Briefly about the most important today's events in our digest of events
that have happened in Ukraine today
Strelkov/Girkin predicts the resumption of military actions in Donbas
A former rebel leader in Slavyansk, Igor Strelkov, claims hostilities are to be resumed in Donbas soon, according to his interview in Perm, as reported by " Echo of Perm ".
When asked how many Russians fight in Ukraine, Strelkov replied that he did not know exactly, but suggested it might be one fifth of the gunmen.
Having said this, he suggested that peace would come to Ukraine only when a pro-Russian government was appointed.
According to him, insurgents would "never lay down their arms, and may kill those commanders who would want to do so".
Avdiyivka and Opytne, and Shyrokine attacked at night
A decrease in the number of armed provocations conducted by rebels was observed on the night of 15 to 16 March in the area of the anti-terrorist operation.
The enemy carried out 12 attacks on divisions of ATO forces along the demarcation line mainly with small arms in the period of time from 8.00 p.m. to 6 a.m., the ATO press centre reports.
The largest number of strikes was recorded in the Donetsk direction, namely illegal paramilitaries carried out a number of attacks on the village of Opytne with 120mm mortars at 8.20 and at 8.40 p.m.
Criminals fired on an observation point of Ukrainian soldiers near Avdiyivka with AA mounts at 1.30 a.m.
Rebels used mortars, grenade launchers and small arms to attack positions near the village of Shyrokine in the Mariupol direction overnight.
Rebels used automatic grenade launchers and small arms to attack army positions near Sokolnyky, Lugansk region, around 10 p.m.
In general, outlawed units of gunmen resorted to arms 9 times in the period between 8.00 p.m. Sunday and midnight. Three other facts of breaches of the cease-fire were recorded between midnight and 6.00 a.m. Monday.
IRG: Rebels fortify forward positions
Rebels improve from an engineering viewpoint their forward positions and arrange jump-oft lines and marshalling areas.
According to Dmitry Tymchuk from the Information Resistance Group, such activities are carried out by insurgents in the Mariupol direction, in an area to the east of Gorlovka, in the western direction to the south of Donetsk, in a sector between Schastya and Stanyza Luganska.
To accomplish their tasks, rebels use special engineering equipment brought in from the territory of the RF, as well as materiel expropriated from both state and private Donbas enterprises and organizations.
Regrouping of certain factions was observed in multiple areas simultaneously.
A rotation process of PRD formations takes place to the north of Debaltseve: their main part has been withdrawn to an area between Gorlivka and Yenakiyevo, and a number of composite tactical task forces (at least 2 composite company task groups, including 7 tanks, around 24 ACVs and anti-tank weapons) have been moved up instead of them.
A battalion task force of "Russian and terrorist forces" stationed in a sector between Dokuchayevsk and Starobeshevo received 8 units of armoured vehicles (including 2 tanks).
Part of an artillery group covering this BTF was pulled back to the rear; however, about 40% of equipment was left at forward positions. Rebel divisions were disposed laterally and disguised carefully.
A rebel group deployed to the north and east of Novoazovsk is reinforced and receives additional equipment.
Redeployments of combat materiel occur in Kuibyshev and Petrovsky districts of Donetsk. 5 tanks were moved from an area near the settlement of Opytne to Donetsk.
In addition, militants actively replenish material and technical reserves paying main attention to fuel and ammunition.
The arrival of 6 special purpose convoys from the RF was recorded in the past 48 hours, including 2 troop trains (each consisting of 8 cars destined for Debaltseve and Illovaysk).
Rebels want the Verkhovna Rada to coordinate
any Donbas related laws with them
Donetsk rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko wants Verkhovna Rada's decisions on Donbas to be agreed with the so-called "PRD" and "PRL", according to what he told journalists, as reported by TASS.
"Any document regarding the status of Donbas presented in the Verkhovna Rada has to be agreed with the PRD and PRL," he said.
As reported earlier, President Petro Poroshenko submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on defining Donbas districts with a special order of local self-government on March 14.
Tusk not going to Moscow on May 9: I won't stand next to an aggressor
European Council President explained his refusal reluctance to attend the parade, "pursued by the current occupants." "I received an invitation, but I will not go to Moscow to celebrate the May 9 anniversary of the end of World War II. The presence of the military parade held by the current occupants and people using weapons against the civilian population in eastern Ukraine, it would be for me to put it mildly, very controversial," the President of the European Council said.
Tusk received his invitation soon after having been blamed by Russia for taking a harsh stance on the conflict in Ukraine.
It will be recalled that British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the leaders of the Baltic countries have so far refused to take part in the parade on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War.
At the same time, the presidents of the Czech Republic and Serbia have agreed to visit the event.
Ukraine closes its local checkpoints with Russia
Ukraine closed 7 local checkpoints on its border with Russia on the midnight of March 16, a spokesman for the State Border Service, Oleg Slobodian, told "Ukrainska Pravda".
According to him, there are 7 local and 24 intergovernmental and international checkpoints on the Ukrainian border with the Russian Federation.
"Citizens of the Russian Federation and residents of border regions won't be able to cross the border through these 7 local checkpoints from March 16 onward. They can enter into Ukraine only through interstate or international checkpoints," Slobodian explained.
According to him, all citizens of the Russian Federation can visit Ukraine from now on only when presenting their foreign passports.
Tymchuk: Artillery moved from Pervomaysk to an area near Chornukhine
Militants have moved their artillery from Pervomaysk to an area near Chornukhine, and repositioned a division from Alchevsk to the west of Lugansk, the head of the Information Resistance Group, Dmytro Tymchuk, posted in Facebook on the morning of March 16.
In reality, a reportedly withdrawn Pervomaysk artillery group of terrorists (about 22 units of self-propelled and barrel artillery included in several divisions) was moved to another front line and deployed in and around Chornukhine," he wrote.
"A division of rebel rocket-launching artillery previously stationed near Alchevsk was relocated to an area to the west of Lugansk," Tymchuk added.
Head of the Polish Foreign Ministry:
The conflict is "frozen", no talks about tougher sanctions
At present, we can talk about to a certain extent "frozen conflict" in the east of Ukraine not mentioning tougher sanctions against Russia, the head of the Foreign Ministry of Poland, Grzegorz Schetyna, told a journalist of " European Truth" in Brussels.
According to him, nothing had happened over the past weeks that could become a reason to talk about tougher sanctions.
The last complicated situation was an attack on Mariupol," he said.
"Now, the conflict seems to have been frozen in a certain way, and we should respond to this situation flexibly. We do not need to radicalise it," the minister stressed.
According to him, the EU countries are now facing the issue of the extension of already imposed sanctions, which is due to be settled at the next summit of the political leaders of the European Union.
"The key point in extending sanctions is a common stance of all countries," Schetyna said.
He spoke in support of finding new formats to settle the conflict in the east of Ukraine, namely the Geneva format, as the participation of the USA would be effective.