Ukraine news/Archive/2016-04

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April, 2016

30.4 Contact Group agrees full ceasefire in Donbass starting April 30 midnight — OSCE. This is on the eve of Christian Orthodox Easter.

Poroshenko unexpectedly fired a number of odious persons known for their uncompromising positions on Donbas. Those lost their posts are: Governor of Luhansk region Georgi Tuck (replaced by Yurii Garbuz, whose first comments appeared pro-peace), a member of the Minsk contact group Roman Bessmertnyi (who was against Donbas elections in the near future, and had other differences with Poroshenko), the head of Foreign Intelligence Service Viktor Gvozd' (no explanation was provided), and Adviser to the President Yury Biryukov. Poroshenko decrees on those and other changes appeared on his website (news appear in all languages but official decrees only in Ukrainian).

29.4 Thirteen people were killed, and thirteen wounded in DPR in one week, according to DPR ombudsman

UAF shelled DPR 1741 times in the past week-DAN news

According to Zakharchenko, a planned attempt on his life by a Ukrainian group, said to be SBU, was prevented by DPR security -RIA. Zakharchenko announcement- video. At the end of the video, announces criminal cases against Poroshenko, Yatseniuk, Turchinov, for crimes (lit. развязывание войны -starting a war-Russ.) in Donbas'. One of captured perpetrators goes on camera to tell the story, says he was recruited by SBU (report and video ). Second video shows him taking an (electric) home heating radiator from the trunk of his car, and moving in the direction of some stately building. DPR said that a bomb was masked as a radiator, to be installed at a place visited by Zakharchenko.

28.4 OSCE chief monitor reports to OSCE council, has a press conference in Vienna.

Ambassador Apakan said that in the past weeks, the SMM has registered the highest number of ceasefire violations in months, while many weapons that were previously at permanent storage sites and holding areas are now back in use at the contact line.

27.4 Ukrainian army shelled a checkpoint near Yelenovka (Olenivka-Ukr.), at about 2.40 am today. Civilian cars were in a queue before a checkpoint, and one of the cars was completely destroyed. Five civilians, including a pregnant woman, were killed, and over 10 civilians were wounded, according to Basurin. 120 and 82 mm mortars were used. According to residents, they heard 4 shells exploding, coming from nearby, Khimki or Taramchuk. OSCE and Zakharchenko arrived to the scene. Grisly photos appeared from the scene. DPR named UAF commanders which, according to them, were responsible.

  • Zakharchenko puts this incident in the overall context of Ukraine not interested in peace, not fulfilling Minsk agreements, criticized OSCE for closing their eyes and doing too little to change the situation, calls OSCE to make a principled stand and unequivocally condemn Ukraine in this instance.
  • Longer video, two cars hit, one of them destroyed, craters, shrapnel, OSCE on the scene
  • OSCE SMM report: shelling from Ukrainian side.
The SMM conducted analysis on the two craters – and on two others in nearby residential areas. Based on that, the SMM assessed that the direction of fire was west-south-west, and that the type of weapon used in the attack was likely 122mm artillery.
  • According to DoNi news, a hospital (800 meters north) was also hit, but OSCE report failed to mention this.
one of the heavy shells, fired from Ukrainian positions, has clearly exploded in the territory of the local Yelenovka hospital and ... OSCE didn't mention that in their latest report: "Further north on Moskovskaya Street, the SMM observed some slightly damaged residences and demolished outhouses," writes OSCE in their report about shelling of Yelenovka village without mentioning, that this location is far away (+800 meters) from another shelled location near the DPR checkpoint, which caused 16 victims.

26.4 Victoria Nuland met with Ukrainian parliamentary factions, insisted that Minsk agreements should be followed through by the end of 2016, both security and political parts -Samopomosh faction report (Engl)

Rusvesna: documents appeared on Internet suggesting that in the first week of April Ukraine started planning evacuation of children in anticipation of 'an active phase of ATO' from a number of settlements near Mariupol. It is interpreted as possible preparation for an attack.

