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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine LiveBlog Day 229

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
OSCE Combats Misuse of Its Emblem, Cars and Name in Ukraine

The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has been struggling with misuse of its emblem, cars, and name in a number of incidents in Ukraine.

In its October 2 report published October 3, the OSCE SMM said a Russian officer had been caught in unauthorized use of its emblem:

Upon arriving at the “Joint Coordination Center for Ceasefire Monitoring” in Soledar, the SMM noticed that one military officer from the Russian Federation was wearing an OSCE patch on his uniform as well as carrying an ID card with the OSCE logo. The SMM  made the necessary demarches in response to this unauthorized use of OSCE insignia.

Bloggers also snapped some pictures of uniformed Russian personnel climbing into an OSCE vehicle in Donetsk:

OSCE then discovered the report was true and issued a statement:

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMMU) acknowledges that a breach of its own internal security regulations occurred in early September 2014 in Donetsk city involving one of our vehicles. The SMMU regrets the incident where two uniformed individuals boarded our vehicle. We have also undertaken all measures to prevent such a regrettable incident from occurring again.

As can be seen from numerous comments, Ukraine-watchers had a lot of questions as to how Russian officers could gain keys to the OSCE vehicle.

OSCE is made up of 57 member states, and member states second staff to monitoring missions.

A fact sheet on the mission says there currently there are 250 members from 40 countries. There are no uniformed military personnel in the mission.

The current OSCE chair-in-office is Switzerland, which can choose the leadership of the mission and the staff. OSCE uses "geographical distribution" to staff in its offices and missions from all OSCE members. In this case, the fact that military personnel got into the cars is at issue.

In another incident involving false claims about a mass grave with 9 bodies which OSCE had observed outside of Donetsk -- disinformation that continues to spread -- the OSCE mission was forced to issue a disassociation from the pro-Russian Latvian activist involved:

Kazakh Amb. Madina Jarbusynova who currently holds the OSCE mandate of representative on human trafficking, also helped reinforce this Russian disinformation campaign on Ukrainian TV. Instead of explaining that the OSCE mission had disavowed Graudins and that there was no basis to his claims, Jarbusynova implied further investigation was required.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
SBU Intercept of Russian-Backed Separatist Conversation about Killing of ICRC Worker

Here is our translation of the full transcript of the intercept by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) of the conversation about the shelling of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in Donetsk, which led to the death of one worker.

(See also our analysis in our past Liveblog entry,  Intercept Reveals How Separatist Leader Plans with Moscow Reporter to Spin the Story of ICRC Worker's Death.)

Yevgeny Poddubny, a war correspondent for Russian's VGTRK (All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) speaks with Vladimir Kononov, the defense minister of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the DPR prime minister.

Poddubny:  Yes, Volodya.
Kononov:  Hello. I'll give the phone now to Aleksandr Vladimirovich. Zakharchenko, he will tell you about this Swiss.
Poddubny:  Uh-huh, uh-huh. Go ahead.
Zakharchenko: Hello.
Poddubny: Greetings.
Zakharchenko:    How are you. Well, this Red Cross man is a Swiss.
Poddubny: Uh-huh. Born 1976. And what was he doing there?
Zakharchenko:   [To another person in the room]: It's open to everyone.       Well, that I don't know, I don't know what he was doing, but I'm sick and tired of the Red Cross.
Poddubny: Hmmm. I understand.
Zakharchenko:  Tomorrow we'll write the condolences and all the rest.
Poddubny:  I understand.
Zakharchenko: We'll say how bad the Ukrainian military are, they don't know how to shoot straight. We'll show the Red Cross the fragment of the white phosphorus bomb which, f**k, supposedly shot right through that guy, their employee.
Poddubny: Hmmm. But they use Uragans, yes?
Zakharchenko: Well, they shot, well, a piece is laying there from that cluster crap, in short, and they found phosphorus inside. So, tomorrow we will show the whole world what they beat on Donetsk with.
Poddubny: I understand. You should somehow show the direction from where they are striking, well, some expert examination.
Zakharchenko:  Yes, they were from Avdeyevka, they struck.
Poddubny: Well, I understand, but it's just that experts would find from the nature of the craters and the...hmm...striking of the shells. They would prove that this was shelling from Avdeyevka. Is there such a person, some sort of experienced artillery man?
Zakharchenko: There is.
Poddubny: Let's do this, so that we,  well...accuse people for cause, not falsely, yes? So that some analysis is done. That will be good.
Zakharchenko: Well, okay. All right, Zheka [Yevgeny], talk to you later, then.
Poddubny: Okay, thanks a lot.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
ICRC Suspends Operations in Donetsk; Shelling Stops OSCE Observation of Site

The International Committee for the Red Cross announced today that it is suspending operations in Donetsk for a time due to the killing of their employee in Donetsk, reported:

"We have suspended operations for a few days, because now the most important things for us are, first of all, ensuring the safety of our employees in Donetsk, and, secondly, to deliver the body of our worker (Laurent DuPasquier, 38) to his family in Switzerland,” Alina Murzaeva, ICRC’s press secretary in Ukraine, told RIA Novosti news agency. 

