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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 1400: December 19, 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
8 Civilians Injured in Grad Attack by Russia-Backed Forces on Novoluganskoye Yesterday

Car damaged by Russia-backed shelling in Novoluganskoye. Photo by Ukrainian military 

Eight civilians were wounded in an attack by Russia-backed forces on Novoluganskoye yesterday, December 18, Liga.net reported.

A senior military surgeon at the Svetlodar Ditrict Hospital said on December 18, at about 17:30, eight civilians were brought in with shrapnel wounds from shell fire. He had not seen such wounds in a long time, he said. They suffered injuries to the head, upper and lower extremities, rib cage and so on.

"Among them was a small girl who fortunately didn't suffer injuries although it is possible she sustained psychological trauma," said the physician.

The Anti-Terrorist Operation [ATO] headquarters said  37 single-and two-story homes were damaged and 10 five-story buildings.

Shells fell on a school, day care center and walk-in clinic. Half the town is now without electricity.

Translation: Ukrainian investigators found shards of Russian shells in Novoluganskoye. 

Russian officers of the JCCC who were withdrawn by Moscow were to depart through the Mayorsk checkpoint near this area, but Ukrainian authorities closed the checkpoint due to the shelling and postponed the Russians' crossing until tomorrow.

Pavel Zhebritskiy, head of the Donetsk Regional Military and Civil Administration said there was a likelihood of a repeat attack, and citizens had gone into shelters, Liga.net reported.

The OSCE issued a statement that this period was the worst escalation since February of this year, Liga.net reported.

Ceasefire violations had tripled since the previous week, they said and reached 16,000.
Translation: Novoluganskoye, aftermath of shelling from Grads on the evening of 12/18/17.
Translation: #Novoluganskoye : aftermath of shelling from Grads on the evening of 12/18/17. All photos from mil.gov.ua


Both Ukrainian and Russian representatives in the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination left the areas occupied by Russia-backed forces, Liga.net reported, citing Yuzef Venskovich, press officer.

The Ukrainian side of the JCCC has relocated to Soledar where the headquarters are located and will go on working with the OSCE mission to monitor the situation.

It is not clear if the Russians will return or will be replaced. The JCCC was originally created under the auspices of the Minsk agreements to monitor compliance with the ceasefire at the front line.

Much has been made in the Russian media about the departure of the Russian members of the JCCC, with blame of Ukraine.

As a regular war blogger explains, however, the reason has to do with requirements for  

Translation: Here is the reason why Russians are leaving the JCCC -- it's just that someone has grown accustoed to traveling on "fake" documents. And all these stories about officers forced out are hypocritical.

@666_mancer cites a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry complaining about the issue which reveals the problem:

"Moreover, starting January 1, 2018, Kiev plans to introduce a new procedure for entry and stay of citizens of Russia on their territory, under which they must provide their detailed personal data well in advance to Ukrainian authorities."

Thus the implication is that the requirement for information in advance will give Ukrainian authorities time to investigate some of the applications and prevent the use of false ID. It has long been the suspicion of the government of Ukraine that the Russian presence in the JCCC is used to aid the Russia-backed separatists.

Translation: Oh, come on. Those "officers of ours" in fact who were "asked" to remove their chevrons and shoulder boards did this in 2014 and did not leave.

Here @666_mancer cites a tweet by pro-government journalist Aleksandr Kots of Komsomolskaya Pravda:

Translation: Tomorrow our officers are leaving the JCCC. This story is reminiscent in a way of the saga with the Russian Olympics athletes only with the difference that the military refused to suffer humiliation and forcing out, not waiting to be asked to remove first their chevrons and then their shoulder boards.

The reference is to the fact that Russia has been banned from the Seoul Olympics as a country due to systematic doping, although some athletes will be allowed to compete without the Russian flag or insignia. 

Evgeniy Marchuk, representative of Ukraine in the Minsk group on security, said that negotiations were to start for a New Year's ceasefire, but this has been hampered by the departure of the Russian members of the JCCC, Liga.net reported.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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