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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Live Day 628

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian-Backed Militants Shell Ukrainian Positions; Grad Rocket Hits Home in Donetsk

Russian-backed militants shelled Ukrainian positions in Avdeyevka and Peski, the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] said on its Facebook today, according to a report.

The Interpreter has a translation:

Around 6:00 a sniper was firing on Avdeyevka in the direction of Spartak. And about 13:50 separatists fired from grenade-launchers and firemars in the direction of Zhabichevo and the Donetsk Airport on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Peski.

Soldiers are continuing to de-mine the warehouse in Svatovo, site of an explosion and have destroyed more than 2,000 explosives.

The separatist news outlet DAN News reported
that Ivan Prikhodko, head of administration of Kuybyshevsky District said that a Grad hit No. 96 Solovyanenko St. at 6:50 am, damaging a home. He claimed it was fired by Ukrainian forces from the direction of Peski. There were no injuries.

Prikhodko posted a video on his Facebook page.

Eduard Basurin, spokesman for the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) said nationalist battalions not under the control of Kiev fired the Grad in order to disrupt the Minsk agreement, DAN reported.

Basurin has claimed that members of Azov, Dnipro, and Lviv battalions numbering 2,000 have deserted the Ukrainian army and have deployed along the line of contact with 50 units of armor. But no other source could be found to confirm these claims

He also claimed these battalions were firing on Donetsk from home-made cannon "like ISIS" and that they could have stolen ammunition from Svatovo, the site of a recent explosion.

LifeNews, a pro-Kremlin station close to police and intelligence, reported that a Grad hit a home in Kuybyshevsky District of Donetsk, but did not detonate. The missiles were made in the Soviet era and approximately 1 in 40 fail, says LifeNews. OSCE monitors came to the scene to record the Grad shell, and the missile was disabled by emergency workers.

But the Donetsk city site quoted a number of commentators on social media who said the lone rocket could have been fired from a portable 9P132 Grad-P (Partizan) capable of firing long-range with significant damage which is not very precise, and which can use the same ammunition as a BM-21 Grad. This weapon  had been seen in the hands of the separatists and was said to be supplied by Russia; a link was supplied to a video of separatists firing from a Grad-P in July of this year.

The micro blogger @666_mancer tweeted a video of the incident produced by pro-separatist reporter Graham Philips with a drone.

Translation: Here's another video from 96 Solovyanenko.

The pro-separatist New Front uploaded a video also said to show the aftermath of a Grad in Donetsk.

The Grad rocket hit a relatively affluent neighborhood with multi-storey town houses where DNR prime minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko was said to reside.

Translation: #Donetsk 3rd city [rocket] landed right near Zakharchenko's home which he pinched.

However, other bloggers said he no longer lived in that area.

The Ukranian JCCC issued a report today noting the worsening of the situation since October 18, the ATO reported. The recorded 26 violations of the ceasefire and 361 provocative shelling on the Ukrainian positions and grey zone in order to provoke fire. The areas most hit were around the Donetsk Airport, Pesky, Opytnoye, Marinka and Shirokino The escalation accompanied preparation for the Normandy Quartet talks; particularly noteworthy was the shelling of Krasnogorovka on November 6 with 82 mm artillery just as the Normandy talks were under way in Berlin. Shelling continued in the area of Zaytsevo on November 7 even as the DNR claims to be withdrawing artillery.

The Ukrainian JCCC said that the Ukrainian side was attempting to withdraw armor and de-mine, but this was hampered by continuing attacks by the separatists. They also expressed concern about repeated blocking of OSCE SMM monitors to areas under separatist control, and the use of electronic warfare devices, which the Ukrainian army does not possess in its arsenal, to hinder the operation of the OSCE SMM's drones. The Ukrainian JCCC called for increased numbers of monitors, installation of surveillance cameras in the area of Donetsk Airport and Shirokino and active use of drones.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission report for November 6, released today, did not contain any mention of the alleged barrage in Staromikhailovka.

However, they did visit Krasnogorovka (Krasnohorivka), a suburb in the west of Donetsk to examine residential areas shelled there as we reported.

Following up on reports of shelling at three locations in Krasnohorivka, the SMM observed one fresh impact crater in the town. The SMM conducted a crater analysis and assessed that it had been caused by an 82mm mortar and was likely fired from the east. While at the site, the SMM observed a large fire and a lot of smoke some 600-1000m east of its position. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer suggested that this fire was caused by automatic grenade launcher impacts, which had occurred some 30mins prior to the SMM’s arrival. At 14:34hrs, the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an impact about 1-1.5km south of its position, and left the area due to security considerations. At the two other locations in the town, the SMM observed impact craters and no shrapnel. As a consequence the SMM was unable to assess the site properly.

In government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed five Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers attending to an injured fellow soldier. The Ukrainian Armed Forces head of the JCCC office in Marinka later informed the SMM that two soldiers had been injured in the area earlier that day as a result of triggering a tripwire explosive device in the northern outskirts of Marinka.

In separate news developments today, there was a shoot-out in a bar in the town of Tatarbunara in Odessa Region on the Odess-Reni highway, 2 kilometers from the regional center today, Apostrof and reported. Three people were killed and one was wounded. A local law-enforcer reported:

There was a conflict between two companies during which shots were heard fired from an unidentified weapon. As a result of the incident 4 men were hurt; 3 died and 1 was taken to a medical facility in serious condition.

Others involved in the incident fled the scene in cars.

Apostrof reports that on November 2, there was a firefight between police and several car-jackers who also escaped. reports that in in the town of Shostka in Sumy (Sumskaya) Region, a young man fired a traumatic pistol at a group of communists celebrating the traditional October Revolution Day (by the old calendar).

About 40 communists gathered at the statue of Lenin when a young man confronted them and asked them to take away flowers they had laid. The man then picked up the flowers and threw them out himself, saying the monument would be gone soon. He then took out a gun, but the demonstrators grabbed it from him. It turned out to be a trauma pistol which he had a license to carry. Police were called to the scene, and later the young man filed a report claiming he was beaten.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick