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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 456

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
Novaya Gazeta Visits Two Russian POWs, Obtains Confirmation One was Contract Soldier; Publishes Further Research
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Reports That Four (Or Six) Ukrainian Soldiers Killed In Fighting Northwest of Lugansk

Reuters reports that according to the regional administration chief in Lugansk, four Ukrainian servicemen may have been killed in one town northwest of Lugansk today:

Gennady Moskal, governor of Luhansk region on the border with Russia, said on his Facebook page that separatists opened fire on government positions with mortar and artillery near the village of Katerinovka.

"According to preliminary data, four Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and two others have been wounded, one of them seriously," Moskal said.

Other sources are reporting the fighting. LiveUAMap has this post:

live-ua-map-zoloten.png

Meanwhile, the death toll may actually be higher than 4. Today, May 19, in the area of Zolotoye [Zolote] and Katerinovka (near Popasnaya [Popasna] in Lugansk Region) Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed fighters clashed and 6 militants were killed and 6 wounded, nv.ua reports, citing TSN.

As TSN reported (translation by The Interpreter):

"Movement was noted at the front edge in one of the strongholds. A reconnaissance group was sent out to find out what was going on. Well, and that's what happened, if you please, the ceasefire. They were shelled with mortars and that was it," said a tank battalion fighter named "Kabul".

According to journalists in the area, the militants were using mortar-launchers and machine guns. They were most likely shelling from the occupied village of Molodyozhnoye.

On May 4, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack from the Russian-backed separatists near Zolotoye in Lugansk Region.

A reconnaissance group went to pick up the wounded and their vehicle exploded when it ran over a mine, said TSN. It's not clear how many were killed by the mine and how many may have been killed by the fighting.

Is it a coincidence that this battle is occurring, and others north of Lugansk have been reported over the last several days, and  Ukraine claims to have captured two Russian spetsnaz soldiers near Schastye? We doubt it very much. What we know from each of the heaviest battles in Ukraine since July is that Russian soldiers are often utilized to coordinate and spearhead separatist offensives. We also know that all indications suggest that a new Russian offensive in Ukraine is being prepared. 

Is this the start of that offensive? It may be too early to tell, but clearly the Russian-backed forces are attempting to secure river crossings which will allow them to advance north of Lugansk, and recent fighting in these areas may be paving the way for a larger offensive once those river crossings are taken from the Ukrainian military.

-- 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
New Propaganda In Donbass
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Is Losing The 'Hearts And Minds' Campaign In Crimea
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Bloggers Claim To Have Found Graves Of GRU Soldiers Killed In Ukraine

Russia's independent TV Rain (Dozhd) reports that Russian bloggers have discovered graves that he suggests belong to Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine.

According to Leviev, the dead were Spetsnaz troops from the GRU, but were not related the two Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian troops on Sunday.

Speaking to TV Rain by phone, Ruslan Leviev, one of the bloggers, said that they had found three graves but declined to give their location.

Leviev said (translated by The Interpreter):

"The Spetsnaz troops were killed on May 5 in Ukraine, they were shelled. On May 10 they were buried." 

Leviev, who runs warinukraine.today (which is currently down) and Vadim Korovin had been investigating the deaths of the GRU officers before they found their graves. 

Translation: Ruslan and I found the grave of a GRU Spetsnaz soldier. 21-year-old lad. An orphaned wreath from the Ministry of Defence.

The text on the wreath reads:

To a defender of the Fatherland from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

The first soldier lived, Korovin said, on the outskirts of Tambov.

The pair subsequently received reports of two other graves in other regions.

Translation: At the grave of the second Spetsnaz soldier, the exact same wreath. They've bought them in bulk.

Korovin said that they had been sent the second photo as the graves were 900 kilometres apart. The second soldier was 20 years old.

The pair plan to write up their findings in full tomorrow. 

-- Pierre Vaux

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