Ukraine news/Archive/2017-08

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31 Aug. It was announced that Ukrainian army will receive a new portable anti-tank missile system 'Corsair' (visually resembling Kornet).

29 Aug. DPR MOD update (Eng.) Ukrainian shelling still takes place, despite the ceasefire. Unfortunately, we can establish the fact that the recently-established academic ceasefire is observed only on a unilateral basis – by the units of the DPR Armed Forces. Apart from it, Ukrainian servicemen are not willing to observe the ceasefire, keep conducting provocative shelling aimed at derailing the fragile ceasefire, (while) accusing the Republic (of doing so). Shelling count is slightly down but pretty high to resemble a genuine ceasefire.

25 Aug. Around 7 a.m., a civilian was wounded by Ukrainian shelling in western Donetsk, prior to the start of the latest agreed ceasefire.

DPR MOD: in the past week, 285 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 20 MLRS missiles and 1724 artillery, tank and mortar shells were fired. After the start of the 'school cesefire', 00.00 on 25 Aug, Donetsk, Kominternovo, Spartak, Yelenovka were shelled, a 61 years old man was wounded by shelling in Donetsk, and a soldier was killed by sniper fire-(Rus.)

DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 3 people (2 soldiers and 1 civilian man) were killed, 9 people (2 soldiers, 3 civilian women, 4 civilian men) were wounded.

Kurt Volker interview to Ukrainian news channel - text (Ukr), video (Ukr). Pretty hawkish - only Ukraine can decide on joining NATO, but Ukraine is not ready for NATO just yet because it needs to rein over corruption first; but my experience is to bring other countries into NATO. Crimea joining Russia will never be recognized by USA/EU, and the same for Donbass. Volker: US Sec. Def. (Mattis) did not come with empty hands, he brought with him equipment for the the Ukrainian army (Ukr.обладнання, equipment, instruments).

CNN: 'The North Korean spies in Ukraine caught stealing missile plans' (on SBU video).

24 Aug. On Ukrainian independence day, Ukrainian armed forces continued violations of Minsk agreements and shelling rebel republics. DPR reports 33 ceasefire violations in the past day, with at least 103 mortar shells fired by Ukraine (Rus.)

NATO soldiers (including US, Canadian, Polish) march in Kiev on Ukrainian independence day, US Sec. Def. James Mattis present -report and photos.

23 Aug. Following Normandy-4 conference call and a contact group meeting in Minsk, a new indefinite-time ceasefire from 25 Aug. was announced, on the occasion of the starting school year. At the contact group meeting, Russia raised an issue of disciplinary punishments for those violating ceasefire. It remains to be seen whether the latest ceasefire will last.

21 Aug. Vladislav Surkov meets US special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker in Minsk, tells that meeting was constructive and supported an improved version of Minsk. No details how, but a new meeting between the two said to be planned (TASS-Rus.)(RFE/RL-Eng)(Rusvesna op-ed).

  • Volker is quoted to say this at a briefing in Vilnus (and unclear whether they are exactly on the same page with Russia, in real terms): During his visit to Kiev, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared the main goals of the United States - first of all, the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And to guarantee security to all citizens regardless of their religion or nationality. The first step along this path is a prolonged ceasefire (as robo-translated).
  • Ukrainian politologist Oleg Voloshin: Volker should have gone to the "L/DPR"

20 Aug. Basurin: on the eve of Ukraine's independence, the units of 57 separate motorized infantry brigade under the command of Krasilnikov tried to show their skills, to curry favor with the higher command, and attempted to seize DPR positions near Zhabunki. The attack was repelled. Later, UAF fired on the territory of the Donetsk airport, the area of ​​the Volvo center and vicinity, as well as the outskirts of Yasinovataya and the industrial zone and the village of Staromikhailovka in the west of Donetsk. As of 19.00 more than 150 artillery and mortar shells were fired.

LPR reports UAF provocations, heavy shelling too.

Very tidy photos from Donetsk: roads that the fools failed to defeat; + another, a Donetsk blogger congratulates with Orthodox/Slavic Savior of the Apple Feast Day, complete with video of heavenly Grebenshikov performing 'Apple days' (different apples?) live, back in 1986.

19 Aug. UAF shelled Zaitsevo for several hours, a woman was wounded.

18 Aug. DPR MOD: in the past week, 362 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 2085 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired, 24 houses damaged or destroyed. 12 DPR soldiers were killed, 6 people (2 soldiers, 4 civilians) were wounded (Rus.), (Eng). Ombudsman numbers: 13 soldiers killed, 13 wounded (10 soldiers, 1 civilian woman, 2 civilian men, including one child).

