DONETSK, January 1. /TASS/. The Kiev forces opened massive fire at the southern areas of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic late on Saturday amid the trip of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and US Senator John McCain to Mariupol, the DPR’s command spokesman Eduard Basurin said.
"The increase in the number of shellings at the republic’s southern frontiers signals that the command of the 36th naval infantry brigade (near Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine) has decided to zealously show its notorious combat capability," Basurin was quoted by the Donetsk News Agency as saying.
Over the past 24 hours, a total of 79 shells and also 246 rounds of ammunition have been fired from various types of grenade launchers at the republic’s territory, Basurin said. Kiev again violated the February 2015 Minsk peace deal by redeploying two Akatsiya self-propelled artillery systems to the contact line, he added.
On December 31, Poroshenko congratulated the Ukrainian military in Mariupol with the New Year. McCain, who arrived with him, said the US would provide moral support and voiced hope that the DPR’s territory would be "liberated" by Ukraine’s troops in 2017.