Ukraine news/Archive/2016-08

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August, 2016

31.8 Poroshenko appears to be drunk on his visit to Mariupol (report and video). Official photo here (sometimes photo-shopped to show a bottle).

30.8 A new site, "rapid response news-Donetsk " reports strong shelling of Yasinovataya (multistorey residential houses hit, one civilian killed), and shelling of Shastie, LPR. More emotional reports than dry official news in general. Not entirely clear who runs it, but does not appear coordinated with the republic officials.

A video, apparently shot by Ukrainian 'punishers', shows them shooting, a big fire , apparently raising over a village, and punishers giving orders to fire on central street so that the whole village of Dibrovka 'and all those bastards ' are destroyed (heavy cursing, speaking in Russian). Ordering to prepare RPG 18 Muha, hide in individual hideouts in case of retaliation; discussing OSCE too. Posted by 'Information agency Novorossia'.

One civilian was wounded, 3 houses were damaged in UAF shelling of Alexandrovka near Donetsk. Observation post of Russian JCCC representatives came under fire and had to be evacuated-DAN news

Videos of "self exploding air conditioners" appeared on social media. It is said that both videos were made a year ago.

29.8 DPR was shelled 520 times in the past day, 3 civilians were wounded -DAN news , DoNi news (Eng.).

According to Tsarev interview, Zurabov predicted that Poroshenko will become President, and believed it will be good for Russia, saying that there are 3 red flags which he will not cross: NATO, Sevastopol, and (christian orthodox) church (see news on Zurabov recalled , 28 July 2016 )

28.8 Ukrainian sniper shot and killed two women in western Donetsk. Day of Miner was celebrated on this day in Donetsk. -DAN news

27.8 Pushilin reports lack of progress in negotiations on separation of sides, only two areas were agreed, Petrovskoe in DPR and Zolotoe in LPR, but now Ukraine raises more demands even on agreed Petrovskoe.

DPR was shelled 710 times, at least 8 houses, a kindergarten, and gas pipeline were damaged overnight (18 houses for the full day). One civilian was wounded in Zaitsevo (map) , near Gorlovka. Basurin criticized inaccurate reporting by OSCE of an incident in Yasinovataya when Russian officers of the JCCC mission came under fire on Aug. 24. DAN news;DONI news (Eng.)

Damaged houses are shown in Makeevka (map), count raised to 10 in Makeevka only.

Opolchenie member Anatolii Geliuh is quoted saying: "Reconnaissance confirms destruction of a cargo train loaded with UAF armored vehicles at an unloading station near the village Stepnoe on 27.08.16, as a result of an accidental explosion of a broken air conditioner."

26.8 In the evening, an explosion was reported in a military recruiting building in Kirovskii region of Donetsk. Nobody was injured but the building sustained damage.

Ukraine Contact Group agrees on (yet another) indefinite 'peace and quiet order' as of August 31, TASS (Eng.)

According to DPR ombudsman, in the past week, 14 people were killed in DPR, 11 of them military, and 3 civilians (including 2 men killed in Donetsk and one woman killed in Gorlovka) One civilian disappeared. Number of wounded from 1 January 2016 is 252, among them 98 military, 154 civilians, including 15 children.

It is reported that Azov battalion is moved out of Mariupol. Some in Ukraine (e.g Poroshenko adviser Birukov) speculate about Ukrainian plans to surrender Mariupol. see also: Givi sea training video; Trojan horse; US elections;

OSCE SMM report shows presence of MLRS (Ukrainian) and armored vehicles in the security zone, heavy artillery (Ukrainian howitzer, including heavy long range Pions) outside designated storage areas, etc. At least 406 explosions recorded.

25.8 According to Basurin DPR, OSCE refused to visit Yasinovataya to record shelling by Ukraine, telling that this will subject OSCE observers to undue risk -[According to Basurin DPR, OSCE refused to visit Yasinovataya to record shelling by Ukraine, telling that this will subject OSCE observers to undue risk DAN news, DoNi news (Eng)

"Powerful explosion" is reported in city center of Donetsk. One person was killed. Said to be shrapnel but powerful explosion, believed to be failed IED bombing attempt. DAN : nearby building wall had damage from shock wave. IED was placed in garbage bin. Unknown with a backpack reportedly ran way. Zakharchenko notes that he was earlier targeted himself. DPR vice PM, and Sparta commander Motorolla live in the area.

Zakharchenko tells about failed attempt on his life on 22 August. IED near his house was discovered and defused -TASS

A 50 years old woman was wounded and later died in Gorlovka -report and photos, showing destruction in Gorlovka as a result of daily shelling by UAF.

