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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 155

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
More Details on Zaporozhye Blast

More reports on the apparent explosion in Zaporozhye are appearing on Twitter.

Translation: Loud bang in Zaporozhye. People rushed out onto their balconies to look. It's feared that it's a terrorist attack.

Translation: Zaporozhye. Explosion occurred in the valley beneath LSU (near the 5th hospital). Law enforcement officers are already there. In my opinion, someone blew something up for fun.


Translation: Zaporozhye. Law enforcement officers are sweeping Victory Park and the valley between LSU and Embankment. They're looking for something and questioning someone. The tramps were probably joking around.

Translation: The windows of the heart surgery building have been smashed, there's also some sort of stomatology there.

Translation: The explosion was not in the building

Translation: Literally 30 metres from the Armenian church


Golos, a local news site, reported from the scene that the explosion had knocked out about a dozen windows in the nearby Armenian church.

They report that police are currently looking for a grey Samand car.

All translations by The Interpreter.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia 'Created The Conditions' For MH17 Disaster

Senior U.S. intelligence officials have given a briefing to the press where they say that, as far as the hard evidence goes, Russia "created the conditions" for the downing of MH17 by separatists, but there is no evidence yet that ties Russia directly to the shooting down of the airplane:

They said they didn't know if any Russians were present at the missile launch, and they wouldn't say that the missile crew was trained in Russia.

In essence, this report tells us very little. U.S. intelligence estimates have already been released saying that the missile responsible for downing the civilian passenger plane was fired by Russian-backed separatists, and evidence we've collected confirms this. And while there is a circumstantial case that the Buk came from Russia. and now there is a very strong and growing body of evidence that it fled back to Russia, there never has been any evidence to suggest that Russia worked directly to shoot down this aircraft.



But if you've been paying attention this is what we have said, and what the evidence has proven, all along. First separatists took credit for the shooting down of a military transport plane, then when they learned that it was a civilian airliner they stepped back their claims.

As for the claims that the crew who shot the missile were from Russia, there is no direct evidence of this claim. But there is still a strong circumstantial case, since these weapons are so highly sophisticated and they appear to have fled back to Russia after they were fired.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Explosion Reported In Zaporozhye, Southeastern Ukraine
Locals are reporting that an explosion has rocked Zaporozhye just moments ago. A live video feed reportedly shows smoke rising from the town (this tweet is a screenshot from that feed):

Some reports are that this smoke is coming from the Regional State Administration Building. The majority of the tweets appear to say that this is a hospital or medical building on fire. But all reports are unconfirmed. 

This is a developing story.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Several News Agencies Report That The Buk Was Sighted By Residents Near MH17 Crash Site

In our last comprehensive evidence review we noted that both AP journalists and a Ukrainian journalist saw the Buk missile system in Snezhnoye around the time of the shooting down of flight MH17. Video places a Buk in Snezhnoye , and a photo also places a Buk missile launcher in Torez.

Well Buzzfeed reporters visited Torez, confirmed that the picture we say is Torez in fact is Torez, and spoke to residents who say that they saw a Buk:

BuzzFeed visited the site where a photo was taken purportedly showing the launcher, which Ukraine says was a Buk S-11 surface-to-air complex, driving through Torez around lunchtime on the day of the attack. The photo purportedly shows it being driven past the filling area at a gas station on the town’s main street across from the hardware store. The road was ridden with tire treads from heavy equipment.

Several locals said that the launcher had driven down Gagarina street, one of the town’s main thoroughfares, towards the town of Snizhne, near where Ukraine and the U.S. say the missile was fired. Though convoys of heavy equipment have become a regular sight in Torez since the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the government in Kiev started in April, workers in one store said that the one that passed through last Thursday was much louder than ones they had seen before.

The locals all asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal from the rebels, who control the town. Many of the residents BuzzFeed spoke to denied knowing anything about the launcher or claimed that it had never passed through the town.

But Buzzfeed confirmed an even more interesting piece of information. Perhaps the most controversial picture released by the Ukrainian government reportedly shows the smoke trail from a missile leaving Snezhnoye. Buzzfeed reports that they found the site where the picture was taken, overlooking a field in the nearby town of Pervomaiske.

BswldgYIUAAV7A_.jpg

The smoking gun? Read the entire report here.

The Guardian also spoke to residents of the area who saw the Buk on Thursday:

"We were inside and heard a noise much louder than usual," said one shopkeeper, who did not want to be identified. "We came running out and saw a jeep disappearing into the distance with something much larger in front of it. Later, customers said it had been a missile carrier."

In another shop further down the street, there was talk of a convoy of two jeeps and a missile launcher covered in a net driving past in the direction of the town of Snizhne. "I've never seen anything like it," said a middle-aged woman. She said her husband showed her a photograph of a Buk launcher afterwards and she realised that was indeed what she had seen. A group of men also said they had seen a Buk.

There have been suggestions that the missile was fired from fields on the outskirts of Snizhne. Many in Torez did not want to speak about the Buk or claimed not to have heard anything about it. Others said the missile's journey through the town had been a talking point in recent days, but people were scared of divulging too much to outsiders. None of those who reported sightings of the Buk wanted their names published.



The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Geolocated Video Shows Buk Moving From MH17 Crash Site Towards Russia

On Friday the Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov released this video which, according to the Ukrainian government, showed a Buk missile launcher moving away from the crash site, through Krasnadon and on to the Russian border. We have provided a partial translation of Avakov's Facebook post:

Today, 18 July at 4:40 am a trailer loaded with a caterpillar missile system was recorded by the clandestine surveillance divisions of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, heading in the direction through Krasnodon, toward the Russian Federation border.

There was considerable debate about where this video was taken, which we have covered fairly in depth here. That debate, however, may now be over. For many hours we've been analyzing a claim that this video was taken in Lugansk (at this intersection), on a road roughly parallel to the main highway which would lead from the crash site towards Krasnadon and potentially on to Russia. (Update: Interior Minister Avakov posted the coordinates of the video on his Facebook page on July 22.)

In particular we've been comparing that video to a video reportedly taken on July 2nd which appears to show a convoy of vehicles moving through the same intersection. The news report at the time said that this was a convoy belonging to the Lugansk People's Republic. However, we'd note that between July 2nd and 3rd we reported on several rebel convoys that reportedly moved new equipment, including tanks and a Strela-10 anti-aircraft missile system, between the Russian border and Lugansk.

Could the Buk be making the reverse trip three weeks later? The angles are convincing. The Interpreter has contacted the company that operates these billboards, and has analyzed the position of each billboard across the country. Our staff has spent many hours looking for an alternative location where this video released by Avakov could have been taken. We have found none.

Today we've uncovered a few more pictures of this intersection in Lugansk which are compelling. Here is one camera angle from the area apparently taken from a web-camera:

Sz9nRPZ.jpg

But here is the most compelling picture yet. We did not see the original before, but the blogger for Ukraine At War has tweeted (but not made) a composite of several pictures of the intersection with the video. (Update: it was made by craw1er and posted on a Russian LiveJournal discussion.)

As you can see there are many similarities. Having analyzed this claim, we now believe that this is, in fact, the location of the Buk, which appears to be missing 1 or 2 missiles, and appears to be headed east, very possibly back towards Russia:

We're not sure who the original author of that photo is, but we can now confirm that this location is where the Buk was spotted, headed east toward Russia.

See our interactive map here to see the potential evacuation routes for the Buk missile system(s).

escape-route-620x608.png

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