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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 1188: May 20, 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
Merkel Meets with Poroshenko, Urges New Peace Talks; 9 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Battle in Last 2 Days

Photo: T72B tank manufactured only by Russia, which appeared in the Russia-backed separatists' May 9 Victory Day parade in Donetsk. Photo via Bellingcat. 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today in Berlin, Deutsche Welle reported:

"Today our main theme will be how to improve the security situation," Merkel said. "The security situation ... is the main precondition for making further political progress."

"We must act decisively to return the Minsk process to a constructive course, and we do not see an alternative to the Minsk process," Poroshenko said.


Merkel said she wanted to convene another "Normandy Quartet" meeting as soon as possible, so named for the first time that the four leaders of Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine met for the 70th anniversary of the landing on the beach in Normandy in World War II.
The next meeting would be the first time the new French President Emmanuel Macron would take part.

Recent weeks have seen an escalation of fighting, with more attacks from Russia-backed forces and more killing and wounding of both soldiers and civilians. There have also been attacks on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. On April 23, a vehicle in which monitors were traveling exploded after it hit a mine by the side of the road, killing an American medic, Joseph Stone, and wounding two European monitors.

DW noted that relations between Russia and Germany have grown strained lately, not only over the wars in Syria and Ukraine but Russian cyberattacks on Germany and support for far-right parties in Europe as well as attacks on gays in Chechnya.

A recurring problem in the Minsk process and Normandy talks is the different emphasis the parties place on security improvements versus political changes. Ukraine calls out continued ceasefire violations by Russia-backed troops and the failure to remove heavy armor per the agreement, with constant resupply of arms and personnel from Russia. Russia constantly complains about what it sees as a failure of Kiev to make Constitutional changes to permit autonomous rule in the Donbass, and to adapt to its understanding of the agreements.

Occasionally Russia has some success in getting Western powers to pressure Ukraine to make legislative changes but this is politically impossible, as Kiev always reminds the West, until Russia removes its invading forces and support for local fighters in good faith. 

Ukraine recently gained a victory in the EU's recognition of visa-free travel for Ukrainians in Europe.

Liga.net reported that in its morning dispatch, the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] recorded 55 attacks for the previous reporting period by Russia-backed forces using artillery banned under the Minsk agreement. Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in battle.

In its afternoon dispatch at 18:00, the ATO reported five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded, bringing the total for the past two days to 9 wounded.

On the Maritime line, there were 26 attacks; 120-mm mortars were fired on Shirokino and Gnutovo and 122-mm artillery were fired on Shirokino and Berdyanskoye.

Near Vodyanoye, Pavlopol, and Novogrigorovka grenade-launchers and small arms were used.

At Krasnogorovka, an 82-mm shell landed in a residential district. No one was hurt.

On the Donetsk line near Avdeyevka, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars were used; in the area of Verkhnyetoretskoye, militants fired 82-mm mortars and small arms.

At the Svetlodarsk Bulge, an armed BMP and heavy machine guns were fired.

On the Lugansk like, ATO positions near Troitskoye were shelled by Grad missiles and 122-mm and 152-mm artillery.

Near Novozvanovka and Popasnaya, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars were fired on Ukrainian positions, and 122-mm artillery near Novoaleksandrovka.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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