And finally, you can view your Pressimus profile by clicking on your profile image, and selecting your profile, and you can customize your Pressimus settings by selecting settings.
Watch quick explainer video
Finish
X

Request Invitation




Submit
Close
Submit
Stream by
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 358

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
Readability View
Press View
Show oldest first
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
OSCE Says Kramatorsk Hit By Cluster Munitions From a BM-30 "Smerch" Fired From Direction Of Separatist Positions

The OSCE has finally released a statement today confirming that the Smerch rockets which hit Kramatorsk came from the south-southeast. While the OSCE report does not spell out who fired the rockets, the Russian-backed forces control the area to the south-southeast.

According to the latest update from the regional administration website in Donetsk, at least 12 people have been killed in the strike, including at least 7 civilians. 

Below is the OSCE report:

On 10 February at 11:51hrs, the SMM heard a powerful explosion in Kramatorsk (95km north of Donetsk). From their position at Kramatorsk Boulevard #41, the SMM assessed that the sound of the explosion came from approximately 1.5 kilometres south-east, near Kramatorsk airport (where the Ukrainian authorities have deployed an “Anti-terrorist Operation” (ATO) base). The SMM also observed a white smoke trail in the direction of the explosion. At 12:00hrs, the SMM contacted the “ATO” command, which did not have further information. The SMM did not go to the airport for security reasons.

At 12:33hrs, while at Kramatorsk Boulevard #50, the SMM heard at least four blasts in the surrounding area. For security reasons, the SMM did not check the sites of the explosion. The SMM observed a rocket landing 30 metres from their position behind a building on Kramatorsk Boulevard #50. The rocket landed on the ground in the yard behind the building (at its north-western side) without exploding. The SMM noticed that the windows of the apartment building on Kramatorsk Boulevard #55 (facing north-west) were shattered.

The SMM spotted a second set of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at Lenin Street #45, which landed behind the house on the yard side (facing north-west). The site is located 2.5km north-east of Kramatorsk Boulevard #50. The SMM did not notice damage in the surrounding area. The SMM also observed sub-ammunition bomblets (clusters) in the surroundings of Lenin Street.

The SMM observed a third UXO which landed on the yard side (north-west) on Dvortsova Street #32. The SMM did not notice damage in the surrounding area.

The SMM assessed that the three shells were 300mm ammunition fired from a BM-30 Smerch or Tornado Multiple Rocket Launch System (MRLS). Based on the live observation, the pictures and maps analysis, the SMM assessed that the shelling was coming from the south-south-east direction. The SMM has not yet conducted any crater analysis for security reasons.

At 12:45hrs, at the entrance of a Ukrainian military compound on Lenin Street, the SMM saw a member of uniformed Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel lying on the ground, not moving. At 16:00hrs an official from the Donetsk Region Administration informed the SMM that the shelling in Kramatorsk killed 7 civilians and injured 26, including 5 wounded children. The injured individuals were subsequently transferred to local hospitals in Kramatorsk. The interlocutor added that 32 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel were injured at Kramatorsk airport. The SMM will follow-up on the shelling and further examine the sites affected by the shelling in Kramatorsk.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
In Phone Call, President Obama Warns Vladimir Putin Of Rising "Costs" Of Its "Aggressive Actions"

The White House has released a readout of U.S. President Barack Obama's conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin:

President Obama today called President Vladimir Putin of Russia to address the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s ongoing support for the separatists there. President Obama reiterated America’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. President Obama underscored the rising human toll of the fighting and underscored the importance of President Putin seizing the opportunity presented by the ongoing discussions between Russia, France,  Germany, and Ukraine to reach a peaceful resolution. The President emphasized the importance of reaching and implementing a negotiated settlement underpinned by the commitments in the Minsk agreement. However, if Russia continues its aggressive actions in Ukraine, including by sending troops, weapons, and financing to support the separatists, the costs for Russia will rise.

The statement is interesting. For starters, it's completely one-sided, with no indication of what Putin said during the statement. We have yet to see the Kremlin release a statement on this phone call.

Second, the last line is important and indicates, as we predicted below, that there will be additional "costs," perhaps new sanctions or even military support for Ukraine, if tomorrow's peace negotiations do not net results.

Two questions remain: what is the timeline for Russia to change course before new "costs" are implemented, and will the United States arm Ukraine if its European allies do not support the plan?

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Is This Round Of Negotiations Between Ukraine And Russia the "Last Chance" For the Minsk Deal?

