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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Liveblog Day 153

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Putin Calls to 'Cease Bloodshed' and for 'Absolute Security' For ICAO Experts at Malaysian Crash Site
The Kremlin has released a statement by President Vladimir Putin from his resident at Novo Ogaryovo at 01:40 am July 21st.

The Interpreter has provided a translation:

In connection with the terrible tragic events which occurred in the sky above Donetsk, I would like once again to say how we in Russia regard the events that are going on today in Ukraine.

We have repeatedly called on all sides of the conflict to immediately cease bloodshed and sit down at the negotiation table. With confidence we can say that if the combat actions in the east of Ukraine had not been renewed on June 28, then this tragedy would not likely have happened.

Meanwhile, no one should, nor has the right to exploit this tragedy to achieve selfish political aims.  Such events should not divide but should united people. It is necessary that all people who have responsibility for the situation in the region increase their accountability both before their own people and the people of the countries whose representatives became victims of this catastrophe.

We must do everything to ensure the security of the work of international experts at the site of the tragedy. Today representatives of Donbass, Donetsk, the representatives of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry and experts from Malaysia are already working there. But that is not enough.

It is necessary that a full-fledged group of experts under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organization works at the site of the catastrophe. Everything must be done to ensure its full, absolute security and to ensure the necessary humanitarian corridors for its work.

For its part, Russia will do everything that depends on it so that the conflict in the east of Ukraine moves from today's military phase to the phase of discussion at the negotiation table by peaceful and exclusively diplomatic means.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Separatists Publish Expense Report - Night Vision Scope, Satellite Communications, and 'Humanitarian' Handcuffs

The VKontakte community "Strelkov's Dispatches," which has been publishing information from the pro-Russian separatists for months, has issued a report on purchases made "for the militia by Aleksandr Zhuchkovsky."

Supporters of the separatists said that after the fighters fled from Slavyansk, they bought more supplies for their movement, concentrating on a specific group of "Strelkovites" who had "heroically covered the retreat from Slavyansk with armored vehicles."

The items the rebels shopped for including everything from boots and knapsacks to a night vision scope and handcuffs for what they described as the "humanitarian" detention of prisoners of war.

 Regarding the most expensive item on their list -- a satellite communications system for 300,000 rubles or $8,500, they commented:

"We are not providing details or showing a photo in light of the risk of discovering the location via the model of the device."

Supporters say that after they published their last report of purchases, they raised about 1.750 million rubles or US $50,000 to add to the remainder of funds they had previously raised, and thus had the equivalent of some $63,500 in cash to buy gear, electronics, camouflage uniforms, boots, and other equipment for the Donbass fighters.

The Interpreter has translated the shopping list, with prices in rubles:

50 Walkie-talkies - 75,000
50 accessories for walkie-talkies - 25,000
Night vision sight - 30,000
Calimator reflex scopes - 75,000
4 Planks for scopes - 16,000
Binoculars - 10 - 80,000
3 Solar batteries - 21,000
5 GPS navigators - 40,000
Satellite communication - 300,000
6 Backpacks with unloaders - 31,200
4 camouflage uniforms - 8,000
10 camouflage coveralls - 15,000
7 pairs of boots - 14,7000
5 tactical belts - 2,800
7 holsters - 6,600
8 handles for AK 8s - 3,200
10 signal cartridges - 10,000
20 Handcuffs (for humane detention of war prisoners) - 16,000
25 helmets - 8,300
20 Sappers' shovels - 8,000
25 Chemical warfare suits - 75,000

About 120,000 rubles were spent on transportation of the freight and vehicle repair, and they also ordered 100 more walkie-talkies for 150,000 rubles and had some additional expenss for mobile communications, drivers, etc. of 50,000 rubles with 380,000 rubles left over.

The coordinator of the purchases supplied the numbers of accounts at Sberbank and Webmoney to send donations, and even published his email to use to send funds via Western Union.

In addition to their shopping expedition, supporters describe that they received donations of  camouflage outfits, 10 bullet-proof vests and 5 generators.

They also provided aid to a widow of a slain fighter and assistance in order to evacuate three families to Russia.

The knives weren't in the list, but a picture of them was included with the report.




The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukrainian Police Discover Mass Grave in Slavyansk

A mass grave has been found in the city of Slavyansk, recently re-taken by Ukrainian military as pro-Russian separatists fled, Information Resistance reported, citing the TV station

"In Slavyansk, I met with the group for the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department. They discovered a burial ground with civilians of Slavyansk who had been tortured to death. There were dozens of them. They were tortured, stabbed, and burned alive. Now there are witnesses to all of this," said Yury Lutsenko, advisor to the president on TSN.


In recent weeks there have been reports in Western media and by human rights watchdog Amnesty International of kidnappings, torture and disappearances in Slavyansk and other towns in southeastern Ukraine under control of pro-Russian separatists. Ukrainian forces have also been alleged to mistreat detainees.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
'This Is The Moment Of Truth For Russia' - But What About The World's Response?

US Secretary of State John Kerry had strong words for Russia today:

"This is the moment of truth for Russia," Kerry said. "Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists, and Russia has not yet done the things necessary in order to try to bring them under control."

In addition, he said the administration was hopeful that the shoot-down would galvanize support in Europe for increasing sanctions on Russia over its overall actions in Ukraine.

"We hope this is a wake-up call for some countries in Europe that have been reluctant to move," Kerry said, recalling that President Barack Obama had signed off on a new round of sanctions on Russia the day before the plane went down Thursday.

Regarding the Buk anti-aircraft system suspected of knocking Malaysian Flight MH17 out of the sky, Kerry said he knew who to blame:

"It's pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia into the hands of separatists," he said.

But inside these statements there may be a hidden clue about what the United States will do to punish Russia and stop its further aggression -- not much. The US keeps pointing toward Europe to lead the way in sanctions, and while there has been criticism of the US's weak response to this crisis, in some ways the US has been more heavy-handed than its European allies. So If Europe does nothing, the US may do nothing as well.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly said that she would like the international investigation to progress further before jumping to conclusions, but Kremlin-backed separatist gunmen, the very people who are accused of shooting down MH17, are the ones guarding the crash site. This sums it up nicely.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Separatists 'Recover' MH17 Black Boxes

The BBC reports:

Alexander Borodai said the devices had been taken to Donetsk, the biggest rebel-held city in the east.

NBC adds that there is confusion about the identity of the men seen carrying the black boxes (which are actually orange for visibility purposes):

It is not clear what happened to the black box. The crash site, in a contested area of eastern Ukraine, is under the control of pro-Russian separatists. The men in the video are wearing Ukrainian Emergency Ministry uniforms, but a senior Ukrainian official told a news conference Sunday that rebels had taken the black boxes. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said the search of the site was being complicated by the rebels. Bodies of some of the victims were seized at gunpoint by rebels and stored on a train. However, the militants' leader told NBC News the bodies were removed by rebels who were being "humane."

Both the government in Kiev and the separatist leaders appear to agree, however, that the separatists have the flight data recorders, though the separatist deny that they have moved the black boxes to Moscow.

Here is the video:

Audio recordings released by the Ukrainian government (and discussed in depth earlier on this liveblog) reportedly show that the separatists were working with Russian military intelligence to recover the flight data recorders and deliver them to Moscow.