Ukraine news/Archive/2016-12

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Ceasefire violations by Ukraine, by month

31 Dec. DPR: 143,613 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in 2016; 78,223 by heavy weapons. 820 houses were damaged or destroyed. According to official Ukrainian data, 213 UAF soldiers were killed and 1324 wounded; DPR estimates the real number as 3 times higher.

LPR: latest announcement is that Ukraine shelled LPR 1369 times in 2016. Confusingly, earlier a higher number, 2047 was announced, apparently for the month of December. For the week of 18-24 Dec, the number of violations was given as 64, those are from heavy weapons. Eng. versions of the yearly report, lug-info, DNI news. Also, briefing videos (Rus.)

Ukrainian claims of shelling by NAF, by day and type, here. (Important to know who initiates those exchanges, but sides blame each other, while OSCE stands by and watch).

DPR released 2 female prisoners

29 Dec. Yet another failed Ukrainian RSG break-through attempt near Krutaya Balka; it is said that three UAF soldiers were killed by a landmine explosion, 4 wounded, and others retreated. One body was recovered by opolchenie (shown on visuals), and will be handed over to Ukraine. Other bodies were not recovered as the area is in the line of fire.

Ukraine handed to L/DPR 15 prisoners, report with photos.

DPR: 473 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day - despite extra ceasefire, with no expiration time, agreed from 24 Dec.

28 Dec. Dorgomilov court in Moscow found that change of power in Ukraine in 2014 was a state coup; the court decision stresses that US and EU support of anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine resulted in the divisions in the society and caused an armed conflict. Ukrainian ministry of justice representative Natalia Sevastianova rejected the findings, calling the court "a pocket court of Mr. Putin".

27 Dec. Ukraine shelled DPR 103 times in the past day. One DPR soldier was killed.

DPR released 2 female prisoners as a goodwill gesture, after a visit by Nadezhda Savchenko and Vladimir Ruban.

Debaltsevo, 20 Dec.

24 Dec. DPR. Very high number of ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 3002, despite holiday period ceasefire agreed from today. Heavy weapons, artillery, tank guns, Grads used (DAN news).

23 Dec. DPR ombudsman: from 3-23 Dec. 12 DPR soldiers and 4 civilians were killed; from 2-22 Dec, 40 soldiers and 3 civilians were wounded. (Deaths are due to Ukrainian fire, except 1 civilian killed by landmine).

Debaltsevo was shelled by Ukraine, a kindergarten damaged, according to the city mayor Alexander Reyngold. Video of the aftermath of an earlier shelling here, OSCE present (posted Dec. 22).

Ukrainian media brags about capturing settlement of Novoluganskoe, near Debaltsevo (map), quoting commander of voluntary punishers battalion "Donbass". Russian sources note that this settlement is in the grey area and under de-facto Ukrainian control for the last 3 years; shown as Ukrainian on the map here. In any case, Ukraine is not supposed to be capturing settlements, by the Minsk agreements and an extra-ceasefire on top announced for the holidays.

Yet another mini-Maidan in Kiev, some clashes on a market near metro station Kharkovskaya (area map). Small shop owners and staff are trying to prevent shops coming down amid plans for a new residential construction in the area. Barricades were set, then stormed by camouflaged men (report, photos, videos).

In Russia, PM Medvedev suspended for 30 days sales of non-consumer over-25%-alcohol containing liquids, except perfumes and those for glass cleaning (TASS).

18-21 Dec, Russian sources on Debaltsevo battle. UAF attacked and captured several hills (Kikimora, Cross, Star). Attack was poorly prepared, and about 10 soldiers were killed in the attack and on the minefields. Opolchenie artillery opened fire on the captured hills, and more Ukrainian soldiers were killed. By 21 Dec. opolchenie took back Kikimora, and Ukrainian soldiers left two other hills. Ukrainian losses are said to be from 20 to 100 killed, with several bodies shown on photographs; official number is 5 killed. Updated LPR losses: 4 killed, 5 wounded.

A video shows volunteers evacuating wounded Ukrainian soldiers on personal autos, and providing highly critical commentary.

19 Dec. Ukraine continues break-through attempts near Debaltsevo -reports.

18 Dec. DAN news: UAF attempted to break through LPR positions in Kalinovka (map), Debaltsevo area. UAF suffered heavy casualties, estimated to be at least 10 killed and 20 wounded. LPR has 2 soldiers wounded and 2 missing in action. Ukrainian side numbers are 5 UAF killed, 6 wounded.

DPR ombudsman: Kiev has released three war prisoners, on Dec. 18. One of the prisoners, a Russian citizen Vladislav Kondalov, who served in a Cossack unit of LPR militia, told that he was tortured while in Ukrainian captivity (DAN news).

Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers approved 100% state ownership of the Privat Bank (in the past controlled by Kolomoiskii, and running public debt).

17 Dec. DAN News got an updated look and an English language version.

Ombudsman: 314 killed (303 men and 11 women), 406 wounded in DPR since the start of 2016.

DPR: 1183 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day. 1 DPR soldier killed, 2 wounded.