Humanitarian situation in Salvyanoserbsk region, LPR video. Alexander Deineko, action administration head, tells that Ukraine keeps firing on residential areas. Damage from Ukrainian shelling creates problems with water supply, especially remote areas, Oboznoe, Veselaya Gor, Privetnoe. Every day or the other day there are casualties. On 12 Aug., aging man was wounded by a mortar shell (crater shown at 2:23, man seen at 2:41). On 15 Aug, Veselaya Gora was shelled from 82 mm mortars, 2 houses were damaged. No reason to talk today about full 100% ceasefire. At 2:59, shelling sometimes causes brush fire, an area near Znamenka, Prishib shown where locals stopped fire themselves before their homes were affected. Otherwise, humanitarian situation is stable, there is food and medicine, LPR people's militia is helping with deliveries.

16 Aug. It is said that this video shows US marines training in North Carolina in a simulated 'Ukrainian village' with Russian-speaking props.

DPR announced that a group of saboteurs was arrested, their task was to down a TV tower in Petrovskii district of Donetsk.

DPR MOD keeps publishing videos documenting alleged war crimes: Crime of the Ukrainian military in the DPR (episode number 163). Crimes of the Ukrainian military (video) August 2014, Ilovaysk, from the story of eyewitnesses. August 10, the Azov battalion entered the village of Zelenoye, fired randomly from tanks and small arms around everything that moves. On the same day, a shell hit the victim's house - the house was almost completely destroyed. August 16, in the sector where the victim lives, the battalion DNEPR 1 entered, the soldiers behaved in a boorish and brazen manner, engaged in mockery of civilians and looting. People were undressed and searched.

15 Aug. DPR: at about 21:00, 6 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 3 wounded in a failed breakthrough attempt (Rus.)(Engl). According to Basurin report the next day, 2 DPR soldiers were killed and 1 wounded.

FSB detained Ukrainian man said to be SBU agent preparing acts of sabotage in Crimea (1),(2).

14 Aug. Russell "Texas" Bentley publishes (blog) (twitter) part one of an interview with what he says is a now retired member of the OSCE monitoring mission, who complains about how the org puts a political spin on its reporting through the Kiev office led by A. Hug. It is also claimed that there are detailed field reports produced by OSCE (including Odessa events, 2 May 2014, field reports on shelling and craters, etc), but those reports are not made public and only selective information is released. One time, about two years ago, I heard in the news that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov asked to see the raw data, (field reports) to conduct his own analyses - this of course, was not allowed, but I was somewhat surprised that he never repeated the demand (...despite Russia being an OSCE member...).

12 Aug. SBU tried to recruit Marina Goiko, who serves in LPR militia, and has her mother living in Ukrainian -held area, by using her mother and Marina's underage daughter staying with the grandmother. On 9 Aug mother was approached by unknowns in uniform who demanded that she contacted Marina to convince her to collaborate with SBU. They made another visit next day when grandmother and child were away, talked to her brother, took and checked his documents, and left. At a check point, grandmother and child were stopped, and the birth certificate paper was confiscated, to make the child stay in Ukrainian-held territory and to force Marina to collaborate with SBU. To contact Marina, they took grandmother's cellphone and called from it. Caller gave his name as Vladimir. She asked what is his affiliation, is it SBU or not, as they told grandmother they are SBU (answer to her question is not on the video). They gave Marina 1.5 hours for an answer. Marina came to LPR security services instead and reported the incident. report, with Marina on video.

DPR ombudsman office received complains from 2 servicemen, 1983 and 1966 DOB, complaining of "moral and psychological pressure", threats of illegal criminal prosecution by SBU exerted on their relatives living in Ukrainian-held areas. DPR sent official letters to UN human rights representatives on that matter. A day before, in a press briefing in Donetsk, two DPR servicemen , the natives of Kramatorsk (part of the Donetsk region controlled by Kiev) and Pervomaisky (Kharkiv region) Oleg Boyko and Igor Grigoriev told journalists about threats from the SBU against their families.

Prankers Voval and Lexus interview Saakashvilli (who threatens to use all his connections and energy to fight Ukrainian authorities for stripping him of Ukrainian citizenship; not too concerned about his associates like Maria Gaidar). The same, disguised as Arsen Avakov also phoned Georgian Interior Minister Georgy Mgebrishvili, who told prankers not to ship Saakashvilli back to Georgia if he is arrested in Ukraine (...let him live like a bum).

11 Aug. DPR MOD: in the past week, 342 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 1692 artillery, tank and mortar shells fired, 21 houses damaged or destroyed. 6 people (5 soldiers and 1 civilian) were killed, 3 people (2 soldiers and 1 civilian) were wounded (Rus.)(Eng.) .

