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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 375

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
Poroshenko Called Nemtsov a 'Bridge Between Ukraine and Russia'
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has kind words for the Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated tonight.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Poroshenko Asks Merkel For EU Peacekeepers

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel today via phone. The Ukrainian government has produced a readout of the conversation. Both leaders agreed that the Minsk ceasefire agreement needed to be implemented, and Poroshenko said that he was working to implement his side of the deal despite the fact that "militants" were breaking the ceasefire. But then there was this interesting development -- Poroshenko has renewed his call for peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine and has requested that they be made up of members of the European Union:

The parties have agreed that the EU must pay proper attention to the situation on the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements by all the parties in the context of its further policy on Russia.

The President has underlined the importance of efforts' coordination for the deployment of the peacekeeping contingent in Ukraine and emphasized that Ukraine wanted the given contingent to be formed as a mission of the EU.

Petro Poroshenko and Angela Merkel have also discussed the economic situation in Ukraine and the opportunity of additional measures for its stabilization. Angela Merkel has assured of further support of Ukraine in the issue of providing a new broadened program from the IMF. The parties have agreed to maintain substantive dialogue between the two governments, including the Ministry of Finance.

While Germany's statement on the phone call has not yet been translated into English, the German statement indicated that Germany would be willing to consider more sanctions against Russia should the Minsk accord fail, but providing " military assistance to Ukraine is currently not up for debate" [Google translation].

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ceasefire Broken? Outgoing Grad Rockets Heard In Donetsk
Over the last several days there has been a reduction in fighting and casualties, but as we have seen today casualties are once again on the rise. Now there are fresh reports, this one from journalist Oliver Carroll, of fighting in Donetsk:
-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
SBU Present Document Purportedly Written By Surkov, Instructing Separatists On Talking Points

Ukraine's LIGABusinessInform reports that the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, has told reporters that the agency has intercepted a document drafted by Vladislav Surkov, a supremely influential aide to Vladimir Putin, directing the separatist leadership on their approach to the recent Minsk deal.

Nalyvaichenko said that the SBU now had a body of evidence that Surkov was organising political and military interference in Ukraine. He presented a document, a "circular" (one of many, he claimed) which had been distributed amongst the separatist leadership, authored he said, by Surkov.


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The document contains recommended responses to Ukrainian moves or statements, in effect, talking points, like a PR firm advising a client. 


The first point on the memo indicates that the separatists should respond to a request by the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council to the UN, for peacekeepers to be deployed along the Russo-Ukrainian border in the Donbass, should be met by a statement from the 'Donetsk People's Republic's' representative, Denis Pushilin. 

The statement suggested by the author is that the Ukrainian request would be a violation of the Minsk agreement as Kiev is, according to the deal, only to re-assume control over it's south-eastern borders with Russia after holding local elections in separatist-held areas and conducting constitutional reform.

Point number two says that the separatists should respond to any Ukrainian accusations of ceasefire violations by listing Ukrainian violations in turn.

The third bullet point is extremely revealing, if the document is genuine, as to the power dynamic at play here.

The Interpreter translates:

Isn't it a pity that you're not paying attention. Find out from A why Basurin agreed with the introduction of peacekeepers?

Isn't it a pity that you're not paying attention!!!

Swiftly issue a rebuttal on his behalf. Immediately. Along the lines that his words were distorted and taken out of context. And then knock him on the head. 

The author is keen to stress that the separatists should not appear to oppose the idea of peacekeepers per se, but that the issue of border control cannot be discussed until prior points of the Minsk agreement are implemented.

Certainly, this is what one would expect of the 'grey cardinal,' Surkov, a former PR and advertising man turned architect of Vladimir Putin's 'managed democracy.'

Back in December we reported in more detail on Surkov's alleged policy shop overseeing the Kremlin's operations in Ukraine.


-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Spain Arrests 9 Men For Joining Russian-Backed Rebels to Fight In Ukraine

Eight men have been arrested in raids which have taken place across the Spain. New York Times reports:

Those arrested, the ministry said, recently returned to Spain after going to Ukraine last year to join pro-Russian troops around Luhansk and Donetsk. The ministry said that they had been identified partly by information that the eight had posted online, including photographs of themselves wearing paramilitary uniforms and training with explosives and assault rifles.

The fighters are likely to be charged with taking part in activities considered to be terrorism by Ukraine, the ministry said, including taking part in assassinations and carrying illegal weapons. The ministry also said that fighting in Ukraine could in itself amount to a violation of “the neutrality of Spain.”

The Local, a Spanish newspaper which publishes in English, adds that the men were sympathetic to communist and far-left ideologies:

Officers detained the eight suspects in six regions across Spain, the government said in a statement. A source close to the investigation described them as "pro-Russian" and far-left in ideology.

The Spanish suspects were said to be inspired by the International Brigades, the multinational volunteer forces that joined Republican forces to fight against Francisco Franco's uprising during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.The arrests took place in Asturias, Catalonia, Extremadura, Murcia, Navarra and Madrid.

The men, whose ages range between 20 and 30 years-old and were all affiliated with Communist organizations, received support from a pro-Russian European league, according to Spanish daily, El País.

Last summer two of the men posted this video, in English, where they claim that the news on Spanish and American TV is false. "Junta of Kiev are criminals," the men explain, as they claim that everyone fighting in Donetsk are just locals fighting for their own territory. "In this war information is very important and it is being controlled by the same people who are killing these people [the people of Donetsk]."

-- James Miller
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