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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 452

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
LNR Tells OSCE That They Control All Border Crossings With Russia

The latest OSCE report, dated May 14 at 19:30 Kiev time, highlights continued fighting near Donetsk airport and Shirokino (Shyrokyne), as well as the movement of heavy weaponry:

In the area around Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), the SMM observed a decrease in the intensity of the fighting compared to the previous day; around Donetsk airport (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 11km north-west of Donetsk) the SMM noted that the situation remained tense, with fighting continuing throughout the day, despite attempts made by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) officers to negotiate a localized ceasefire.

In “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (45km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed movement of military-type transport trucks, in particular Ural and Kamaz. At the railway station, a worker told the SMM that the railway tracks had been repaired between Yasynuvata (“DPR”-controlled, 14km north-east of Donetsk) and Luhansk. The railway track had been damaged during the most intense phase of the conflict around Debaltseve between January and February. He also said that three days a week passenger trains depart to Luhansk, and three days a week trains arrive from there.

Frustratingly, the OSCE does not mention which direction the military hardware arriving by rail is moving.

The OSCE report was more specific, however, when it came to the arrival of "humanitarian aid."

At a “DPR” distribution centre for humanitarian aid in Makiivka (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM met with the “DPR” co-ordinator for humanitarian assistance. He told the SMM that more than 100 trucks with about 1,200 tons of Russian Federation humanitarian aid had crossed the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on 14 May.

In an area close to the border crossing point at Uspenka (“DPR”-controlled, 96km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed white-painted trucks bearing inscriptions “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation” heading to the Russian Federation, towards the Uspenka/Matveev Kurgan border crossing point, totalling forty-nine trucks plus one recovery truck.

...

On 14 May, from 09:30 to 09:50hrs, the SMM observed a convoy of 39 trucks, with Russian Federation license plates, and with the inscription “Humanitarian aid from the Russian Federation”. The trucks entered Luhansk city proceeding from the direction of the Russian Federation. Of the 39 trucks, three were sent to the “LPR ministry of emergency and reconstruction”, the remainder drove to three different warehouses in Luhansk city. The SMM saw trucks entering these sites and some of them being unloaded. The SMM was unable to verify the contents of the shipment.  Regarding the three trucks that arrived at the “ministry of emergency” an interlocutor, responsible for the warehouse, said that they contained vehicle’s spare parts. An “LPR” interlocutor at one of the warehouses told SMM that the humanitarian aid shipment contained flour, wheat, sunflower oil, and cereals.

The OSCE also witnessed the site of a shelling incident northeast of Mariupol -- interestingly, large amounts of Russian journalists were also present:

The SMM visited Sakhanka (“DPR”-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol) amid significant presence of press and media representatives from the Russian Federation – approximately 30 individuals – and a group of 20 to 30 local residents, mainly middle aged and elderly women, who said that shelling had occurred on 12 and 13 May. The Russian Federation Armed Forces Colonel-General to the JCCC was also present in Sakhanka. The SMM analysed five craters, four located in fields adjacent to the village and one in the garden of a damaged house. In the SMM’s assessment, in four cases the craters resulted from 120mm mortars, and in one case from an 82mm mortar, all fired from a westerly direction. The SMM also travelled to Shyrokyne and spoke with a number of local residents who reported shelling on 13 May in the late afternoon. In the village, the SMM observed increased destruction of civilian infrastructure and private houses.

In violation of the Minsk agreement, which was supposed to see the return of the border control to the Ukrainian government, the self-declared "Lugansk People's Republic" says they now control all border crossings between Ukraine and Russia.

On 13 May, the Cossack ataman in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Sverdlovsk (61km south-east of Luhansk) informed the SMM that all border crossing points between Ukraine and the Russian Federation had been handed over to the “LPR” “border guards”. The SMM discussed with the ataman issues concerning access to the border zone According to the interlocutor, the SMM would be able to travel into the inner border zone (15km from the border) but would not be allowed into the 1-2km area near the “LPR”-controlled segment of the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The OSCE also continues to observe the movement of heavy weaponry:

Despite claims that heavy weapons have been withdrawn, the SMM observed three main battle tanks (MBTs) in government-controlled areas; it also observed one MBT in “DPR”-controlled territory and one MBT in “LPR”-controlled territory.

