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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 164

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 Leaders Fear Blame for Possible Chemical Plant Mishap; Ukrainian Defense Minister Says Rebels Mined

Col. Igor Strelkov, commander of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DPR) militia, and Vladimir Antyufeyev, recently installed in Donetsk as "Acting Commander-in-Chief" held a 9-minute press conference today for an "emergency announcement," Pravda TV and other pro-separatist media reported.

Their purpose was to deny any direct connection to Moscow, deny their involvement in the downing of MH17, and also to warn that Ukrainian forces may stage an accident at a chemical plant near an area of armed conflict now, and pin it on the separatists.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey warned that separatists had already mined the Gorlovka (Horlivka) plant and he feared an accident "on a continental scale," Information Resistance and Euromaidan reported.

Antyufeyev called Strelkov "the Minister of Defense," so he retains that title but his own title was not confirmed.

He outlined four main points. The Interpreter has provided a translation:

"1. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has never called me. And I have never met with him.
2. Neither I, nor my comrades-at-arms are officers of the FSB [Federal Security Service].
3. The Boeing [MH17] was not shot down by representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic or Russia.
4. Neither I or Igor Ivanovich [Strelkov] know anyone from the administration of the Russian Federation and have never met them."


"We are counting precisely on help from Russia. And it is being provided, significantly, politically," he explained, without elaborating whether Russia is supplying military assistance or personnel.

Antyufeyev did not mention the GRU [Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry] -- and it is the GRU where Strelkov was believed to work. He says that the DPR's own military intelligence has informed him that the Ukrainian intelligence is "preparing a major provocation" whose purpose is to declare the DPR a terrorist organization, to label us terrorists destroying the civilian population."

Then Strelkov proceeded to spend the rest of the press conference complaining that the Ukrainians are pinning atrocities on them, and blamed the Ukrainian forces for killing civilians and even using chemical weapons. No evidence was supplied, although he claimed to have made "expert technical assessments."

Strelkov said that Tochka-U tactical ballistic missiles are being prepared for launch by the Ukrainian army, and that Kiev "will claim that militia are preparing terrorist acts, using chemicals at the ammonia plant in Gorlovka."

The Stirol plant in Gorlovka, part of OSTCHEM holding AG, was already the site of a deadly leak a year ago where six people were killed.

Now, says Strelkov, Ukrainian forces may engineer an accident that they will blame on the separatists -- which is why they wanted to make a statement today reiterating "that we will never commit any terrorism." If a major accident occurred, "tens of thousands" of people could die, said Strelkov.

The separatist leaders quickly exited the press conference without taking any questions, and referred reporters "to the Ukrainians."

We have no confirmation of any of these allegations.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Armor Documented Only 2000 Meters From Ukraine
This video, uploaded today, reportedly shows Russian armored vehicles moving in the direction of the border. We have verified the location -- these vehicles are moving north, and are less than 2000 meters from the border.

This is yet more evidence that Russia is not just sending armor to the border but over it.

While searching for videos today we've also found this video, which shows Russian armor headed south toward the border near Belgorod.

We now have significant evidence of Russian armor moving toward the Ukrainian border today and yesterday, evidence that a Russian Buk system was moving toward the border last night, and reports that this evening Russian convoys have actually crossed into Ukraine.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Military Convoy Reportedly Crosses Border Into Ukraine in Lugansk Region

Roman Burko, a Ukrainian journalist, has posted the following report on his Facebook page today, 7 hours ago, in which he reports that Russian tanks have crossed the border near Sukhodolsk, near Krasnadon (translated by The Interpreter):

ANOTHER column of armored vehicles from the Russian Federation (passed through Sukhodolsk, ul. Shosseynaya).

Early this morning 31 July 2014 a large column of armored vehicles passed through SUKHODOLSK (about 50 vehicles - this is without exaggerations). As our local sources say "Such a thing has never happened even once before, there have been columns that have passed through before, but far fewer in number."

Judging from this, we can already say that the Russian Federation without declaration of war has brought its forces into Ukraine. In our previous dispatches we warned about the urgent need to close the border of Krasnodon region and adjacent villages. This must be done not only in the area of the Izvarino checkpoint, where OSCE representatives are located, but in the villages of Parkhomenko, Popovka and especially in Severny [HERE on the map - The Interpreter].

