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Expert suggests analyzing shell craters to establish who launched them in Rostov region

July 15, 2014, 20:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

If the fragments that killed a Russian citizen in the Rostov region had been fired from a howitzer, it means they had been launched from Ukrainian guns, the expert says

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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Matytsyn

MOSCOW, July 15. /ITAR-TASS/. The craters and splinters left by shells which were fired from the territory of Ukraine against the town of Donetsk in Russia’s Rostov region on July 13 will give an answer to the question who launched had them and what types of guns had been used, retired Colonel Vladimir Zaritsky, the commander of Russian Rocket Troops and Artillery in 2001-2010, told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

Commenting on a statement by Vladimir Markin, a spokesperson for the Russian Investigation Committee, that Russian had initiated criminal proceeding into the fact of shelling of its territory from the territory of Ukraine, Zaritsky said that satellite images would be unable to give a clear and unequivocal answer with regards to who fired the shells.

“Modern satellites, if they were over the Ukrainian territory at the time of artillery shooting, can determine and fix what unites were being involved in fighting at that time. The satellite images will show the firing position of the battery as clearly as on the palm of one’s hand. But it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to establish the ballistics, the trajectory and the direction in which the shells flew and where they fell,” Zaritsky explained.

According to him, only the SNAR type or Zoopark-1 ground artillery reconnaissance complexes or drones and helicopters could provide such information if they were stationed in the Russian territory in the vicinity of the border at the time of shelling.

At the same time, General Zaritsky said that experts could always establish what army units fired a shell and the type of guns used from the craters and splinters left after the explosion.

“The analysis of splinter thickness, the structure of metal and crater depth will make it possible to understand what kind of shells it was - 120 mm or 122 mortar mines or a 152 mm howitzer shell. Press reports say that the self-defense forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics do not have howitzers at their disposal. They only have mortars seized from the enemy. Self-propelled howitzers Gvozdika and Akatsiya are in service with Ukraine’s army motor-rifle and aero-mobile brigades and the National Guard units,” Zaritsky stressed.

So if the fragments that killed a Russian citizen in the Rostov region had been fired from a howitzer, it means they had been launched from Ukrainian guns irrespective of what the Ukrainian side may say and what excuses it may try to find, Colonel Zaritsky said in conclusion.

Several shells fired from the territory of Ukraine fell on the Russian territory in the border town of Donetsk on July 13. The city prosecutor, Dmitry Aristarkhov, said that a 47-year-old man died and two women had been injured by the shells. The Russian Investigation Committee assumes that unidentified servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, members of Ukraine’s National Guard or the Right Sector fighters intentionally fired shells against the Russian territory. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry denied that the Russian territory had been shelled from the territory of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry has invited the military attaches of 18 foreign countries to visit a place at the Russia-Ukraine border in the Rostov region where the shells had fallen.

However, only 11 military attaches from China, Spain, the United States, Finland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, India, Germany, Sweden and France accepted the invitation and set out on a trip to the Russian-Ukrainian border on Tuesday.

The military representatives of Ukraine, Belgium, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria could not go for various reasons.

Sergei Ryzhkov, a department head at the Russian Defense Ministry, noted that some attaches had refused to take part in the trip because of short notice (Monday evening). Some of them turned out to be away on their vacation.

“However, the attaches of Ukraine, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands replied with categorical refusal,” Ryzhkov stressed.

He added that the Russian Defense Ministry had invited the military attaches to visit the Russian-Ukrainian border because Russia could not but be concerned with the latest developments there.

“The purpose of the trip is to get firsthand information. We also hope that our colleagues will inform their governments of what they are going to see,” Ryzhkov explained.

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