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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 116: Major Government Operation in Mariupol

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
US State Department: Russian Tanks and Grad Rockets Crossed Border

The US State Department has confirmed that Russia has indeed sent both T-64 tanks and Grad rocket launchers across the border. The New York Times reports:

A convoy of three T-64 tanks, several BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed the border near the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, State Department officials said. Reports and images of the weapons’ presence circulated on Thursday, but there were conflicting claims about where they had come from.

“This is unacceptable,” said Marie Harf, the deputy State Department spokeswoman. “A failure by Russia to de-escalate this situation will lead to additional costs.”

A Western official said that intelligence about the movement of the tanks and other weapons into Ukraine was shared on Friday with NATO allies.

As we reported earlier there was evidence that the Russian-backed separatists fired Grad rockets earlier, but the weapon malfunctioned (possibly because the crew was inadequately trained) and at least one civilian was killed in the aftermath. We also reported earlier that NATO calls the allegations of Russian armor crossing the border a "serious escalation," and we analyzed the evidence that tanks may have crossed over from the Russian side of the border into Ukraine.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Headed Toward A Russian Gas Cutoff

Ukraine's energy minister has called for a new round of talks as Ukraine's Prime Minister has told his government to start preparing for Russia to cut off Ukraine's natural gas. RFE/RL reports:

Ukraine has said it is ready to start settling its gas bills if Russia agrees to charge $326 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas for 18 months.

Russia has said its "final price" is $385 per 1,000 cubic meters and threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine if Kyiv does not pay state-controlled Gazprom $1.95 billion by June 16.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine And Russia Both Claim The Other Has Violated the Border

The head of the Russian FSB press service has released a statement saying a Ukrainian BMP armored vehicle crossed the border today, making it to the Russian town of Millerovo, east of Lugansk (map).

Interestingly, Ukraine claims a Russian Mi-35 helicopter violated Ukrainian airspace today near Kuibysheve (map), which, if true, likely means the helicopter was in the vicinity of Mariupol, a town which was retaken by the Ukrainian ATO earlier today. And it should be mentioned that Ukraine claimed that three tanks crossed over the Russian border yesterday (see updates below).

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Eight OSCE Monitors Still Held 'Hostage' By Russian-Backed Separatists

The US ambassador to the OSCE Daniel Baer has made statements that have condemned the holding of OSCE monitors as hostage by separatists in eastern Ukraine:

Mr. Chairman, we remain deeply concerned that separatist forces continue to hold hostage eight OSCE Special Monitoring Mission monitors that they abducted on May 26 and May 29.  That’s two weeks ago today, and 17 days ago today.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms that these monitors were abducted and have remained as hostages for so long.  We call on all OSCE participating States, including Russia, to use their influence to secure the immediate and unconditional release of these monitors, to guarantee the security of the OSCE monitoring teams as they carry out their mandate throughout Ukraine, and to denounce the use of OSCE monitors or observers as hostages.

This past week we witnessed the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko as President of Ukraine.  He was elected following credible, well-run elections praised by international observers, including ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.  President Poroshenko is the first president of Ukraine to win in a first round vote, having collected a majority of votes cast across the country, having come in first in every oblast.  His inauguration represents a unique opportunity to make progress toward a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.  Unfortunately, Russia so far has failed to recognize Poroshenko as Ukraine’s president and has continued destabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine, including support for large-scale attacks on Ukrainian government positions, border posts, and convoys in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.  Furthermore, it is evident that heavily armed and organized fighters from Russia, particularly from the regions of Chechnya and North Ossetia, are playing an overt role in the violence.  Today, news reports contain acknowledgment by Russia of material support being channeled to separatists, and news of a visit by the so-called leader of the illegal Donetsk People’s Republic, [Denis] Pushilin, to Moscow.  This is not a revelation, but exposure of yet another lie to be added to the tally.  Such actions subvert every good faith effort at dialogue and call into question the seriousness with which the Russian Federation engages in diplomatic discussions.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Former Russian Government Advisor: Putin's Actions In Ukraine Aren't a New Cold War - They're a Real War

In our Windows on Eurasia column, Paul Goble provides a summary of the widely-discussed address of economist and former Russian government advisor Andrey Illarionov at NATO's Palriamentary Assembly May 31st. In a speech titled "The Fourth World War" among the best of his career, Illarionov spells out in 10 theses why Putin's military action in Ukraine is a real war, not a return to the Cold War, bearing more resemblance to Soviet invasion of the Baltic states or even the 1917 Bolshevik coup; it is not a disruption of good relations which were not as imagined but the continuation of Moscow's foreign aggression begun in August 2008 with the Georgian war.

Putin's purpose is to divide Europe and the US over relations with Russia but should be met with a concerted long-term response, with a particular focus on counter-propaganda.

Read Illarionov’s Ten Theses on Putin’s Aggression in Ukraine

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