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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 Live: Day 277

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
Poroshenko Heckled At Maidan Memorial, Biden Forced To Avoid Protests
The pictures from Maidan Square in Kiev, the heart of the Euromaidan revolution in February, are impressive as many gathered to mark the one year anniversary of the protest movement,

But there is another story brewing in Maidan Square -- the heckling of the new president, Petro Poroshenko. Relatives of those killed during the protests are angry at Poroshenko for failing to bring the killers to justice. Reuters reports:

The relatives, frustrated by Poroshenko's failure to bring officials of the previous government to justice, shouted, "Who is a hero for you, Poroshenko?", "Where are their killers?" and "Down with Poroshenko!"

They also attacked him for failing to keep a promise to confer the title of national hero on the victims, which would bring financial benefits to their families.

The president reportedly tried to quiet the crowds:

He was scarcely able to be heard as he tried to speak to the hostile crowd afterward, but said: "If shouting like this continues, everything we did on the Maidan will have been in vain."

He later returned to pledge that he would sign a decree to officially designate the victims, known as the "Heaven's Hundred", as national heroes as promised.

US Vice President Joe Biden was on his way to the memorial where Poroshenko was speaking, but the New York Times reports:

When his motorcade arrived, he found an angry crowd protesting the new pro-Western government of President Petro O. Poroshenko.

According to a pool report, many in the crowd were chanting “shame” at Mr. Poroshenko for failing to hunt down those whom they held responsible for the deaths of their children in some of the fighting that has racked the country. The Secret Service concluded that it was too volatile a situation for the vice president to wade into, and the motorcade turned around to leave.

But Biden did visit a memorial to those killed earlier in the day.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Despite Biden's Visit, US Will Not Provide Lethal Aid To Ukraine
As we reported yesterday, US Vice President Joe Biden is in Kiev, and he has announced a new aid package to Ukraine. But there is already significant controversy, as the aid package of $20 million does not include any lethal aid.

An excerpt from the statement which also includes a list of examples of US aid to Ukraine:

The United States remains firmly committed to supporting Ukraine as it works to establish security, restore economic stability, strengthen the rule of law, advance the fight against corruption, and carry out democratic and constitutional reforms. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people and their choice of democracy, reform, and European integration.

In pursuit of these objectives, Vice President Joe Biden announced today in Kyiv, Ukraine that, pending approval from Congress, the White House will commit $20 million to support comprehensive reform in the Ukrainian law enforcement and justice sectors, including prosecutorial and anti-corruption reforms. The Vice President also announced that the U.S. will be directing an additional $3 million to the UN World Food Program emergency operation in Ukraine for food rations and assistance to people displaced by the conflict in eastern Ukraine and other vulnerable populations.

Including these announcements, the U.S. government has now committed nearly $320 million in assistance to Ukraine this year, in addition to the $1 billion sovereign loan guarantee issued in May 2014. The United States stands ready to continue to work with our partners to provide Ukraine with sufficient financing as it stabilizes its economy and carries out urgently needed reforms.

The United States will continue to work with Congress to identify additional opportunities for U.S. assistance to Ukraine. For example, the Administration has requested from Congress an additional $45 million as part of the President’s European Reassurance Initiative that would help build Ukraine’s capacity to provide for its own defense and increase interoperability with U.S. and Western forces.

Beyond the various programs to assist Ukraine establish civil society and carry out economic and political reforms, the United States is committed to providing training and (non-lethal) equipment to Ukraine. Included in the US assistance is " body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, counter-mortar radars, uniforms, first aid equipment and supplies, and other related items."

Noticeably missing -- drones to better target artillery and rocket strikes, and obviously any lethal aid.

Biden also criticized Russia and insisted that it honor and implement the Minsk agreement:

Yet then Biden recognizes that Russia has violated that same agreement:

Many are questioning Biden's logic here. If the path forward is to have Russia and its "proxies" abide by the Minsk agreement, and Russia and it's proxies are not doing that, then what about this aid package will change Russia's thinking? In fact, an article tweeted by the US Embassy in Kiev today, written by the BBC, quotes US officials who recognize that this new aid package is "an expansion of American support for Ukraine's armed forces, but not something that was likely to significantly alter the outcome of the conflict."

