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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 445

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
U.S. Ambassador Says OSCE Witnessed "Russia's Train and Equip Program in Plain Sight"
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt has highlighted an the latest OSCE monitoring report as proof that Russia is training the Russian-backed separatists how to use advanced Russian weaponry:

The OSCE report in question is dated last night, May 7, at 19:30 local time. The passage in question:

On 6 May, while in an area south of Debaltseve, the SMM observed for the first time a shooting range which covers approximately 16 sq. km and is being used, according to the “DPR” “commander” there, to test anti-tank weapons, mortars, and small fire arms. The SMM observed an ongoing exercise with “DPR” armoured personnel vehicles and armed persons. There was also a 100mm anti-tank weapon at the location as well as three support trucks.

The report also speaks to the escalating violence and the movement of heavy equipment inside the demarcation line. Note the large amount of ceasefire violations observed, and the report of the use of Grad rockets, a serious escalation only reported within the last week:

Fighting continued to rage in and around the destroyed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport, with the SMM during the reporting period recording hundreds of explosions. At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk Railway Station (8km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM, between 13:25 and 18:00hrs, observed a total of 573 explosions. Members of the JCCC at the observation post told the SMM that there had been two unsuccessful attempts to introduce local ceasefires at 9:00 and 9:30hrs. The SMM observed that the second attempt had lasted over an hour. The SMM also accessed “DPR”-controlled Spartak (8km north of Donetsk) and the airport, noting sporadic low-level incoming mortar rounds.

From an observation point on the eastern outskirts of government-controlled Berdianske (1.5km west of Shyrokyne; 18.5km east of Mariupol), the SMM, from 17:24 to 17:34hrs, heard more than a hundred detonations, assessed to have been incoming fire from Grad multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) located approximately 6km north-north-east of its position.

While the OSCE is observing Ukrainian tanks close to the front lines, note that the OSCE also says that the number of separatist tanks is ten times larger -- which seems to support the Ukrainian government's claims that they are fighting a defensive war and are only breaking the ceasefire to respond to attacks:

An SMM Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) spotted three tanks in government-controlled territory and 30 tanks in “DPR”-controlled territory, all in or around villages close to the line of contact. Thirteen of these tanks were seen in or around “DPR”-controlled Sontseve (57km south of Donetsk). In addition, two mobile 122mm Grad 9P132 rocket launchers were observed 5km west of “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (43km east of Mariupol).

There are many signs that the Minsk ceasefire is over:

On the western outskirts of “DPR”-controlled Bezimenne (30km east of Mariupol), the SMM observed eight fresh artillery craters. Continuing east – on its way to the “DPR”-controlled international border crossing point on the Russian Federation-Ukraine border (52km east of Mariupol) – the SMM entered “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk, where it visited the local market, noting that prices were generally double those in Mariupol.

The SMM observed defensive fortifications being constructed on both sides of the contact line in areas around “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-west of Donetsk) and government-controlled Luhanske, 16km north-west of Debaltseve.

...

The SMM re-visited one “DPR” and three Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, observing that the weapons previously recorded were in situ, and that their locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. In addition, the SMM visited for the first time another Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, noting the presence of four 122mm self-propelled artillery pieces. At another two Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, personnel there refused to allow the SMM to inspect the facilities, at one site, saying no orders had been given to allow such an inspection, and at the other, saying the commander was unavailable to authorize SMM entry.

Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was complete, the SMM observed the following weapons’ movements/presence in areas that were non-compliant with the withdrawal lines: (i) in “DPR”-controlled areas, 31 tanks, one 100mm anti-tank cannon, and two Grad MLRS; and, (ii) in government-controlled territory, nine tanks.

-- James Miller


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukrainian Troops Reportedly Attacked In Shirokino This Morning

After heavy casualties were inflicted in attacks last night, there are reports that Ukrainian forces are already under attack again today.

The Azov regiment has claimed that their positions in Shirokino were attacked three times this morning.

The Interpreter translates:

At 4 am the terrorists shelled Ukrainian troops' positions with 82 mm mortars.

At 10:00 the militants opened fire again with mortars. After which, at 10:40 they began firing with automatic grenade launchers and heavy-calibre machine guns.

The Ukrainian troops have given them an adequate response. We have no losses. 

Meanwhile Ukrainska Pravda reports that ATO spokesman Andriy Lysenko has announced that the Ukrainian military checkpoint on the edge of Marinka, a suburb to the west of Donetsk, has been closed due to shelling.

According to Lysenko, the checkpoint has been a target of intense artillery fire, conducted from residential areas of separatist-held Donetsk.

For the safety of civilians passing through, the checkpoint has been shut. 

