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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Day 754: March 12, 2016

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.
2 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Battle with Russian-Backed Militants; Savchenko's Health Improves
Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed in clashes with Russian-backed separatists, RFE/RL reported:

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on March 12 that one of the soldiers was killed in a mortar attack in Avdiyivka, just outside the city of Donetsk, which is controlled by the separatists.

Lysenko said the second serviceman was killed when Ukrainian troops came under fire some 25 kilometers north of Donetsk. Another soldier was also injured in that attack, Lysenko said.

Lysenko said there had been a "sharp increase in attacks and provocations" by the separatists in the past day.

He said rebels were using "mortar, armored vehicles and artillery" which are prohibited under the Minsk peace agreements aimed at ending the conflict.

The ATO also said today that Russian-backed militants shot at a repair truck in Marinka that was fixing the Marinka-Krasnogorovka gas line, according to the ATO's Facebook page.

The shots came from the direction of the occupied areas of Donetsk from the Trudovsky District and broke the windows. The workers were forced to leave the truck and hide from the shelling, but were not injured. The Ukrainian military from the Joint Center for Coordination and Control helped the workers to get away from the area and plan to evacuate the damaged vehicle, reported citing the ATO.

On March 11, according to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission today, the JCCC had relocated the repair crew to a safer area after bursts of heavy machine-gun fire. On March 10, the OSCE SMM reported that the Ukrainian JCCC was forced to call their counterpart Russian representative in the JCCC to urge the commander of the self-delcared "Donetsk People's Republic" forces to stop shooting. 

The JCCC also said 1,260 shells were fired this week and 189 times heavy artillery banned under the Minsk agreement was used. These included 69 from tanks, 89 from 122-mm artillery, 227 from 120-mm artillery and 875 from 82-mm artillery.

Avdeyeva was the area with the greatest amount of fighting; there is also regular firing on Krasnogorovka, Maryinka, peskov, Nevelskoye, Luganskoy, Zaytsevo and Shirokino.

Elsewhere in the News:

Another Shoot-Out in Mukhachevo 

Police in Uzhgorod, Zakarpattia Region detained a car on the wanted list and two people who may be related to a shoot-out in Mukhachevo today near a school, reported, citing Zakarpattia police. During the fight between the armed suspects and a local resident who had some explosives, the local man suffered gunshot wounds and was hospitalized but later died of his injuries. The prosecutor's office said the victim had previously served time on narcotics charges.

Mukhachevo was the scene of a shoot-out over smuggling last year in which 2 Right Sector members were killed and 6 police and 8 civilians were wounded. 

Savchenko's Health Improves

Yesterday March 11, Gazetaz.nua said sources had told them that President Vladimimr Putin promised German Chancellor Angela Merkel he would release Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko after her sentence is handed down. Zik published this claim in English today.

But there has been no other confirmation of this claim and the Russian Foreign Ministry once again reiterated that they have no plans to trade Savchenko for any Russian prisoners, reported.

Savchenko is in better health today after having ended her dry hunger strike 2 days ago, her temperature has gone down and her kidneys are functioning better, reported. But she is still not out of the woods, doctors say.

Ukrainian doctors were barred from visiting Savchenko because of her "bad behavior" after she gave a defiant last speech in court and gave the Russian system the finger.

Today Valentina Cherevatenko and Vladimir Ktasonov, monitors from the Rostov Civic Observers' Commission that visits jails was able to meet with Savchenko. It was their fourth visit. They said her condition was "stable" and she was drinking water.

Victoria Ivleva, a Russian journalist who spoke to the two monitors, said on her Facebook page that Savchenko "feels well for a person who has been on a hunger strike." She vowed to continue her fast until she is returned to Ukraine. Ivleva said her cell was "a resort" compared to other Russian prison cells because it had a refrigerator, fan and television. 

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick