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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 165

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
Obama And Putin Speak But Take Away Different Messages

Here is the White House's version of a phone call between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin:

President Obama spoke today with Russian President Putin about the situation in Ukraine and the bilateral relationship.  The President reiterated his deep concerns about Russia’s increased support for the separatists in Ukraine.  The President reinforced his preference for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the two leaders agreed to keep open their channels of communication.  The President also reiterated his concerns about Russia’s compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty.

Here is the Kremlin's version of the same conversation:

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Barack Obama on the American side’s initiative.

The two leaders exchanged views on developments in the Ukrainian crisis. Despite their significant differences in views on many fundamental issues, both sides stressed the urgency of an immediate and stable ceasefire in southeast Ukraine and the launch of a political process. In this regard, the two presidents gave a positive assessment of the consultations by a contact group held in Minsk and noted the importance of continuing talks in this format.

The two heads of state discussed many aspects of the relations between Russia and the US. The President of Russia described Washington’s actions to impose pressure through sanctions as counterproductive, causing serious damage to bilateral cooperation and international stability overall.

Both presidents agreed that the current state of affairs does not serve the interests of either state. In this context, the two leaders exchanged views on prospects for Russian-American dialogue.

It's interesting that the Russian version sounds far more conciliatory, as if there is far more common ground than the Washington version would suggest. Both statements ignore the concerns raised in the other statement, though they both agree that communications will not be cut between the two countries.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
The Tatars Are Again Oppressed, And Their Anger Is Palpable
Another must-watch report from Vice News.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Helicopters Holding Ground-Attack Exercises On The Border With Ukraine
On its own this would be a provocative move, but when one considers that we're also trying to locate videos which may show cross-border fighting and Russian tanks moving across the border in this region, this news should be setting off alarm bells.
The article says that the drills are being held in the Rostov and Stavropol territories, near the border of the Donetsk region in Ukraine. The video in the report may show the very helicopters which appear in the video in our previous update, or they may show that Russian helicopters are mobilized in multiple areas.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Has A Full-Scale Cross-Border War Already Started?

We have not yet geolocated this video, but here is what it shows:

Dated July 31st, a group of Ukrainian tanks, artillery, rocket launchers and support vehicles is firing into the distance. A Ukrainian flag clearly designates who these vehicles belong to.

But if one looks closely, one sees that there are also what appear to be smoke clouds rising up behind these vehicles -- clouds which look like they were caused by incoming shells. The video is only described as "paratroopers" attacking a checkpoint, presumably near the border.

We are working hard to locate this footage.

Then there is this video, which has somewhat similar terrain. It appears to show a forward operating base inside Russia. At one point, a Russian helicopter lands, marked with the familiar red star. In the video a large amount of tanks, armored vehicles, and support vehicles is visible, as well as a significant amount of helicopters.The video is simply described as "Russian troops near the Russian-Ukraine border."

Could this be a base, hastily set up near the border, and potentially the same one which is engaged in an artillery duel in the previous video?

In (potentially closely) related news, we have translated a report of Russian Grad rockets firing across the border:

Seventeen BM21 Grad volley fire systems aimed toward Ukraine have occupied equipped positions opposite Chernigov Region in a forest.

Russia is making active preparation of firing positions for shelling the territory of Ukraine. The Ukrainian State Border Service reported this Friday.

"On 31 July in the area of the settlement of Strativ in Starodubsky District of Bryansk Region (5 km from the border - opposite Chernigov Region), 17 BM21 Grad volley fire systems aimed toward Ukraine have occupied equipped positions in a forest," the press service statement said.

According to information from border guards, the presence of groups of Russian Armed Forces is increasing in other border regions as well.

Thus, in Donetsk in Rostov Region of Russia, the presence of servicemen from the 200th Separate Motorized Brigade has been detected, re-deployed from Murmansk Region.

In addition, according to border guards, Russia is continuing to violate the air space above Ukraine.  Four Russian Ka-52 battle helicopters violated the airspace of Ukraine in the area of the village of Krasnaya Talovka (Lugansk Region).

The report from Krasnaya Talovka is interesting, because that terrain closely matches the last video we posted. Note that at the end of that video there are Russian tanks crossing a river. There is a river on the border here, and parts of it are on Russian soil and other parts on Ukrainian land. While we have not definitively geolocated this video yet, it could be in this area (map).

Over the last 48 hours we've seen, and located, many videos like this one. This video claims to show more Russian armor headed to the border in the Rostov region. We have not, however, definitively located this video.


We know that Russian troops and armor are moving toward the border. Yesterday we definitively geolocated Russian armor only 2000 meters (and closing) from the border and a Buk only hours from the border. We also have significant evidence that Russia is openly militarily supporting the separatists and many experts now believe that Russia could militarily beat back the Ukrainian anti-terror operation. Ukrainian journalists are already reporting that at least some of this armor has already crossed the border.

That Russia has brought Ukraine to the edge of war is a point of view that is becoming more widely accepted in recent weeks. But evidence is growing that suggests that Russia and Ukraine are already, clearly and simply, engaged in a war -- but so far it seems that it's almost an entirely one-sided war.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Airborne Units Prepare To Expand Beyond The Borders

The commander of the Russian Airborne Troops, Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, has announced that his units are preparing to expand their operations beyond the boundaries of Russia (translated by The Interpreter):

"We plan further growth of our military potential both in the zone of the presence of our forces and beyond the borders of our state," said Shamanov.

He added that within the framework of the state defense purchasing order through 2025, the RF Airborne Troops will receive more than 1,500 new BMD-4ms paratrooper battle vehicles for their armament and also more than 2,500 Rakushka BTRs with various modifications.

"All of this in full volume will ensure the technical re-armament of the Airborne Troops by the end of 2025 and enable us to resolve tasks far beyond the borders of Russia," emphasized the general.

Of course the Russian airborne played a critical role in the conquering of Crimea, and there is new evidence, including airborne insignias on separatist tanks, that the Russian airborne is actively engaged in an operation in eastern Ukraine.

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