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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 191

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
Moscow 'Checking' Information on Soldiers' Deaths; Reinforcements Not Arrived in Ilovaisk

Here's a round-up of a number of reports on the Ukrainian battlefront:

The Russian government has been denying reports of Russian soldiers killed or captured in battle in Ukraine, but now presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov seems to be changing somewhat in tone. ITAR-TASS reports (translation by The Interpreter)

Without a doubt this information is likely being checked by the relevant ministries. It needs a detailed check before making any conclusions.

However, Peskov could not say whether the information was already being checked and in any event continued to say that reports of Russian soldiers active at the Ukrainian border "did not correspond to reality."

Semyon Semyonchenko, head of the Donbass Battalion, recovering from serious wounds in the hospital, has been filing reports from his Facebook page from the front.

Five hours ago:

Ilovaysk:  according to information from two sources, the commander of Dnipro Battalion and commander of Donbass Battalion, no help has yet arrived. Two Russian Federation tanks are driving around the city and firing at our guys. The guys are holding up well, exhaustion is taking its toll, but their combat spirit is high. There are three wounded men in Donbass Battalion.

It is impossible to listen to the brave speeches of generals and their press secretaries which have nothing in common with reality. It is impossible that they "forget" about the volunteers, therefore I urge people to support the guys and come out tomorrow to picket the General Staff at 10:00.

Some media have distorted my words that supposedly I confirmed that help arrived. That's not true. This information came from the top brass, but it was immediately clear it was premature to make conclusions with real, and not mythical (like the ATO speech-maker) soldiers and commanders. That's how it was.

The list of demands will be published in the morning and sent to the picket. I beg and plead you that we show ourselves to be civilized but firm Ukrainians and not brutal Moskalya [pejorative term for Russians]. We will get by without breaking glass, hanging generals from the chandeliers and other such pranks. We cannot be depicted as a bunch of marginals. You are our rear guard, we are your front and together we need each other. I will especially send to you to help about 10 men who are recuperating to maintain order, including by a belt to the rear end to any provocateurs. Together everything will work out for us. Thank you. Glory to Ukraine!

In contrast to the report by a Kommersant correspondent of orderly departures of Ukrainian troops from Novoazovsk, UNIAN reports late tonight Kiev time that 60 soldiers from the National Guard are missing in this area.

Two days ago, 60 soldiers from the National Guard disappeared along the road from Amvrosievka to Mariupol, TSN reported. Their relatives cannot get in touch with them. No one knows anything about the Herson Battalion of spetsnaz patrol service.

Relatives have been keeping watch by the bases and going to rallies to try to learn the fate of their loved ones.

Nothing is known at all. About the guys who were in Ilovaisk, there is nothing at all. Nothing on losses, whether alive or dead, nothing, the girlfriend of one of the Herson Battalion soldiers Polina Bulba complained.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Kommersant Reporter Describes Separatist Occupation of Novoazovsk

Ilya Barabanov, special correspondent for the Russian business newspaper Kommersantreports from Novoazovsk, after midnight tonight local time.

The Interpreter has provided a translation.

KMO_088198_54813_1_t218_215501.jpg

Novoazovsk. Photo by Sergei Grits/AP

Yesterday after a short artillery preparation, the forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic occupied virtually without a fight the strategically important town of Novoazovsk, 40 kilometers from Mariupol. Thus, the militiamen have come out on the Azov Sea.

Special correspondent Ilya Barabanov witnessed the occupation of the town and is convinced that the advance on the positions of the Ukrainian forces in the south is really on a wide scale now.


The artillery shelling of Novoazovsk began some time around 10:45 am. There were virtually no Ukrainian soldiers in town by that time. They had begun to leave it even the day before, as the northern and western suburbs came under fire. When we entered the town, we only encountered one BTR with the Ukrainian flag. The main forces, according to soldiers, had left Novoazovsk in organized fashion early that morning.

Shooting was going on right nearby, but the target this time was apparently the northern districts of the town.

"It's better to move to the hospital basement," some medics advised us as they passed by. "We have tea and Wi-Fi, and we'll all be safer there."

The shelling ended 40 minutes later, after which we decided to drive further, toward the Russian-Ukrainian border.

