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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 163

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
Separatist Convoy Reported In Makeyevka
This video reportedly shows a separatist convoy on the move just west of Donetsk, in Makeyevka. While we have not yet geolocated the video, the convoy looks very familiar -- BMPs towing artillery and anti-aircraft guns, and the easy-to-spot yellow bus carrying fighters.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
More Heavy Fighting Reported in Shakhtyorsk
Earlier we reported on the important of the battle for Shakhtyorsk. Now we have recent reports of fighting there today:

The rebel in that last video says that the mortar is a gift from  Ekaterina Gubareva, wife of Pavel Gubarev, the self-appointed governor of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. Each mortar is labeled for a battle that they lost or their cause. They shout that these are "hot presents... for Slavyansk... for Novorossiya," etc. On one of the mortars it is written "from Kashin," though it's unclear what that means (perhaps 'Andrei's' last name?).

Below is a translation by The Interpreter.

"A real Russian patriot, 'Andrei,' transferred to the account of Ekaterina Gubareva, substantial financial aid for the militia of the Donbass. And he asked for a personal request, to 'burn the fascists, with labelled mortars". We're fulfilling your request [points to missiles labelled with names]. Here are these hot presents from patriot Andrei. Soon they will reach their appointed targets and we will be closer to victory. Novorossiya will exist!

We will win together! For Novorossiya!"

The video appears to have been taken in the stadium in Shakhtyorsk (map).

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Opposing Accounts of Bus Shot with Refugee Children, 1 Killed

Yesterday July 29, Ukrainian media sources reported that a bus ferrying children from Donbass orphanages fleeing armed conflict in the region came under gunfire. One child was killed and 11 were injured, ukrinform.ua reported.

There is now a correction to this account, but also conflicting reports that not separatists, but Ukrainian forces could have fired on the bus. And there is yet another intercept supplied by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) purporting to catch a separatist fighter admitting that his fellow rebels shot at the convoy as it broke through a separatist checkpoint.

We are continuing to research the story.

The pro-Kiev Information Resistance Group originally said the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" had organized a convoy of 60 children from Donetsk to Mariupol, and separatists fired on it. It then corrected the report as follows on Facebook:

"We had very much wanted to be mistaken but to our deep regret the IR report regarding the shooting by the DPR terrorists of the bus with civilians and the killing of a child is confirmed.

Our sources only made one inaccuracy, in that the convoy was not of orphans from orphanages brought out of Donetsk (the convoy with these children was shelled by [separatist] fighters, but fortunately got through without casualties). The tragic incident with the shelling of the bus and death of the child about which we reported took place yesterday during the evacuation of refugee children, whose parents tried to take them out of Donbass privately."


Earlier, Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Council on National Security and Defense, said separatists did not allow the children to be evacuated by authorities and took them in the bus themselves.

But Russian state media claimed that Ukrainian forces had fired on the bus, based on a report from Konstantin Krynik, head of the South-Eastern Front information center:

“As a result of the firing, a 3-year old kid and around 12 passengers suffered gunshot wounds."


"Strelkov's Dispatches", a pro-separatist community on the Russian social media site VKontakte, had a detailed report on the incident based on a LifeNews broadcast.

They cited a police source in Torez who said the shooting occurred in DPR-held territory in Rassypnoye on Belova Street. Eight children were taken to a hospital in Torez, and four to Snezhnoye.

The father of the 3-year-old child killed, who gave his name as Valery S., said the bus was shot at by Ukrainian soldiers, and that residents of Gorlovka had been shelled from ambush before that:

"The shelling, as far as I understand, was from both sides of the road, from the woods," he added. "I didn't see people, I only saw shells. When we were traveling, a tripwire went off, a grenade exploded, there was an ambush. Then no one was shooting any longer. We broke through ahead. The firing stopped. Someone was wounded. Then the ambulance came."


He said the convoy was made up of two minibuses and two passenger cars and was headed toward Rostov Region in Russia.

"When they began shooting, I shouted, 'Children!'" the father of the dead child recalled in horror. "It's possible that is why the shooting stopped. I lost my son. My wife and 10-year-old daughter are severely wounded."


Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), uploaded a video 30 July purporting to be an intercept of two separatist fighters talking about this incident, one nick-named Dublyor ("Understudy") and the other unnamed.

