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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 190

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
What Happened at the Minsk Talks?

President Vladimir Putin and President Petro Poroshenko met today within the framework of a summit meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union, to which the European Union was invited.

A photo of the group showed Ukraine in the middle, turned West, away from the East.

Minsk-Family-Photo.jpg

A bilateral meeting between the two leaders was cancelled.

1021501986.jpg The Reuters photo drew a lot of comments not only because of Putin's expression but the expression of Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of Kazakhstan.

The BBC set the scene in a story early today:

The meeting comes amid rising tension between the two countries over Ukraine's military campaign against pro-Russian separatists.

Ukraine said on Monday that its troops had captured 10 Russian servicemen in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied supporting the rebels.

More than 2,000 people have died in months of fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The two regions declared independence from Kiev following Russia's annexation of the southern Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March.

The US was not invited and stayed out of the talks.


The US sent 2,000 bullet-proof vests and some first-aid kits to the Ukrainian military in July.

The follow is a round-up of tweets which tell the story:

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukrainian CNSD Refutes Claims of Russian Incursion, But Confirms Russian Military Convoy at Gukovo
Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Council for National Security and Defense has refuted the claims we reported earlier by UNIAN that Russian forces have entered Ukrainian territory from Taganrog, Information Resistance reported, citing Ukrainska Pravda. But Lysenko has confirmed the Russian convoy at Gukovo.

Lysenko spoke on ICTV's program "Freedom of Speech". The Interpreter has a translation:

The information on the breakthrough of the [Russian] convoy from the direction of Taganrog does not correspond to reality. There is no such column. I talked with border guards literally an hour ago, and with the staff of the ATO [anti-terrorism operation] -- this convoy has not been established. No one has seen it.

However, there is information that in the area of Gukovo, which is Rostov Region, there really is a convoy consisting of approximately 100 military vehicles. These are tanks, BMPs and Grad systems, trucks with ammunition and transport of the personnel. This convoy has really been established, but it has not crossed the border into Ukraine. It is being observed.

Earlier we reported a Russian convoy filmed in the Ukrainian town of Sverdlovsk headed toward Lugansk, which we were able to geolocate.

We are also attempting to verify a video of another separatist convoy reported today in Donetsk. [Update: this is an older video of Vostok battalion taken some time ago.]


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Troops Taking Over Ukrainian Border Towns: Eye-Witnesses

UNIAN has published a report of a Russian military convoy with 30 tanks and 2 BTRs headed to Novoazovsk, where we have been reporting fighting in the last two days.

Dmitry Snegirev, head of Prava Sprava (Right from the Right), a civic group, has told UNIAN that local residents and members of his organization have eye-witness reports of another Russian convoy. About 21:00 local time, a convoy of about 100 military vehicles crossed through Russia's Gukovo checkpoint in Rostov Region into Ukraine. Apparently part of this convoy is now spotted headed toward Novoazovsk.

Ukrainian journalist Roman Bochkala reports on his Facebook page that Russian forces have invaded Ukraine from the direction of Taganrog. Border guards and fighters in volunteer battalions in the region are reporting as follows:

From the direction of Russia, 30 tanks, light-armored vehicles and troops have entered. They are 8 kilometers deep into Ukrainian territory. They control 6 border villages. In particular, Markino, Shcherbak, Roza Luxemburg. The occupiers are setting  up checkpoints, leaving 3 tanks and 2 BTRs at each one as well as a platoon of personnel and then advancing further. Shots can be heard in the suburbs of Novoazovsk.

Russian military are not hiding the signs of their presence in the seized territories. Right behind them from the territory of the Russian Federation have come representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic. They ask the local population to endure the "unstable situation" for a few days and promise that then "everything will be fine, we will have our own republic."

Ukrainian soldiers are forced to retreat under the pincer of artillery fire and also Grads. There are losses among the border guards and the fighters of the territorial defense battalions and also those who are severely wounded. Our fighters ask for back-up and heavy vehicles. Otherwise, they cannot hold Novoazovsk, they say. If they lose Novoazovsk, the road to Mariupol, according to them, will be open.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Intense Shelling Reported In Novoazovsk, Where Russia's 'Invasion' Was Reported Yesterday

As we've been reporting for two days, yesterday a Russian armored convoy reportedly crossed the border near Novoazovsk (map) and was headed towards Mariupol before it was stopped by the Ukrainian military. Earlier we also carried a report that Reuters spoke to residents who confirm the presence of Russian tanks, and Reuters reporters found impact craters from artillery shells which show that the shells likely came from the northeast -- from Russian territory.

Today reporters in Novoazovsk report that the area has been heavily shelled.

A video shows some of the aftermath, apparently damaging a hospital:

RT's "Ruptly" news service has also carried video of the shelling:
It matches video taken by others in the area:
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
'Little Green Men' Reported In Donetsk Village

Reuters reports that unidentified, heavily armed men in unmarked uniforms, with Russian accents, have appeared in the village of Kolosky, near the border in the Donetsk region.

Here is an excerpt from the report: 

The two witnesses who spoke to Reuters said the armed men did not have any insignia on their uniforms or vehicles that would explicitly identify them as Russian troops, but they said there were more subtle signs.

Dmitry Chistyukhin, a resident of Kolosky, said some of the men were trading their military-issue ready-to-eat meals with villagers for home-made preserved fruit and vegetables. He said the writing on the ration packs was Russian, not Ukrainian.

They had painted over identifying marks on their military vehicles with white circles, he added.

When residents approached their checkpoint and asked if they were allowed to travel on to the next village, called Komsomolske, the armed men asked, according to Chistyukhin: "Where's that?"

"The people at the new checkpoint, they were polite military men wearing green. Definitely not Ukrainian. They're definitely not from around here," he said.

'Polite green men' was the tongue-in-cheek term coined by many Russians to describe Russian soldiers, with identifying insignia removed, who arrived in Ukraine's Crimea region before Moscow annexed it in March.

Another witness, Alexei, who was in Kolosky on Monday, said that the armed men, when asked who they were, told residents only that they had come "to protect them".

That was an answer given by Russian military officers after they first seized state buildings in Crimea.

"It looks like direct invasion," said Alexei.

He said he and a friend counted what they said was 38 armored personnel carriers, 2 fuelling trucks and numerous military transport vehicles full of people in Kolosky and the immediate vicinity.

Heavy shelling around the village began as soon as the armored cars arrived, though Alexei said it was not clear who was doing the shelling.

Both said they first saw new military hardware on Sunday, which included anti-aircraft systems as well as artillery guns.

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