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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 1131: March 24, 2017

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
2 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Battle; 1 Civilian Injured; Slain Russian MP Voronenkov's Last Interview

A resident of Avdeyevka points out a damaged home to a Ukrainian soldier on March 18. Photo by ATO.

In its dispatch at 18:00, the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] reported that two Ukrainian soldiers were killed in battle today (one near Troitskoye) and one civilian was injured in Avdeyevka. Russia-backed forces attacked Ukrainian positions 48 times during the day, mainly near Donetsk.

On the Donetsk line near Zaytsevo, militants fired with grenade-launchers and machine guns and also 152-mm artillery. Grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns were fired near Avdeyevka and Mayorsk; 120-mm mortars were also used. Near the Butovka coal mine, a tank was fired. Mortar-launchers, grenade-launchers and heavy machine-guns were fired near Troitskoye.

On the Mariupol line, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars were fired on Shirokino and Vodyanoye. Near Vodyanoe a sniper fired on Ukrainian marines.

On the Lugansk line, 82-mm mortars were fired on Novozvanovka as well as grenade-launchers and machine guns.

The Russia-backed forces used drones on five occasions in the last day in the areas of Yasinovataya, Opytnoye, Peski and Velikaya Novoselka, Liga.net reported, citing an ATO statement.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission recorded an increase in explosions in the past week by 75% compared to the previous week, and recorded up to 145 explosions in the Lugansk area related evidently to separatist training exercises, Liga.net reported.

FURTHER UPDATES 

o EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE AT AMMUNITIONS DEPOT

Explosions were still being heard as of 14:25 Kiev time at the ammunitions depo in Balakliya, Liga.net reported. Gordonua.com said at about midnight Kiev time that there were about one explosion every five minutes still.

Emergency officials said the situation remained "difficult" although there were less detonations. Sappers are demining the area. Firefighters have the fires under control. Citizens are still being evacuated.

Law-enforcers are investigating the explosion, which some have said is more likely due to negligence than sabotage by Russia. 

NATO reported on its web site that it had received Ukraine's request for help in receiving protecting clothing and detection equipment. It published the information for individual NATO members to respond.

In an article published by Liga.net, Vitaliy Deynega, founder of the Return Alive fund said only missiles no longer needed in Ukraine's arsenals detonated. The most valuable explosives were kept in bunkers underground and officials are waiting to see if they are still intact as expected.

He said that the depot did not appear to be under guard, and the guards who had previously been there "resigned a year ago". Thus, regardless of whether "sabotage" by Russia is involved, Ukraine's security should have been better. 

Deynega also noted that three years ago, Ukraine lost control of the Lugansk ammunitions factory when separatists seized it. Then that factory blew up just as the Balakliya depot did, "depriving the seps of the formal excuse of 'which coal mine they found the mortars,'" he said, referencing President Vladimir Putin's claim that the separatists get their arms "from caches in coal mines" when in fact they are supplied by Russia. 

Deynega also criticized Ukraine's munitions industry as a whole, which works on the principle "we only sell what we can produce" and makes items of poor quality. Western companies are not in the Ukrainian market, which would help create competition, he noted.

"Ukroboronprom [Ukrainian defense production agency] continues to sit like a cancerous tumor between manufacturers and buyers." The closed market may suit those who can lobby the sale of their products and profit, but it is not good for the industry itself, he said. Worst of all, in the fourth year of war, Ukraine does not have its own ammunitions factory.

o FURTHER ON ASSASSINATION OF RUSSIAN MP VORONENKOV IN KIEV

Anatoliy Vinogrodskiy, former commander of the Donbass battalion of the National Guard confirmed that Pavel Parshov, the killer of Russian MP Denis Voronenkov, served in his unit, Liga.net reported. He said "he did not distinguish himself in any way and was not memorable."

He confirmed that Parshov joined in 2015 and served in Melekino near Mariupol in the training company, which mean that he only guarded checkpoints and did not see combat. Vinogrodskiy said Parshov went AWOL and was declared missing. In 2016, he was dismissed from the National Guard for going AWOL.

He blamed recruiters for allowing an individual with a criminal record into the army.

Yuriy Butusov, a Ukrainian journalist who writes frequently about the war, said in a Facebook post that soldiers who served with Parshov whom he interviewed characterized him as a "fascist" and "right-wing radical." They said he first began to "find a place for himself" in the Karpatska sich volunteer battalion, then the Azov battalion, known for its extreme right-wingers, and in the end managed to settle in the Donbas battalion. His background was not checked, and the fact that he had been wanted by police since 2011 for economic crimes was not noticed. 

His views "did not affect him as a soldier" and he "did not propagandize" his views or violate disciplinary rules, said the soldiers.

"He earned a good reputation as a soldier, did not use alcohol, did sports and was well-prepared for military service," they said. "He showed himself to be a decisive person, prepared for risk." But they couldn't say whether he was in combat and noted that the time of his service coincided with a relatively calm period. These soldiers also reported that he went AWOL, but didn't know what he was doing after he left the army; they had heard he was involved with the movement of soccer fans.

In a statement published by Meduza, Mariya Maksakova, Voronenkov's widow, a prominent opera singer, said she would not speculate on the motives or nature of the contractor of his murder as this would not bring him back. She is left to raise their 11-month old son and two children from a previous marriage alone.

Gordonua.com reported that coincidentally, Voronenkov gave the last interview before he was killed to their news site, and published it in full.

Voronenkov said "I don't deny that I tried to survive within the Putin realities. The only thing I regret is that I left Ukraine late, at age 45."

