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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Live Day 267

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.
Videos May Show Russian Special Forces Clearing The Way For Military Convoys In Ukraine

Patrick Lancaster, a US citizen, is a new associate of the controversial and very pro-Russian Graham Philips, a stringer for the Russian state video agency Ruptly and Russian Defense Ministry' TV Zvezda.

Lancaster uploaded a video to YouTube November 10 titled "DNR forces advancing on Ukraine sniper positions near Marinka suburb of Donetsk."

Why is this interesting? Marinka is one of the areas where military convoys have been spotted moving. Furthermore, there is suspicion that the soldiers in this video are actually Russian military units. Is the Russian military scouting the areas before the convoys move in?

There are a number of interesting things in the video:

At 0:03, the young rebel turns and we can see he is wearing the insignia of Oplot, the battalion once commanded by Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the current prime minister of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic."


This fighter is wearing insignia with a bat that could indicate a paratroopers' spetsnaz unit. He's also carrying what looks like an SV-98, a rifle used by Russian spetsnaz :


A few other looks at these weapons could suggest that these are Russian special forces:



Here's the SV-98 -- though we can't definitively say that this is the same weapon, it is certainly similar.


This soldier has a GP grenade launcher attached to his rifle, another tool of Russian special forces:


The blogger @djp3tros of Ukraine@War has geolocated the video for The Interpreter. It was taken on a commercial street in Marinka, here on Google Maps.


In the video, the fighters first move west on Petrovsky Street, then double back and move east.


We have confirmed the location in Marinka as follows:

There is a Stroitel store with a white fence on Petrovsky Street visible in the video at 0:18:


This can be found on Google Street View here:


In the video, the fighters move toward a blue building with a sign in Russian for construction materials. This scene can be matched on Google Street View here:


But this is not the only video which shows the "bat man" symbol moving in advance of military hardware.  reports that a Russian soldier, wearing a similar insignia to the one we have posted above, has posted pictures which can be geolocated to the Rostov region on the Russian side of the border. This establishes the direct link between the "bat" VDV/spetsnaz logo and the military convoys seen moving now on both sides of the border.:

Since the beginning of November there has been redeployment and accumulation of Russian units in Kamensky district of the Rostov region.
This is stated by investigative blogger Irakli Komakhidze on Informnapalm, Censor.NET reports.

640x414.jpgNew evidence of the reconnaissance unit being present at the border with Ukraine has been obtained. Presumably it is a part of a consolidated task force of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation (military installation # 38643 of the North Fleet. Sputnik village, Murmansk region), the blogger writes...

"A unit of the brigade was noted by me earlier, in September of this year. For a while the marines, like other Russian military units in the border areas disappeared from sight for more than a month. But since late October they began to appear in Kamensky district of Rostov region with renewed composition, hiding in the new field camps south of Malaya Kamenka village, along the A-260 motorway leading to Izvaryne.

Redeployment of Russian troops right next to the Ukrainian border is being conducted from the main base of Rostov invading forces group located near Millerovo airfield (Rostov region). Active movement of convoys has been spotted since early November," the blogger notes.


Read the entire article here and see more pictures of the units which are building on Ukraine's border.

This may serve as evidence that the Russian military has put some of its best units in charge of the troop movement both on the Russian side of the border but also deep inside Ukraine's borders near the front lines at Marinka.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
OSCE Mission Denies Leaking Military Information to Russia

At a news briefing in Kiev today, Andrey Lysenko, speaker for the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), complained that "certain representatives" of the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE SMM) were disclosing the location of Ukrainian troops to Russia, reported (translation by The Interpreter):

The Ukrainian government is concerned about information that certain representatives of the OSCE SMM in Donbass are disclosing information about the deployment of Ukrainian military units. We trust that the mission will operate in an impartial manner and not allow actions that could break trust in its work in Ukrainian society.

Lysenko did not specify the country nationals and said there were "several" involved in leaks of information apparently not already available in public OSCE SMM reports. But clearly he meant to implicate the Russian Federation members of the OSCE SMM, which number 18 of the 112 monitoring team, according to

The SMM came under fire in recent days as suspicions grew about the Russian involvement in the mission and Vasyliy Budik, a Ukrainian defense ministry adviser said the mission had an "extremely aggressive attitude towards our military."

Radio Svoboda, the Ukrainian Service of RFE/RL reported that the Ukrainian military detained several OSCE observers in Karlovka in the area of their "anti-terrorist operations" (ATO), then released them apparently in territory controlled by the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic."

OSCE spokesperson Cathie Burton tweeted that there was only one Russian in Mariupol:

Later, an OSCE source provided with a list of the nationalities of the SMM monitors, saying that no single country accounts for more than 10% of the staff.

