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 Yesterday's tank, mortar, and artillery strikes committed by Russian militants were heaviest since battle for Debaltseve, - ATO speaker. PHOTOS+MAP

The situation across the demarcation line in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone dramatically deteriorated on the Independence Day of Ukraine, Aug. 24.

Presidential Administration speaker on ATO matters Oleksandr Motuzianyk told a news briefing today, Censor.NET reports.

"It may be stated that yesterday's tank, mortar, and artillery strikes conducted by the enemy were fiercest since the battle for Debaltseve," he said.

"Luhansk section of the front: Stanytsia Luhanska was mortared twice in the evening. Ukrainian troops opened fire in response. It was calm in the vicinity of Shchastia.

"The invaders employed mortars, 152-mm artillery (MSTA-B guns, according to the preliminary information) and a tank along the entire front line between Krymske and Novotoshkivske near Bakhmutka highway. All strikes were committed during hours of darkness.

See more: Ukrainian soldier Oleh Diachenko killed in ATO zone, - Svoboda party. PHOTO

"The invaders used 152-mm howitzers not far from Popasna several times. The civilian targets were hit.

"The enemy committed a total of 25 attacks at Luhansk direction yesterday including 11 strikes with high-caliber weapons," Motuzianyk said.

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"The sharpest escalation of the situation was recorded at Donetsk section of the front as the occupants used heavy weapons - tanks, mortars, and cannons - along the demarcation line between Troitske and Krasnohorivka both during daytime and hours of darkness.


"The total number of shells fired by the enemy (with howitzers and tanks) reached several hundred. The militants committed strikes not only at the front line, but also in the Ukrainian troops' rear. The ATO forces opened fire in response at all strategic points of our defense.

"The enemy committed a total of 38 attacks at Donetsk direction over the past day, including 29 strikes with heavy weapons," the ATO speaker said.

Read more: Russian militants use heavy weapons: Shyrokyne shelled with 122-mm SP-guns, Semyhiria with 152-mm artillery, Avdiivka and Krymske with tanks, - Staff

"Mariupol section of the front: the enemy committed the heaviest strike ever on the Ukrainian positions with Akatsyia self-propelled guns. A total of 120 shells hit our positions over just one hour," Motuzianyk stressed.

"The enemy conducted a total of 22 assaults at Mariupol direction yesterday including five strikes with heavy weapons.

"Three enemy drones were spotted flying in the ATO area at Luhansk and Donetsk directions yesterday," Motuzianyk summed up.

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