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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
Ukraine Liveblog Day 88: Separatist Ultimatum for Ukrainian Government Forces to Withdraw Ends

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
Election Officials In Danger

Kyiv Post has interviewed members of the Election Commission who say that they have had colleagues kidnapped, offices stormed by gunmen, and workers threatened just for trying to carry out the May 25th Presidential election. The situation is worst in Lugansk oblast, where some are even beginning to doubt whether an election can be held.

On May 8, Melnykova [head of a district election commission inLugansk] and her colleagues had to urgently vacate this office, housed in a pre-school children’s center, when six men armed with Kalashnikovs stormed the building.

“Thank God we had been warned about that attack and managed to run away. Many commissions were stormed on May 8 by separatists,” she said, following a similar attack on May 5.

The attackers came from the local branch of the Communist Party. Armed pro-Russian militants wearing orange-and-black St. George’s ribbons, the separatists’ insignia, live in that office. Another group of separatists, former Afghan war veterans, took over a bank office nearby recently.

But the scariest moment took place in the city of Popasna, some 45 kilometers from Lysychansk. A meeting with local election officials was cut short by several dozen young men who stormed into the office, shouting that there will be no presidential election in Popasna. They then destroyed documents and threatened the staff.

Those are just a few of the examples in the Kyiv Post investigation, which can be read here.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Heavy Gunfire and Explosions In Slavyansk
Breaking news, so we will try to find details.

A Ukrainian TV news outlet reports that militants are shelling the Ukrainian military positions, but it's not entirely clear at this point who is shelling what. This video was uploaded just moments ago. It's interesting because there are 11 seconds between the flash and the explosion, suggesting that this is relatively long-range fire (which, at night, makes it much harder to effectively target strikes).

We cannot verify the video, however, based on the lack of identifiable landmarks.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Home of Crimean Tatar Leader Searched By Police

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reports that the house of a leader of Crimea's Tatars, Mustafa Jemiliev, who is now banned from entering Crimea, has been searched by police, as has the home of the Mejlis press secretary:

In the latest affront to veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemiliev and to the Crimean Tatars on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation, a search has been carried out of Jemiliev’s home.

His wife, Safinar  was taken ill as a result and needed to be hospitalized.  71-year-old Mustafa Jemiliev, former Mejlis leader and Ukrainian MP, could not be there since Russia has banned his entry to the Russian Federation – and his native Crimea which Russia annexed in March.  He explains that he received a phone call telling him that a search was being carried out of his house and that his wife was in hospital. “OMON [Russian riot police] with automatic rifles surrounded the whole block. There were 11 or 12 buses, they appear to have been preparing for some kind of war”.

Mustafa Jemiliev says that they claimed that the search was because the occupying forces of the Crimea do not trust the investigation carried out a year ago after Jemiliev’s son Khaiser accidentally shot and killed a friend of the family, Fevzi Edemov.   They are planning to begin the investigation again.

Since only Jemiliev has a key to his office, the OMON officers entered by force.  As reported they also searched the home of the Mejlis press secretary, Ali Hamzin.  His son saw the court order which apparently said that Hanzin is suspected of 'terrorism'.  Jemiliev reports: “After they'd searched Ali Hamzin’s home, one of the officers said: “You can thank us that we didn’t plant anything”. It’s hard to say whether they planted drugs or weapons on me, but that at least is what they said.”

The report goes on to state that 150 Tatars have been summoned for interrogation.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Has RT Freelancer Been Fired For Lying About Being Shot At?

Was RT freelancer Graham Phillips just fired for lying about the tripwire/being shot at incident we described earlier (below)?

RT has changed their article:

Now notice the caption of the screenshot in the video:

Reporter-walks-into-tripwire-flare-while

"Youtube user"? The article now goes on to retract the story that Phillips was shot at, noting that there was a tripwire:

RT’s freelance reporter, Graham Phillips, claimed to have been shot at by Ukrainian soldiers as he approached them to engage in dialogue near the town of Kramatorsk. However, the video he was shooting at the time reveals he triggered a tripwire flare.

Then they have this curious wording:

Graham’s initial claim was not supported by the footage, and his previous record of reporting for RT has already backfired on the journalist.

Two weeks ago Ukrainian radicals put a bounty out on Phillips. The Right Sector reportedly offered $10,000 for the capture of “a Russian spy.”

Yesterday, RT's Ruptly video journalists also came under fire from two APCs as their car was targeted near the city of Kramatorsk. The journalists were en route to the town of Dmitrovka, some 30 kilometers from Slavyansk.

This article still reads like it contains content from the original article, but has somewhat been amended.

Curiously, Phillips is maintaining his story. As Phillips is now being described by RT as a "Youtube user," has he been fired?


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Akhmetov's Metinvest Signed Deal With 'Donetsk People's Republic'

Earlier, we reported on the patrols organized by Rinat Akhmetov's Metinvest steel workers in Mariupol. We why the separatists appeared to have retreated before these patrols:

So why are the separatists in retreat? Is it because they trust the steel workers to keep the peace without relying on the police? Is it because they feel outgunned by police? Has a deal really been signed between Akhmetov and both parties, or has Akhmetov simply backed Kiev while the separatists, at least in Mariupol, feel that they have no recourse but to cooperate with the steel workers?

Well, the answer is available on Metinvest's website: The firm has signed a "memorandum on peace and security" with the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic'.

The Interpreter translates:

Today, May 15, in Mariupol, a multilateral memorandum on peace and security was signed. The initiators of the signing of the document were the managers of the Ilyich and Azovstal iron and steel works, and the city staff of the people's guards [we assume this refers to the patrol groups].

The document was signed by the general directors of the Ilyich and Azoval iron and steel works, Yuri Zinchenko and Enver Tskitishvili, Mayor Yuri Khotlubey, and the acting head of the city department of internal affairs, Oleg Morgun, the representatives of veterans, women, trade unions in Mariupol, and the leader of the DPR supporters in Mariupol, Denis Kuzmenko.

To the memorandum were attached joint initiatives on public safety in Mariupol and suggestions to the Kiev authorities.

Here is the full text of the memorandum on peace and security in Mariupol:

1. The events of May 9 showed that armed confrontation will lead us on the road to death. This is the way to a political stalemate. These events must not be repeated. Our priority is peace in Mariupol, calm in the city, ensuring the stable operation of industrial and utility companies. Ideological and political differences are no cause for bloodshed. We are united by a desire for peace and our love for Mariupol.

2.  The withdrawal of troops from Mariupol has given rise to a peace process. We support and will jointly develop initiatives to strengthen the work of the people's guards. We trust the city police and support their fight against looting, hooliganism and theft in the city.

3. We need to take new steps to ensure peace and order in Mariupol. We call for a complete rejection of violence and the disarmament of all armed groups that have emerged in the wake of the protests. The leaders of the DPR, the people's guards and police assure that they will renounce illegal activities (violence, the occupation of buildings and the use of weapons).

4. Simultaneously, we are jointly appealing to the Kiev authorities with a proposal to remove military checkpoints from roads leading to Mariupol. The city police must ensure peace at the entrances of the city with the support of the people's guard.

5. The city authorities assure the livelihoods of the citizens of Mariupol and the smooth functioning of municipal services and infrastructure.

6. Together, we shall make every effort to restore damaged or destroyed buildings and roads, and to clean the city. 

7. We shall do all possible to immortalise the memory of those citizens of Mariupol killed in the recent armed clashes.

8. This memorandum is open for signatures from other members of the public and businesses in Mariupol. We are sending it to the authorities, international organisations working in Ukraine and the media.

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