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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 242

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
Intense Shelling of Donetsk Airport, Then Lull
Currently, the RT.com live feed trained on the airport seems quiet and there are no sounds of shelling.

But there have been reports of occasional shelling tonight.


And 3 hours ago at 20:50 local time (GMT+3), there were reports of intense artillery shelling, even "the  highest since the confrontations in the area of the airport began," Censor.net reports.

Fierce battle at the Donetsk airport continues several hours already. Ukrinform journalist reports that the intensity of artillery shelling increased and now it may be considered one of the highest ever. The explosions could be heard in the center and northern part of the city, Censor.NET reports.

Heavy artillery equipment is used - tanks and self-propelled guns perhaps, the media says.

The situation in Donetsk remains tense. The energy supply to the districts, where the power was cut at night, is partially restored.

Earlier, the City Council reported that the shooting and explosions were heard this afternoon in Donetsk in almost all districts.

Despite devastation of the airport buildings, Ukrainian troops have managed to keep their flag on top of the damaged air traffic control tower.



Translation: Very strong photo: the flag of Ukraine hangs on the broken tower at the Donetsk airport.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Putin Refuses Further Gas Delivery to Ukraine on Credit; Urges 'Consumer Discipline'
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has made it clear after talks with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko that he will not sell any more gas on credit due to Ukraine's gas debts, and demands pre-payment, RT.com reported.

Russia is willing to discount Ukraine's gas debt by $100 per 1,000 cubic meters (tcm), which would bring it down from $5.5 billion to $4.5 billion and that's it.

But Russia has offered a price of $385 tcm, less than the $400 average for its European customers, and Kiev has argued that this is too high and wants to reduce it to $285 tcm.

Moscow has also threatened to reduce Europe's gas deliveries if it siphons off its gas to give to Ukraine.

Speaking to journalists today
at a press conference in Milan after his meeting with Poroshenko, Putin said (translation by The Interpreter):

Russia will no longer deliver anything on credit. And I will say why. First, there has to be a certain consumer discipline; in fact the level of collection let's say, in Ukraine, is very low, lower than in Russia, and the cost, the price is fairly low.

He reminded reporters that Russia had given Ukraine a $3 billion loan at the end of last year, and Ukraine owed $1.4 billion for the last two months of 2013.

This is an undisputed figure. Regarding the deliveries last year, on the whole no one disputes anything. But no one wants to pay the money.
According to our estimates, $4.5 billion is Ukraine's debt for gas already delivered and not paid for. Gazprom has moved to a pre-payment procedure in accordance with the contract and can't change the terms of delivery. We understand the financial state of our Ukrainian partners and we see that really, they have a cash gap.

Trilateral talks will resume among Russia, Ukraine and the EU on October 21.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
OSCE Report On Shelling In Donetsk And Schastye

The OSCE has published the latest report from their Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine.

The report discusses the ongoing shelling in the separatist-held city of Donetsk, where Russian-backed forces are currently fighting to push Ukrainian forces back from the airport. 

The report also describes reports of shelling directed at the power station in Schastye.

Here is the full report:

On 16 October the SMM visited Shchastya (24km north of Luhansk) and heard outgoing mortar fire from an unknown location west of the town. Ukrainian soldiers at a checkpoint west of Shchastya town informed the SMM that this mortar fire had been heard constantly on 15 and 16 October.

The SMM spoke with members of the “Aidar” volunteer battalion, based in the power plant in Shchastya (see Daily Report of 4 September). They told the SMM that a power outage in the region on 15 October had nothing to do with military activity, but was due to a technical failure. Members of the 24 battalion told the SMM that the shelling from “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) usually takes place during shift changes and that four civilian workers had been wounded during the time the battalion was deployed in the plant.

The mayor of Popasna (85km north-west of Luhansk), which is controlled by Ukrainian forces, informed the SMM that the town has undertaken repair work in preparation for winter. According to the interlocutor the gas and water supply in the town has been re-established and a commission has been formed to assess damage caused to housing due to shelling. The town only has funds (mainly from charitable donations) to repair windows and roofs. Of the 200 houses and 30 apartments damaged in Popasna, about half have been repaired, the interlocutor said.

