Ukraine news/Archive/2019-03

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31 Mar. Rusvesna quoting DPR MoD: on the day of elections, 18 ceasefire violations by Ukrainian forces, 11 settlements shelled. One DPR soldier was killed. DPR returned fire. As a result of Ukrainian mortar shelling of Zaitsevo, near Gorlovka, two civilians on Karbysheva st. are wounded. (The DPR has named the Ukrainian forces it says are responsible)

Election committee stream. Polls closed, with 45% voting participation figure at closing time (and big jump into mid-60% range for the final count). Right after closing, 'two sociological companies polls' were announced , with 20:01 on the clock (exit polls?), Zelenskii 30.4, Poroshenko 17.8, Timoshenko, 14.2. Another exit poll by shows similar results. Two top candidates will advance to the second round.

Half a million of Ukrainian voters were placed on ballot lists abroad, and 101 polling stations were opened in 72 countries, including Congo and Kosovo (Ukrinform), but not Russia where almost 3 million Ukrainians live. At the end of last year, Kiev refused to open polling stations in Russia.

A former Aidar commander Melnichuk posted a list allegedly naming 'unprosecutable Ukrainians' , said to be given by US Amb. Yovanovitch to Ukr. Prosescutor-Gen. Lutsenko. This list appears to emerge on social media. (Updated on 17 Apr. version, some pressure but not a list).

29 Mar. DPR ombudsman: in the past week, 4 DPR soldiers were killed, 1 soldier wounded.

DPR MoD: In the past week, 79 ceasefire violations by Ukrainian forces, 21 settlement shelled using 152 mm artillery, mortars, tank and BMP guns, grenade launchers, large caliber machine guns, amd small firearms. During OSCE inspections, heavy Ukrainian armaments, including 3 "Buks", 1 "Osa", 9 T-72 tanks, 2 "Konkurs" anti-tank complexes, were not at designated locations, in violation of the Minsk agreements.

"Quiet period" before the first round of elections in Ukraine. Past polls (summary). consistently show Zelenski in the lead, with Poroshenko and Timoshenko competing for the second spot.

24 Mar. DPR MoD: Ukrainian forces shelled Sakhanka. DPR returned fire. 2 DPR soldiers were killed; 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 3 wounded near Novomikhailovka settlement.

23 Mar. DPR MoD: Ukrainian forces shelled Kominternovo and Leninskoe, electric power line and 3 houses were damaged. DPR returned fire, suppressing Ukrainian firing positions, using weapons not banned by Minsk agreements. DPR MoD warns about Ukrainian provocation plans with elections approaching and Poroshenko on track to lose. According to DPR MoD, such plans include provocations against OSCE observers, or causing mass civilian casualties on Ukrainian-controlled territory, in particular at a check-point Zolotarevo, which is set to open, but is said to be mined.

Ukraine reports one killed and one wounded soldier on Mar. 22, and alleges that 3 DPR soldiers were killed and 5 wounded (not confirmed).

G7 writes to Avakov about extremists threatening elections (RFE/RL), (Rusvesna). Avakov claims that radical groups has been warned.

22 Mar. SBU claims that it "prevented a terrorist act" in Kharkov prepared by "Russian services"; with a video featuring a gas cylinder on hand truck and no-face no-voice arrest scene. (What possibly can go wrong here?)

21 Mar. DPR MoD. 7 ceasefire violations by Ukraine in the past day, one DPR soldier killed. As a result of shelling of middle school 116, 2 unexploded munitions were found, schoolchildren evacuated. DPR returned fire. It is said that 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one wounded as a result.

Gallup: World-low 9% of Ukrainians confident in the government, low confidence in elections, high confidence in government corruption.

20 Mar. The Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko tells US media that at their first meeting after he took office (in 2016), he received a "do not prosecute" list from US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. He also complained about his office not receiving 4 mln $ in US assistance. His claims and the response ("assistance redirected") are here. (Updated on 17 Apr, some pressure, but no list).

Ukrainian media: it is strange that the case of Sytnik and Leshenko interference in the US presidential elections (leaking pre-trial information on Manafort) only came to light now.

19 Mar. DPR ombudsman. In the period of 1-14 March, 6 people were killed (4 of them soldiers), 5 people were wounded (4 soldiers and a civilian man).

11 Mar. Six settlements in Novoazov region, DPR lost electric power on Mar. 7 due to Ukrainian shelling. Ukraine still did not respond to requests of ceasefire regime to conduct the repair work.

10 Mar. DPR MoD: despite the agreed Spring ceasefire, DPR soldier was killed by Ukrainian sniper fire. DPR appeals to international human rights and humanitarian organizations 'to record the murder and to assist in bringing those responsible to justice'. Also, Ukraine fired but missed 'Fagot' anti tank missile on control rooms of Vasilievka water pumping station. This water pumping station is a very important one, and its destruction or stoppage will cut water supply to over 40 settlements with a population of 1.8 million people and will inevitably lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. DPR appeals to OSCE to record the incident and to pressure Ukrainian military to observe agreed ceasefire.

9 Mar. Group of nationalists clashed with police at a meeting in Cherkassy where Poroshenko spoke; 15 policemen were injured. Nationalists were trying to question Poroshenko (on thefts of military supplies, etc), however Poroshenko hurriedly left when clashes started.

Russian and Ukrainian sources report details of Merkel refusal to follow US request to deploy ships to support Ukrainian passage to Kerch straights. Israeli Solomon Mann in a Facebook post in Russian (apparently) gives those details from a restricted account of a German politician: Merkel to Ursula von der Leyen: You talk like children!" , " you assume that Putin will not undertake anything and will watch how we defile in the strait. And if he does with our ships the same thing that he had already done once with the Ukrainian ones? What are you suggesting, for Germany to fight, Madam Minister? Why should we neglect the interests of Germany for the sake of the interests of the United States? ... ". Frau Chancellor also referred to a letter from France, where Macron warns Merkel against "rash steps" on "incitement from the USA."

8 Mar. Another ceasefire has been agreed from Mar. 8 ('international women's day'), however 5 ceasefire violations are reported overnight and in the morning hours.

More reports (amplified by Russian media) of Poroshenko's erratic behavior with elections approaching.

4 Mar. DPR MoD: A civilian man is killed by UAF shelling of Sakhanka. DPR returned fire, suppressing UAF firing position "with weapons not banned." 2 UAF soldiers reportedly killed, 3 wounded. One DPR soldier is killed and one wounded.

Niura N. Berg in a Russian RIA article: Zelenskii is leading but his upward potential is limited. Poroshenko is gaining (and has unmatched admin resources). Timoshenko is fading. (Recent poll here).

3 Mar. It is said that Ukraine is deploying considerable forces and equipment to an area near Avdeevka, north of Donetsk; serious security deterioration is feared. Some shelling is reported by DPR's JCCC representatives on all the separation line in the evening

2 Mar. Ukrainian forces fired 6 mortar shells on Kominternovo, a residential home (Akhmatova 47 St.) was destroyed.