Donetsk, Sep 12 - DAN. NATO instructors arrived at the Urzuf settlement south of the contact line to train Ukrainian army scouts and Azov and Aratt battalions gunmen, Donetsk People’s Republic Operations Command spokesman Daniil Bezsonov said on Wednesday citing intelligence reports.

“At present, the training is taking place at the firing range near Urzuf, 30 kilometres from Mariupol, where NATO instructors are coaching not only scouts from 36th Marines Brigade and units of 3rd and 8th Special Task Force Regiments, but also gunmen from the Azov National Guard Regiment and 8th Aratt nationalistic battalion,” Bezsonov said.

Overall, 187 gunmen are in training led by US Marine Corps Special Operations Colonel Kim Yort, he added.  The next group of nationalists will begin one-month training under U.S. instructors’ guidance on October 1.

Earlier reports said that U.S. military attaché in Ukraine Paul Schmitt would visit the headquarters of the Ukrainian army’s 128th and 36th Brigades on the Mariupol axis on September 12.

It was reported earlier this month that Ukrainian forces were preparing a large-scale offensive against DPR positions on the southern (Mariupol) axis and that  Ukraine massed up more than 12,000 troops for the attack. Latest intelligence reports showed that the Ukrainian army has been deploying heavy weapons on the contact line in violation of the Minsk peace accords. *jk