issues in 1990s. He is a professor and member of Russian Academy of Military Science.