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Battle of Svitlodarsk
Part of War in Donbass
Date 18–23 December 2016
Location Svitlodarsk, Ukraine
Result Ceasefire
  • Both sides claim to have repelled the other's attacks[1]
Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine Flag of Lugansk People's Republic.svg Lugansk People's Republic
Commanders and leaders
Kupol (nom de guerre)[2] Col. Oleg Anashchenko[3]
Units involved
Ensign of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.svg Ukrainian Ground Forces: War Flag of Novorussia.svg Lugansk People's Militia[5]
Casualties and losses
9 killed, 35 wounded (per Ukraine)[6]
10 killed, 20 wounded
(per LPR; 1st day)[1]
18 killed, 38 wounded,[7] 1 captured[8] (per Ukraine)
4 killed, 2 wounded[5][9] (per LPR; 1st day)

The Battle of Svitlodarsk[10] was a battle in the War in Donbass near Svitlodarsk, Donetsk Oblast. It was described as the "bloodiest battle in 5 months".[4]

Through Svitlodarsk towards Debaltseve leads Highway M03 which is part of the European route E40.

The battleEdit

It is unclear who initiated the heavy fighting near Svitlodarsk on 18 December 2016, with both sides accusing each other of starting the battle.[1] According to the Ukrainians, the separatists launched three attacks on Ukrainian positions, with all of them being repelled. During the fighting, the separatists reportedly conducted three rounds of shelling of Ukrainian positions, with each lasting three to six hours. The shelling was claimed to had originated from residential areas in the village of Kalynivka, and the towns of Vuhlehirsk and Debaltseve, which prevented the Ukrainian military from responding due to fear of inflicting potential civilian casualties.[4] Ukrainian forces also claimed to had advanced 1.5 kilometers near the village of Luhanske,[2] seizing a strategic height from the separatists,[4] Hill 223.[11] According to the separatists, the fighting started when they themselves came under attack by the Ukrainian military near Debaltseve, but managed to eventually repulse the assault.[1] According to a separatist LPR official, 40 Ukrainian soldiers conducted the attack, supported by heavy artillery fire, with 150 shells being fired near the village of Kalynivka.[5] In all, 2,900 explosions were recorded in the region during the day, most around Svitlodarsk.[12]

Later, it was reported that on 18 December, the Ukrainians seized four or possibly five other points on the left bank of the Hryazevskyi pond after launching their attack.[13]

Another separatist attack was reportedly repulsed on 20 December, when three groups of 3–5 fighters attempted to assault Ukrainian positions after a mortar attack.[8] On 22 December, separatist shelling left almost a dozen Ukrainian soldiers wounded,[14] while the LPR militia reported an attempted Ukrainian breakthrough by 50 soldiers and three IFVs near Debaltseve was repelled.[9] The next day, the Ukrainians stated a new separatist ground assault supported by shelling and armored vehicles was driven off.[10]

For the first time in six days, no fighting took place in the Svitlodarsk area on 24 December,[15] after a general ceasefire came into effect at midnight.[16]


On 24 December, the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE was forced to evacuate their patrol base in Svitlodarsk due to artillery attacks nearby. They returned on 26 December.[17]

On 25 December, the Ukrainian military and the separatists exchanged the bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers and two separatist fighters killed during the fighting at Svitlodarsk[2] in Shchastya.[18] The same day, a new round of shelling was reported in the Svitlodarsk area.[2]

On 28 December, the separatists reportedly deployed Grad MLRSs near the Svitlodarsk area.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Ukraine army 'repulsed rebel attack' near Debaltseve in east". BBC News. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Grytsenko, Oksana (26 December 2016). "Donbas clashes escalate on Christmas as Ukrainian troops claim new advances". Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. 
  3. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in ru). 6 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "'Bloodiest battle in 5 months': Ukrainian troops repel 3 militant attacks near Svitlodarsk". 19 December 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "LPR militias: Kiev forces fire over 150 shells near Kalinovka village". 19 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  6. Goncharova, Olena (12 January 2017). "At least 22 Ukrainian soldiers killed in Russia's war in December–January". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  7. "Defense Ministry Intelligence: 18 Militants Killed, 38 Wounded Outside Svitlodarsk, Donetsk Region, December 19–25". 26 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Ukrainian army repel one more attack near Svitlodarsk (UPDATE)". 20 December 2016. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Ukrainian forces open fire at Debaltsevo for first time since 2015". 22 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Ukrainian army repel armour attack near Svitlodarsk, casualties reported". 23 December 2016. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  11. "Ukraine's Bloodiest Battle of the Winter". @DFRLab. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  12. Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (20 December 2016). "2,900 explosions in a day. Heavy artillery and tank fire returns to the front lines in Ukraine". Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  13. "Separating Fact and Fiction in the Svitlodarsk Bulge". 4 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  14. "More than 10 Ukrainian soldiers wounded in Donbas war zone". 22 December 2016. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  15. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in ru). 25 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  16. "Ukraine confirms ceasefire observed in Donbass". 24 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  17. "OSCE SMM evacuates base from Svitlodarsk for two days due to shelling". 28 December 2016. Archived from the original on 28 December 2016. 
  18. "Handover of bodies of killed Ukraine troops at Svitlodarsk Arc: details". UNIAN. 26 December 2016. 
  19. "Militants pull Grad missile systems up to frontline in Donbas". 28 December 2016. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 

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