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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 828: May 25, 2016

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
Medvedchuk Reportedly Negotiating Release of 2 More Ukrainian Political Prisoners; Possibly 'Positive' News

Viktor Medvedchuk, the Ukrainian oligarch, close associate of President Vladimir Putin and former head of the Ukrainian presidential administration who is on Western sanctions lists, is in Moscow negotiating for further prisoner releases, Gazeta.ru reported this evening Moscow time.

Oleg Bovavin, Medvedchuk's press secretary, told Gazeta.ru that the fate of Yury Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasyev "could be decided this week."

Both men are seen as political prisoners by Ukrainians who have been campaigning for their release, invoking pledges by Russian authorities made in April to extradite them:


Afanasyev was detained by FSB agents in Russian-occupied Simferopol in the case of the so-called "Crimean terrorists" in May 2014 and sentenced to 7 years of strict-regimen labor colony. Oleg Sentsov, the other defendant in the case, was sentenced to 20 years of labor colony as was his co-defendant Aleksandr Kolchenko.

Soloshenko's case is classified as "secret" by Russian authorities. He is accused of driving a truck into Ukraine with Russian weapons. He was detained in Moscow during an alleged meeting with his "business partner" from the Defense Ministry. Soloshenko, 73, was sentenced to 6 years of strict-regimen labor camp on charges of espionage.

Irina Herashchenko, deputy chair of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, told TV channel 112 that "news of two political prisoners is expected to be positive," although she did not name them.

Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko also made a statement today expecting a positive outcome in these 2 cases: 

"I can already state that Soloshenko and Afanasiev, whose health has significantly deteriorated, are going to be released. We expect progress in this issue. At the same time, I would like to thank Iryna Herashchenko for the return of our prisoners. We expect progress not later than in three or four weeks," Poroshenko said.

 -- 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
Crimean Tatar Parliament Member Kidnapped, Video Reportedly Shows Abduction

The Crimean Tatars, a minority Muslim group on the Crimean peninsula, have been heavily persecuted since they objected to Russia's illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014. The Mejlis, the Tatar parliament, has been shuttered and its leaders hounded by authorities and local thugs. 

Now, Ervin Ibragimov -- a member of executive council of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and a member of the Tatar Mejlis (which is now banned on the Russian-occupied peninsula as an extremist group) -- has been kidnapped.

The Ukrainian news outlet 122 reports:

‘It’s a video from a surveillance camera in a nearby store. There’s video of Ervin Ibragimov’s abduction. First, they were trying to force him into a minibus. He tried to escape, but he was captured and forced into a car’, - member of ATR TV channel staff Ayshe Umerova wrote of Facebook.

The video is below: 

In the video a van is visible in the top right corner. A car pulls up and its lights blur the video. There is an edit in the video (see the time stamp in the top right corner), which may just be the elimination of 'dead air,' and then men can be seen emerging from the car and walking toward the van. One of those men is reportedly Ervin Ibragimov, who appears to break away briefly before he is tackled and put in the van, which drives off.

Ukraine Today translates a Facebook post by local journalist Nadj Femi: 

"The Crimean Tatar ex-deputy of the city council and member of the regional Mejlis Ervin Ibragimov has been reported missing in Bakhchisaray. His car was found abandoned in the middle of the road. His parents know nothing about his whereabouts. It's impossible to get in touch with him," she wrote.

In the last month mosques in Crimea have been attacked, and Russian authorities even detained hundreds of worshippers:

Since then, the Russian FSB has arrested Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov
-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Kiev Reports 2 Soldiers Captured By Russian-Backed Fighters, 2 Wounded

While Ukraine has been celebrating the return of Nadiya Savchenko after nearly two years in captivity, the Ukrainian military today announced that two more of their soldiers had been captured by Russian-backed fighters.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters at noon today that two soldiers had been captured near Donetsk within the last two days.

Both are currently being held in Donetsk city, he said.

"The Ukrainian authorities and military command are making every effort for their release. There is no more detailed information at the moment."

In addition, Lysenko reported that two Ukrainian servicemen were wounded yesterday by shelling in the front-line Avdeyevka industrial park, northeast of Donetsk. 

According to this morning's ATO Press Center report, Russian-backed fighters conducted 33 attacks yesterday.

In particular, the Ukrainians claim that Russian-backed forces attempted to break through defensive lines near Novotroitskoye, on the highway between Donetsk and Mariupol.

The report says that Ukrainian troops repelled the attack, which was supported by BMP infantry fighting vehicles, snipers and grenade-launcher fire. One of the attackers' BMPs was reportedly destroyed.

-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Savchenko Meets President Poroshenko, Tells Russians "Stand Up From Your Knees"
Nadiya Savchenko has met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and spoken to reporters. 
Set as default press image
2016-05-25 14:09:02
We don't have a full transcript of statements made by Savchenko or Poroshenko, but here are a few highlights:

Earlier Savchenko told reporters that she is "ready to once again give my life for Ukraine on the battlefield." She also said that she wants to fight to bring Ukraine's less-famous political prisoners home from Russia.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Savchenko Addresses Press, Calls For Ukraine's Heroes To Join Parliament

Nadiya Savchenko briefly addressed reporters earlier today after her plane landed in Kiev. Kyiv Post reports:

Savchenko briefly addressed the journalists in the airport. 

"I honestly don't know how I managed to do it," she said, thanking all who helped release her.

Savchenko made some political statements, as well. In a shouting voice, she said that she will make sure that "the heroes of Ukraine are coming to take places in Verkhovna Rada." 

Savchenko is actually a member of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, as well as the European parliamentary delegation -- these have largely been symbolic appointments as she achieved these when she was in Russian prison, but now that she is free this may play heavily in what happens to Savchenko next.

-- James Miller
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