U.S. President Barack Obama has spoken over the phone today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Here is the readout published on the White House website:

President Obama spoke today with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine regarding the situation in eastern Ukraine and the current talks on a cease-fire and peace deal.  The President expressed his condolences for the continuing loss of life of Ukrainian citizens and his strong support for the current peace negotiations.  Both the President and President Poroshenko praised the contributions of Germany and France in this effort to achieve a sustainable, peaceful resolution to the conflict. They also agreed on the need for Russia to abide by the commitments it made in Minsk in September, which should remain the basis for a negotiated settlement.  The President underlined the commitment of the United States to work with our international partners to provide the financial support Ukraine needs as it continues to undertake essential reforms.

The Ukrainian readout of the conversation was extremely similar:

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has held a phone conversation with President of the United States Barack Obama.

Petro Poroshenko and Barack Obama have discussed the situation in the Donbas and emphasized the need for the ceasefire and peaceful resolution on the basis of the Minsk agreements.

The U.S. President has expressed condolences over the death of Ukrainian citizens and underlined his support towards negotiations on the peaceful resolution.

The parties are hopeful that the progress will be achieved in the course of the meeting in the Normandy format in Minsk. They have also praised the efforts of German and French leaders.

The Presidents of Ukraine and the United States have emphasized the need for Russia to fulfill all its commitments under the Minsk agreements.

President Obama has also assured of the readiness to further support Ukraine in the provision of financial assistance from the international partners and international financial organizations for the implementation of essential reforms.

Petro Poroshenko and Barack Obama have agreed to closely coordinate future steps after the meeting in the Normandy format in Minsk.

Two days ago Ukraine published a readout of a conversation between Poroshenko and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and it is similar to the one above. Yesterday Poroshenko spoke to the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, stressing many of the same points but adding this:

Petro Poroshenko informed that he insisted on constant and unconditional ceasefire, pullback of the heavy armament, withdrawal of foreign troops from the Ukrainian territory. He has emphasized that it was necessary to close the border for the supply of weapons and mercenaries, ensure monitoring and verification by the OSCE and liberate hostages. Then, it is necessary to conduct local elections under the Ukrainian legislation and international observation.

In other words, for the most part all the readouts sound similar.

A quick analysis: tomorrow we can expect that the United States, Europe, and Ukraine to pursue terms similar, or perhaps exactly the same, as the Minsk agreement from September, with possibly stronger wording considering the closing of the border. In many ways, tomorrow's meeting in Minsk appears to be designed to continue the status quo -- with Ukraine and the West demanding that Russia abide by its end of a ceasefire which so far we have not seen implemented.

There are signs, however, that this may be Russia's "last chance" before Ukraine and at least the United States begin to implement a new strategy:

There are also signs that the United States is now actively campaigning to arm Ukraine. Bloomberg reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is telling lawmakers that he believes the U.S. should be sending Kiev lethal aid:

Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers during a private reception in Germany that he personally supports sending lethal aid to the Ukrainian military, even though President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on whether to say yes to Ukraine’s arms request.

Kerry is the latest top U.S. official to favor arming Ukraine’s armed forces directly, as they struggle against heavily armed Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Vice President Joe Biden this weekend came very close to endorsing military aid for Ukraine when he pledged to continue to support Ukraine’s “security” needs. The top U.S. general in Europe, Philip Breedlove, has for months been advocating internally for greater U.S. support for Ukraine.  Defense secretary nominee Ashton Carter testified last week he was inclined toward sending arms to Kiev.

Two U.S. lawmakers told me that Kerry, in separate conversations Saturday evening at the Munich Security Conference, had told them he was for the lethal aid. Kerry’s position matches that of the State Department writ large, led on this issue by the assistant secretary of state for Europe, Victoria Nuland.

Yesterday Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a joint press conference. When Obama suggested that he is considering sending lethal aid to Kiev, Merkel, who is opposed to the plan, said that it was important to stand together on this issue. In other words, it's likely that Obama and Merkel have been having private negotiations on this issue with each trying to pressure the other.

However, it seems that the decision to add new sanctions or send lethal aid has not been made. The message the west is trying to send Russia appears to be that if the ceasefire does not come together now, then there will be some sort of new price Moscow will have to pay, be it military or economic.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Death Toll In Kramatorsk Rises To 12 After Area Hit By Cluster Munition Rockets
The death toll in Kramatorsk continues to mount. As you can see, more than half of the reported dead are civilians:
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Video Reportedly Shows Rockets Falling On The Road In Kramatorsk Today
This video was sent to us by a reader. It's a clear illustration of the level of danger average civilians in Ukraine often face:

We have not yet confirmed the date or location of this video. It's also worth noting that the timestamp in the corner is wrong. However it is not unusual for timestamps of amateur video to be wrong if the user has not set the clock.

According to the video's metadata, it was uploaded approximately two hours after the incident took place today. We have not been able to find another version of this video uploaded before today.

-- James Miller

X

Acknowledgements