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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 109: Fighting in the Border Region Intensifies

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
Ukraine Says Its Aircraft Were In Russian Missile Lock

Yesterday the battle for the Marinovka checkpoint north of Lugansk became so intense that the Ukrainian airforce dispatched jets to conduct strafing runs against the separatist gunmen and armored vehicles. Today, Ukraine says that its pilots report that Russia had locked onto the Ukrainian fighter jets. The radar lock would have allowed Russian fighter planes to fire at the Ukrainian aircraft at any point. 

According to the Ukrainian pilot, his aircraft was shadowed by two Russian aircraft at all times.

This move could have been seen as a way to discourage Ukraine's airforce from engaging the ground targets that were striking across the border.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
More On Putin's Meeting With Obama and Poroshenko

RFE/RL has more details about Putin's meeting with both Poroshenko and Barack Obama (see previous update):

Putin later told reporters that during the 15-minute meeting, he and Poroshenko discussed the main issues related to settling the crisis.

Poroshenko separately told reporters that he sees "good chances" of successful dialogue with Russia.

Putin also spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama at the D-Day ceremonies.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy U.S. national security advisor, said Obama indicated that if Russia engaged with the new government in Kyiv, "there could be openings to reduce tensions."
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Poroshenko and Putin Meet At D-Day Event... Sort Of

Much is being made about the fact that Ukraine's new President, Petro Poroshenko, had an 'informal meeting' with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion during World War II. Reuters reports:

Hollande invited Poroshenko as his personal guest to the ceremonies for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, saying the event should be used to "serve the purposes of peace".

The Reuters reporter did not, however, see any handshake between the two men. French diplomats said before the event they would see a handshake as tacit acknowledgement by Putin that he recognizes Poroshenko's legitimacy the day before he is sworn in, opening the door for dialogue.

But let's take a look at this "meeting" for ourselves. 

It's not much of a meeting, but is it diplomatic breakthrough? Or, more likely, is this just a case of having a lot of cameras at an important international event, and having a group of politicians who are trying to make the smallest headlines possible during a chance meeting.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukrainian Military Expert Says Separatists Have Shot Down Cargo Aircraft

Dmitro Tymchuk, a Ukrainian military expert who is observing and reporting on the conflict, now reports that separatists have shot down an Antonov An-26 military cargo plane. According to the report, the plane that was carrying humanitarian aid was shot down by MANPADS (anti-aircraft missile) and the crew bailed out.

This matches our earlier report and video that a Ukrainian military aircraft had been shot down. The initial reports of this incident did not come from the Ukrainian government, however, but from LifeNews, a Russian news outlet, which actually posted the news before the video was uploaded.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Video Shows LDPR Flag Raised Above Separatist Militia Training Camp in Eastern Ukraine

A BBC video report by Paul Kenyon, published earlier today, shows a separatist training camp at an undisclosed location in eastern Ukraine. The camp is reportedly run by a former construction company owner, Alexei Moskovoy. Kenyon notes that he had met Moskovoy a month earlier, when he was returning from "meetings with officials in Moscow". Moskovoy is notably evasive when asked about the source of their weapons.


Interestingly, above the militia's base flies the flag of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR):

140606-ldpr-flag-training-camp-bbc.jpg

The LDPR is a far-right nationalist party led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The party is ostensibly in opposition but often acts to support the ruling United Russia party. Zhirinovsky has received much media attention for his extreme public statements about race, religion and women, (most recently exhorting one of his aides to rape a pregnant journalist who had questioned him at a press conference).

Prior to this incident, he was filmed on May 6, carrying out a publicity stunt in support of the separatists in Lugansk. The video is summarized here on our Russia This Week blog. Zhirinovsky brought a 'Tiger' armored car, emblazoned with the LDPR logo, as a gift. He also pledged, dressed up in a military uniform:

to give a free Volga car to any "soldier, officer or citizen who is the first to break through to Kiev at some stage and plant a Russian flag on the Verkhovna Rada" (parliament of Ukraine). He added that the Volga would be the newest off the line at a Russian factory, just like the one Brezhnev rode in, but "with an American engine."

The appearance of the LDPR flag above the separatist training camp would suggest Zhirinovsky's support for the separatists may have extended further than his public visit. 

Aleksandr Barkashov, the leader of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity movement, has, according to SBU phone intercepts, been involved in organising separatist fighters in Donetsk. While Barkashov seemed to be in contact with the Kremlin from these recordings, he appeared frustrated with their responses. Barkashov is, however, far more removed from central influence than Zhirinovsky, who Putin has been happy to appear alongside. The LDPR also command a major presence in the Duma. The Kremlin may be making use of extreme nationalists outside the executive government or United Russia to channel funds and support to separatist fighters so as to maintain deniability.

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