24.8 DPR suspects that UAF plans to capture Yasinovataya overnight. Heavy equipment and troops were moved by Ukraine. -DAN news

A checkpoint in LPR near Stanitsa was fired on by UAF with grenades and sniper fire when civilians, and OSCE were present. A civilian, man born in 1946, was wounded. Reported on video from the checkpoint. It is said that UAF soldiers were drunk celebrating Ukraine independence day.

23.8 After a phone conversation today, Putin, Merkel, Hollande agree to meet on sidelines of G20 summit in China -TASS. Poroshenko had separate talks with Merkel, Hollande earlier, as well as with Biden.

Poroshenko on a visit to Kharkov leads a ceremony to provide UAF with 140 pieces of military equipment , including helicopters and 2 planes, SU 27 and Mig 29, for use in 'ATO' operation. DPR photo shows training of an anti-aircraft unit, with Strela 10 type equipment on the horizon; tells that they are ready to defend their land- DAN news, DoNi (Eng.)

Donetsk was shelled from heavy weapons overnight.

DPR was shelled 290 times, one DPR soldier was killed, 2 were injured -DAN news

22.8 DPR was shelled 180 times in the past day, 12 houses were damaged-Basurin. LPR was shelled 3 times -DoNi news. OSCE head met with Zakharchenko, seeking to normalize security situation.

Another spy report, telling that a resident of Ukrainian-controlled Seversk Sergey Mykita, born in 1981, visited LPR Ministry of State Security with a voluntary admission of guilt, and explained that under the threat of violence on him and his loved ones he had been recruited by the SBU. Criminal proceedings against him were dropped as he turned himself in without committing a crime.

21.8 In the past day, two people were killed in DPR (one civilian, one soldier), and 5 civilians were wounded, including head of Zaitsvo township administration Irina Dikun, according to Basurin. Two houses burned and two more were damaged due to Ukrainian shelling DAN news, DoNi news (Eng.)

20.8 A civilian was wounded in Gorlovka due to Ukrainian shelling -DAN newsDoNi news (Eng.)

Plotniskii proposes that Kiev release all its prisoners; says that they will do the same 'the next day'. Reminds that Minsk agreement is to have 'all for all' prisoners exchange.

Shelling of LPR continues, 718 shells fired on LPR by Ukraine in the past week, including artillery, tanks, and mortars. Destruction caused are inspected and reported on by JCCC and OSCE. LPR prevented Ukrainian RSG break through attempt in Kalinovo this week, two LPR soldiers were killed.

UAF [1] shelled DPR 480 times in the past day, two civilians were wounded.

19.8 DPR ombudsman: 6 people were killed in DPR in the past week, another six were wounded, (5 military and one civilian, in both cases).

Russian representatives at JCCC to investigate 'Grad' use by Ukraine in Novaya Maryevka on August 19, results will be passed to OSCE. Translated by DoNi news

Ukrainian losses, according to Ukrainian sources: 2 killed and 8 wounded in the past day, 4 killed the day before -TSN.ua

School, residential houses and communications in 3 DPR localities damaged by Ukrainian shelling. Donetsk filtering station was hit. LPR was shelled as well (DoNi news, Eng).

Putin arrived to Crimea for the Russian Security Council meeting.

Livanov is appointed special representative of the Russian president on Ukraine relations, replaced in his current role as education and science minister.

18. 8 DPR was shelled 698 times by UAF, including "Grad", artillery, BMP fire, as well as mortars. DPR serviceman was seriously wounded. 19 houses and 2 power lines were damaged. In LPR, town of Stakhanov was shelled by UAF.

16.8 More spies? It is said that a "SBU spy" is arrested in Donetsk report and video. Ammunition storage, fake documents and DPR seal, license plates shown on video. Suspect, an assistant director of a plant in Donetsk, says on video that weapons were left by unknown militants for storage, they would take some when needed...DPR security services say that he was engaged in illegal activies, evidenced by large quantities of fake documents and large payments discovered.

Nazarbaev is quoted saying that Poroshenko in a phone conversation with him stated his willingmess to compromise, and that lack of majority in Rada prevents him from making changes on special status of Donbas Rusvesna . (There is little progess made in contact group meetings in Minsk on basic issues like separation of forces and stopping shelling, so Rada politics is clearly far from being the only, or the main reason).

15.8 Ukrainian ammunition storage exploded in Ukrainian-controlled Zaitsevo near Gorlovka. "Believed to be caused by carelessness during unloading"- Rusvesna

"At 00:05 Ukrainian side opened fire from 122 mm artillery on the village of Aleksandrovka, western Donetsk. Observation post of JCCC came under fire. Russian officers of the Joint center were forced to take shelter in the basement. A total of 5 shells were fired". -DAN news

Two LPR soldiers were killed in 120 mm mortar shelling by UAF on their positions near the village of Kalinovo. Fire came from Novoalexandrovka.