And as another commenter on Ukraine points out, the US is spending nearly $10 million a day to fight ISIS, and about $212 million a day to wage war in Afghanistan. This $20 million package, or even the total $320 million the US has committed to Ukraine, is hardly sending a clear message to Moscow -- nor to Kiev.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Dutch Government Announces More Human Remains And Wreckage Recovered At MH17 Site

The Dutch government has announced that yet more human remains and wreckage were recovered yesterday from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Interfax-Ukraine reports:

"Parts of the wreckage were transported to Torez railway station and loaded onto goods trains, ready to be transported to Kharkiv at a later date. The operation will continue tomorrow if circumstances allow, the security situation remains fragile," said a report posted on the government's website on Thursday.

Besides, the members of the Dutch repatriation mission have secured the remains found during the salvage operation. They will be taken to Kharkiv for initial forensic checks before being flown to the Netherlands at a time to be determined.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
1 Ukrainian Soldier And 2 Civilians Killed Over Last 24 Hours

Interfax-Ukraine reports that the Ukrainian military has announced the deaths of one Ukrainian soldier and two civilians over the last 24 hours. Four civilians and eighteen soldiers have also been wounded.

According to the military's press centre, Ukrainian army positions have come under fire 39 times. 

Interfax-Ukraine reports:

"The adversary is using mines and landmines against our forces near the city of Mariupol," it said. Ukrainian military hardware has been damaged by mine explosions twice over the past 24 hours.

Strikes using Grad multiple-launch rocket systems continue in the vicinity of Donetsk. Ukrainian soldiers managed to repel armed units' attacks near Donetsk airport, the press center said.

The Ukrainian army has launched 18 artillery strikes against militia-held positions over the past 24 hours, it said.

Attacks on Ukrainian positions were also reported near the Donetsk suburbs of Spartak and Peski.

Further afield, an attack near Slavnoye, to the east of Yenakievo, was repelled without any casualties, and fighting was reported near Novotroitskoye, a separatist-held town on the strategically important Donetsk-Mariupol highway.

Over the same time period, Russian-backed forces have reportedly conducted 25 artillery strikes against settlements in the Lugansk region. 

The town of Schastye, to the north-west of the separatist held city of Lugansk, was shelled twice. 

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the ATO Press Centre said (translated by The Interpreter):

"During one of these attacks, munitions, sent flying by the terrorists, exploded in a densely populated residential area of the town, near to schools and shops. Civilians were wounded as a result. Four of them have been hospitalised in the nearest district hospital."

Hennadiy Moskal, the governor of the Lugansk region, announced that a total of 7 civilians had been wounded during the shelling of the Schastye.

UNIAN reports that Moskal said that five rounds shelling, using artillery and mortars, came from separatist-held Vsyolaya Gora.

Part of the town has been left without electricity after four power lines were cut off by the shelling.  

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Lithuanian President Calls Russia 'Terrorist State'

Dalia Grybauskaitė, the Lithuanian president, has told LRT radio that Russian aggression will spread further in Europe if the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine are not countered.

Delfi.lt reports:

"Today, Ukraine is fighting for peace in the whole of Europe, for all of us. If the terrorist state that is carrying out aggression against its neighbour is not stopped, that aggression might spread in Europe and beyond," the president told the national radio LRT.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius told the Žinių Radijas news radio on Thursday that the situation in Ukraine is deteriorating.

"I see no optimism and I can say that the situation in eastern Ukraine continues to deteriorate sharply. By recognizing the results of the so-called elections, Russia is creating a new reality, i.e., "a new Transnistria". We see Russian military convoys crossing the border and moving westwards to the area controlled by separatists. And I think this movement means Russia wants to expand territories controlled by separatists," Butkevičius said.

According to Grybauskaitė, Ukraine needs comprehensive support.

"Political, humanitarian and military support is needed for this country, these people, who chose the democratic path, who chose to run their country themselves, who decided on the direction for their country. i.e., the European Union, for them to be able to do that without pressure, without military intervention and aggression," the Lithuanian president said.

In her words, Ukraine is withstanding not only a military attack but also economic and informational aggression as well as anti-Ukrainian corruption.

"Lithuania, just like other European countries, realizes that peace must be fought for, peace must be defended, independence and sovereignty are untouchable, every nation has the right to have their own state and nobody can dictate them, be it a small or a big country. Nobody can dictate the way they should live. We must clearly state this to the Kremlin, the Russian leadership that such actions will never be tolerated," Grybauskaitė said.

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