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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 228

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
Donetsk Burns As Russian-Backed Militia Assault International Airport
There are fires burning in Donetsk tonight as the fighting around the airport rages. LiveUAMap says that this video shows the result of shelling by the Russian-backed forces.
Because the videos are taken at night, we have not been able to verify the locations where they were taken.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Intercept Reveals How Separatist Leader Plans with Moscow Reporter to Spin the Story of ICRC Worker's Death

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry released an intercept of a conversation today between a separatist leader and Moscow journalist which casts doubt on the claims of Russian-backed separatist fighters that the Ukrainian military is responsible for shelling that killed a worker from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

A missile fired from outside the center of Donetsk landed on the ICRC headquarters at 80A Universiteskaya Street, killing a worker from Switzerland instantly.

In this video uploaded to YouTube by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry on October 3, titled "So-called DPR Falsifies Reason for Death of Red Cross Representative," war correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny of Russia's VGTRK (All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) seems to give instructions for how the Russian-backed separatist leaders from the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" could better spin the story of the killing of the ICRC worker.



The Ukrainian Interior Ministry says in a statement posted with the video that the tape illustrates how "DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko and DPR Defense Minister Kononov were conspiring with a Russian state TV correspondent, Yevgeny Poddubny" to "lead the international community astray and compromise the Ukrainian Armed Forces."

At 0:53, Zakharchenko says he is totally fed up with the Red Cross. He sounds bored and tired and says at 0:58 "Tomorrow we'll write some condolences and all the rest." At 1:01 he says (translation by The Interpreter):

We'll say how bad the Ukrainian military are, they don't know how to aim accurately. We'll show the Red Cross the shrapnel from the phosphorous bomb which supposedly, f**k, went right through their colleague.

Poddubny asks if the Ukrainians used a Uragan missile, and Zakharchenko replies:

"Well, they shot, well, a piece is lying there from that cluster crap, and they found phosphorus inside. So, tomorrow we'll show the whole world what they beat on Donetsk with."

Poddubny answers doubtfully that they should find some experts to provide more forensic analysis. "They should show the direction from which the shell came," he says.

Zakharchenko replies that the missile came from Avdeyevka, that is, a town to the north and north-east of the Donetsk airport, where the Ukrainian ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) has marked its positions. Poddubny persists, saying that experts could determine the size and direction of the crater and how the missile fell, which would bolster the case. Says Poddubny:

"Let's do this, so that we, well, accuse people for cause, and not falsely, yes, so that some analysis is made. That would be good."


The interchange establishes once again how much figures from Moscow try to direct the separatists native to the Donbass; in this case, a state media reporter.  Poddubny seems to be playing a role that is not covering the news, but helping to manufacture it for the sake of war propaganda. Zakharchenko seems bored and annoyed by the interchange and hastens to end the call.

The tape does not establish that the Russian-backed separatists were responsible for the shell that killed him, but indicates that they may be trying to spin the evidence so as to exonerate themselves.  

Zakharchenko was involved in a sensational news story this week when he was quoted as saying that dead bodies found in a mass grave outside of Donetsk were missing organs, which was used by Russian state media to claim that Ukrainians were involved in organ-trafficking.

Yet on the next day, Zakharchenko walked back his claims, and his vice premier also added clarifications to explain that they were talking about other graves of combatants, not civilians, who were missing intestines only because of shrapnel wounds.

Poddubny is the same reporter sent to report on the finding of the body of Andrei Stenin, and participated in the cover-up by state media of the fact that two other people killed in the car with Stenin were extreme nationalists from Russia's Popular Liberation Movement (NOD) who worked for Col. Igor Strelkov's news agency Icarpus.ru.


Avdeyevka.jpg

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian-Backed Fighters Storm the Airport

As we reported yesterday, Russian-backed rebels are continuing to shoot at Ukrainian positions at the airport from apartment buildings they have occupied in the area, and making sorties to the airport, taking over some areas.

Semyon Pegov, a reporter with LifeNews, a TV channel with close ties to Russia's security agencies, narrates the scene; a copy of the news broadcast was uploaded to YouTube.


The LifeNews war correspondent describes how a tank hides behind a building before scouts check the area and then fighters move in to take over a police building at the airport. The separatists are using a variety of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and also drive in on two T-72 tanks which are only available in Russia.

But while the rebels were huddled in the police building, Ukrainian forces unleashed artillery fire on them, wounding 10 and killing at least one. This evidently is the same or a similar incident that prompted separatist fighter Aleksandr Negrebetskik, formerly a city councilman from Zlatoust, to complain about the separatist commanders.

Pegov describes the fate of a separatist fighter nick-named "Yalta" from Crimea, who was killed 2 October in the airport battle; at 4:12 the fighters cry out his name as he brings wounded men out of the building, but then he is killed under fire from a BTR.

Artillery-Airport.jpg

 Ukrainian soldiers in a BTR.

Only the previous day, Pegov had featured Yalta in a report (at 4:37) where he jokingly sent greetings to his family, saying "Mama, everything's fine, I'm working as a cook in the cafeteria." Gesturing to the weapon on his back, he quipped "I don't know, the guys dressed me up like this because it's a holiday but everything's fine, I'm baking delicious pies."

Yalta.jpg
Yalta.

At 5:26, Pegov explains that the fighters are shooting with recoilless anti-tank rifles from atop a nearby building. Then the camera pans to other artillery deployed by the separatists.

Artillery-at-Airport.jpg

Artilleryman.

Pegov says that the separatists had proposed to Kiev that they could make a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian forces to leave the airport but they turned down the offer.

The Donetsk airport has been both a strategic and a symbolic area, Pegov explains, as both sides try to claim it to change the course of the war.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian-Backed Forces Attack In Donetsk As Russia Wants Ceasefire Continued

The Interpreter's Michael Weiss sums up today's diplomatic chatter:


According to RFE/RL, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone conversation that Russia wants the ceasefire maintained. Of course, while complaining about shelling of residential areas away from Donetsk airport which he says is the result of actions taken by the Ukrainian military (there is no evidence to back his claim) he made no mention of the militants' attack on Donetsk airport.

RFE/RL also reports that Lavrov calls the death of a Red Cross worker, killed in yesterday's shelling, "murder," and Lavrov is blaming the Ukrainian military for the incident, though it's not clear what evidence he used to come to this conclusion:

In a statement, the [Russian Foreign Ministry] described the killing of Swiss aid worker Laurent DuPasquier as "murder."

"The fire came from positions taken by Ukrainian forces," ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said in an accompanying video statement.

Despite increasing evidence that Russian military forces have been deployed in eastern Ukraine and are supporting the pro-Russian separatists there, Russia continues to deny that it has any forces on Ukrainian territory.

Russia's Foreign Ministry did not reveal how it had determined DuPasquier was killed by a shell fired from Ukrainian government-controlled territory.

Ukraine blames Russian-backed separatists for yesterday's shelling.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukrainian Currency, The Hryvnia, Levels Out As New Rules Roll Out

After a near free-fall, the Ukrainian hryvnia appears to be leveling out. Ukrainian News Agency reports:

The National Bank of Ukraine has upped the official hryvnia exchange rate, set for October 3 from 14:00 by 0.95 kopeck to 12.9405 UAH/USD, reads a statement made by the NBU.
On March 31, the NBU passed the resolution No. 180, having amended the procedure of calculation of the official hryvnia exchange rate from April 4.

Under the new order, the official hryvnia exchange rate is calculated as the weighted average rate for the business day at the interbank market.

The NBU plans to set and publish official hryvnia exchange rate every business day after 12:00.

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