24.4 Five Ukrainian 152 mm self-propelled artillery units were spotted in Pervomaiskii (Yasinivataya region, 10 km from separation line). Such equipment is supposed to be over 25 km from the separation line, and this adds to numerous previous violations. three "Ural' trucks with amunition were spotted nearby. Also in the report, Ukrainian military are using 'pioneer camp' (built for children) as their base in Ukrainian -held Artemovsk, and install land mines around camp perimeter. It is implied that they are not supposed to convert civilian-use facilities for military use and endanger civilians.

According to Minsk agreements, for artillery over 100 mm allowed separation is at least 50 km, 25 km on each side
Situation report, DNI news (English).

23.4 DPR was shelled 296 times in the past day-Basurin. One DPR soldier was killed.

One "Grad" was spotted 1 km from the separation line near Avdeevka. Armored vehicles (18 tanks, 15 BMP, 15 BTR, 14 motorized armored transporters) were spotted in settlements Pravdovka (18.5 kilometers from the front line), Dobrovolie (24 km), the Rybinsk (19 km), Krasnogorovka (3 km) Marinka (1 km) and Elizavetovka (18 km from the line of contact)- situation report (English).

22.4 Past week: DPR was shelled 1900 times - Basurin; one civilian was killed, 3 wounded. 8 DPR soldiers were killed.

21.4 Three houses in northern Gorlovka burned down completely as a result of Ukrainian shelling

Zakharchenko interview (Rus) Very briefly, initial hope was to have similar to Crimea peaceful transition, however their fate turned out to be different, and they accept it. Hoping one day they will become a part of one big country. Discusses peaceful developments and warfare. Opolchenie, formed by grown-up adults, is different from youngsters drafted to army, but time of free roaming commanders is over, no 'Makhno'-like groups any more. Discusses economy (coal, mineral resources, agriculture, fish farming, etc). Raises the issue of Ukraine taking over grey zones, and nobody to tell Poroshenko not to. Tells that Ukraine constantly tests, challenges their defenses, and that "American drones, taking off from Italy, are over our cities for a reason".

20.4 Situation report-DNI news (English)

OSCE: we record up to 4700 ceasefire violations per day in Donbas -TASS (Rus.)

DPR delegation in Minsk reported (English) three fold increase of shelling violations in the first quarter of this year. Occasionally heavy weapons were used.

Zakharchenko had a 'direct line' question-answer session with residents of Kharkov region of Ukraine (Kiev-controlled but with historic and cultural ties with Novorossia; and a tank producing region for 'ATO' operation, on the other hand). Mixed bag of questions, some critical, some supportive, all handled quite calmly and well. (English translation)

Prior to the press conference, SBU set up a fake web page trying to get information on pro-Russian citizen. The plot was exposed due to early bragging by SBU press center on this operation success, according to Rusvesna, DNI news (Engl)

EU proposed to establish visa free travel for Ukraine for up to 90 days and without right to work; still needs to go through approval process (TASS).

Echo Moskvy commentary: (brief translation: FCUK!--Russ.)

19.4 Shelling continues, Gorlovka and Donetsk were under fire from tank guns and mortars. Two houses in Gorlovka burned down, 15 were damaged.

18.4 Captured Russians, Yerofeev and Alexandrov, were sentenced to 14 years in prison, with confiscation of property, by Ukrainian court in Kiev, on charges which include 'terrorism' and other alleged crimes BBC, TASS. There was always a talk on an exchange which include Savchenko and those two Russians. Decision on such an exchange is in the hands of Putin (whose standing on this matter is not known), and Poroshenko, who in the past expressed support for such an exchange.

