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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Day 1037: December 20, 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.
US Treasury Adds Putin's Personal Chef, Owner of 'Troll Farm', Rossiya Bank Officials to Sanctions List

The US Department of the Treasury released a list of additions to the sanctions list related to the annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine.

The Specially Designated Nationals List and the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List target sanctions evasion and other activities related to the conflict in Ukraine.

Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, head of the catering company Concorde and Internet Research, Inc., better known as the "Kremlin's Troll Farm," has been placed on the list. Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman, has a number of lucrative contracts with Russia's Defense Ministry and has catered for President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. His Internet disinformation company includes several sites directed at Ukraine that purport to be based there.

Russia This Week: The Kremlin's Growing Army of Internet Trolls

Sweden Confirms Submarine in October Was Foreign Vessel - Kadyrov Announces Assassination of Georgian Terrorist Omar al-Shishani - Independent Editor Detained at Airport in Khabarovsk - OSCE Sees 100s Of Fighters Cross Russian Border Into Ukraine, And Trucks With Bodies Leaving - FIFA Clears Russia and Qatar of Corruption Charges,

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Dec 21, 2016 02:10 (GMT)
Prigozhin has also been tied to the private military contractor Wagner.

Others added to the list include:

- Dmitry Alexeyevich Lebedev, CEO of Rossiya Bank

- Mikhail Klishin, director of Rossiya Bank. 

- Kirill Kovalchuk, head of the National Media Group and co-director of ABR Management 

- Dmitry Flerovich Mansurov, CEO of ABR Management 

- Oleg Minayev, head of SobinBank 

- Mikhail Dedov, founder of ABR Management

ABR management has assisted Rossiya Bank in management of its assets.

The Treasury Department also placed sanctions on two ships, Marshal Zhukov and Stalingrad, a number of grain transporters, and other companies such as Crimean Ports and Crimean Railway related to delivery and construction in Russia-occupied Crimea.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Fighting Near Debaltsevo Rages For Third Day

Heavy fighting near Debaltsevo has entered a third day, with media reports echoing the confusion around what appears to be the most intense battle of the year in Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, five Ukrainian soldiers were killed on Sunday and one yesterday, with 33 injured over both days.

However there are reports that the number of casualties may be significantly higher.

As we reported, Ukraine's TSN news were told by medics at a hospital in Kharkiv that at least 21 soldiers had been brought in for treatment by 9 am local time yesterday.

Today, Censor.NET reports, citing sources in one of the battalions engaged in the fighting, that seven soldiers were killed in the last two days, while another remains missing. This corresponds with reports yesterday from the Povernis' Zhivim (Come Back Alive) volunteer group.

The report of the missing soldier was also confirmed by a military press officer to Ukrainska Pravda last night.

That source claimed that Ukrainian troops had seized positions abandoned by Russia-backed fighters after the Ukrainians mounted a counterattack. 

The advance, the press officer said, was a matter of several hundred metres.

According to the source, documents found at the positions indicated the presence of both Ukrainian and Russian nationals.

In the early hours of this morning TSN relayed reports of a renewed attack by Russia-backed forces following heavy artillery bombardment. One source, the volunteer-led Ukrainian Military Portal, reported that contact with one group of soldiers at the front had been lost following the attack.

Later today there were unconfirmed reports that the group had been surrounded but was holding position:

According to Censor.NET's editor Yuriy Butusov, the battle began at around 6 am on Sunday when an enemy reconnaissance group attempted to outflank the front-line positions of the 1st battalion of Ukraine's 54th Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

"In turn, a strike group from the 1st battalion, made up of 20 soldiers, led by company commander Lieutenant Nikita Yarovoy, moved forwards so as to cut off the Russian mercenaries' escape route.

The enemy could not keep up the contact engagement and fled, the threat to the battalion's flank was eliminated. In the course of their pursuit, our soldiers seized the front-line positions of a Russian unit, deployed in the 'grey zone' in violation of the Minsk agreements.

Russian heavy artillery began a massive bombardment of Ukrainian forces in that area, as well as villages in the immediate rear - Luganskoye and Mironovsky received barrages of shells.

Ukrainian artillery was gradually brought forward to cover our troops. However they did not succeed in suppressing the Russian artillery. The enemy continued has continued intensive shelling throughout almost two days. The enemy acted in an organized manner with significant forces. Despite the destruction of many of the Russian troops' firing positions, it has not been possible to fully silence the enemy artillery.

Attempts by infantry units and armor of the 7th brigade of the Russian occupying force to retake their abandoned positions in the 'grey zone' were repelled...

Since the morning of December 20 fierce shoot-outs with infantry weapons have been underway again. The enemy is making attempts to attack our positions with infantry forces. At the current time, the battle continues. Our units have received support. The situation is described as tense but stable. 

Donetsk news site reported this afternoon that mobile communications in the area around the battle are down, and that the exact situation is hard to ascertain.

According to the report, Ukrainian forces intend to relieve their foremost troops, who have become pinned down by fire from both sides near the village of Kalinovka.

-- Pierre Vaux