The SMM Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), operating in a limited area north of Shyrokyne west of the line of contact (above government-controlled area) due to weather conditions, observed one tank north of the government-controlled village of Berdyanske (18km east of Mariupol), two tanks east of the village of Ordzhonikidze (government-controlled, 10km east of Mariupol), one south-west of Hranitne (government-controlled, 50km north-east of Mariupol, and three tanks near Andriivka (government-controlled, 50km north of Mariupol). Three previously-observed artillery pieces (likely towed 152mm cannon) near the government-controlled village of Pionerske (13km east of Mariupol) (http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/157061) were no longer there. Numerous armoured vehicles were observed across the flight areas, and the UAV also observed two burning houses in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol).

Read the full report 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
4 Ukrainian Soldiers Arrested In Connection With 2 Separate Murder Cases

The Donetsk regional branch of the Interior Ministry has announced that four Ukrainian soldiers have been arrested in connection with two separate murder cases in the Donbass.

According to the announcement, officers from the Konstantinovka police department are investgating the killing of a resident of Dzerzhynsk, north of Gorlovka.

The body of the victim, born in 1963, was discovered near the Saint Matrona mine. The victim had been shot in the torso.

During their investigation, the police "established the involvemnt of a serviceman from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, a resident of the Kirovohrad region." The soldier was arrested on May 12.

Meanwhile the Mariupol police today announced that three Ukrainian soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the death of a man in the village of Talakovka, just outside the port city.

The body of the man, born in 1977, was discovered on May 8. There were signs of a violent death. The soldiers arrested had been stationed in a nearby village.

The head of the Donetsk regional Interior Ministry, Vyacheslav Abroskin, said (translated by The Interpreter):

"All individuals involved in committing serious criminal offences will get the punishment they deserve. There is one law for everybody, and the Donetsk region's police will spare no effort in thoroughly documenting the illegal activities of lawbreakers."

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
How Nadezhda Savchenko, Ukraine's First Female Military Pilot, Spent Her Birthday
Tim Mak has just profiled Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda (Nadyia) Savchenko for The Daily Beast.

Mak notes that Savchenko seems in good spirits, having recently written Daily Beast a letter in which she joked about being in solitary confinement. But the reality is that Savchenko is being used by the Kremlin to make an example and save face to those who wish Putin would engage in open war against Ukraine.

Mak notes that according to Savchenko, she is being told that if she continues her hunger strike then she will never get her court appearances:

The Ukrainian pilot spent months engaged in a hunger strike, and even longer in solitary confinement. Her self-imposed famine was originally meant to be an act of protest, she wrote, but quickly became a game of bargaining with prison authorities.

Her doctors threatened not to allow her court if she did not desist, she claims.

“They bargained with me to end my hunger strike in exchange for every trip to court…

The hunger strike was no longer an honest protest, but instead an object of barter,” she said.

Read the entire article 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
Civilian Reportedly Wounded By Shelling In Krymskoye This Afternoon

The press office of the governor of the Lugansk region, Hennadiy Moskal, reports that a civilian has been wounded during a mortar attack on the village of Krymskoye this afternoon.

According to the report, the man, aged 40, received shrapnel wounds when  a shell exploded outside his home. He is receiving medical assistance and his condition is not described as severe.

As of 15:30 (12:30 GMT), Moskal's office reported that close combat was still under way on the eastern outskirts of the village, near the tuberculosis clinic. 

The report notes that the attack began as soon as the first batch of aid from an international aid organisation had arrived in the village. The rest of the aid was left on the road leading into Krymskoye and will be recovered as soon as the military situation allows.

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Civilian Wounded By Mine On Outskirts Of Avdeyevka

The Donetsk regional branch of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry has announced that a civilian woman was wounded today at around 6 am by a mine in Avdeyevka (Avdiivka).

According to the report, the woman, a resident of Avdeyevka born in 1983, was walking home from Donetsk when she set off a tripwire near the Tsarskaya Okhota restaurant, on the southern edge of the town.

She received shrapnel wounds to her upper legs and was taken to a hospital in Dmitrov.

A criminal investigation has been opened. 

Last night, the head of the Donetsk Interior Ministry, Vyacheslav Abroskin, claimed that a child had been wounded when a mortar shell fell near a school in Avdeyevka.

-- Pierre Vaux

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