In the seaside village of Sedovo, to which refugees from three regions of Donetsk Region had been fleeing in recent weeks, where there were active clashes, they did not seem to notice the approaching war. The beaches were packed with people, two local residents were boiling some
ukha [fish soup] nearby and the lamp posts were covered with advertisements about rentals by the day for vacationers.

Two women from the village of Kirovsk, Krasnoliman District of Donetsk Region told us that they had come with their families to Sedovo four days earlier and ever since then had been waiting to cross the border.

"I have a daughter who only completed 11th grade, she was going to the institute in Rostov-on-Don, but there is shelling at home, so we had to leave," one of them said. "The DNR people seem to have left Kirovsk, but the army hasn't stopped the shelling."

From Sedovo to the border is less than 10 km through the villages of Obryv and Kholodnoye. In Obryv, there was the same peaceful life and working cafes and people on the beach. But we didn't manage to get to Kholodnoye. The road was blocked by some well-armed people in masks, without identifying insignia, with white arm bands. To the right of the highway, several vehicles could be glimpsed, on one of them the red flag of "Novorossiya" had been raised.

When we asked if we could pass through the checkpoint, one of the fighters shook his head and gestured silently without lowering his weapon that our car should turn back.

It turned out to be easier to get to the Novoazovsk checkpoint a few kilometers to the north. In just a few kilometers from the border -- on the turn to the Odessa-Novoazovsk highway -- our car was stopped by more motley people in camouflage, introducing themselves as "DNR militia." After checking our ID, they quickly let us through.

"Only be careful at the crossroads, it's going to get hot soon," one of them advised us.

Turning toward the border, we immediately bumped into a convoy of several tanks and trucks. The vehicles had started up and were loaded with people, and the same read Novorossiya flag was on the sides.

The man in charge at the checkpoint introduced himself as Aleksandr.

"The border is open, we're letting through everyone who wants, including refugees, in both directions," he said. "You, for example, would you like to go back home right now?"

According to him, fighters had occupied the border relatively recently, but he couldn't supply an exact date. Aleksandr forbid us to photograph the checkpoint and the positions. He left us his phone number in parting and urged us to return to Novoazovsk not by the direct route, but through Sedovo again.

We drove back to the city hospital in Novoazovsk.

"Colleagues from the villages occupied by the DNR called, and told us that a vehicle convoy is headed our way," the workers shared with us. "You had better think about the cellar, you can definitely sit through it here, but you might not reach Mariupol."

As it turned out, Ukrainian forces had left for the village of Bezymyannoye [Bezimenne], 20 km from Mariupol. When we drove out of Novoazovsk toward Mariupol, a tank was turning toward the western outskirts of the city with the same red flag on the side. The soldier sitting up on the tank waved his hand: "Go away." The city was virtually occupied without a fight.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
State Department Warns Russian Troops Have Pushed 30 Miles into Ukraine

The US Department of State has acknowledged that Russian troops have pushed as deep as 30 miles into Ukraine. The Associated Press reports:

"These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, referring to two rebel regions in eastern Ukraine. She also voiced concern about overnight deliveries of materiel in southeast Ukraine, where separatists on Wednesday entered a key town linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula it recently annexed...

Russian forces, she said, are being sent 30 miles inside Ukraine, without them or their families knowing where they are going. She cited reports of burials in Russia for those who've died in Ukraine and wounded Russian soldiers being treated in a St. Petersburg hospital. She said such actions show Russia isn't acting transparently.

Despite the critical rhetoric, Psaki didn't outline any immediate response.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Troops Threaten Mariupol and Volnovakha By Offensive in Novoazovsk
Russian troops are advancing on Mariupol and Volnovakha through Novoazovsk (map of the area).

Vladimimr Kochetkov-Sukach, former Azov fighter and now volunteer in the ATO zone, has spoken to TV channel 112 Ukraina, UNN reports.

The Interpreter
has provided a translation:

"We know that they have occupied one part of the city, virtually from the other side, across the river. Our units are located there. For now they are actively attacking the city. Shelling has been going on constantly, but there haven't been such active combat in the middle of town yet," he said.

He added that the situation is complicated by the fact that a large vehicle convoy is moving toward Volnovakha.

Now, according to him, there is talk of the possible surrounding of Novoazovsk, and Mariupol is awaiting a difficult situation in the future.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukrainian Government Announces Russia Has Invaded
A tweet sent from the official Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine:
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