He said he had lived in fear that he could be kidnapped and brought back to Russia and that was the reason he decided to publicize in February the fact that he had fled from Russia last October.

He noted that he decided to flee when Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said there was testimony "from two deputies of the Russian State Duma" in the case of deposed president Viktor Yanukovych. One of them was Ilya Ponomarev, who had left Russia some years before and was known. Although Lutsenko did not provide the names of these MPs, Russian intelligence was able to figure out that the second one was Voronenkov because he was already under surveillance.

Asked if he feared being killed, he said [translation by The Interpreter], "On Earth, there is 100% mortality, and we will all die sooner or later. What's important is how and why we lived. Sometimes 'how' is more important than 'how long'. Why live in constant fear?"

Voronenkov commented that Andrei Lugovoy, the FSB agent wanted by British police for the poisoning of Aleksandr Litvinenko, whom he met in the past, was now himself guarded by the 6th Service of the FSB's Directorate of Internal Security. This is the same unit that Voronenkov believed had falsified a criminal case against him.

He said there was "obvious mental degradation" in Russia where the idea that murder was for the good had returned. "Russia is a state that destroys people this way," but concluded "What now, live in constant fear?"

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Note: The Interpreter has lost its funding!

Donate to this author to keep news and translations coming. 

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Murderer of Russian MP Voronenkov Identified; Video of Murder Surfaces; Kiev Police Chief Says Contract Killing

A video has emerged of the murder in Kiev of Russian MP Denis Voronenkov, who had fled to Ukraine last October saying he feared reprisals from Russian intelligence.

The video was removed due to YouTube's policy on violent content. Other copies have appeared in news shows:



Видео убийства экс-депутата Дениса Вороненкова в Киеве !!! Видео самого расстрела !!!

Details... →
Mar 24, 2017 20:29 (GMT)
LifeNews also made a re-creation of the murder:

Kiev Police Chief Andrei Krishchenko said the murder was likely a contract killed, Moscow Times reported.

Citing anonymous sources, the Ukrainian news site Obozrevatel'has identified the murderer as Pavel Aleksandrovich Pashov, age 28. Before he killed Voronenkov and then himself was shot dead by Voronenkov's bodyguard, he was wanted by Dnepr law-enforcers for "fictitious enterprise" and money-laundering.

Obozrevatel' said that in a bag Parshov was carrying, there were two military orders. The first, dated August 2015, indicates he was accepted for service in military unit 3057 of the National Guard of Ukraine -- despite his criminal record. The second, dated August 2016, concerns his removal from the service. Also among his documents was a certification for taking part in combat signed by the commanding officer of his unit, Yuriy Allerov.

Yesterday March 22 as we reported, MP and Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko in an interview with TV 112 accounted for the National Guard ID on him; he was reportedly from Sevastopol and trained with a special Russian sabotage unit before "penetrating" the Ukrainian forces.

Yuriy Lutsenko, Prosecutor General, has scoffed at the report of the ID, calling it "fake" and "Yarosh's business card," a reference to a Ukrainian war meme in which every act of violence is ascribed to Dmytro Yarosh, the past leader of the far-right group Right Sector.

Meanwhile, Yuriy Tandit, advisor to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service, confirmed that the murderer served in the National Guard and also identified him as Pavel Parshov.

The video and other aspects of the murder have prompted experts to say the it was "amateur".

In an interview with Gordonua.com, Lt. Gen. Mykola Poddubny, former head of the Interior Ministry's main directorate in Kiev said he had never see a contract killing where the killer was wounded at the scene (translation by The Interpreter):

"What does that tell us? Voronenkov was murdered not by a professional killer, but a random kid who decided to earn some cash. A real killer would not carry ID on him."

Solving the murder of Voronenkov was "a matter of technology" he added but that "the law-enforcement system in Ukraine virtual doesn't function."

Russia has denied any connection to Voronenkov's murder. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was "absurd".

Voronenkov, a former Russian narcotics investigator who became an MP in 2001, is believed to have been a target of vengeful FSB agents who he had accused of smuggling. Yet Novaya Gazeta has reported that Voronenkov himself, who had an off-shore accounts exposed in the Panama Papers, may have engaged in illegal activity.

He was also a target of opposition anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, who did an expose video of him last month.


Kiev police believe the motive for Voronenkov's murder was either as revenge for his expose of the FSB's involvement in contraband, or revenge for his testimony against deposed president Viktor Yanukovych. Either version would lead to a hypothesis of involvement of Russian intelligence in his death.

As Moscow Times reported, it is unclear what level of knowledge Voronenkov would have had about Yanukovych's interactions with the Russian government during the 2014 Maidan protests and his flight to Russia. Yet as a former member of the State Duma's national security committee, he may have had some sort of briefing. He is the highest-ranking former Russian official to testify in Yanukovych's case.

Voronenkov was both a loss -- and a political embarrassment -- for Russia and a gain for Ukraine. Voronenkov was believed to have connections to high officials; he said he paid "frequent visits" to the Kremlin.

Navalny said Sergei Naryshkin, former speaker of the State Duma, sang at Voronenkov's wedding a few months ago, celebrated as an "inter-factional union" as his widow, Mariya Maksakova, a prominent singer, was identified with United Russia, the ruling party.

Sasha Sotnik, a journalist who himself was forced to flee Russia due to death threats commented, "Any defector from the system will be eliminated." 

Current parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said Kiev was "sliding toward a terrorist government" and said the claim of Russian involvement should only have been made after thorough investigation by police.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Note: The Interpreter has lost its funding!

Donate to this author to keep news and translations coming. 

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