On 14 October, in Debaltseve (72km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM met Lieutenants General Yuryi Dumanskyi and Aleksandr Lentsov, the Ukrainian and Russian heads of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The generals said that their contingents had been deployed under Article 8 of the Minsk Memorandum, which had referred to deployment of an OSCE mission. The SMM explained that only the OSCE PC could deploy field missions, as it had done in the case of the SMM. The SMM’s presence in the Security Zone had been further increased following signature of the Minsk Memorandum, and its monitors were present there and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine. The SMM also explained that monitors could not be integrated into the JCCC itself, which was a bilateral initiative, but assured the sides that the SMM would continue to assign personnel to the JCCC HQ in Debaltseve and to its teams in each of the JCCC’s four sectors. These personnel would monitor and report on the work of the JCCC, and on compliance with the Minsk Memorandum; and facilitate dialogue between members of the JCCC at HQ and sector level, as necessary.

In the city of Donetsk and its surroundings, the overall security situation was volatile. On 16 October at 13:40 the SMM heard loud explosions consistent with artillery or mortar rounds from an unspecified close distance to the west of the SMM location. At 16:23 the SMM heard a series of loud explosions (more than 10), consistent with incoming artillery or mortar rounds in the northern outskirts of the city. At 17:00hrs the SMM heard a series of loud explosions consistent with outgoing artillery or mortar rounds at an unspecified close distance to the west of the SMM location.

In Mariupol the security situation remained tense. The SMM did a follow-up visit to the site of the shelling in the village of Sartana on 14 October (see Spot Report 15 October). The site was covered with flowers and tributes. On 15 October 2014 in the evening, the SMM observed a public rally in Mariupol to support the people of Sartana following the shelling incident. The rally in Mariupol was called by the mayor in order to show solidarity with the people of Sartana. Opening the meeting with a speech, the mayor promised support to the people of Sartana, including the transfer of some casualties to Kyiv for further treatment. The crowd was observed by approximately 20 police officers. No incidents were reported.

The situation in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson remained calm.

In Odesa the SMM monitored a rally of activists of Ukraine’s unity in support of Vyacheslav Babeyko, accused of hooliganism in connection with beating up a member of parliament in front of the Odesa Regional Administration building on 30 September. The SMM saw at the Regional Investigation Department building about 40 police officers and about 15 activists. At the District Court, when the hearing of Babeyko started, a crowd of about 30 Maidan and “Right Sector” activists were present –both women and men. No security incidents were reported.

The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv remained calm.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Poroshenko - No Concrete Results On Gas Following Talks With Putin

Interfax-Ukraine reports that, following tête-à-tête talks with Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko has told reporters that no concrete results have been reached in their discussions on gas supplies.

Poroshenko said (translated by The Interpreter):

"We were unable to achieve any concrete results on the gas issue. But we're hoping that we will be able to find a solution to this issue by the 21st of October and the meeting in Brussels of delegations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Commission."

Earlier today, President Poroshenko had said that "limited progress" had been made on the issue, adding that the "main parameters of the contract" had been agreed upon. 

Speaking to reporters immediately afterwards, President Putin reiterated his position that Russia will not supply Ukraine with gas on credit:

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
DNR Leader Says Kiev Special Status Law Is A Bluff

The Russian Interfax news agency reports that Andrei Purgin, the 'first deputy prime minister' of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), has told the agency that the Ukrainian government is not, in fact, fulfilling the Minsk protocols with the signing yesterday of the law on the special status of the Donbass.

Interfax reports (translated by The Interpreter):

"The version of the law on the special status of the Donbass signed by Poroshenko is meaningless, because it does not specify which districts are afforded special status rights," said Purgin to Interfax on Friday by telephone.

He believes that an additional Rada ruling is required, which would state the specific areas in which the law will come into effect. However it will be difficult to pass such a ruling "considering the militaristic frenzy in Ukraine on the eve of the elections," noted Purgin.

"This step can be regarded as a simulation of the fulfilment of the Minsk accords by Kiev. This is clear. The Minsk accords are not actually being fulfilled. There appears to be a special status, but has not actually been granted to anyone. This is a bluff and a PR move from Kiev specifically for the Milan meeting with Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel," said Purgin.

The special status law, which was signed into effect by President Poroshenko yesterday, was passed by the Verkhovna Rada on September 16.

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