Ukraine news/Archive/2017-07

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31 Jul. Pentagon and State Department are said to propose arming Ukraine; needs White House approval- WSJ; NYT; Russia24. Anti-tank Javelines and anti-aircraft weapons are said to be considered. L/DPR said (robo-translation) they will buy it from Ukraine, or capture.

Ukraine signed a contract to buy 700 thousand tons of anthracite brand coal from a Pennsylvania, USA -based company XCoal. It is reported that the price of the first shipment is 113 $/ton (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) which is about twice higher than this type of coal from Russia or Donbass. It is said to be higher than other suppliers too, including Akhmetov or South African coal (export price quoted at $77.37, June, 2017). Rotterdam coal futures in July 2017, delivered: $83.50

28 Jul. DPR MOD: 294 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 640 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired (Rus.)(Eng). DPR Ombudsman: in the past week, 7 people were killed (6 soldiers and 1 unknown man killed in Vasilievka, Yasinovataya region), 9 people were wounded (7 soldiers, 1 civilian man, 1 child under 18)

"Recording from UAF drone. Residential homes in Alexandrovka, DPR are shelled"

'Fighting Corruption'

27 Jul. Stateless Saakashvili is with relatives in the Bronx and has a US visa until the end of the year, he told Foreign Policy. He accuses Ukrainian authorities in using faked declaration form in revoking his citizenship.

26 Jul. ANNA news crew arrives to LPR positions near Kalinovo, makes a night-time recording from front-line of the Ukrainian artillery and firearms shelling of Popasnaya, LPR (red marker), as well as their own positions (linked) from a mortar (yellow marker shows impact). Report links increased shelling with Kurt Volker visit.

DPR: Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant will resume production in Sept, 2017 (530 mm to 1,220 mm diameter pipes).

Ukraine cuts electricity supplies to the rebel Donbass area.

Saakashvilli's Ukrainian citizenship was revoked (reports)(official statement)(response).

Dec, 2016 interview to Zhanna Nemtsova : ambition to create new political movement, pro-business, against oligarchy and corruption, seeking to win early parliamentary elections. Describes current corruption and economic stagnation ('will take 15 years to come back to Yanukovich levels). Several references to Trump in the interview (before the US elections).

25 Jul. Video: UAF continues provocations in Avdeevka industrial zone. Video: UAF continues shelling of peaceful settlements.

Video: a civilian man (Andrey) is wounded by Ukrainian shelling of Trudovskoe in the evening of 25.07; DPR corps provided first aid; he is in bandages, and interviewed with his wife. Shelling came from Shurovka or Mar'inka, Ukrainian-held. Two civilians were wounded near Donetsk in total, another is a teenager wounded by UAF shelling of Alexandrovka.

24 Jul. Normandy-4 telephone conversation, calls for ceasefire, disengagement zones: Merkel and Marcon 1, 2 Kremlin. (Traction record of agreements is so far poor).

23 Jul. Volker: Hot war not frozen conflict in Donbas; will consult Normandy group (+EU, OSCE, NATO, UK reps) before making recommendations (EngloUkr-UNIAN)(Rus-TASS).

Ukrainian news report suggests that Volker was shown a residential high rise building in Avdeevka 'damaged by tank fire of hybrid Russian forces in Ukraine'. Building is not clearly shown but may be the same as the one shelled by Ukraine from a close distance in front of the cameras (news item on 11 March 2017). Firing and impact on video is under 1 sec apart; sound travels 340 m in a second, while shell is much faster, 800-900 m/s. On that day, filming was done from a church located some 200 m away (geolocated), and can be estimated by second bang delay compared to the flash; so tank is close, under some 500 m away; while DPR positions are over 2-3 km away. This point was made by us back in March, and similar arguments also appeared in social media, eg 1, 2).

22 Jul. Russian Amb. to the US, S.I. Kislyak farewell reception for colleagues and friends before returning to Moscow. (Mr. Trump and the team is not seen in attendance).

21 Jul. DPR MOD: 298 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past week, 1092 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired, 21 houses damaged or destroyed Rus., Eng. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 people (3 soldiers and 1 civilian woman) were killed, 20 (13 soldiers, 2 civilian women, 5 civilian men) were wounded.

A mortar shell was fired by Ukraine on the pumping station of the South Donbass waterway in the settlement of Vasilievka while OSCE SMM patrol was inspecting the facility.

20 Jul. ATO spokesman: in the past day, 4 UAF were killed near Krasnogorovka, 1 near Donetsk, 1 near Mariupol, 3 more killed by IED; 5 wounded (2 in Krasnogorovka, 3 by IED).

Pro-DPR social media: The commander of a reconnaissance group, call sign Prince (Князь), was seriously injured in his legs during the shelling and decided to stay so that the cover group did not die. He refused that others risk their lives evacuating him, and gave the command to leave. When he was surrounded by the enemy, Alexander blew up a grenade... In another social media report, 4 recently killed DPR soldiers are mentioned (including Prince); two of them, Obrezkov and Panchenko, are said to be killed near Krasnogorovka.