The U.S. Justice Department has cut ties with a fugitive Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko who said he had turned over damning evidence proving the corruption of Ukraine’s president, a spokesman told RFE/RL

Ukrainian armed drone

16 Dec. DPR: 9041 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week. DPR report contains a map with photos of buildings damaged as a result, and names UAF commanders allegedly responsible in Gorlovka, Donetsk, and Mariupol areas. Basurin demonstrates shot down Ukrainian armed drone, says that it could have caused a tragedy.

The U.S. Justice Department has cut ties with a fugitive Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko who said he had turned over damning evidence proving the corruption of Ukraine’s president, a spokesman told RFE/RL

15 Dec. DPR: 1243 ceasefire violations by DPR in the past day.

Yanukovich testifies (video feed)in Dorgomilovskiy district court, Moscow, in a case 'on recognizing events in Ukraine, February 2014, as a state coup', brought by Ukrainian ex-MP Vladimir Oleynik, of anti-protest laws fame. Tells that he was illegally removed from power; that snipers were firing from buildings controlled by Maidan, in particular. Legal justification used to consider this case in Russia: suspected war crimes. According to Oleynik, it is illegal to use army, call for mobilization, use heavy military equipment, in an "Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO)"; that can be only used in case of a war.

"European Parliament votes for canceling visa regime for Ukraine, Georgia", according to TASS. Visa-free regime (under 3 months stay in any 6 month period, with no right to work) still needs approval by EU council. Decision was delayed earlier, to put in place a mechanism of stopping visa-free regime; but such mechanism was agreed a week ago.

Nadezhda Savchenko, now Ukrainian MP, announced (Rus.) (Ukr.) an agreement with L/DPR leaders on POW exchange, 226 prisoners held by Ukraine for 52 held by the republics. This number of prisoners is confirmed to be alive, according to her. (But it is unclear does she has the actual authority to make this happen -and also, what if there are some POWs out there who did not make it to her list).

Savchenko was booted from 'Batkovshina' (Yulia Timoshenko) parliamentary faction in Rada, as the faction is against any negotiations with Donbass republics leaders, call them terrorists; while Savchenko stated that such position of the state is undefined and unproven. According to Savchenko sister, Nadezhda submitted a written declaration on leaving 'Batkovshina' party back on October 26 -segodnya.ua.

14 Dec. According to Gorlovka major Ivan Prihodko, in an incident at Ukrainian-manned Mayorski checkpoint one civilian passenger of a bus was killed, another wounded, and an elderly woman died of hear attack. Prihodko stressed that this checkpoint is over 1 km from DPR positions and there is no way fire was coming from their side (as claimed by Ukraine). According to Prihodko there was some verbal altercation between passengers and guards, and one Ukrainian soldier started to fire from a Kalashnikov.

Crimean gold must go back to Ukraine, says Dutch court -BBC. Director of the Museum-Reserve "Chersonese" in Crimea Svetlana Melnikova: I am shocked. RIA, after going through storage/court expenses Ukraine will have to pay: 'Crimean museums will appeal the decision'.

12 Dec. DPR initiated a contact group meeting via videoconferencing and proposed to develop and implement mechanisms preventing shelling in the future; however Ukraine refused.

According to DPR ombudsman Darya Morozova, she is receiving information from prisoners held by Ukraine and their relatives that SBU forces them to sign paperwork declining their exchange under Minsk prisoners exchange agreements.

9 Dec. DPR: 10,603 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week.

8 Dec. DPR soldier wounded on Dec 6 died in a hospital.

Two civilians were injured by Ukrainian shelling in Kuibyshev district of Donetsk. Basurin: Ukrainian soldiers set firing positions in civilian houses in Avdeevka. At least 13 houses were damaged.

7 Dec. Very high number of ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 2453, were reported for the past day. Shelling caused fire at Avdeevka coal coke plant.

6 Dec. Zakharchenko: Kiev has recently chosen the new policy of not implementing the Minsk agreements. Over and over, the Ukrainian politicians state that the first-stage issues of settling the situation in Donbass are the humanitarian and economic questions. Imitating care of Donbass’s residents, Ukraine just does not want to solve the political and military issues of the agreements... But for Minsk process to move ahead, political issues have to be solved first. Solving humanitarian and economic issues should be preceded by the lifting of the economic blockade, the amnesty for all parties to the conflict and political prisoners (as otherwise it will be just impossible).

5 Dec. 1342 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day, according to DPR; the number keeps increasing. Basurin: one DPR soldier was killed by Ukrainian sniper fire.

DPR ombudsman interviews an elderly man who received a shrapnel lung wound in Ukrainian shelling on 6 Nov 2014; fragments still not removed. His house was damaged.

Long Zakharchenko interview by Zakhar Prilepin appeared on video (interview was done sometime before the US elections) (German written translation). Zakharchenko: Minsk process 'is like a patient who is more dead than alive'; proposes that DPR and LPR included in the Normandy format, to become 2+3. Shelling by Ukraine and warfare does not stop on the ground. As for full implementation of Minsk, L/DPR positions has to be taken into account, and those would be, restoration of their control on territory of former Donetsk and Lugansk oblast, and reconstruction of Donbass. He does not believe it that this is realistic, at least under the present Ukrainian government. Tells that the population of the republics is strongly aligned with Russia mentally, and hypothetical return of control to Ukraine means, as he say, many millions of refugees going to Russia, and death for those who oppose Ukrainian takeover. For that reason they cannot relinquish control of the border to Ukraine, in particular. With neither of those scenarios-L/DPR positions fully met or Ukraine regaining control- too realistic, describes the current situation as being in a swamp, neither drowning nor letting go.

