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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Live Day 354

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Video Taken By Separatist Fighters Shows Russian Border Patrol Vehicles, And Possibly Military Advisors, Near Debaltsevo

This video was reportedly taken by soldiers for the "NAF" (Novorossiya Armed Forces), a group called the "First Separate Mechanized Battalion 'August,'" on January 23, in the opening days of the offensive against Debaltsevo. It is an excellent insight into what types of firepower the Russian-backed fighters are using against the Ukrainian military, and it is full of interesting pieces of data.

While the video shows many armored vehicles used by the separatists, one of them stands out. At approximately 6:34, a vehicle drives by the soldiers that appears to be a BPM-97. As we've written, the vehicle is only manufactured in Russia and is only used by Russian border guards, but it has been spotted many times in Ukraine. It was first spotted on the wrong side of the border in late December, and has since been spotted at Base 3035 in Lugansk Region and Krasnodon.

Here it is in Krasnodon:

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And here it is in the city of Lugansk (above) and Base 3035 in Lugansk Region (below):

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 Photo by Lugansk News Today

Here are the screen captures from this new video:

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Also in this video are several T-72s, which almost certainly came from Russian military stockpiles, many howitzers and various armored vehicles, and what we believe is a T-64 Bulat, which was likely captured from Ukraine.

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Several of the vehicles in the videos are marked with what may be specific insignia indicating which unit they are. Note the squared-brackets:

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This vehicle has a different symbol on it, a triangle underneath the numbers:

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We've been tracking vehicles with similar markings, particularly the Strela-10 advanced anti-aircraft system, recently seen in this area, which is another possible sign of direct Russian military control over the fighting:

Also interesting in this video is the fact that at one point a group of men wearing matching green outfits are being spoken to by several men wearing what look like Russian military winter uniforms. While none of the faces of the men wearing green are ever obscured, the faces of the men in white are blurred. Is this a sign that these men in white are Russian military advisors?

There are other parts of this video we're continuing to look at. Some of the "men in white" have interesting looking weapons which we are trying to identify, and then there is this combat radio which is also possibly a data point. Both require more research, however.

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Evidence is mounting that the Russian military is playing a direct role in overseeing and coordinating the separatist military campaign to capture Debaltsevo and expand their territory near Donetsk. But what should be beyond dispute is that many of the weapons and vehicles used by the separatists in this battle was supplied to them directly by the Russian military.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Column Of Self-Propelled Artillery Filmed In Donetsk

A video has been uploaded to YouTube today which shows a column of 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled guns moving through central Donetsk.

The location given on the video, Ilicha Avenue, can be verified by comparing the view of the Sberbank branch in the footage with that seen on Google Street View:

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This means that the convoy is headed west, here on Ilicha Avenue

The convoy is made up of a tented military truck carrying soldiers, four Gvozdikas and a green van.

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We have previously looked at at least one group of Gvozdikas that seems likely to have been imported from Russia, where we saw them loaded onto trains, scrubbed of identifying marks, at Millerovo, near the Ukrainian border. 

-- Pierre Vaux and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian-Backed Separatists On The Move Near Donetsk, But Temporary Truce Largely Holding

As we've been reporting, there is a temporary easing of violence near Debaltsevo after the Russian-backed separatists have agreed to open a humanitarian corridor, allowing civilians to evacuate. The new truce is not perfect, but it appears to be working.

A BBC reporter says Gorlivka is also quiet:

Mashable's Christopher Miller reports:
But elsewhere in the area, fighting continues:
The separatists are also still moving vehicles around the city:
Life for residents has become extremely hard:
And it seems that if it weren't for visiting journalists, some of the businesses which remain open would not have many customers:
We asked about the road between Debaltsevo and Artemivsk, which heads north toward Ukrainian military positions:

Both Gorlivka and the road described above are marked here on this map:

Overview-2015-02-06-11-30-10-620x660.png


-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Explosive Device Found By Railway Bridge In Odessa

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the Interior Ministry has announced that an explosive device has been found on a railway line in Odessa.

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According to the Ministry, the device was found on the track near a bridge. 

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The improvised explosive device has been disarmed and sent off for analysis, the Ministry reports.

- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukrainian Volunteers Crowdfund Supplies While Fighting Professional Russian Soldiers And Spies

The Interpreter's editor in chief, Michael Weiss, has interviewed Ivan Rodichenko,  a Ukrainian intelligence officer with the Kievan Rus Territorial Defense Battalion who has now traveled to New York to personally raise the money needed to fight the war against men either from or backed by Russia.

The story, which can be read here in Foreign Policy, discusses the urgent need for new arms and equipment within the Ukrainian military, especially the volunteer brigades. It lists several incidents where Ukrainian soldiers died because they did not have the proper equipment. Of particular concern is the communications equipment, which Rodichenko says is ineffective, unreliable, and not secure, since their Russian-backed adversaries have access to equipment that allows them to monitor Ukrainian communications. He also stressed that there were tensions between the volunteer brigades and the regular army units, and one particular reason for this are the amount of spies inside the Ukrainian military:

The Kievan Rus battalion is one of roughly three dozen volunteer battalions enlisted by Ukraine’s Defense and Internal Affairs ministries to act as added manpower in a yearlong war that only shows signs of intensifying — despite a cease-fire drawn up between Kiev and Moscow last September in Minsk, Belarus, that was worthless even before the ink dried. At the start of the conflict, Kiev relied heavily on these paramilitary factions because Ukraine’s military had been vitiated by the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych. Volunteers sign a contract with the government promising to obey orders issued by the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) command and to relay any and all intelligence gathered in the field — including forensic proof of Russian military involvement — back to Kiev.

Rodichenko says this stipulation rankles him and his men. “There are Russian spies in the Ministry of Defense, the SBU [Ukraine’s security service], and the police. We have enemies both inside and outside Ukraine. We know of a guy the government paid off to give info about our location of ATO forces to the Russians.” Yanukovych, a hireling of Moscow, fled Ukraine in late February 2014, but not before ordering operatives to steal “data on more than 22,000 officers and informants as well as anything documenting decades of cooperation” between the SBU and the Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), as Mashable’s Christopher Miller reported in December 2014. So far, more than 200 spies have been arrested for playing for the other side, including Volodymyr Bik, Ukraine’s former head of counterintelligence. “The terms of our contract make it clear that if we capture a Russian soldier and interrogate him and get his name, rank, and serial number, we have to send this information back to Kiev,” Rodichenko said. “But how do we know we’re not really sending it back to Moscow?”

Read the article here: Crowdfunding the War in Ukraine — From Manhattan:

With his men getting hammered by Russia, a desperate Ukrainian battalion commander has landed in New York City, where he's rustling up money for weapons, helmets, and even toilet paper.

Weiss appeared on CNN to discuss the article:

-- James Miller
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