"Russia, Germany discuss possible Normandy Four talks after Crimea events", TASS (Engl)

14.8 Nine houses were damaged in Gorlovka, -report, photos, and video. Video author, 'Dr Gore', made videos of Gorlovka shelling in the past. The video shows a house hit, address Fruktovaya, 6. It detroyed a room where a mother and children slept, but luckily they were not hurt. Back corner of the house is demolished. Not very clear where mortar shell came from, based on video. They say it went into soft ground in the garden, otherwise there would be more damage. Women on video unanimously and passionately blame Ukraine; say they will stay, regardless, and would like to defend their homes.

UAF shelled school, railway station and dozens of houses, DoNi news

UAF fired 192 artillery shells (122 and 152 mm), 394 mortar shells and 7 tank shells on DPR-DAN news. There was also BMP, grenade launchers, and small arms fire; 675 times in total in the past day, according to DPR command. Translated by DoNi (English).

13.8 DPR update (English): DPR was shelled 289 times, banned heavy equipment near separation line.

12.8 DPR was shelled 171 times in the past day. One civilian, a man born in 1938, was killed in Donetsk.

OSCE: ... In the house the SMM observed the body of an elderly man lying on the floor, covered in blood. The man had sustained an injury to his chest and to his left hand. The SMM observed as the body was taken to a morgue. The man’s wife (80 years of age) informed the SMM that the shelling had occurred at approximately 01:45 and had lasted for 15 minutes. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by an 82mm mortar round, fired from an undetermined direction (how come?)

11.8 According to Vedomosti, Russian security council adopted measures to increase security in Crimea, but did not come to an agreement yet on further response to Ukrainian actions. According to Vedomosti source, lifting restrictions on DPR to respond to continued Ukrainian shelling was discussed, but no decision; powerful military strikes are not under consideration. Vedomosti quotes Andrey Kortunov that Russian statements on possible response appear to be addressed to the West, in order to try to influence the situation by diplomacy.

@Poroshenko: Instructed to bring to increased combat readiness all the UAF units in regions of the ARC (Crimea) and administrative border across the contact line in the Donbass

TASS quoting Ukrainian president press service: Poroshenko ordered FM to set phone conversations with leadership of France/Germany, and with Putin.

OSCE SMM [http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/259316 reports increased number of violations, heavy equipment near separation line and missing at storage areas, etc.

10.8 DPR was shelled 711 times in the past day. 16 years old girl was wounded, according to DAN news.

Social media reports of some sort of shootout on a border checkpoint between Belgorod region (Russia) and Kharkov region (Ukraine) , near a village of Goptovka.

Reports were later apparently denied, publishing a photo of a normal queue at the checkpoint in the evening hours.

9.8 At 15:50 today, as a result of mortar shelling of Petrovskii district of Donetsk by UAF', two civilians were killed.

DPR was shelled 567 times in the past day, including 117 artillery shells. One civilian was wounded.

8.8 Zakharchenko recalled DPR goverment officials from vacation due to deteriorating security situation.

One DPR soldier was killed and 2 were wounded due to UAF shelling.

DPR was shelled 320 times in the past day. Ukrainian artillery, self propelled artillery, MRLS, were spotted near separation line in violation of Minsk (this happens and is reported on a regular basis).

Ukrainian prosecutor general Lutsenko office calls for Poroshenko, Yatseniuk, Avakov and Turchinov to testify about Maidan 2014 events; it is said that Poroshenko agreed to testify.

Earlier (July 23) Lutsenko dropped a bomb saying on TV that a person who led sniper group out of Kiev was 'with us on Maidan'; while Oleg Tsarev, quoting his sources, proposed a theory that this release was made to put pressure on Avakov "and his team", as they were rumored to be preparing "bloody provocations" to seize power. Those provocations, according to Tsarev theory, were to be made against Ukrainian peace marches (Christian 'walk of the cross' peace march, see the news on July 12 and 25, 2016), and Poroshenko blamed for this. It is unclear whether the current prosecutor office move is in line with this theory (but appears to be consistent).

Savchenko starts a mini-Maidan, brings her and her sister car to presidential administration office to provide sleeping accommodations for POW mothers demanding POW exchange. Setting up a tent overnight was prohibited (Rusvesna)(112.ua). Earlier, DPR ombudsman mentioned some 2 for 2 POW swap proposal, but said that Savchenko does not have the authority to make the swap happen.

7.8 DPR was shelled 446 times in the past day. Two civilians were wounded by Ukrainian shelling near Yasinovataya (one received life threatening injuries); 4 houses were damaged, one by a direct hit.

Russian border control checkpoints suspended movement of people and vehicles from Ukraine into Crimea (still quite popular vacation destination in Ukraine); reasons were not provided; it is unclear whether traffic from Crimea to Ukraine is affected.