3 Dec. DPR: number of ceasefire violations by Ukraine continue to increase, 1205 violations reported in the past day.

Flash-mobs in Ukraine, Russia, and DPR-people singing popular Soviet-era songs at railway stations - Zaporozhie (a song from a popular 1950's movie, 15 Nov), Kharkov (a song from a popular 1961 movie, 20 Nov), Odessa (Smuglianka-Moldovanka song, around 27 Nov.), Dnepropetrovsk ("Katyusha" song, around 30 Nov.), Kiev (anti-war/children song "Let there always be Sun", 2 Dec); LPR- Stanitsa Luganskaya (Soviet classic, Donbas-set 1939 movie song , 1 Dec.), Donetsk (a a WW2-themed song, around 3 Dec), Lugansk ('Where does Fatherland starts', from 1961 "Shield and Sword" movie, live singing meshed with Mark Bernes classic, lyrics is by a Lugansk native, -around 3 Dec.); Mariupol ("I love you, life!, a popular 1956 Soviet song; -around 3 Dec ), Nikolaev in Southern Ukraine (Soviet-era Anna German classic "Hope", 3 Dec.); Oleksandriia, Kirovohrad region, central Ukraine -1968 war themed Mark Bernes classic 'Cranes' (video) (text)

  • in Moscow, Ukrainian folk song (27 Nov). In Lipetsk, Russia -proper another popular folksy-disco Ukrainian song from 1968, Chervona Ruta, (1 Dec).
  • Crimea joined in: in Alushta, 1982 pop hit "We wish you happiness" (video)(text). In Yevpatoria, 1936 movie song classic "Vast is my dear Country" (video) (text).
    • Melodic separatist Ukrainian song in Lviv, of unknown origin, about a tram taking them somewhere... And for comparison, from the national Ukrainian song final, 'Sky above the Dnepr', Vakarchuk-Musienko (video)(text), of the sort, there are Rhine and Daube and great Volga, but for me the Dnieper river is everything; kind of national pride and (implicitly) nation-unifying.
    • In 2015, Vakarchuk and "Okean Elzy" (Ocean of Elza) had a big hit anti-war song "Not Your War" (discussed earlier). Recently a new documentary-based video rendition of the hit appeared.

2 Dec. DPR ombudsman: 6 DPR soldiers were killed in the past week. 6 people were wounded, 2 soldiers, and 4 civilians (3 men, 1 woman).

Ukrainian ATO Nurses-Kharkiv report that MANY wounded arrived from ATO zone, but they are no longer able to provide exact figures. They report that they are in need of many basic personal items. Previously this site reported numbers of wounded at times possibly surpassing the total official count. Their latest numbers for just that Khrakiv hospital(s) admissions from the ATO zone: 25.11.2016 - 12 people, 26.11 - 13 people, 27.11 - 3 people, 28.11 - 26 people (including 6 'trauma', 1 'wounded', and the rest 'diseases, contusions, psychiatry'). Official ATO zone report for 25.11 - one killed (number of wounded not given), 27.11-3 soldiers and one civilian wounded, 28.11- 6 wounded, On 29.11, 5 wounded.

Weekly updates from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, by Alexander Hug (video, Engl.), given at UCMC, 'Ukrainian crisis management center'. (Sounds serious, notes increased shelling numbers, continued civilian casualties, difficult humanitarian situation -- yet not offers much in terms of a solution...)

RQ-4B Global Hawk over Donbas, pro-Ukrainian blogger Zloy (Angry)-Odessit report, with maps.

1 Dec. Ukraine stopped water supply to LPR, from one of the two water supply pipes from Petrovskoe. Approximately half of Lugansk city was supplied from that source. According to Vladislav Deinego, it will cause serious interruptions of water supply but 'situation is under control'. Denying water is akin to starvation and is a war crime, (explicitly banned in 54.2 of the additional protocol, Geneva conventions). Ukraine blamed it on nonpayment of electricity bills and Red Cross stopping paying for water supplies.

Ukrainian provocative missile launches today were outside area claimed by Russia -report, maps and photos. It is believed that Russia took steps to defend the airspace.

Bags full of bank notes and a plot to bring down a prime minister: Politician makes claims of vast corruption in Ukraine - Independent. Onisheko claims that he passed on incriminating information to American special services, before fleeing to UK. He is himself accused of using a scheme to defraud the state from his natural gas business, but blames the goverment figures for orchestrating this too. His interview to Russian TV, and to Ukrainian public TV -video; a text version (strana.ua)

Update, 6 Dec. First set of audio recordings made by Onishenko is published by strana.ua, with Dovgovyi, who was sent to Onishenko to try to negotiate a deal (audio and brief text with a summary of details).