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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 407

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
Crimean ATR TV And Many Other Tatar News Outlets May Be Shut Down April 1

April 1, tomorrow, could be a dark day for the Crimean Tatars, as all but one of their news networks may be forced to end broadcasting due to a new Russian law. The law requires  organizations to register with Russian authorities, but most Crimean Tatar organizations have had their applications rejected or delayed, meaning that they will miss tomorrow's deadline.

Amnesty International, which has condemned these developments as censorship, reports:

Whilst all media outlets in Crimea were told to re-register under Russian legislation in April 2014, those broadcasting in the Crimean Tatar language have been repeatedly and arbitrarily denied registration. By contrast, many Russian-language media outlets received licenses soon after applying.

So far, only one Crimean Tatar-language media outlet – the newspaper Yeni Dunya – has successfully re-registered. The rest have fallen foul of the registration authority which has used technicalities and unspecified “irregularities” to delay or deny registration.

The well-established Crimean Tatar-language news agency, QHA, was twice refused re-registration, and has not reapplied. ATR, a TV channel that broadcasts in the Crimean Tatar language, has had three applications for a media licence arbitrarily rejected since October 2014. There has been no response to their fourth application.

Lilya Budzhurova, Deputy Director for Information Policy for ATR told Amnesty International that the channel will pull the plug on their broadcasts at 00:01 on 1 April if a licence is not granted.

Kyiv Post adds that ATR TV station, which is still fighting the law, has no plans on moving operations to another country (perhaps to Kiev):

Budzhurova says they don’t know what they would do after April 1, but if they fail to get the registration their work would be prosecuted by Russian authorities. She adds that there is a chance for them to move to Ukraine to continue their work.

Some other countries have already reached out to ATR managers, according to Budzhurova, offering them to continue their work in exile, but it is not an option for them.

“We’re a Crimean Tatar TV channel, we can’t work separated from our nation,” Budzhurova explains. “It’s impossible for us – neither technically – as we have to move some 200 employees then – nor morally.”

However, the management has no plans to give up. Budzhurova says they will file a lawsuit against Russian regulator, because they want to prove the ATR is not a “seditious” channel.

Rallies in support of ATR and other stations facing shutdown have been held in Kiev for days. Today people are reportedly flooding ATR headquarters in Crimea in solidarity with the station:

-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Former NATO Commander Warns About Impending Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Advocates Sending Arms

Retired US General Wesley Clark, who is the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, gave a speech yesterday to the Atlantic Council after traveling to Ukraine on a fact-finding mission. He echoed warnings from sources in Kiev which suggested that the Minsk ceasefire, which is largely holding but is violated in specific locations each day, could be shattered sometime in later April or early May. UNIAN reports

“What is happening now is preparations for a renewed offensive from the east,” and this could take place following Orthodox Easter, on April 12, and most probably before VE Day on May 8," Clark said, citing multiple local sources he spoke with on a recent fact-finding mission to Ukraine.
...
Clark said it was necessary now to send weapons to Ukraine to get it prepared by the time of the next Russian-backed militant offensive.

"It [sending weapons] would not be a provocation, but would have a stabilizing effect, and we must do it now," Clark said.

However, he warned that “[Putin’s] objectives could be much broader than Ukraine,” and said there was the possibility of a Russian attack on the Baltic countries and Poland.


The US Naval Institute News added that Clark downplayed the potential risks of arming Ukraine with lethal weapons:

“This is the time we should be providing the assistance” before there is any move against the port city of Mariupol and Kharkiv near the Russian border.

“We’re dealing with the Ukrainian military and not the Iraqi army”—which could use the weapons with American training and assistance, Clark said.

“Promise it, promote it”—to deter further Russian aggression and reassure allies and partners in the region. “It would be like a shot of adrenaline when it comes.” He believes “a lot of it would get into the field quickly.”

Clark said building such a package—which would include Javelin anti-tank weapons, night-vision goggles, better intelligence collection and analysis— would be similar to what the United States provided Israel in its October 1973 war.

Clark's full comments can be seen 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
Governor Moskal Appeals To Authorities To Rein In Aidar Battalion

Novosti Donbassa reports that Hennadiy Moskal, the governor of the Lugansk region, has appealed to the Ministry of Defence, the chief of the General Staff, the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General to tackle what he reports is unacceptable behaviour by some members of the Aidar volunteer battalion (which is subordinate to the MOD and funded by the former governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Ihor Kolomoiskiy).

Moskal alleged that members of the battalion were "continuing to commit crimes in the territory of the Lugansk region."

He cited some examples:

According to Moskal, on March 16, this year, three drunken Aidar fighters broke down the door of an apartment in Lysychansk and attacked a man who was at home with his wife and son. The soldiers struck the father on the head with an assault rifle, causing multiple injuries, before going out into the street and firing off rounds, causing a panic in the neighbourhood.

On March 29, Moskal wrote, a soldier got out of a car with Aidar battalion markings and fired several shots at a police car, damaging it, before leaving the scene.

On March 1, Aidar fighters engaged in a shoot-out in Lysychansk with members of another Ukrainian volunteer battalion, Ternopil, in which automatic weapons were used. 

Moskal wrote (translated by The Interpreter):

"These, and other, similar cases, indicate that Aidar soldiers are not behaving as representatives of a military unit reporting to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, but as automatic weapon carrying brawlers, robbers and outlaws. 

The behaviour of the unit discredits the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian authorities in general, in the eyes of the local population. 

The lack of response to these crimes provokes their proliferation and engenders a sense of impunity in those who commit them.

Once again, I ask for the criminals to be dealt with by decisive and tough means, as stipulated by legislation. Only by such means can such outrages finally be stopped."

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Volunteer Shot In Odessa Last Night

Leviy Bereg reports that the Odessa police have announced that a 35-year-old volunteer activist was shot last night in Odessa.

According to the report, the man was fired on in the entrance to an apartment block on Cosmonauts' Street. 

He was struck by five bullets but survived and is now in intensive care. 


-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Two Ukrainian Police Officers Wanted For Deadly Crackdown On EuroMaidan Protests

We've just published a summary of a report from the International Advisory Panel of the Council of Europe, released today, which found that the Ukrainian government has been negligent in investigating the crackdown on the EuroMaidan protests that led to the deaths of the "Heavenly Hundred." 

Now, RFE/RL reports that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office has added the names of two police officers wanted in connection with the crackdown:

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office said on March 31 that former acting Kyiv police chief Valeriy Mazan and his deputy, Petro Fedchuk, are suspected of organizing the dispersal of protesters on Kyiv's Independence Square on February 18-19, 2014.

It said that 13 people were killed and 130 injured on those dates as a result of the "unlawful" use of force.

The whereabouts of Mazan and Fedchuk are unknown.

Is the timing a coincidence? These are two high-ranking police officers, not members of the rank and file, so it's not clear why the names were added to the list now. It's also highly unlikely that Mazan and Fedchuk are still in the country, more than 13 months after the violent crackdown took place.

-- James Miller

 

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