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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 546

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
Civilian Wounded By Shell In Avdeyevka

The Donetsk regional branch of the Interior Ministry has announced this evening that a civilian has been wounded in Avdeyevka.

According to the report, a woman, born in 1978, was taken to hospital in a severe condition with multiple shrapnel wounds after a shell exploded on the outskirts of the town, north of Donetsk.

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Donbass Battalion Returning To Man Checkpoints Around Mariupol

Semyon Semyonchenko, founding commander of the Donbass Battalion and now an MP in the Samopomich party, has announced on his Facebook page that the battalion is returning to Mariupol:

"The Donbass Battalion is returning to the 'ATO zone' to defend Mariupol." 

At the end of last month, amidst protests from the battalion and activists in Mariupol, the volunteer unit was withdrawn from Shirokino and replaced by naval infantry.



TSN reports that the battalion is to reinforce checkpoints and maintain the second line of defences outside Mariupol.

While the battalion was originally formed as an assault unit, the National Guard has issued them new roles to fulfil, namely controlling the movement of goods and people through checkpoints.

Anatoly Vinogradsky, the commander of the unit, told TSN that this was a frank disappointment, as the Donbass Battalion has been trained "since day one" for assault tasks.

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Putin Visits Russian-Occupied Crimea, Raising Tension As Fighting Escalates

Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Russian-occupied Crimea today at a time when the fighting in Ukraine looks like it is about to explode.

Ukraine Today reports that, among other things, Putin will be chairing a meeting of the Russian State Council to discuss increasing tourism to the peninsula which was illegally annexed by Russia last March. Tourism has been hindered due to three key factors: sanctions passed by the US and the EU prohibit tourism, Ukrainian citizens are not visiting the peninsula, and the collapse of the Russian economy means that many Russian citizens cannot afford to go on vacation either.

Any visit by Putin to Crimea is seen as a provocation by the Ukrainian government and many in the West, but the timing of this visit has not gone unnoticed by Kiev. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Putin's trip a "challenge to the civilized world" and stressed that it needed to be viewed in context of events in eastern Ukraine. RFE/RL reports:

“Such trips mean further militarization of the occupied Ukrainian peninsula and lead to its greater isolation,” the presidential spokesman quoted Poroshenko as saying.

Poroshenko said that Crimea has a future only as a part of Ukraine.

Reuters adds:

"This is a challenge to the civilized world and a continuation of the plan to escalate the situation which is being carried out by Russian troops and their mercenaries in the Donbass (east Ukraine)," Poroshenko said in a Facebook post.

The reasons that Poroshenko and the Ukrainian people might be upset by Putin's visit are obvious -- the Russian military seized control of the peninsula at the end of February, 2014, all the while claiming that the gun-wielding "little green men" were local activists (Putin later admitted the obvious -- these were Russian troops), and then held an illegal, deeply flawed, and internationally unrecognized referendum on annexation. Russia then directly intervened in the Donbass, culminating in the "Russian invasion" that effectively cut a large part of the Donbass off from the rest of Ukraine.

But is Poroshenko right that Putin's visit is linked to violence in eastern Ukraine?

Last week a key leader of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, warned that "full-scale fighting could break out at any moment." We noted at the time that his statement was part of a flurry of warnings and heated rhetoric coming out of both the Kremlin (and the Russian state-run media) and the leadership of the Russian-backed separatists, corresponding to an increase in fighting and troop movement in eastern Ukraine. We also noted that this pattern matched what preceded other major escalations in Ukraine such as the "Russian invasion" one year ago, the conclusion of the battle for Donetsk airport, and the run-up to February's capture of Debaltsevo.

Since we wrote than analysis on August 12, daily fighting has only grown more intense, civilian and military casualties have risen, and the conflict feels even closer to an ignition point.

-- James Miller



The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Tanks Seen On The Move In Donetsk

Tanks have been seen on the move in separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine today.

RFE/RL's Ukrainian service, Radio Svoboda, reports that three T-72 tanks were seen this morning in the Kirovsky district of Donetsk, driving towards the city centre.

Radio Svoboda published a photo of the tanks: 

3023EA59-3704-42E6-835F-E4197B343804_cx0

There was also an unverified report that armour was seen headed towards Donetsk from the east:

Translation: A contact travelled from Lugansk, through Gorlovka to Artyomovsk this morning, they say saw many tanks moving from Lugansk in the direction of Donetsk.

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
AFP - Separatists Report Five Civilians Dead, Bringing Total Number Of Fatalities On Both Sides To 10

AFP reports that separatist officials have claimed that five civilians were killed in areas under their control over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of reported fatalities over that period in the Donbass to ten.

As AFP notes, Ukraine has reported that three civilians were killed and two soldiers.

-- Pierre Vaux

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