Escalation in Donbas pending Independence Day: Ukraine reports five KIA's, seven WIA's on Aug 23

Russian-led forces used, among other things, 122mm artillery systems, 120mm and 82mm mortars, cannons of infantry fighting vehicles, grenade launchers, large-caliber machine guns.

The situation in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, escalated on August 23, five Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action (KIA) and seven were wounded in action (WIA) amid fighting with Russian-led forces the day before Ukraine marks its Independence Day, however the Ukrainian army says the situation remains under control.

In total, the Russian-led forces mounted 42 attacks on the Ukrainian troops, the JFO press service said on Facebook in a morning update on August 24. Of them, proscribed, heavy weapons were used three times.

Read alsoUkraine army eliminates 12 enemy troops in Donbas in past day (Video)

"The Russian occupiers opened fire from 122mm artillery systems, 120mm and 82mm mortars, cannons of infantry fighting vehicles, grenade launchers, large-caliber machine guns, and small arms.

The enemy shelled Ukrainian positions near such populated localities in eastern Ukraine as: the villages of Krymske, Novotoshkivske, Troyitske, Luhanske, Pivnichne, Zhelezne, Novhorodske, Pisky, Starohnativka, Hranitne, Chermalyk, Hnutove, Pavlopil, Lebedynske, Vodiane, and Shyrokyne, as well as the towns of Avdiyivka and Krasnohorivka.

Krymske and Novotoshkivske in the Luhansk sector were the hottest spots in the past day. The enemy intensively used artillery systems and mortars there, attempting to launch assault operations. Ukraine's Joint Forces units repelled the enemy's attacks, retaining own positions.

Also, the Russian occupation forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Luhanske, Chermalyk, and Lebedynske, using 82mm mortars.

"Since [Friday] midnight, the occupiers have already mounted five attacks on the JFO positions near Krymske, Hnutove, Pavlopil, and Vodiane. At night, Krymske against came under 122mm artillery fire, Pavlopil was under 82mm mortar fire. No Ukrainian army casualties have been reported today [August 24]," the JFO press service added.

According to an updated intelligence report, 12 enemy troops were eliminated, another 20 were wounded in the past day.