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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Live Day 324

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
OSCE Report On Deteriorating Situation In Donbass

The OSCE has published the latest report from their Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on reports received as of 16:00 GMT on January 5.

The report describes numerous ceasefire violations, noting that the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC), a body formed of both Ukrainian and Russian military representatives, had described the situation as having "deteriorated considerably in the previous 24 hours." 69 ceasefire violations were reported during one 24 hour period.

The full report follows:

At the headquarters of the JCCC in government-controlled Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk) officers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces were present, along with members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The senior Ukrainian Armed Forces representative and the Russian Federation Army Chief of Staff both agreed the situation in “DPR”-controlled areas had deteriorated considerably in the previous 24 hours. During the 24-hour period from 08:00 on 4 January to 08:00 on 5 January, 69 ceasefire violations were noted: 32 from the Ukrainian Armed Forces; 37 from the “DPR” side. Forty incidents were recorded at Donetsk airport, the area around the Donetsk Volvo Centre located at the southern entrance to Pisky ("DPR"-controlled), and Pisky (seven kilometres north-west of Donetsk, government-controlled). Other incidents were recorded at Nikishna (12 km south-east of Debaltseve, control contested by both “DPR” and Ukrainian Armed Forces), and Chornukhyne (six kilometres east of Debaltseve, “LPR”-controlled). There were also incidents recorded in the Debaltseve region, in the government-controlled villages of Redkdub (15 km south-east of Debaltseve), Kamenka (10 km south-south-east of Debaltseve) and Gorodeshe (15 km east of Debaltseve). The SMM were informed that these allegations of ceasefire violations were agreed by both sides:

-  2 January 2015: 21 in total – with “DPR” reported nine violations by the Ukrainian side; Ukrainian Armed Forces reported 10 violations by “DPR”, two unknown;

- 3 January 2015: 20 in total – “DPR” reported 12 violations by Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukrainian Armed Forces reported eight violations by “DPR”;

- 4 January 2015: 49 in total – “DPR” reported 24 violations by Ukrainian Armed Forces; Ukrainian Armed Forces reported 25 violations by “DPR”.

The Russian Chief of Staff said that the Russian Major General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, was in Donetsk to facilitate the next rotation of Ukrainian Armed Forces at Donetsk airport (planned for 6 January). Both Chiefs of Staff (Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Army) from JCCC Debaltseve will be present at Donetsk airport to observe the rotation. Both sides invited the SMM to monitor the rotation.

On 5 January, the SMM visited Schastya (17 km north of Luhansk, government-controlled). Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at the bus station informed the SMM that the situation was calm. The SMM spoke to a local resident who stated that during the last 2-3 weeks, the situation in Schastya has significantly improved from before with no shelling during this period. The SMM observed few people and light traffic in Schastya.

The situation in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk remained calm.

On 4 January 2015, at approximately 22:35hrs an explosion at the location of the Maidan Coordination Council, (an umbrella group of several non-governmental organizations) in Odesa caused damage to the building. Police confirmed no one was injured. The building houses several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and has been used in recent weeks as a collection point for donating aid to soldiers in the east. The SMM verified the damage to the building and to nearby property. A Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson at the location gave a press statement confirming the use of an explosive device. The police are investigating it as an act of terrorism (as defined in Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

Following up on reports of an explosion at Odessa-Peresyp train station (see SMM Daily Report of 5 January 2015) the SMM spoke with the acting deputy chief of the Regional Transport Police, who confirmed a hole in a container wagon resulting in a large amount of “gas-oil” escaping. He confirmed that evidence collected during the investigation would be given to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in the following days. The interlocutor claimed police experts had concluded that an explosive was used, possibly with the aim of trying to destabilise the situation.

On 5 January the SMM in Kherson met with the First Deputy Head of the Black Sea and Azov Regional Administration of the Border Guard Service of Ukraine who stated that the Chongar crossing point  (180 km south-east of Kherson) was open.

The SMM gathered information on the situation concerning public transport across the administrative boundary line (ABL). The SMM spoke with the dispatcher at Novotroitske bus station on 5 January, who confirmed that most buses travelling to Crimea on 4 January (and one on 5 January) were delayed at the ABL before crossing. The dispatcher stated that a bus from Novotroitske to Crimea was prevented from crossing the ABL. He did not know the reason.

The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv remained calm.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Shelling Continues On Christmas Day

Russian-backed fighters continued to shell Ukrainian positions while Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas today.

Ukrainska Pravda reports this evening that the Ukrainian military's ATO Press Centre has announced that Russian-backed fighters have employed artillery, mortars and Grad rockets in numerous attacks.

The Intepreter translates:

"Bandits shelled Opytnoye with artillery, a sniper operated near Nikishino. Ukrainian positions were shelled near Opytnoye, Orlovo-Ivanovka, Zolotoye, Peski, Popasnaya, twice at Avdeyevka and the new terminal at Donetsk Airport," said the ATO headquarters.

The settlements of Peski and Nizhneye were shelled with Grad rockets.

Militants fired on the weather station at Donetsk Airport with small arms.

At around 2 am, near the settlement of Starolaspa, an armed confrontation occurred between Ukrainian soldiers and an enemy reconnaissance and sabotage group of up to 10 people during an attempted breakthrough.  Two militants were killed in the ensuing shoot-out, the rest retreated. Information on the number of wounded militants is being verified," said the headquarters.

In addition there was another battle near Krymskoye at 9:00.

"The shoot-out went on for more than an hour. The terrorists suffered losses," noted the press centre. 

This morning outbound shelling was audible on the Ruptly live stream from a camera facing Donetsk Airport.

As early as 9:36 (7:36 GMT) this morning, the military had reported 16 attacks by Russian-backed fighters.

Interfax-Ukraine reported:

"They fired small-arms weapons against our military near the villages of Pisky, Shumy, Leninske and Chernukhyne, and grenades near Starohnativka and Hranitne," the press center for the anti-terrorist operation in east Ukraine wrote on Facebook.

According to the Ukrainian military, on Tuesday militants "most often fired mortars." "They launched ten attacks on the populated areas of Slavne, Shumy, Ridkodub, Debaltseve, the Donetsk airport and around Nikishyno and two attacks on Leninske," the press center said.

At 13:54 (11:54 GMT) UNIAN reported that Andrei Lysenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, had announced that three Ukrainian soldiers had been killed over the last 24 hours.

Two had been killed during an exchange of small arms fire near Peski and the other near Nikishino, killed by the sniper reported above. Another soldier was wounded.

Meanwhile the volunteer-based Azov regiment reported that their soldiers had had an armed confrontation with Russian-backed fighters near Granitnoye, to the north-east of Mariupol.

The regiment reported on their Facebook page that they had encountered two militants hiding in a building, they were killed by machine gun fire. 

They also reported that their positions on the southern front had come under fire from self-propelled artillery and small arms. 

Here is a map indicating the locations of the incidents reported:

2015-01-07 17:28:20
-- Pierre Vaux