It is reported that traffic is open again.
Life.ru reports a shooting incident at the border, 1 person was killed, 3 wounded. Cassad has some discussion (possibly smugglers, but in any case triggering security alert).

6.8 LPR militia went on high alert to prevent possible provocations.

Assassination attempt on Plotniskii, characterized as a 'terrorist act. He survived, said to be in stable condition, 'his life is no longer in danger'. This is stated in the statement of the LPR Chairman of the Council of Ministers Sergey Kozlov. Sputnik reports that an explosion hit his car, and two people were injured. An earlier report described serious injuries, quoting a source in peoples militia (later denied, quoting Oleg Tsarev). Said to be saved by his guard who pulled him out of the burning car. Urgent surgery was performed (Interfax). Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage group was blamed (Interfax, quoting a source in prosecutor general office).

  • Video from the scene shows a damaged car, but it looks survivable.
  • Plotniskii issued an audio recording: I'm alive and well, and any attempt to speculate on my health - it is the machinations of supporters of the Ukrainian side. As you know, the war is not over, and behind the Ukrainian government are, of course, the United States intelligence services and those who are trying to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and in the whole world. Those who hope to depose the legitimate authority in LPR are simply provocateurs. We do not need to listen to them ... I ask all to remain calm, nothing serious happened. Anyone who talks about me becoming incapacitated is a traitor and an enemy of the Republic. Thank you, and I'll soon be back at work ". Was released form hospital on 7.8
  • Andrey Marochko, an official representative of LPR people militia claimed in a press conference that based on radio intercept, assassination was prepared by "SBU diversants" (ie agents/saboteurs), prepared in Severodonetsk by a "commander of Rubin " (Ruby) detachment, which "trains under the guidance of advisers from foreign special services". According to LPR intelligence, shortly before the attack, special detachment of SBU made a communication and "asked for a confirmation for the criminal act" to proceed. Published by many sources including the official Rossiskaya Gazeta. Radio intercept mentioned was not published, there is a brief clip from the press conference only.
  • Predictably, Ukraine has blamed Russia (MOI adviser Zorjan Shkirjak) .

SBU head Yurii Tandit said, as quoted, that he received information about assassination via closed channels, and expressed 'compassion to all those who are in serious condition, including to Plotniskii as a human being'. He declined further comment. Earlier, on April 29, DPR security service spokeswoman Maria Petrova claimed that Ukraine/Poroshenko ordered assassination of DPR and LPR leaders, due to lack of desire to fulfill Minsk agreements. This announcement was made after an attempt on Zakharchenko life was prevented by the DPR security services (as reported at the time, 29.4). It was not crystal clear was it for real, or some sort of a guess, and no further clarification emerged since than, it vanished from the news and Minsk meetings continued. But it is remembered now.

Poroshenko administration spokesman denied Ukrainian involvement.

Head of the Monitoring Mission of the UN Human Rights in Ukraine, Fiona Fraser and Commissioner for Human Rights in the DPR (ombudsman) Daria Morozova arrived on the territory of Western penal colony to check the conditions of Ukrainian prisoners of war.

5.8 According to DPR ombudsman, in the past week 6 people were killed (4 soldiers and 2 civilians), 15 were wounded (8 soldiers and 7 civilians).

Detailed weekly update by Rusvesna gives graphics for daily numbers of shelling, points out that heavy weapons are not at its supposed storage locations and there are many instances when they are located near separation line in violations of agreements; reminds that official Ukrainian losses data are considerably lower than "war nurses" numbers just for the hospitals in Kharkov (182 wounded officially, 302 admitted to Kharkov hospitals for the month of July); etc.

4.8 One soldier was killed by shelling; and a 48 year old woman was killed when artillery shell exploded in Donetsk.

2.8 Airborne Troops day celebrated on the same day in Russia and Ukraine, under the same motto 'Nobody but us", by the same nearly-legendary 'founding father' Vasily Margelov. (The motto made its way to congratulations by both presidents). Highlighting surrealism of the war, as was many times pointed out.

DPR was shelled over 466 times.

1.8 Two DPR soldiers seriously wounded, one civilian killed in Yasinovataya, another wounded -DAN News

Mikhail Babich, (wiki), (bio), (Duma page) , with a background in military, FSB, and a career in government, was recommended for ambassador to Ukraine job by a Duma committee. However, Ukraine indicated that his diplomatic credentials will not be considered or approved. According to Ukrainian FM Klimkin, this is because of lack of progress in Donbass. While there seem to be no final word on this (he is not even officially announced for the job by Kremlin), there seems to be a potential for reduced diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Russia. Russia indicated plans to "appoint a new ambassador" , highlighting potential risks of reduced diplomatic relations if Ukraine decided otherwise.