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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 248

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.
Donbass 'Peoples' Republics' Moving to Moscow Time

The self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic is moving to Moscow time, ITAR-TASS reported.

Previously Lugansk was on Kiev time, which is one hour earlier than Moscow.

The change will take place overnight this weekend at 3:00 am on October 26.

Earlier, the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" announced it was planning to switch to Moscow time shortly.

Boris Litvinov, the DPR's speaker of parliament, said the reason for the change was the fact that Moscow and Donetsk are really located in the same time zone geographically.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukrainian Military Struggling to Get Soldiers Winter Uniforms, Boots, and Housing As Cold Weather Expected

With cold weather coming soon, Ukraine is concerned about how it will keep its soldiers warm this winter, the Ukrainian news site reports.

After President Petro Poroshenko ordered him on October 15 to cut through the red tape involved in procurement, the new defense minister Stepan Poltorak complained about problems in suppling the army with winter uniforms,

Ukrainian blogger Yury Kasyanov said that the Defense Ministry "deserves a 2 out of 5 points" for the way it has supplied the army, and that volunteers are trying to make up the shortfall.

The problem is that with active combat over in many areas except in Donetsk and environs, donations have to supply the army have fallen. Yet without such help, the army would have done much worse this year. The Defense Ministry is being blamed for incompetency, say soldiers and volunteers.

Poltorak made a statement about winter supplies yesterday October 22 (translation by The Interpreter):

When we learn to speak the truth to each other, then we won't have problems. Unfortunately, there are problems with supplies in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We need to manage to clothe people. That's related to the fact that administrative decisions were taken belatedly, and the system which was created in the Armed Forces and the Defense Ministry did not enable us to make decisions quickly.


Poroshenko had wanted the army suited for winter by October 10. But according to volunteers who saw the uniform purchased by the Defense Ministry, the sets include shoddy boots and thin underwear.

You can say that the boots are devilishly inconvenient and coarse and judging from everything, they will last a week in the rains in the fields. The thermal underwear can only be said to be 'thermal' conditionally, but it works as a fake. There are no sweaters or fleeced items. At least, not discovered yet," said Roman Donik, a volunteer.

The US has helped by supplying tents, reported

The tents were presented to the National Guard in a ceremony at the training center, the Cabinet of Ministers announced October 17.


The tents reportedly can be set up in 15 minutes and house from 15-30 soldiers. They are outfitted with air conditioning and light and supposedly can ensure winter camping as well. They have been tested by the US army from Alaska to Afghanistan.

Volunteers brought in heated containers to Ukrainian forces at checkpoints in Mariupol earlier this month, says

Ukrainian weather forecasters are expecting heavy rains and wet snowfalls in the next days.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Reuters Reporters Find Proof That Russian Tanks and Troops Were in Ukraine; Local Journalists Provide Additional Evidence

The burn-out hulls of two tanks and other items found near the town of Starobeshevo (Starobesheve) in Ukraine prove that Russian forces have been fighting in Ukraine, Reuters reported today.

Reuters showed photographs of the two badly damaged tanks, one of which had lost its turret, to four independent military experts, who said they were of a type used exclusively by the Russian army:

At least one, they agreed, was a T-72BM - a Russian-made modification of a well known Soviet tank. This version of the tank, they said, is not known to have been exported.

"It is operated by the Russian Army in large numbers, but crucially it is not known to have been exported or operated outside of Russia," Joseph Dempsey, a military analyst for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote in late August when a tank like that was discovered on grainy footage of rebel convoy.

"The presence of this variant in Ukraine therefore strongly supports the contention that Russia is supplying arms to separatist forces," Dempsey said.

The military experts were shown photographs of the two tanks and said the second was either the same as the first, a T-72BM, or a slightly different model, a T-72B1. Precise identification was difficult due to the extent of damage.

On August 18, The Interpreter reported the sighting of a T-72 tank in a Russian convoy, which we geolocated in the town of Sukhodolsk, heading in the direction of Lugansk.

In addition to the tanks, Reuters gathered some eye-witness testimonies that point to Russian involvement in the battle.

A Ukrainian soldier captured near Ilovaisk on August 24-25 said his unit was hit by Grads and quickly defeated. He said they were Russians from the Kostroma airborne assault battalion.

A woman in Horbatenko who lived near the battlefield, who was slightly wounded by shrapnel, said she saw an armored convoy with white circles and white flags with troops they didn't know.

Russian troops commonly remove identifying numbers from armor and paint such circles on their vehicles when they move into Ukraine; Ukrainians do not use such circles but have white stripes instead.

Reuters said one of the BMP-2s had a white circle on its broken turret.

Reporters also found the parts of an anti-tank missile which was identified as a Korent ATGM, not exported to Ukraine by Russia. Russian MREs marked as produced for the Russian Defense Ministry were also found at the site, along with empty bottles of mineral water shown to have been made in Ivanovo.

