BERDYANS’KE, Ukraine—Pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian Azov Regiment have been battling over the town of Shyrokyne for weeks.
The small town on the Sea of Azov is only about nine miles east of Mariupol, an industrial port city on the Sea of Azov, which is considered by some Ukrainian military officials to be the last obstacle before a separatist breakthrough that could advance all the way to Crimea.
Shyrokyne is located on a strategic high-point, from which separatists would be able to strike Ukrainian checkpoints around Mariupol if they gained control.
But neither side appears willing to back down, and on Tuesday heavy fighting raged in Shyrokyne with artillery landing in nearby Berdyans’ke, marking what many Azov Regiment soldiers considered to be a significant uptick in the separatists’ use of heavy weapons banned by the Feb. 15 cease-fire.
The sounds of artillery also shook the ground in nearby Mariupol starting around 3 p.m., and lasting into the evening.
Two Azov Regiment soldiers were injured in Tuesday’s fighting. None were reported killed. Watch raw footage of the fighting in the video above.