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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 280

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
Mounting Political Problems For President Poroshenko

Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, has had to confront internal and external problems while juggling a number of competing interests. For instance, in light of recent elections it has taken Poroshenko weeks to for a new coalition government. Reuters reports:

Ukraine will take the first steps this week towards forming a new government, President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday, seeking to assuage concern among his Western allies that the delay is holding up reform and imperiling Western assistance.

The U.S. and other Western governments are criticizing Kiev's tardiness in putting together a government following October elections - with suspicions that the delay is due to rivalry between Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk over control of key portfolios.

"We hope that the process (of forming a government) will begin this week," Poroshenko said at a news conference with visiting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, apparently referring to the first session of the new parliament on Thursday.

One reason for the delay -- Poroshenko has been conscious of potentially alienating any members of the top five political parties which won parliamentary elections.

Poroshenko has also had to avoid alienating his police force, most of which is held over from the previous administration. Perhaps as a result, Poroshenko is now under fire from some of the supporters of the Euromaidan protests who are angry that the government has not made arrests for the murders of the "heavenly hundred." Last week, on the one-year anniversary of the start of protests, Poroshenko was heckled by angry family members who believe that in many ways Poroshenkos' promises have been broken:

Meanwhile, the people of Ukraine are suffering from rising prices and lack of foreign investment. Kyiv Weekly recently ran an article accusing the Yantsenyuk government of closing its budgetary holes by cutting services to the poor. The article opens with a brief snapshot of the economic realities in Ukraine:

The prices for food products increased compared to October of last year by 19.6%, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products – 24.8%, clothing and footwear – 10.9%, housing, water supply, electricity and other types of fuel – 27%, household goods – 19.4%, healthcare – 24%, transport – 34.2%. At that the leaders in the hike of prices compared with last October are sewerage (+69.3%), natural gas (+62.8), water supply – 44.4%. Among food products prices grew most for fruits – 54.1%, sugar – 52.8%, fish and fish products – 27.5%, meat and meat products – 23.4%

But the Ukrainian government has to fight a war while still going through with plans to cut spending, a key condition of the loan from the International Monetary Fund.

The Ukrainian government is engaged in a balancing act, with competing interests and problems threatening to drag it down. So far, it has surprised many critics in how well it has been able to walk that line, but a year after the start of Euromaidan, with the economy on the ropes, the Russian military again threatening all-out war, and with frustration growing, Friday's protests are a reminder that the government is still fledgling and still fragile.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Shelling Reported In Donetsk

There are reports of shelling in Donetsk tonight:

Translation: #Donetsk Grad launch from Kalinovka, landing at the airport.

Translation: Also salvoes from Topaz, impacts can't be heard, headed far away

Regular deep thuds have been audible on the Ruptly live stream from a camera facing Donetsk airport

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Renewed Cross-Border Shelling From Russia Reported By Ukrainian Military

The ATO Press Centre has announced that Ukrainian positions have come under fire from the Russian side of the border. This incident is the first in many weeks, since the nominal ceasefire was announced in early September.

In the past it has been repeatedly documented (and verified by The Interpreter and the US government) that Russian rocket and artillery units have repeatedly shelled Ukrainian territory across the border.

At the moment, the Ukrainian military's claims about new incidents are unverified.

According to the announcement on the ATO Press Centre's Facebook page, Ukrainian positions in Stanitsa-Luganskaya and Verkhnaya Olkhovaya (Stanychno-Luhanske and Verkhyna Vilkhova in Ukrainian).

The shelling was reported as coming from locations near the Russian settlements of Mozhaevka and Patronovka, just over the border.

Here is a map from Euromaidan PR highlighting the four locations:

-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Donetsk Governor Says Russian-Backed Forces Destroyed Homes In Debaltsevo Over Weekend

The governor of the Donetsk region, Aleksandr Kikhtenko, has said at a press conference that Russian forces, under the guise of a "humanitiarian" convoy, shelled and destroyed 20 civilian sites in the Ukrainian town of Debaltsevo two days ago.

According to Kikhtenko, residential buildings were destroyed.

He said (translated by The Interpreter):

"As soon as another "humanitarian convoy" enters Ukraine, the shelling of not only our army's positions but also residential areas intensifies."

On November 23, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) published video footage which showed white trucks and artillery on the move in Donetsk:

We are however, unsure whether this footage has been associated with Russia's "humanitarian convoys," purely due to the appearance of the one truck.

On November 22, Russia's state-owned TASS news agency reported that Vladimir Stepanov, the deputy head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, had announced that another convoy would be sent to eastern Ukraine "as soon as possible." There was, however, no announcement of any convoy arriving over the weekend. 

White articulated trucks have become associated with the Russian "humanitarian convoys," but they have also been seen on a number of occasions, well before the arrival of the first "humanitarian convoy," as part of military convoys made up of tanks and artillery. In this context, they are presumably transporting munitions or field equipment. 

Here are two videos showing a white articulated lorry travelling as part of a military convoy, first in Yenakievo on July 15, then in Nizhnaya Krynka on August 1.

-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Further Photos Show Graham Phillips Was Wounded While Fully Dressed In Camouflaged Fatigues, No Press Markings

Komsolskaya Pravda, the Russian newspaper whose reporter, Viktor Guseynov, was with the British freelancer Graham Phillips when he was wounded earlier today, has published more photos showing that Phillips was not wearing any press markings when he was injured.


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The photos, taken by Guseynov, show Phillips immediately after he was wounded by shrapnel near Peski.


876866.jpg

It is clear that he was fully dressed in camouflaged combat fatigues and lacked any press insignia.


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-- Pierre Vaux

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