On May 5, it was reported that civilians were queuing up to leave Donetsk through the Ukrainian checkpoint: 

-- 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 Soldiers Killed, 26 Wounded Over Last 24 Hours

Ukrainska Pravda reports that Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Presidential Administration on the military operation in the south-east, has announced that two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 26 wounded over the last 24 hours.

Yesterday we reported on an alleged Grad rocket attack near Gorlovka that left the two dead and nine wounded.

Ukrinform reports that the deputy chief monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), Alexander Hug, said yesterday that OSCE monitors had heard Grad rockets being launched from separatist-held territory in recent days. 

"The fighting continued and even intensified in 'hot spots' along the contact line, especially near the Donetsk airport and the village of Shyrokyne [Shirokino]. During the last week the OSCE SMM heard 700 explosions on both sides, fixing them every day while monitoring the situation in the Donetsk airport. Especially on May 2 in Donetsk we heard the launching of Grad rockets, which led to civilian casualties," he said.

According to him, it was one the first cases of observed Grads fire since the adoption of the second Minsk agreements in mid-February.

He also recalled that on April 30 the mission had spotted five craters that indicated that the village of Hranitne [Granitnoye] had been shelled by Grad rockets.

According to the ATO press centre, Ukrainian positions near Peski, Granitnoye, Opytnoye and Avdeyevka were attacked with heavy mortars.

Ukrainian troops in Shirokino were reportedly shelled with 122 mm artillery and 82 mm mortars.

The Interpreter translates from the Novosti Donbassa report:

"The enemy used these same types of weapons against our positions near Boguslavskoye, Novgorodskoye, Krasniy Pakhar and Shirokaya Balka. While in Leninskoye, the militants fired from a tank," says the statement.

"Enemy snipers operated near Stanitsa Luganskaya and Schastye," notes the press centre.

The press office of the governor of the Lugansk region, Hennadiy Moskal, reported that Stantisa Luganskaya had also been fired on with grenade launchers at around 22:00, rupturing a pipe, leaving part of the town without gas.


-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Verkhovna Rada Holds Session To Mark 70th Anniversary Of Victory In Europe

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, is holding a session today to mark the "70th anniversary of victory over fascism" - the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War 2.

Tweets from Yegor Firsov, MP and chairman of the Donetsk regional branch of the UDAR party:

Translation: In the Rada are veterans, boys from the front, just waiting for the MPs)))

Translation: There's nowhere to sit down in the hall. The session will begin at any minute now. Waiting for the country's leadership. Kravchuk, Kuchma and Yushchenko in place.

Translation: Parubiy has opened the Rada session! UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is at the session.

French reporter Stéphane Siohan reports on President Poroshenko's speech, in which he stressed the importance of reconciliation and attacked Russia's politicisation of the anniversary:

Poroshenko also announced new figures for the total death toll from the war in the Donbass:

Ukrinform reports that the president had thanked other leaders for declining to attend the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow tomorrow during a meeting with Ban Ki-Moon and Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Poroshenko noted that this year Ukraine will join the European tradition of honoring the victims of World War II on May 8 for the first time.

"While, the very next day in Moscow, under the pretext of the Great Victory, the aggressor's army will rattle its lethal might in front of the world," Poroshenko said.

He expressed gratitude to many of the world leaders for refusing "to participate in this parade of cynicism."

Earlier this morning President Poroshenko visited Gdansk in Poland for a ceremony to commemorate VE day. 

AFP reports that Poroshenko criticised appeasers of the Kremlin:

"Crimes are committed today in the 21st century amid the aggression against my country Ukraine, despite the cruelest lessons of the past," Poroshenko said in the Polish port city of Gdansk.

He was speaking at ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II that were attended by leaders including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and EU President Donald Tusk.

"Astonishingly, we see attempts to appease the attackers," he continued, without specifying the events or people responsible for the policy.

Poroshenko also slammed Russia's upcoming May 9 World War II victory parade in Moscow as a "parade of cynicism".

"The European Union is facing the most difficult challenge in its history," Poroshenko said. "A test of its unity, its solidarity, its fundamental principles."

Ukrinform reports that the president had also thanked other leaders for declining to attend the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow tomorrow during a meeting with Ban Ki-Moon and Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Poroshenko noted that this year Ukraine will join the European tradition of honoring the victims of World War II on May 8 for the first time.

"While, the very next day in Moscow, under the pretext of the Great Victory, the aggressor's army will rattle its lethal might in front of the world," Poroshenko said.

He expressed gratitude to many of the world leaders for refusing "to participate in this parade of cynicism."

-- Pierre Vaux
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