Ukraine accused Russia of invading its territory when the Ukrainian army captured paratroops near Horbatenko who said they served in the 98th division in Ivanovo. President Vladimir Putin said they had gotten "lost" while patrolling the border.

Burko News also reported today a photo showing a T-90 tank, using research from Irakli Komaxidze of

In another photo, the soldier points to a local highway sign that says "Starobeshevo."


The soldier's name visible on the photos is Vitalek Marakasov. That account is already showing as deleted on VKontakte, as often happens when such revealing photos are published.

But the VK page is still available in Google's cache. In the cache version, however, the soldier has a profile photo of himself in civilian clothing, although there are some army photos on his page in past posts. The photo of the tank is not visible on this account, as the photos are not accessible in the cache. Therefore we could not confirm them.

Burko said the unit involved was the tank battalion of Russia's 136th Motorized Rifle Brigade (m/u 63354) based in Buinaksk, Dagestan

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Name Mix-Up with Russian TV Director Dmitry Kiselyev Leads Ukrainian Border Guards to Detain, Then Release TV Host Yevgeny Kiselyov

Ukrainian border guards had a mix-up today October 23 trying to deport a Russian journalist they believed was there to prepare disinformation on their country.

Yevgeny Kiselyov, a prominent Russian reporter who has lived and worked in Kiev for years as a TV show host, was stopped at the border when he landed at Borispol Airport and kept in the room for deportees.


Yevgeny Kiselyov, talk show host on Ukrainian TV channel Inter.

Eventually it was determined that Yevgeny had been mistaken for the notorious TV host Dmitry Kiselyev with the same last name (the name can be transliterated differently depending on the stress on the last syllable).


Dmitry Kiselyev, TV host and state media company company director.

Dmitry Kiselyev is head of Rossiya Segodnya [Russia Today], the parent company for Russia Today, RIA Novosti and other state media outlets, and is a host for Rossiya-1's Vesti nedelyi [News of the Week]. On that program, he declared earlier this year that Russia is capable of reducing the US "to nuclear ash," and denounced gays, saying accident victims should have their hearts burned.

Yevgeny Kiselyov was formerly an anchor for NTV, back when it was an independent TV station in the Yeltsin era.

He later worked at Channel 6, Moscow News and Ekho Moskvy before moving to Kiev in 2008 to become TVi's main consulting editor in 2008. He then began working at Inter in 2009, and now hosts a program called Chernoye Zerkalo (Black Mirror).

Meanwhile Dmitry Kiselyev has been involved in a number of controversies in his role as state TV presenter.

He blasted Sweden for failing to have moral values due to its support of the EuroMaidan protests. He has called Ukraine a "failed state" and a "virtual country." And he criticized two Jewish writers in Russia, Viktor Shenderovich and Igor Irtenyev, when they compared the Sochi Winter Olympics to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

In August, the Ukrainian government issued a blacklist of 49 Russian journalists banned from the country.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Far Right and Far Left Parties Trailing In Polls

Kyiv Post has published an interesting article on Ukraine's communist party and its far right political parties. Polls show that the communists are polling much lower than they have historically, and Ukraine's far right parties have lost even more ground since the presidential elections:

A joint poll by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Democratic Initiatives Foundation published on Oct. 22 gives [the communists] 4.1 percent of votes. The 16 other most likely losing parties also include the ideological antagonists of the communists -- nationalist Svoboda party and Right Sector, the poll indicated...

In the 2012 election, Svoboda, led by Oleh Tiahnybok, unexpectedly managed to get more than 10 percent of votes that allowed them to have 38 seats in parliament, including 13 lawmakers elected in single election districts. But the current poll gives Svoboda only 3.1 percent of votes.

And then there is Right Sector (Pravy Sektor), the ultra-nationalist group often discussed by the Russian government. In the presidential elections their leader, Dmytro Yarosh, only received 0.7% of the vote. In the latest poll, Right Sector is polling at less than 2%.

And as ridiculous as it sounds, Darth Vader is going to get nearly as many votes as Right Sector:

The Internet Party of Ukraine is another probable loser. Registered only in late September, this party’s top five candidates are named after Star Wars heroes, including Darth Vader as party leader. Wearing a costume of movie hero, Vader calls himself a “candidate with human face.” 

Being perceived by most people as just a funny joke, this party is still expected to get some 0.5 percent of votes, the poll shows. A number of commercials this party has on billboards and TV show that this project also combines good financing with advanced technology.

The Interpreter has an exclusive translation of an article in The Insider which exposes the real identity of the politicians behind the Internet Party.

Read the story on Kyiv Post: Polls show Communists, Svoboda, Right Sector heading for defeat in Oct. 26 parliamentary election