DPR: in the past day, 1 soldier was killed, 3 civilians wounded (Rus.) , (Eng).-- Also reports that 4 UAF soldiers were wounded after loading their mortar twice in the state of alcoholic intoxication, then blamed the incident on DPR shelling.

19 Jul. Ukraine shelled Petrovskiy district of Donetsk, 2 houses reported on fire, a civilian is seriously wounded. Dokuchaevsk was shelled earlier in the day. In the past day, 1 DPR soldier was killed.

Contact group meeting was held in Minsk, with prisoners exchange, observing ceasefire, separation of forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya on agenda, but no progress to report. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 2.

18 Jul. Sputnik reports that Alexandr Zakharshenko declared Ukraine a failed state and proposes the creation of a successor state Malorossiya ("little Russia") with a transition period of "up to three years" and the capital Donetsk. According to novorossia.today, the LPR is on board with the plan (others deny that) and the eventual territory shall be all of "former Ukraine" (discussion).

Main document, the political declaration-Engl.; LPR official reaction-Engl.; Peskov-Engl.

14 Jul. DPR MOD: in the past week, Ukaine fired 556 artilery, tank, mortar shells, 12 houses were damaged or destroyed - Rus, Eng. DPR ombudsman:3 people were killed, including 2 soldiers and 1 civilian, a man (apparently the same as the one killed in the grey zone several weeks ago by mine explosion, whose body was recently evacuated; 1962 DoB). 7 people (4 soldiers, a civilian woman, and 2 civilian men) were wounded.

12 Jul. Ukrainian security council lead by Turchinov prepared draft law on 'de-occupation of Donbass'. The law was not adopted (Turchhinov explained it by need to consult 'strategic partners'), and lacks transitional articles normally present in such laws, but published by Ukrainian and Russian sources. The law describes policies of not recognizing rebel republics, especially property acts (art. 2) and calls for 'liberation' and restoring Ukrainian control (art. 4). Yet art. 7 pretends to follow Minsk agreements. Art. 9 gives the president authority to use armed forces (current use of armed forces without a war or emergency rule is illegal). Art. 11 : order of crossing the line of demarcation, and carriage of goods, is determined by the Chief of the Joint Operational Headquarters.

9 Jul. Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations (listed at McCain Institute) arrived to Kiev with Sec. Rex Tillerson and will stay for a few days. Rusvesna: new bloody provocations by UAF may be expected to portray 'aggressiveness' and 'incapacity for peace' of the breakaway republics.

2 cargo NATO planes landed in Odessa for Sea Breeze maneuvers -report, photos

7 Jul. LPR. Two explosions in central Lugansk, near Government House. In the first explosion, a lady captain of medical services of people's militia was killed and 5 people wounded - report, videos. LPR blamed Kiev for the attack, during G 20 meeting, aimed to prevent peaceful settlement in Donbass.

DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 3 people (all soldiers) were killed, 6 (3 soldiers and 3 civilian men) were wounded. DPR MOD: in the past week, Ukraine fired 865 artillery, mortar and tank shells, 17 houses were damaged or destroyed. Provocations planned by Ukraine but prevented, and some of the targets found on captured flash drives are presented. Onn July, 4, a terrorist attack in Donetsk was prevented by vigilant citizen. (Rus);(Eng).

6 Jul. DPR: SBU prepares a terrorist attack during a festival in Mariupol, 7-9 July, coinciding with G-20 meeting dates, to blame the attack on opolchenie and justify renewal of hostilities.

5 Jul. Rada may consider draft law 'on reintegration and de-occupation' of Donbas, in an attempt to legalize/legally define 'ATO'.

4 Jul. Major of UAF separate mountain brigade was captured near Peski. It is said that a thumb drive with orders to use artillery on targets in Donetsk was recovered- report and video. Artillery use is banned by Minsk agreements; also targets, and the whole operation, are near Peski, bordering residential areas of Kuibyshev district of Donetsk; further topographic target details are provided. An order to use 2.5 ammunition kits per day (i.e. quite a lot) is given.

It is said that LPR apprehended Ukrainian RSG planning armed or IED attack on OSCE mission. It is said that a car and a video recording from damaged dashboard camera were recovered, discussing attack plans --that alleged video is included in the report.

Lynn Tracey is quoted to say that US Amb. to Russia John Tefft is to leave his post this fall; believed to be replaced by John Huntsman.

1 Jul. Russian alt rock songster Dolphin was scheduled to perform in Kiev 'Atlas' festival, but was prevented from entering Ukraine because he has visited Crimea. His musicians went ahead with Karaoke version, with audience singing along, in Rus. One of those, 'The Spring' here, and him performing earlier, here.