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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 361

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
Did Russia Accidentally Admit That Their Rocket Launchers Are In Ukraine?
The President of Estonia, Toomas Ilves, picks up on a Finnish group which has noted an interesting piece of language in the Minsk agreements, one that admits that an advanced Russian-made rocket launcher is deployed in Ukraine.
One of Estonia's NATO partners, Canada, also noted the same report:

We took a look at the language of the Minsk agreement and concluded that the document makes a clear distinction between the various different rocket launchers. It specifically differentiates between the "Tornado-S" and the "Smerch," two similar weapons systems.

Tornado-and-Smerch.png

The BM-30 Smerch is a 12-barrelled multiple-launch-rocket-system capable of firing 300mm rockets up to 90 kilometers. The 9A52-4 Tornado is a more advanced system only made between 2011 and present. Their presence in Ukraine would be further proof of direct Russian military involvement in this crisis.

However, it should be noted that, as we reported earlier, Putin did not sign the Minsk agreement. The Russian ambassador to Kiev, Mikhail Zurabov Zurabov, did, as did  the so-called "People's Republics" leaders Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.

-- James Miller, 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
State Department Says Russian Military Still Moving Weapons Into Ukraine

According to AFP, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki says that Russia is still sending troops and equipment across the border:

"This is clearly not in the spirit of this week's agreement," Psaki told reporters.

She said the Russian military had deployed large amounts of artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems and was using it to shell Ukrainian positions.

"We are confident that these are Russian military, not separatist systems," she said, adding that Russian troops along the border were preparing a large shipment of supplies to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

There are more signs that Russia is sending troops in the direction of the Ukrainian border. Several videos released today reportedly show a large convoy of armored vehicles in Crimea moving in the direction of Ukraine.


The Bellingcat blog writes that based on road signs and other markers seen in the video, those vehicles are north of Simferopol, moving northward toward Ukrainian territory.

Another video was geolocated to Dzhankoi, even closer to the border.

-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Two Children Reportedly Killed As Shells Rip Through Artemivsk. Videos Show Shelling
Earlier we reported about shelling in Artemivsk, near Debaltsevo, which reportedly hit a kindergarten. Three people have reportedly been killed, including two children:
-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
World Leaders And Experts Express Doubts, Pessimism, and Worry Over Minsk Deal
You may have noticed a certain degree of pessimism (we'd like to call it informed realism) about the prospects of the new Minsk agreement working. Plenty of other experts and journalists are also expressing considerable doubt about the deal:

The Telegraph was highly negative on the statement, writing "Vladimir Putin has been rewarded for his bullying: The precedents for Europe set by Moscow in Ukraine are appalling."

Some world leaders are also skeptics of the talks:

Also unimpressed: Vytautas Landsbergis, a conservative Lithuanian politician and the first head of state of Lithuania after its independence from the Soviet Union:
And Carl Bildt, Sweden's former Prime Minister who just finished an 8-year term of office as Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs in October:
See The Interpreter's analysis of the deal here:
-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Artemivsk Hit By Shells, 3 Reportedly Killed, As Battle Rages In Nearby Debaltsevo
The town of Artemivsk, controlled by the Ukrainian military, has played a crucial role in the Ukrainian military's attempts to preserve the road to Debaltsevo, and in the attempts to defend the now-fallen Donetsk Airport before that. The town has been rocked today by shells which have reportedly killed civilians. The latest report suggests that at least three have been killed:

Below we have posted a screenshot from LiveaUAMap, with Artemivsk highlighted:

Interactive-map-of-war-in-Ukraine-Russia

As we've been reporting, Debaltsevo is under heavy attack today. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Petro Mekhed told a brieifing of cabinet ministers today that Russian-supported forces, backed by Russian regular army soldiers, have been ordered to take Debaltsevo before Saturday night's ceasefire that goes into effect at 22:00 local time. Unian reports:

"Today, having agreement on a ceasefire from 0000, February 15, Russian-backed militants and the Russian armed forces have been ordered to raise the Russian flag over Debaltseve," he said.

According to Mekhed, the same task has been set for Mariupol.

"However, while there is a fierce fighting for Debaltseve, which has been attacked three times as of this morning, Mariupol is still under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces," he said, according to Ukrainian online newspaper LB.ua.

"According to the latest information, there are more than 10,000 soldiers of the Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine," Mekhed said.

Read more of Mekhed's statement here.

This explains why the Ukrainian military has moved significant troops and equipment into Artemivsk in an attempt to provide support for its nearly-surrounded forces in Debaltsevo:


-- James Miller
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