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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 1288: August 28, 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
Less Fighting Since the 'School Ceasefire'; No Casualties Reported

Photo by Reuters 

Unian reported on the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] briefing today: there is less fighting since the declaration of the "school ceasefire". 

In its morning dispatch, the ATO reported 19 attacks and no casualties.

There was sporadic shelling of its positions, notably the Avdeyevka industrial zone, where grenade-launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms were used. At about 22:00, militants fired 82-mm mortars. The Butovka Mine, Mayorsk and Zaytsevo were also attacked on the Donetsk line.

On the Maritime line, the outskirts of Vodyanoye and Shirokino were attacked.

On the Lugansk line, heavy machine guns and small arms were fired on Stanitsa Luganskaya.

In the evening, the ATO reported 82-mm mortars were fired at the Avdeyevka industrial zone and later heavy machine gun and grenade-launcher fire.

On the Donetsk line, a mortar-launcher was used to attack the approaches to Krasnogorovka and thee was firing near Vodyanoye.

In other news:

In a program on Channel 5, Oleg Tsybulko, advisor to the minister on the temporarily occupied territories, said there were still reports of people with pro-Ukrainian views in the separatist-held territories being abducted and taken to prisons in the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Lugansk People's Republic".

Commentary: 

In an interview with Fokus, Unian reported, Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko said that due to lack of political will in Ukraine, Russia and the West, the war in the Donbass is not likely to change.

He believes that Russia will keep trying to return Ukraine to its "imperial embrace" and will wait out the situation until there is a crisis in order to get its people into the Verkhovna Rada or parliament, and would use a range of methods from propaganda to terrorism to warfare at the front to achieve its goals. 

"The Kremlin wants half of Ukraine, with Kharkiv, Odessa, and so on. But if half the country was under Russian rule, there would be no question of state sovereignty. For the Kremlin, this would be mission accomplished. And it has not renounced such plans."

Writing at the Wilson Center's web site, Kateryna Smagliy said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's decision to meet first with civil society groups then with President Petro Poroshenko was to send a clear signal: 

The U.S. government values Ukraine’s civil society’s efforts and urges our leaders to strengthen cooperation with anti-corruption groups and reform activists.

She criticized the inaction of the government's Civil Society Coordination Council:

None of the Council’s members resigned in protest over state actions. By participating in the state’s game of sham reforms and ignoring its abuses, reformers “turn into back-up dancers in government’s starlight ritual dance with the Civil Society Council to demonstrate its pseudo engagement in the reform process,” criticized Bohdan Maslych, director of the oldest civil society information and support center, GURT. If Ukraine’s civic leaders are to stand for the European principles they fought for on the Maidan, they need to shed their timidity in standing up to, or resigning from, the current government and its “Potemkin village” civil society councils.

No doubt, Ukraine’s civil society faces numerous challeges. President Poroshenko is busy reconstructing his power vertical before the 2019 elections. The EU and United States are busy with their own priorities, and a return of “Ukraine fatigue” and declining assistance is a real possibility. The oligarchs are more than ready to lead again and Moscow’s capacity to stoke or escalate the military conflict in Donbas is not remotely diminished under Western sanctions. The combination of a weakening economy and war without end is paving the road for populists and hardline nationalists. 

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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