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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 541

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
Twitter Account Associated with Igor Strelkov Declares "Ukraine Will Fall! The Battles Are Beginning!"
A Twitter account associated with Colonel Igor Strelkov (Girkin), former commander of the Russian-backed fighters and a former Russian army artillery officer, has made a series of statements today about today's fighting that do not bode well for the peace process:
Translation: Grads are at work across the whole front. The sides [here they must mean both] battle orders are ready for the fight. The assault columns are equipped and awaiting the order. Glory to Novorossiya!

Translation: Ukraine will fall! The battles are beginning!

Strelkov has not confirmed that this is his Twitter account, though it is often used for his official statements and he has also never renounced it. Many on both sides treat this account as genuine.

Strelkov is also no long an official of the Russian-backed separatists, but he is well regarded as an insider who has deep connections in the separatist leadership -- and perhaps even to the Russian government.

These statements are not out of sync with comments being made by separatist supporters on social media outlets, and they underscore the extent of tonight's shelling.

-- James Miller, Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
More Heavy Shelling Reported Just Outside Mariupol In Shirokino, Vostochny, Lebedinskoye and Pavlopol
As we just reported below, the village of Lebedinskoye, just 2 kilometers from Mariupol, has reportedly been hit by heavy shelling tonight. Now there are new reports of heavy shelling in other nearby villages:
Translation: Something burning in the direction of Shirokino and Pavlopol

Translation: Signal flares flew up from the direction of Shirokino

Here are those locations on a map:

2015-08-12 22:07:36

Translation: Can hear salvoes, but they're somewhere further away. Yeah, Mariupol has got used to such stress.

-- James Miller, Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Reports of Heavy Fighting, Videos Show Shelling in Makeyevka and Gorlovka Tonight

The Facebook page of the Ukrainian Carpathian Sich volunteer unit, an assault unit within the 93rd Mechanized Brigade which recently lost two members during shelling, has posted an urgent message about heavy fighting north of Donetsk (translated by The Interpreter):

"Urgent report from the front line! The enemy has intensified their artillery fire under the cover of night. Intense battles are under way near Donetsk Airport. The Russians are conducting massive bombardments with Grad MLRS, self-propelled artillery and tanks. Opytnoye and Vodyanoye are also being shelled. At around 21:50, as a result of the shelling of our positions near Donetsk Airport, our fighter 'York' received wounds of medium severity. Our fighters are holding out and fending off the occupiers."

This video reportedly shows outgoing Grad MLRS (multiple launch rocket systems) firing from Makeyevka tonight, an eastern suburb of Donetsk controlled by the Russian-backed fighters. In the video, rockets can be seen traveling right to left in the center of the screen. The people in the background say that the time is 23:20, which also matches eyewitness reports.

Due to nightfall, the video cannot be fully verified, however.

The video below was reportedly taken in Gorlovka tonight, a city north of Donetsk which is on the front lines of fighting. Social media reports indicate that explosions can be heard across the city.
-- James Miller, Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Shelling Heard Just Outside of Mariupol Tonight

Shelling can be heard inside Mariupol tonight, but it seems the reason is shells hitting a few kilometers outside the key port city.

0629.com quotes Yaroslav Chepurnoy, the Ukrainian military press officer for Sector M,  as saying that the shelling of positions in Lebedinskoye, by 152 mm artillery, started at around 20:30 and continued for 40 minutes. Residents in the center of Mariupol could hear the blasts (translation by The Interpreter):

"Considering that Lebedinskoye is located 2 km from the outskirts of Mariupol, the explosions of shells can be heard not just on the outskirts but in more central areas. There have been a lot of calls to our sector from various publications, people, startled journalists, calling and asking what is going on."

As of 22:00, this shelling has already finished, but very heavy shelling continues in Starognatovka. Here, Ukrainian troops are being shelled with 152 mm howitzers and Grad MLRS."

-- Pierre Vaux, James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
OSCE's Reports Increased Ceasefire Violations and Separatist Artillery On The Move

As we continue to monitor reports of heavy fighting across eastern Ukraine, we are also reading last nights report from the OSCE Special Monitoring Team.

The first alarming detail, an uptick in ceasefire violations near Donetsk -- including civilian casualties in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government, and heavy military convoys on the move in territory controlled by Russian-backed fighters:

The number of ceasefire violations observed at and around “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport (9km north-west of Donetsk) increased in comparison with the previous day. Between 08:00 and 13:00hrs, the SMM, from its position at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), heard a total of 46 explosions and 13 rounds of automatic grenade launcher (AGL), as well as multiple bursts of small arms and heavy-machine gun (HMG) fire, at distances ranging between 3 and 15km to the south, south-west, west, north, and north-east of its position[1].

The SMM followed up on information about shelling around the government-controlled area of Starohnativka (51km south of Donetsk). The SMM was not able to reach this area due to security reasons but monitored the situation in nearby locations. In a “DPR”-controlled area approximately 10km south-west of Starobesheve (“DPR”-controlled, 32km south-east of Donetsk), at 12:00hrs, the SMM saw a convoy of five self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) accompanied by a covered military-type truck moving south-west towards the line of contact. While following the convoy, the SMM observed two armed men approaching from the south at a distance of approximately 200m and heard multiple bursts of small arms forcing the SMM to withdraw. A representative of the city hospital in Starobesheve, confirmed that two civilian casualties were admitted to the hospital. In government-controlled Mykolaivka (39km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM spoke separately to two men, who informed that they heard sounds of shelling occurring around midnight, until 10:00hrs on 11 August. The Ukrainian Armed Forces commander in Mykolaivka subsequently corroborated the information, adding that self-propelled and rocket artillery calibre 122mm (BM-21 Grad type) had impacted around the government-controlled areas of Starohnativka, Novohnativka (41km south-west of Donetsk) and Bohdanivka (42km south of Donetsk).

The SMM observed eight fresh craters in a residential area of Telmanove (“DPR”-controlled,  67km south-east of Donetsk) and assessed that all of them were caused by a multiple launched rocket system (MLRS) calibre 122mm (BM-21 Grad type) fired from a westerly direction. In the village, the SMM saw the funeral procession for a 62-year old woman from Telmanove, who was hit by shrapnel during shelling on 10 August.

The OSCE teams also witnessed that at several holding areas in Lugansk territory designated for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry, no such heavy weapons were present:

The SMM visited for the first time two “LPR” heavy weapons holding areas and revisited one “LPR” and one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, whose locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. At one Ukrainian Armed Forces site, the SMM observed that the same number and type of weapons previously recorded were in situ.  At one “ LPR” site visited by the SMM for the first time, the SMM found only food and uniforms. At another “LPR” site visited for the first time, the SMM observed eight empty military trucks and one MTLB armoured personnel carrier. At another “LPR” location, the SMM observed that all previously recorded weapons were in situ. The SMM was escorted by one “LPR” military police vehicle with two “LPR” members during its visits to all three sites*.

It's not clear whether vehicles are actually missing, or whether these holding areas were always so lightly armed.

Though it's not directly related to combat, it appears that Ukraine is not meeting its quotas in its military draft:

At a press conference on the mobilization process in Kherson, attended by the SMM, the municipal and regional military enlistment officials informed that the sixth wave of mobilization only reached 32 per cent of 1,843 draftees planned. The officials also said that four cases of mobilization evasion had been filed in court the previous week.

Read the entire report here.

-- James Miller

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