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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 571

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
'Day Without Shelling' in Ukraine Ends This Afternoon with Russian-backed Separatist Attacks on Avdeyevka, Opytnoye

As we reported, President Petro Poroshenko noted this morning at the YES Conference that this was the first 24-hour period without shelling in southeastern Ukraine in 18 months.

Since the latest "ceasefire" was declared September 1 as the Minsk peace talks continue, fighting has been reduced and yesterday there was only one Ukrainian soldier and one civilian hurt by shelling.

But unfortunately, the day wasn't  over yet.

An hour ago, the ATO [Anti-Terrorism Operation] press center announced on their Facebook page that from 12:35 to 13:02 south of Avdeyevka, Ukrainian positions were pummeled once again with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms, and one Ukrainian serviceman was injured.

At 17:20, Russian-backed separatists fired from the direction of Spartak from large-caliber artillery and grenade-launchers on Ukrainian positions in Opytnoye.

Even so, Ukrainian Armed Forces are using the relative calm to attempt to restore utilities in Zaytsevo and Mayorsk areas and are also building bridges in Krasnogorovka and Soledar. Schools that were hit by artillery fire early this year in Luganskaya and Svetlodar are being repaired, and mines are being removed from around grain silos.

-- 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
Vostok Commander Says 70% Of DNR Budget Comes From Russia

Fontanka, an independent Saint Petersburg newspaper, has published an interview with Aleksandr Khodakovsky, the commander of the Russian-backed Vostok Battalion in Donetsk.

Khodakovsky is remarkably candid about Kremlin support for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), saying that 70 percent of the DNR budget comes from Russia.

The Interpreter translates:

"[Russia] doesn't reveal the full volume of their aid. They only talk about the 'white convoys' but this is just zero point **** ten percent of their real material aid. I'm not talking about weapons or personnel now, this subject is still generally taboo. I'm talking about economic, methodological help with the issues of creating a power vertical.

Because, as you know well, all of the government institutions, all of the agencies, all the organisations simply took off and left Donetsk. And we have to work, forgive me, with the stuff we have left. I never thought that I would be a military leader, I'm sorry. But at the same time, we need to perform these functions.

Consequently, we operate, to large extent, on aid from Russia, and we're pulling through situation thanks to financial aid, making up, by my reckoning, something in the order of 70 percent of our budget. And this allows us to pay for today's pensions, public sector salaries and welfare. In this situation, I'm not inclined to say that Russia is 'jettisoning' us."

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Silvio Berlusconi Tours Crimea With Putin

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has travelled to Russian-occupied Crimea today to meet with President Putin, in defiance of Ukrainian visa controls and EU policy.

Dmitry Smirnov, special correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda, has been following the trip:

Translation: Berlusconi has arrived in Russia + we are now flying to Crimea = today will be interesting
Translation: Today and tomorrow, Vladimir Putin will show his Italian friend Silvio Berlusconi around Crimea's sights. Pretty much everything

Translation: Putin and Berlusconi met in the Gasfort hills, walked to the monument to dead Italian soldiers. The Italian graveyard has been there since 1855.

Translation: A local historian told Putin and Berlusconi how Italian soldiers ended up in Crimea in 1855. Silvio: Italians don't want to fight Russians.

Translation: Putin and Berlusconi are flying around Crimea by helicopter. Their next stop is Massandra. Dinner and wine tasting. 

Russia's state-owned TASS news agency reports that Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said on Wednesday:

"Any contacts with politicians and government officials having such rank as Berlusconi - no matter whether they are incumbent politicians or non-incumbent ones - are certainly a matter of diplomacy." 

The report also suggests that Sergey Aksyonov, the self-proclaimed prime minister of Crimea, known during his days in organised crime as 'Goblin,' is to meet with Berlusconi, having "urgently departed for Sevastopol."

Berlusconi, who was convicted of tax fraud in 2012 and is still the subject of two other criminal investigations in Italy, is a close friend of Putin.

The former prime minister is not the first European politician to travel to Crimea since Russia occupied and annexed the Ukrainian peninsular last year. 

A group of French politicians, mostly members of the Republicans (formerly the UMP), visited Crimea in July this year, to the consternation of Kiev and the Élysée.


A group of Italian MPs from the Five Star Movement followed.

Romain Nadal, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry, said in July that the politicians trip to Crimea, via Russia, was "a violation of international law."

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Video - President Poroshenko Is 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Future of Ukraine
Watch the opening remarks by conference-sponsor Victor Pinchuk, followed by the speech by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
What Is NATO's Role In Ending, Or Even Starting, Conflict With Russia?
What is NATO's role in this crisis? What are the root causes? An interesting panel discussion at YES.
-- James Miller
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