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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 840: June 6, 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
1 Ukrainian Soldier Killed, 7 Wounded in Battle; Villagers, OSCE Observers Blocked

One Ukrainian soldier has been killed and seven wounded in the Donbass, as Kiev reports 35 attacks by Russian-backed fighters yesterday.

According to Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, the casualties were incurred as a result of fighting outside Mayorsk, north of Gorlovka, and shelling attacks on Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk.

In addition, Vladimir Moroz, head of the Maryinka district administration, reported on his Facebook page this morning that a civilian woman was wounded yesterday by enemy gunfire in the Ukrainian-held town of Krasnogorovka, west of Donetsk.

Military press officer Vitaliy Kirillov told the 112 television channel that, in addition to the attacks reported above by Lysenko, Russian-backed fighters had shelled residential areas near the town of Nikolayevka (Mikolaivka), northeast of Mariupol, with self-propelled artillery.

He also provided more details about the skirmish in Mayorsk. He said that at about 21:30, a diversionary reconnaissance group of 10 men tried to cross into the rail yard near the Mayorsk station. A Ukrainian observation post opened fire on them, and the militants retreated under cover of fire from 120-mm artillery.

Kirillov also noted that the militants fired a total of 40 shells from self-propelled artillery on Novobrodovka, and also continued to pummel Avdeyevka, Opytnoye, Peski, the Butovka coal mine, Mironovskoye and Luganskoye with firearms, large-caliber machine guns and grenade launchers.

Ukrainian troops came under fire in Pavlopol near Mariupol and also in Krasnogorovka. Militants used large-caliber artillery and grenade-launchers to attack Maryinka, Krasnogorovka, Novotroitskoye, Shirokino and Lebedinskoye.

Liga.net also reported today, citing a report from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) that Russian-backed fighters were preventing villagers from leaving occupied Novoaleksandrovka.

OSCE SMM said there were several residents who complained that they could not enter and exit the village freely, which concerned them given the difficulty in accessing food and medicines. The villagers were referring to the exit in the direction of Maryevka, heading northeast from Novoaleksandrovka.

A separatist commander told observers that the restrictions were being enforced "in the interests of security". They also blocked the OSCE SMM observers themselves who were heading from STanitsa Luganskaya toward Lugansk.

-- Pierre Vaux and 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
SBU Says Frenchman Who Tried To Smuggle Arsenal Of Weaponry Was Planning Terror Attacks In France

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) claimed today that a Frenchman, suspected of far-right links and arrested in Ukraine on May 21, was planning terrorist attacks in his home country to coincide with the 2016 UEFA European Championship football tournament.

The 25-year-old detainee, who was named by L'Est Républicain on Saturday as one Grégoire Moutaux, was arrested at the Polish border after surveillance by SBU officers tasked with policing cross-border arms smuggling.

Video footage of the man loading weapons into a minivan and the arrest was released today by the SBU: 

According to the SBU, he was attempting to move five Kalashnikov assault rifles with 1,080 rounds of ammunition, two RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers with 18 rounds, 125 kilograms of TNT and 100 detonators, along with 20 balaclavas.

SBU photos: 


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The SBU says that the man travelled to Ukraine in December last year and attempted to establish contacts with Ukrainian soldiers in the east of the country under the guise of being a volunteer supporter.

"The Frenchman made negative statements about the actions of his government with regards to mass immigration, the spread of Islam and the globalization of the world. He also spoke of his desire to commit a series of terrorist acts as a form of protest."

He was placed under SBU surveillance and returned in April and obtained the weaponry, unaware that he was falling into a sting operation.

Moutaux attempted to find people in Ukraine who could help transport the weaponry across the border in exchange for €3,000 but, having failed, decided to transport the cargo himself.

On May 21, SBU and State Border Service officers arrested the French citizen at the Yahodyn border crossing, on the highway to the Polish city of Lublin.

The detainee has been charged with smuggling, preparation of terrorist acts and illegal possession of weapons.

Today Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, told reporters that the detainee had been planning 15 terrorist attacks in France, where the Euro 2016 championship is begin on June 10.

According to Hrytsak, Moutaux's planned targets mosques, synagogues, a tax office and motorway patrol points.

Hrytsak also raised the possibility that the Russian security services may have been involved:

"We thought that this is just a terrorist group... But at a certain stage, when we received a proposal from him [Moutaux] for this cargo to be taken to Europe with the assistance of a Ukrainian citizen, this led us to include another version, a Russian trace."

Hrytsak said that the aim of such a "set-up" would be to provide grounds for accusing Ukraine of exporting terrorism to the EU."

The SBU has released several photos of Moutaux, his face blurred, that were presumably taken by the SBU agents who conducted the sting operation as he is shown handling weapons with other, unidentifiable individuals:


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On Friday France's M6 news channel reported that police had raided Moutaux's home in eastern France, finding materials for making explosives and a T-shirt bearing the logo of a far-right organisation.

The name of that organisation has not yet been released. 

L'Est Républicain reported that Moutaux lived in Nant-le-Petit in the Meuse department of Lorraine, and inseminated cows for a living. 

According to one local farmer, Moutaux was an "exemplary employee," while another, who said that he has been into body building and travelled to the United States, described him as "a good young man; mad about cows."

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Grégoire Moutaux's home in Nant-le-Petit. Photo: Jean-Noël Portmann
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According to one local farmer, Moutaux was an "exemplary employee," while another, who said that he has been into body building and travelled to the United States, described him as "a good young man; mad about cows."

We note that the only Facebook profile we can find for a Grégoire Moutaux has recently been deleted. A cached search result does list this individual as living in Montiers-Sur-Saulx, which is indeed in Lorraine, meaning that this could well be the same person:


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-- Pierre Vaux
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Acknowledgements