We have not been able to verify the video and do not recognize the voices.



Fighter: Dublyor [Understudy]!
Dublyor: What's up with the Commander? [Igor Girkin or "Strelkov"]
Fighter: He's sleeping, in general, over there.
Dublyor: I get it, well, I'll report, and you can report to him. Alright, don't wake him up. It's already happened already anyway.

In the area of Torez from the direction of Yablonivka, four cars slipped through at night, shit...do you get it? With their emergency lights on.

Fighter: Uh-huh.

Dublyor: And they flew through without stopping, long story short, shit.

Fighter: Uh-huh.

Dublyor: They flew through in the area of Petropavlovsky. Well, and shit, our guys were stationed there. There's that checkpoint there, shit. They opened fire all over f**king shit...Do you get it?

Fighter: Uh-huh.

Dublyor: In short it turned out that it was from Gorlovka...They were bringing out children, and some others...long story short, shit. One child was killed, shit, 10 were wounded. So...shit, you get the situation.

Fighter: I understand you. I..understand you, sort of.

Dublyor: You understand, if we had been told that a convoy was coming. "Guys, please, help us, let them there." Then there'd be no problem. But, shit, they flew through...

Fighter: Well, at any rate, I believe, they should have driven up, stopped, and said what they were about.

Dublyor: Well, of course. You see, four cars come flying through, from where the Ukes were coming, shit, and they flew through with their emergency lights on, we know that they drive with their emergency lights on and go around in Russian uniforms! That is, they go around in our uniforms. And what should be done next? So, long story short, it's fucked.

Fighter: I realize. Well, that's it...sort of...since it's already all happened...Tomorrow then...

Dublyor: Oh, don't get him upset. Let him sleep. Tomorrow then.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
EU Passes New Sanctions Targeting Putin's Friends

RFE/RL reports that the EU has passed new sanctions -- mostly on Putin's acquaintances and officials, but also on three companies:

The list includes three longtime acquaintances of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first deputy chief of staff of the Russian presidential administration, two officials in the self-declared governments of separatist-held territories of eastern Ukraine, a pro-Kremlin official in the Crimea area, illegally annexed by Russian in March, and a person linked to separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Three business entities were also on the sanctions list -- the joint stock concern Almaz-Antey Defense Corporation; Dobrolet, a subsidiary of a Russian state-owned airline; and the Russian National Commercial Bank.

The Russian National Commercial Bank was the first Russian bank to enter Crimea after the region's annexation earlier this year.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
The Battle For Shakhtyorsk - Supported By Russian Armor And Artillery

In the leaked audio from the separatist commander Igor Strelkov (translated in a previous update below) the militia members are discussing the town of Shakhtyorsk (here on our interactive map). The town is critical for several reasons. First and foremost, it is on the road that links the self-declared 'Donetsk People's Republic' (DPR) to the west with the self-declared 'Lugansk People's Republic' (LPR) to the east. That also means it is one of the key roads linking the DPR to Russia, which is critical for the DPR's supply lines.

The second reason Shakhtyorsk is important is because it is near the MH17 crash site and the towns to the east in which the Buk missile which took down MH17 was spotted. And that's not a coincidence. The Buk was in this area because these towns are so vital to the Russian-backed insurgents. But this also means that the town has become one of the primary goals for both the separatists and the Ukrainian military, and so the fighting is halting the investigation into the downing of flight MH17.

How important is this town to the separatists? Three days ago a large convoy was spotted moving toward the town. The video of the convoy is labelled "troops from Russia." The convoy consists of a large group of heavy armor -- mostly BMPs, towed artillery and anti-aircraft guns, troops transports... and two Strela-10 advanced anti-aircraft systems. All of the vehicles have uniform paint configurations, but those paint configurations don't match the Ukrainian military's. These weapons very likely came from Russia. 

Another video reportedly shows DPR convoys moving into the town on July 28th. This convoy is complete with what appear to be T-64 tanks.
The separatists will stop at nothing to hold Shakhtyorsk and so it's no surprise that Russia is willing to supply the separatists with heavy firepower to defend it. But the claim that Russian artillery is supporting this effort is deeply alarming as this town is nearly 40 kilometers from the border. Is this why Russia may be moving GRAD rockets across the border and deeper into Ukrainian territory?
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