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Published in Stream:
Day 969: October 13, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Under-Reporting Fighting In Donbass; Savchenko Says She Met With Some Of Her Captors
5 years
Ukrainian 'Sabotage' Suspects Discovered in FSB's Lefortovo Prison by Monitors; Complain of Harsh Treatment

Seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday in the Donbass.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told reporters today that seven Ukrainian troops had been wounded, with another two suffering concussions.

But the Ukrainian military appears to be under-reporting the level of fighting.

During his briefing, Colonel Lysenko claimed that not a single shot was fired in Avdeyevka, one of the most violent areas of the front line, northeast of Donetsk.

In contrast, Australian freelance journalist Bryce Wilson reported from Avdeyevka yesterday evening that heavy fighting was under way in the front-line industrial park, known as the promka:

There were also reports yesterday that Russia-backed forces were using Grad rockets in two areas of the front.

This Ukrainian serviceman, who said that they were on the front line near Svetlodarsk, east of Gorlovka, tweeted: 

Translation: And now the katsap [derogatory term for Russian] Grads have set to work on our neighbours.

Another soldier reported from the south of the Donetsk region, east of Mariupol: 

Translation: They've been pounding solidly for a couple of days now, as always it intensifies towards the evening, Grad at work again on the line from Vodyanoye to Shirokino.
Translation: Grads one at a time or a half or full salvo each time?

Translation: I can't honestly say, they put it out on the radio. Well not salvos. They're firing by twos or threes.

Information Resistance, an independent military analysis team co-founded by Ukrainian MP Dmytro Tymchuk, also reported the use of Grads on the front east of Mariupol.

But the Ukrainian military reported only the use of 122 mm artillery and mortars in this area.

According to the Ukrainian military's ATO Press Center, 380 shells were fired on positions in the Mariupol area yesterday, with mortars also used near Talakovka, just outside the port city, and Novotroitskoye, on the highway towards Donetsk.

Across the whole front line, the military reported 36 attacks.

Mortars were, the report claims, also used in the Lugansk region, when Ukrainian troops near Novozvanovka were shelled. 

Nadiya Savchenko has admitted that she has travelled to the Donbass to meet with Russia-backed separatists.

Having denied doing so earlier this week, she told the 112 news channel last night that she had indeed gone to a "small village" in the so-called "grey zone" on the front line.

Savchenko, who was captured in fighting in the Lugansk region in 2014 and abducted to Russia, where she was convicted of murder after a show trial and subsequently released home to Ukraine in a prisoner exchange this summer, is now an MP in the Batkivshchyna party.

Despite returning a national hero, she has since come under criticism from some quarters for her calls for reconciliation with the population of the occupied territories.

She said that separatist representatives had themselves contacted her to organize the meeting. 

"These were people from the occupied territories, not one person, there were a lot of them. It was actually those people who had held me in captivity came to me first. They still had my telephone from the time when they took it from me.

The people came to me themselves, regardless of the fact that they serve that army. This means that we have a friend behind the enemy lines and this should never be disregarded...

Half a year ago, I said that we need to start a dialogue, as I reached out. But now we must think how to fight. It's too late to start a dialogue, but I still hope for a last chance."

This morning, Ukrainska Pravda reported that Savchenko had also told a session of the Parliamentary Association of the Council of Europe (PACE), of which she is a member, about her meeting.

She even said that "70% of the people and even those who held me in captivity, regret having taken up arms."

-- Pierre Vaux