Putin and Proshenko discussed situation in South Eastern Ukraine, as well as Savchenko, Yerofeev and Alexandrov matter. Ukrainian consul is to visit Savchenko is the near future. TASS, 18 April, 2016 22 :14 UTC +3

Putin-Obama phone call, Ukraine and Syria discussed - Kremlin transcript, White House readout. On Ukraine, similarly to previous such conversations, Russia expressed hope that new Ukrainian government will finally take steps to implement Minsk agreements, while "President Obama urged President Putin to take steps to end the significant uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine and stressed the urgent importance of moving forward with full implementation of the Minsk agreements" (and that's about all in the US transcript on the Ukraine matter). Those disconnected transcripts are not exactly reassuring that any progress is taking place or that there is any convergence of positions. If there is any, it is not seen in the transcripts, and in any case, what matters is that any such progress ought to be seen on the ground.

14.4 Following Yatsenuk's resignation, the Rada elects Poroshenko crony Volodymyr Groysman as new prime minister. As his successor as speaker of the parliament, the Rada elects with a great majority of 284 votes the infamous right-wing extremist and paramilitary leader Andrij Parubiy.

At Putin press conference, a question was asked, since Minsk 2 agreements are not fulfilled, what the future for Donbas will be? Does it mean war? (video;full transcript- В.Кораблёва question ). The response (briefly, no) was that there is no alternative to Minsk agreements in resolving the conflict. Importance of solving political issues first was stressed, including constitutional amendments, special status for Donbas, amnesty. Those items were not fulfilled by Kiev, and security situation (provoked by Ukraine, but anyway) should not be used as an excuse to stall political steps. Repeated call to the West to use their influence in Kiev, instead of blaming Moscow. Putin stated that he 'assumes' that there will be no active fighting; described and supported Poroshenko proposal for greater role of OSCE, including presence of armed OSCE observers on separation line.

'Patriotic' commentary about this long press conference as a whole, from Strelkov sort of crowd, was kind of mild disappointment. It was viewed as quite weak, -but no real alternative, apart from general gloom, was offered.

12.4 DoNI news video report, Ukraine shelled Zaitsevo just 5 mins after OSCE head visits the place

In the follow-up video, DoNi recorded shelling which started after OSCE left, and obtained interviews from a DPR soldier and a Red Cross worker, all confirming the same story (according to soldier, he was there, and firing was started by Ukraine, initially aimed in their own direction in order to blame DPR. Small arms, and increasingly heavier weapons up to BMP were used). DoNi raised the issue with OSCE at a press conference, pointing out that shelling started while OSCE cars were leaving the scene, and with another OSCE team present on the other side, but it did not appear in OSCE report (13 April). However Alexander Hug (OSCE) reply was that they do not include information where it cannot be determined which way the shells went and who is to blame.

10.4 Photo, videos report from Avdeevka, recent flash point. Fierce fighting continues in industrial zone in Avdeevka, supposedly a neutral zone, opposing positions there may be some 50 -70 meters apart. There are losses on both sides. Videos provide quite a good idea what's going on.

Yatseniuk decided to resign , to be voted in Rada on April 12- . Text is Ukrainian and English (lower) on his Facebook page. Groysman is nominated as replacement by Poroshenko block in Rada, he says.

UAF is shelling Kirovskii region of Donetsk , two DPR soldiers were killed. It is reported that Yasinovataia checkpoint was shelled from 122 mm artillery by UAF.

9.4 DPR: 'Tens of thousands' people gathered for a rally on the occasion of the second anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic

Shelling continues, 96 mortar shells were fired by UAF on Donetsk and Gorlovka. One opolchenie fighter was killed by sniper fire; two civilians were wounded (shelling and machine gun fire).

8.4 Fighting in the neutral Avdeevka industrial zone, Right Sector has losses in wounded and 1 killed according to Ukrainian postings on social media. A day before, Turchinov and Poltorak visited Avdeevka, accompanied by OSCE and JCCC; there were no violations during their visit, but Ukraine resumed shelling as soon as they left.

Comment of DPR Foreign Minister on report of European Parliament deputies, DNI News (in English).