Currently 295 staff are deployed this week; next week it will grow to 319. Excluding support staff, there are 260 monitors, 112 of which are deployed in southeastern Ukraine, none of whom are Ukrainians (in line with the mission mandate), although Ukrainians are among administrative personnel. Of the 260, Russia has 18 members, with the highest number in Donetsk (6). Critics have said that since Russia signed the Minsk ceasefire agreement, it has conceded that it is a party to the conflict and should not be in the mission.

The OSCE SMM was also criticized for announcing their opinion that the shelling of the Donetsk School No. 63 came from the northwest, that is, the position of Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk suburb of Peski.

The controversy grew so heated that OSCE was moved to publish a tweet backing off from the implications:

And today at a briefing in Kiev, Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE SMM, denied the charges that Russians in the mission were leaking anything to the DPR or Moscow.

"We do not disclose the positions of Ukrainian military," he said, adding that his mission reported impartially from a neutral position.

Earlier Information Resistance, headed by Dmitry Tymchuk had announced that they were no longer providing expert consultation to OSCE "due to the broadly representative citizens of Russia" in the organization.

The OSCE SMM in Ukraine has struggled with "brand confusion" as its cars and emblems have sometimes been misused including in one case by a Russian military officer.

Russian disinformation experts created a pro-Putin election monitoring organization with the initials "ASCE" made up of representatives of far-right European parties to monitor "elections" in the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic" last weekend.

Paula Slier, a correspondent of, the Kremlin propaganda outlet, added to the deliberate confusion by repeatedly filing stories that claimed that OSCE was monitoring -- and thus validating -- the DPR ballot. OSCE issue several statements disassociating itself from the "ASCE" and saying it was not monitoring the ballot.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Tymchuk -- Russian-Backed Separatists Engaged in 'Centralization' of 'Novorossiya'

Dmitry Tymchuk is a former member of Ukraine's military who has taken it upon himself to watch developments in Ukraine. Tymchuk's sources are highly secretive, but his information is periodically well-informed. Euromaidan Press has released a translation of one of his newest posts where he suggests that the military hardware spotted moving through eastern Ukraine is a sign that the Russian-backed separatists are working to centralize power:

Further measures to strengthen Russian-terrorist forces strike groups are being implemented. In particular, in the area east of Chornukhyne (the left flank of the Debaltseve bridgehead) a new artillery group has been deployed. By Stanytsia Luhansk, the south elevation at Mykolaivka, artillery is also being pulled up. To the north of this area armored vehicles are being transferred (during the past 24 hours, the movement of up to 20 units, including tanks, has been recorded).

Tactical groups south of Donetsk continue to be strengthened. Delivery of provisions from Russia, mainly go through the settlements of Snizhne and Amvrosiivka (2-3 daily supply convoys). Between Olenivka and Telmanovo, the concentration of combat units, and the accumulation of stocks of material and technical equipment (fuel, ammunition, other resources) continues.

In the district of Novoazovsk, the enemy equips the fortified area, under cover from the air. In the direction of Mariupol, they concluded the formation of the Second Battalion Tactical Group (BTG) in north Kominternovo. The main forces of the enemy are in the depth of the second tier, small mobile groups have been moved forward, mostly made up of local militants.

Read the entire translation here.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
NATO Says Russian Forces Capable Of Launching Nukes Are Deployed In Crimea

NATO Commander General Philip Breedlove has given a statement in which he says that he is concerned that Russian forces are operating in Ukraine with increasing frequency. Reuters reports:

"Material, equipment, armored weapons, supplies continue to flow into eastern Ukraine. More have been seen in the past several days," Breedlove said in an interview with Reuters and two other news organizations at a NATO base near Naples.

"I am concerned about the increased movement."


"The violence continues to increase day by day," he said, adding that the number of Russian troops inside east Ukraine who were helping and training rebel forces to use sophisticated weaponry had probably risen from earlier estimates of 250-300.

Breedlove also said Russia continued to keep about eight battalions of troops on Ukraine's border, and had moved forces capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the Crimea region, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March.

"Whether they are (nuclear) or not, we do not know," he said.

Breedlove said the number of close air, land and sea encounters between Russian and NATO forces had risen sharply.

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
4 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded By Shelling Near Bakhmutka Highway

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the ATO Press Centre has announced that 4 Ukrainian servicemen have been wounded after separatist forces shelled positions along the Bakhmutka highway in the Lugansk region.

According to the report, separatist fighters repeatedly shelled positions near the settlements of Krymskoye, Gorskoye, Kryakovka, Sokolniki and Tryokhizbenka with mortars and Grad rockets.

Here is a map of today's shelling in the area:


-- Pierre Vaux