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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 95: Another Deadly Ambush Near Donetsk

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
Presidential Candidate Oleh Lyashko Claims Responsibility for Torez Murders

Translation: DNR [Donetsk People's Republic] headquarters in Torez after being stormed by "men in black" from the 'Lyashko Battalion'

 Members of a militia organised by Oleh Lyashko, a presidential candidate and leader of the Radical Party, have killed one and grievously wounded another in an attack on the separatist headquarters in the town of Torez in the Donetsk oblast. The Kyiv Post reports that Roman, 34, was found dead in the office, while Aleksandr, 25, was taken to hospital with severe wounds. Another man who did not want to be identified by the paper reported being struck with a rifle butt. The paper writes:

Lyashko claimed responsibility for the deadly assault in a post published on his Facebook page.

"Soldiers from the Lyashko Battalion 'Ukraine' have cleared and liberated the city government building from the 'Colorados' in Torez, Donetsk Oblast," Lyashko wrote, referring to the the pro-Russian separatists who have adopted the black-and-orange St. George's ribbon, a symbol of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, as their own.

"Two terrorists were killed, while among our men were no injuries. Glory to Ukraine!" he added.

Lyashko is a member of parliament who leads the nationalist Radical Party. He polled in single digits for the May 25 presidential election and is not likely to finish in the first two places. 

A video of the entrance and exit of the assassins is below:

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Bus Explodes in Kiev
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
CEOs of EDF, Shell, BP, Statoil and Total Among Those Attending Petersburg Economic Forum

A graphic from Stratfor showing the names of CEOs of Western companies who have either declined to attend or are present at the St Petersburg Economic Forum today.

140523-stratfor-petersburg-e140086194882

The intelligence company notes that:

This is important to Russia at this time for two reasons. First, Russia wants to prove that despite the Western sanctions levied against it, the global business and investment community still wants to operate in Russia. Second, Russia has seen massive capital flight from the country -- $51 billion in the first quarter -- due to tensions with the West, which has prompted Moscow to look for new economic opportunities. Leading up to the forum, a number of U.S. firms publicly rejected their invitations from Russia outright. As the forum neared, other firms decided they would pull out even though they initially accepted their invitations. While a number of foreign business leaders are still coming to St. Petersburg, this year's economic forum remains under a cloud of tension and uncertainty about the future of investment in Russia.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Batkivshchyna Deputy Kidnapped in Severodonetsk

Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing a Batkivshchyna party press release, that in Severodonetsk, representatives of the self-declared 'Donetsk People's Republic' have abducted the head of the party's local election headquarters, Sergei Samarsky, a deputy in the town council. 

The report says that the kidnappers had waited for Samarsky outside his office. He was put into a black Volga car and driven off. The attackers also took electoral documents with them. His current whereabouts is unknown.

The abduction was witnessed by Samarsky's son and mother. The report says that relatives and colleagues called the police "but they haven't even been to the scene of the crime."

One of those close to Samarsky said:

"We believe that the kidnapping of the council deputy was committed in order to destabilise the situation in Severodonetsk, which has been more or less quiet in comparison with neighbouring Rubezhnoye, where real warfare is going on."

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Report Says Donbass Battalion Commander Received Call Telling Him Captives Killed

LIGABusinessInform, a Ukrainian news site, reports that a correspondent of theirs has spoken to Semyon Semyonchenko, commander of the Donbass Battalion, who were attacked in an ambush today. They report (translated by The Interpreter):

In conversation with a LIGABusinessInform correspondent, Semyon Semyonchenko, answering a question about an exchange of prisoners, said that Igor Bezler, a Russian GRU colonel, had called him and said that all of the prisoners had been killed. 

Semyonchenko declined to give the exact number of dead Ukrainian soldiers, noting that the losses on the enemy side exceeded theirs "by three times". The commander of the Donbass Battalion also said that one of his wounded soldiers had died in hospital. 

"They have an overwhelming advantage in terms of force. They had heavy machine guns on their side. I suspect that we stumbled into a second Slavyansk, which was being prepared for the elections", said Semyonchenko.

Тhere is no mention of this as yet on Semyonchenko's Facebook page, which is currently being updated by volunteers. Separatist fighters have previously tortured and murdered abductees in Slavyansk, such as Volodymyr Rybak. But, if the report is confirmed, and Bezler (who is claimed to be either GRU or a local crime boss) was telling the truth (which he may well not be), then the mass execution of prisoners following combat would be a horrific escalation of the conflict into the territory of the wars following the break-up of Yugoslavia. We note however, that separatists have prior form on false declarations of executions, for example the post the Novorossiya news page announcing the hanging of the Mariupol police chief, which, thankfully, turned out to be untrue.

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