Givi lightly wounded at a checkpoint, was there with civilians

7.4 Three DPR soldiers were killed, 5 wounded. UAF shelled 'Volvo Center' near Donetsk airport from heavy mortars. Also Donetsk air terminal and northern suburbs of Gorlovka were shelled- DAN news.

Evening update: shelling continues, and as a result two residential houses in Donetsk suburb burned down

Netherlands rejects EU-Ukraine partnership deal, BBC

Turnout was low, 32.2%, but above the 30% threshold for the vote to be valid. The deal was rejected by 61.1% of votes, compared with 38.1% in favour. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government may have to reconsider the deal, although the vote is not binding.

Regional council of Transcarpathian (Zakarpattia) region of Ukraine appealed to Poroshenko to give the region self-governance, as was decided in a referendum held in 1991. The appeal cites dire economic situation and promises of Maidan not fulfilled. It was further explained that they meant 'decentralization', not 'autonomy' or separation.

6.4 Assassination attempt on Givi. In Makeevka, Krasnovardeiskii region, an IED device exploded near his car. Givi was not hurt, the car was damaged. Second attempt on Givi, both in Makeevka.

Six houses were damaged by UAF mortar shelling in Zaitsevo, near Gorlovka. Sahanka, Shirokino in the South were shelled too, damage is being assessed.

5.4 Donetsk was shelled from mortars and BMP, Sahanka village in the south was shelled from mortars, Yasinovatya checkpoint was shelled from a tank gun, Gorlovka suburbs were shelled from tank guns

4.4 In the evening Gorlovka was [http://dan-news.info/defence/ukrainskie-siloviki-vecherom-obstrelyali-prigorod-gorlovki-povrezhdeno-zdanie-shkoly-istochnik.html shelled by UAF, a school was damaged.

In the past day, DPR was shelled 125 times. 82 and 120 mm mortars, BMP, BTR, grenade launchers, small firearms were used. One DPR soldier was killed.

DPR coal-mining enterprises in March 2016 raised to the surface more than a million tons of "black gold". This was reported today by the press service of the Ministry of Coal and Energy.

3.4 DPR was shelled 170 times in the past day

Poroshenko demanded that a new coalition and government is formed on the first Rada session, threatening to 'disband the parliament', i.e call early Rada elections, if that is not the case. 2.4 Donetsk and Gorlovka shelled overnight. Also Sahanka, Novoazovsk region, in DPR south, was shelled

LPR was shelled by 'GRAD' MLRS, at least 10 Grad missiles were fired on Pervomaisk from the direction of village Boguslavskoe.

Commander of 3 DPR infantry brigade, call name 'Batia' (Daddy) was killed in action near Gorlovka. Before the war he was a miner in Shaktersk. He joined opolchenie under Strelkov in Slaviansk. Survived by a daughter.

1.4 According to Basurin, in the past day DPR was shelled 547 times by UAF. Most intensive shelling, and using weapons violating Minsk agreement, was in Gorlovka and its suburbs Zaitsevo and Golmovskii; in settlements of Spartak, Zhabichevo, Veseloe; in the vicinity of Donetsk Airport, and in towns Dokuchaevsk and Yasinovatai. Basurin: "It was done on criminal orders of commander of 93 brigade Klochkov, commander of 56 brigade Melnikov, commander of 72 brigade Sokolov, commander of 57 brigade Krasilnikov, commander of 58 brigade Zabolotnyi, and under full connivance of Ukrainian side representative in the JCCC (Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination) general Taran."

Donetsk People's Republic of the Ministry of Defense announced the next part of the dossier on commanders of Ukrainian troops involved in war crimes in Donbass; detailed power point file, as well previous two parts of the report are linked in this latest announcement.

Zakharchenko: threat of resumption of military hostilities increased due to provocations by UAF.

ATO volunteer announced on her Facebook page that an Ukrainian fighter nicknamed 'Godzilla' was killed by a mortar round explosion in Zaitsevo, near Gorlovka- Rusvesna reports.

Photos, videos, letters, on Cassad blog