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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 107: Separatists Take National Guard Barracks in Lugansk

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
Both Sides Inflating Casualty Figures?

The Ukrainian government says that two of its soldiers were killed today. Kiev also says that 300 rebels have been killed in the last 24 hours. The rebels, however, say that those numbers are both wrong. The Moscow Times reports:

A spokesman for Kiev's "anti-terrorist operation" said more than 300 rebel fighters had been killed and about 500 wounded in fierce fighting in the past 24 hours in and around the city of Slovyansk, a strategically located separatist stronghold.

Government forces used aircraft, helicopters and artillery in a fierce attack to try to root out the separatists who have controlled Slovyansk and surrounding areas since early April.

But the rebels on Wednesday denied the government's casualty figures. "Reports of 300 dead are not true. Losses to the Ukrainian side were more than ours," Aleksander Boroday, "prime minister" of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said, Interfax reported.

Describing the fighting as "heavy", the government forces spokesman, Vladyslav Seleznyov, said two servicemen had been killed and 45 wounded.

We have no way, with the current available information, to asses any of these claims.

However, Ukraine has confirmed that three of its bases have fallen to separatists today. AP reports:

Petro Poroshenko, speaking in Warsaw after meeting with President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, rejected a call from Ukraine's interim authorities to introduce martial law in the restive east. Poroshenko said he would seek to pacify the region with an offer of amnesty and a promise of early regional elections...

Poroshenko's offer, expected to be detailed in his inaugural address on Saturday, came as the Ukrainian troops suffered a series of humiliating setbacks on Wednesday.

After hours of fighting in which six militants were killed and three Ukrainian servicemen were injured, the National Guard forces ran out of ammunition and had to leave their base near the eastern city of Luhansk.

Also Wednesday, rebels seized a border guard base on the city's outskirts following a nearly two-day-long siege and forced guards out of another base in the nearby town of Sverdlovsk on the Russian border. The guards there were granted a safe exit and left with their weapons.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Reports Say Sverdlovsk Border Guard Base Seized by Separatists

Roman Bochkala, a Ukrainian journalist, has been reporting via his Facebook page today on events in the town of Sverdlovsk in the Lugansk region. He says there are local reports of infiltration by a large force from Russia, including 10 BTR armoured personnel carriers. The separatist fighters surrounded the Border Guard base in the town centre and appeared to be preparing an assault. He reports that the border guards surrendered the base without a fight and left an arsenal of weapons behind. 

The surrender of the base, if confirmed, is the third today following the separatist capture of a Border Guard base and a National Guard barracks in the city of Lugansk. There were complaints that the Lugansk border guards, who held out against a sustained assault for two days, received little to no assistance from the Ukrainian military, bar ineffectual air support. Bochkala reports that the border guards in Sverdlovsk were unable to make contact with the Anti-Terrorism Operation headquarters. 

Here are some of Bochkala's Facebook posts (translated by The Interpreter):

10:42 GMTSeparatists have surrounded a border guard detachment in the centre of Sverdlovsk in the Lugansk region. Snipers and machine gunners have been seen. An assault is expected to begin during the night. 

The border guards' colleagues from the Dolzhansky checkpoint have rushed to aid them but they cannot get into Sverdlovsk. Local pro-Russian residents have blocked the road. The border guards need help urgently! They are unable to contact the ATO headquarters.

According to the local residents, some 30 covered KamAZ trucks carrying militants were seen in the village of Provalye near Sverdlovsk. In the woods stand 10 Russian BTRs, which illegally, but easily crossed the Ukrainian border during the night.

14:58 GMTWithout a fight. The Ukrainian border guards have withdrawn fom Sverdlovsk. The column his moving towards Kharkov. They're currently standing at a checkpoint near Krasnodon.

15:53 GMTOn the march. The Ukrainian border guards leave Sverdlovsk ingloriously.  

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16:06 GMT: Leaving their base in Sverdlovsk, the border guards abandoned a whole arsenal of weapons, to the delight of the separatists.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Report Says 2 Ukrainian Helicopters Downed Over Slavyansk, 1 Destroyed.

InfoResist.org reports that Vladislav Seleznev, the spokesman for the government's Anti-Terrorism Operation, has told them that two Ukrainian helicopter gunships were downed by enemy fire over the separatist-held town of Slavyansk today. They report, (translated by The Interpreter): 

"I can confirm reports of two helicopters being downed over Slavyansk. These were Mi-24s which were on combat duties over Slavyansk. One helicopter was shot down using MANPADS, the other by anti-aircraft artillery", said Seleznev.

According to the spokesman, the pilots sustained minor wounds and burns. They have received medical treatment. Meanwhile, one of the helicopters sustained minor damage from being shot, it will be returned to combat duties after repairs, the second was completely torched.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Putin Wants Ukraine To Be Like Syria?

Paul Goble, on our Windows on Eurasia column, writes today of the "little answer" -- Russian criminal jargon for "retaliation" -- for the "big question" of what Putin is trying to achieve in Ukraine -- creating a "Near East" out of the "Near Abroad," as Nikolai Mitrokhin explains. Mitrokhin argues that Putin is creating an analogy to Syria so he can offer a deal to the West involving recognition of the Assad regime and an end of military support for Syrian rebels in exchange for recognition of the Crimean annexation and non-bloc status for Ukraine.

Read Putin Transforming Near Abroad into Near East, Mitrokhin Suggests.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
SBU Claims Russian Cossack Leader Coordinating OSCE Hostage Situation

Ukrainska Pravda reports (translated by The Interpreter):

"The SBU has found a direct relationship between Russian Cossack structures and the supply of weapons to terrorist organisations operating in eastern Ukraine, as well as the kidnapping of OSCE representatives on May 29", says the statement on the SBU website.

The SBU also uploaded recordings of telephone conversations between the Ataman of the 'Great Don Army', Nikolai Kozitsin, and militants in the Donbass. 

He gives them instructions regarding the detention of the OSCE observers. 

According to Kozitsin, he coordinates all of his actions regarding the hostages with 'white-stone' [Moscow]: "This is an order from the top. From a distance, from a distance. Everything has been agreed.

In addition, on these recordings, the Cossack leader gives orders on the shooting of a local businessman.  

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