DPR ombudsman office posted several reports with videos on "Ukrainian war crimes in DPR" 1 (a man was wounded, his house destroyed, some others were killed); 2 (family house was completely destroyed, wife wounded, husband killed, son shell-shocked); 3 (civilian on a bike delivering some bread to his village was wounded by a sniper); 4 (a prisoner was beaten, jaw bones broken, abused, medical help not provided).

Weekly updates from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. UCMC (Hug, video)

9 Aug. Ukrainian criminalist Sergey Iskruk press conference (report)(video). Sergey Iskruk was involved in the official Ukrainian investigation of events in Odessa, 2 May 2014, and causes of mass casualties. After he submitted his conclusions to prosecutor office, he was pressured to change conclusions, refused to re-write his report, and subsequently physically attacked, twice. He was later approached by 2 men in fatigues from one of nats. battalions and told that they will bring him the 'correct' conclusion. At this point, he decided to leave Ukraine. He recorded a message, to be published by his friends in Europe in case of his disappearance. He did not appear in time so they did just that, but he later emerged safe and sound to give a press conference in DPR. Describing his conclusions, he pointed out that victims did not assume a 'boxer' pose typical for suffocation/fire victims, and that they were relaxed; that there were reports of spilled liquid and unusual yellowish smoke; that a couple was found embracing and relaxed, while extremities were burned; and that medical pathologist/forensic investigation (судмедэкспертиза) conducted shortly after the event found presence of chloroform in blood of some of the victims. Chloroform is anesthetic but when exposed to fire it turns to phosgene, a chemical warfare substance. Sergei Iskruk later met in DPR ombudsman office with a UN representative, 'to record true results of expert investigation' of Odessa events.

8 Aug. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel: The new round of US restrictive measures against Russia can call into question the solidarity of Western countries in terms of the Ukrainian crisis, "sanctions against European companies are totally inadmissible"- as quoted by TASS

7 Aug. US Navy (Seabees) break ground on Maritime Operations Center in Ukraine, one of their 3 other projects in Ochakov (map), Ukraine. Influential Russian MP Klintsevich accused Ukraine of provocation, violating non-block status, and preparing to join NATO, threatened unspecified consequences. In response, Russian patriotic opposition, once again, accused the authorities of inaction and failure.

Georgian prosecutors have called on Poland to extradite Saakashvili who entered the country on August 3rd and was seen in public at the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. He was quoted saying that he plans to leave Poland on Monday (7 Aug.) and travel 'in Europe', without telling a precise destination. He hopes to return to Ukraine legally one day.

6 Aug. Lavrov: US special representative Volker is to visit Moscow, meet with Surkov

5 Aug. US-born DPR-based journalist Patrick Lancaster (featured here by BBC) got married in a church ceremony in Donetsk (report, photos/video).

4 Aug. DPR MOD: in the past week, 407 ceasefire violations by Ukraine, 744 artilley, tank and mortar shells fired, 6 houses damaged or destroyed (Rus.)(Eng.) DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 2 soldiers were killed, 12 people (10 soldiers, 1 civilian man and 1 woman) were wounded.

ANNA news video: Ukraine shelled residential area in Slavyanoserbsk, LPR, 2 places shown, mortar shell crater, bullet found. Crater and a compass seen on video, red arrow, likely North as in modern compasses, red is highlighting color (old ones had red pointing South, blue/black north, hot/warm colors). Likely it flew in the direction towards the flowers, what we see on the ground is back-blow pattern damage, while stuff flew up-and-away in the greens/flowers direction (looks like less damage there, but excavation is towards the flowers way). So it appears it came from NNW, i.e. Ukraine. A bit tricky, wish they give us a better view and figured on the video where it came from; they sort of do it with sign-posted arrows, without telling.

Report: Pentagon asks WH to give Ukraine anti-tank Javelins (see 31 Jul. entry for L/DPR response).

2 Aug. Yurii Boyko (Opposition block) proposes (video), in effect, to change Minsk agreements, using road-map (agreed to be developed in recent Normandy format talks, but not actually developed yet) and new initiatives to be introduced by Ukraine. He proposes to add USA to the format (such possibility is mentioned by both sides from time to time, but it's unclear is it going to help the process; Russia is very cautious here); place UN 'blue helmets' on the separation line (raised by Poroshenko awhile back; but it seems that the rebel republics do not support or at least much doubt the idea; Russia is not known to back the plan, or make changes to Minsk agreements. Russian response is that 'agreement of sides to the conflict is needed', which pushes towards direct contact between Kiev and republics. Kiev likely uses blue helmets talk to gain control on republics border with Russia, reversing the order in Minsk agreements; such change to agreements will be clearly unacceptable).

1 Aug. 2 DPR soldiers were killed by Ukrainian sniper fire in the past day (Basurin claimed that foreign snipers are fighting on Ukrainian side, a claim made quite often).