Yesterday October 3, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission went to the site where DuPasquier was killed by a missile but were unable to complete their observation, according to today's report:

In Donetsk city and its surroundings the overall security situation remained tense. The SMM heard shelling, though at a lower intensity than the previous day, concentrated in the northern part of the city. The SMM visited the site where an International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) staff member was killed the day before as a result of shelling (See Spot Report 2 October). Whilst visiting the area, the SMM heard an explosion consistent with an unspecified incoming shelling about 200m from its position. It was a single explosion, presumably from a large calibre mortar. Due to security concerns, the SMM left the area.

The OSCE mission reported earlier on October 3:

In Donetsk heavy shelling occurred intermittently during the day and until dusk in the northern part of the city. At approximately 18:00hrs, the SMM heard a quick succession of five incoming rounds, which caused unusually powerful explosions. An international staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) died during the shelling (see SMM Spot Report 3 October). The SMM facilitated the evacuation of the deceased by ambulance.

The Spot Report for October 2 provides more detail:

From 17:15 to 18:00hrs, on 2 October, at intervals of every fifteen minutes, the SMM heard very loud explosions somewhere in the north of Donetsk city. At around 18:00hrs, the SMM heard a quick succession of five incoming rounds, which it assessed to have been Uragan rockets, again in the north of the city.

Fifteen minutes later the head of the local branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Donetsk, calling on the phone from Kyiv, told the SMM that the ICRC office in Donetsk city had just been shelled and one staff member had been killed. 

At 18:30hrs, the Emergency Services of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) called the SMM, confirming that they had arrived at the ICRC office – located 2.7km north-west of the city centre – and had found a corpse. According to the Emergency Services, the ‘DPR” police – also at the scene – having discovered identification papers that identified the deceased as a Swiss national.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Military Convoy in Occupied Crimea Near Ukrainian Border

Following up on reports of the Russian military convoy in Russian-occupied Crimea, there is a video uploaded to YouTube October 2 titled "CRIMEA, convoy of Russian military vehicles once again has gone toward the Ukrainian-Crimean border, AR Crimea, Krasnoperekopsk." The video has not previously appeared in Google image search.

The convoy is about 20 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

The video is geolocated to the Krasnoperekopsk bus station area here on Google Maps.


Here's a picture by Oleg Okorokov from Google Street View of the green Kabluchok store and the bus station.


The Kabluchok store is at 0:20:


At 1:43 is the bus station sign:


The large convoy has Russian and Russian Navy flags.



This might be related to a report about Russian military vehicles near the Ukrainian border, but the positions marked are different than the video and we have not located the source.


The video was moved to "private" and unfortunately we do not have a copy, and only had the screenshots shown here.

Separately, we have found a report on Facebook describing an eye-witness of the same convoy:

The Interpreter's translation:

Good day. I don't know where to write so I'll write here. I was just speaking with a friend from Crimea (Krasnoperekopsk). This morning, there was a huuuuge convoy of military armor under the FLAGS OF NOVOROSSIYA!!! heading toward the "border." Unfortunately, there is no photo, but the people are reliable. Guys from Donbass reading this, take note, please!

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Armor Headed Toward Ukrainian Border

A Russian military convoy has been spotted on the M3 highway in Rostov Region heading in the direction of the Ukrainian border.

A video has been uploaded today October 4 to YouTube with the title, "Convoy of vehicles. Rostov-Taganrog Highway 4/10/2014."

At 0:20 a sign can be seen that says "Priyut 18 km." This is the turn-off for the road to Priyut.


That would put the geolocation of the car following the convoy here on Google Maps.


This position is approximately 80 km from the border of Ukraine. If past practice is any indicator, e.g. Russian incursions into Ukraine in July, the Russian convoy could be headed toward Novoazovsk, the town on the road to Mariupol. Of course, the convoy could also remain in Rostov. The vehicles in the convoy have license plates.

The drivers note the following in their video:

An insignia of a white square with a circle inside:


An insignia with a white circle:


Loaded Grad missiles:


According to another report, a Russian convoy is in Russian-occupied Crimea by the Ukrainian border, but this could not be confirmed.