We not only wrest back control over the highway through the village of Novosvetlovka and Novoannovka (before Lugansk) but reliably reinforce ourselves at that location. A simply checkpoint of the Ukrainian Army/National Guard cannot help against such large columns. This is already long since become not an ATO [anti-terror operation] but an undeclared war.

Local residents express bewilderment and sharply criticize the security leadership. For a greater understanding of the situation, we will cite the direct quotes of one of the local residents, who has been observing the flow of vehicles daily from the RF:

"There is such an impression that the military brass are interested in a prolonged battle, if for the third month they are not trying to close this source (note -- Sukhodolsk, Severny, Popovka, Parkhomenko are *daily* passages for vehicles from Russia!) This is an inexhaustible flow of reinforcements for the terrorists! How to get in touch, to shout loud enough for the top brass to hear?! You can't reach them on the telephone numbers put on their web sites -- they are bugged. People write and warn them, but there is 'zero' reaction from the ministers and the president, likely they aren't getting reports about such breaches [in the border], they are afraid of losing their seats, but the guys are getting killed! And then they will be surprised, from where the tanks, BTRs, Grads, Akatiays and vehicles with mortars and mercenaries will come through again?!"

We must emphasize immediately that this is far from the only report on vehicles passing through today, exactly with 50 items, in this region. Furthermore, there is information that this column is preparing to attack the ATO forces...

This information could match our own reports earlier today which showed large columns of Russian armor headed from Russia toward the Ukrainian border.

Meanwhile, Alfa News reports that Russian troops are shelling Ukraine from a brand new area, and more GRAD rockets and Ural trucks crossed the border last night (translated by The Interpreter):

In a wooded location close to the village of Kozino in Kursk Region of the Russian Federation, Russians were preparing firing positions to shell the territories of Ukraine.

Two kilometers from the border line with Sumsk Region, information signs with the words "Firing Line" were noted in news dispatches.

Near the Russian village of Shramko, 25 meters from the borders, positions have been created for 8 paratrooper military vehicles. In the area of the village of Seleznyovo, 50 meters from the border, there are platoon com
manders of the RF Air Force groups with armored vehicles. On the outskirts of the village of Podol-Gora, 7 km from the border, an army camp has been set up.

The Ukrainian Council for National Security and Defense (CNSD) has stated that Russia is continuing to supply terrorists with heavy armored vehicles and armaments. According to surveillance reports, on the evening of 30 July 7 Grad systems and 11 Ural automobiles passed through from the [Russian] city of Donetsk in Rostov Region to Lugansk Region.

As a result of shelling of Ukrainian border guards in the area of the village of Vasilyevka on the night of 31 July, 3 soldiers were killed, and 11 were wounded.

Kozin is actually far northwest of Kharkiv, not near the self-declared Donetsk or Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR respectively), roughly here on the map.

We're working to confirm these stories, and must stress that they are still unconfirmed, but Roman Burko is a respected journalist. Russia could be invading Ukraine with new armor at this very moment.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Separatist Ambushes Near MH17 Crash Site Destroy Ukraine Convoys And Civilian Vehicles
Yesterday we explained just why the road between Torez and Shakhtyorsk is so important to separatists because it is the main road between the DPR and the LPR and it is the DPR's fastest route (and perhaps only remaining route) to Russia. Today, separatists, reportedly using GRAD rockets and other heavy weaponry, ambushed Ukrainian convoys in both locations. This is the damage:
...and Shakhtyorsk:
These ambushes occur on a day when Ukraine says it has begun a one-day humanitarian ceasefire, but the separatists have repeatedly broken it.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Buk In Russia Has Similar Markings as Rebel Buk, Different from Ukraine's
Picking up on our last tweet, Eliot Higgins notices that the Buk spotted in Donetsk on July 17th, which we believe was on its way to the area where MH17 was shot down, has similar markings as the one in the new video which shows a Buk in Russia. It does not, however, match a Ukrainian Buk spotted in April.
Is this proof that the weapon in Donetsk was also part of the Russian military?
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