Tag Archives: Donetsk

Ukraine: Search base set up at Malaysia Airlines #MH17 crash site


Australian experts examine the area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The head of the Dutch-led international team investigating the Malaysian Airline Flight 17 disaster says his group has retrieved additional DNA samples from 25 victims at a mortuary in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)Australian experts examine the area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The head of the Dutch-led international team investigating the Malaysian Airline Flight 17 disaster says his group has retrieved additional DNA samples from 25 victims at a mortuary in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) — With the sound of artillery fire in the distance, dozens of international investigators arrived Friday at the zone where a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine and began preparations to comb the rural area for remains of as many as 80 victims and jet debris.

Several hours before they arrived, at least 10 Ukrainian soldiers were killed when their convoy was ambushed by pro-Russian separatist rebels in a town close to the wreckage site. Thirteen more soldiers were unaccounted for after the attack, officials said, and the bodies of four more people were being examined to determine whether they were soldiers or rebels.

The investigators from the Netherlands and Australia plus officials with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe traveled from the rebel-held city of Donetsk in 15 cars and a bus to the crash site outside the village of Hrabove. Then they started setting up a base to work from at a chicken farm.

As the investigators prepared equipment for the search, an Associated Press reporter heard the artillery fire.

The investigative team’s top priority is to recover human remains that have been rotting in midsummer heat of 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) since the plane went down on July 17. They will also try to retrieve the belongings of the 298 people killed who were aboard the Boeing 777.

Ukraine and the West contend the plane was shot down by the rebels with a Russian-supplied missile. Rebel leaders publicly deny it, but one top rebel official has told the AP on condition of anonymity that insurgents were involved in the operation that downed the plane.

Friday’s search effort came after a smaller advance investigative team managed to perform a preliminary survey of the area a day earlier. For days, clashes along routes to the wreckage site had kept investigators from reaching the site. Independent observers warned that there has been tampering with evidence.

The sprawling site of fields in between two villages will now be officially designated a crime scene and divided into grids that will be systematically searched for remains, victims’ belongings and jet crash evidence, Australian police officer Brian McDonald told reporters in Hrabove. Specially trained dogs will be also be used in the search.

The investigative team’s journey in their convoy lasted about three hours from Donetsk, through the government-held town of Debaltseve, and back into the separatist-controlled territory, where the wreckage lies. At Debaltseve, the convoy was joined by three vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

An Ukrainian government army' vehicle travels across a damaged bridge near the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)An Ukrainian government army’ vehicle travels across a damaged bridge near the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Both sides in the conflict tentatively agreed to a cease-fire around the crash zone, but the Friday morning attack by rebels on government troops took place less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the crash site, outside the town of Shakhtarsk. Ukrainian forces and rebels have been battling in that area for several days but the town is still in rebel hands.

Defense officials said that an army convoy was struck by mortars during redeployment.

Ukraine security spokesman Vladislav Seleznev said the attack took place at 6 a.m., before the end of the 24-hour “day of quiet” declared Thursday in response to a call for a cease-fire from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“The militants are behaving in a cowardly and shameless fashion,” Seleznev said. “They used the ‘day of quiet’ just to fire on us.”

Another Ukraine defense spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said another 13 soldiers have been reported missing in action after the attack.

Seleznev said the bodies of another four people killed in the incident have not yet been identified.

Ukrainian forces in attempting to regain control of the area are trying to drive a wedge into an area between the largest rebel-controlled cities, Donetsk and Luhansk. Shakhtarsk lies on one of two highways linking those cities.

In Donetsk, meanwhile, one person was killed Friday and three others were wounded when mortar fire struck a minibus carrying passengers near the central train station, said city hall spokesman Maxim Rovensky.

The city government in Luhansk said five residents were killed and nine wounded after artillery shells rained down on them.

Officials in the two cities did not say who they believe was responsible for the shelling.

Leonard reported from Kiev, Ukraine. Associated Press reporter Yuras Karmanau contributed to this report from Donetsk, Ukraine.


Associated Press.

Ukrainian troops suffer heavy loss in ambush


Associated Press
An armed pro-Russian rebel secures the area next to a refrigerated train loaded with the bodies of victims, in Torez, eastern Ukraine, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site and had them loaded Sunday onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, Ukrainian officials and monitors said.An armed pro-Russian rebel secures the area next to a refrigerated train loaded with the bodies of victims, in Torez, eastern Ukraine, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site and had them loaded Sunday onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, Ukrainian officials and monitors said. VADIM GHIRDA/AP

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say at least 10 government troops have been killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatist rebels in an area near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Defense officials said in a statement Friday that the attack happened during redeployment in the town of Shakhtarsk, which has been the object of sustained battles for several days.

Ukrainian forces have latterly focused their strategy on driving a wedge into an area between the two main rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Shakhtarsk lies on one of two highways linking those cities and is about 20 kilometers south where the Malaysia Airlines plane came down.

The Boeing 777 was brought down in a missile attack last month, killing all 298 people onboard.

Ukrainian soldiers, including some who are wounded, stand next to a Ukrainian helicopter as another one flies in the background on July 31, 2014 in a field near Zaporizhya, after a military operation in Ukraine's eastern regions. © AFPUkrainian soldiers, including some who are wounded, stand next to a Ukrainian helicopter as another one flies in the background on July 31, 2014 in a field near Zaporizhya, after a military operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions. © AFP

via Ukrainian troops suffer heavy loss in ambush – Europe – Stripes.

Dmitry Tymchuk’s military blog: Security Service of Ukraine releases evidence of Kremlin’s murderous face


Ukrainian servicemen sit on an armoured vehicle with a Ukrainian flag as a convoy of Ukrainian forces drive towards the eastern city of Debaltceve on July 30. © AFPUkrainian servicemen sit on an armoured vehicle with a Ukrainian flag as a convoy of Ukrainian forces drive towards the eastern city of Debaltceve on July 30. © AFP

Kyiv Post Editor’s Note: To counter Russian propaganda lies about the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Feb. 27, Dmitry Tymchuk has set up the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv. He served in the Army air defense from 1995-1998, the National Guard from 1998-2000 and in the Defense Ministry in subsequent years on missions to Iraq, Lebanon and Kosovo. His blogs are translated into English by Voices of Ukraine. The Kyiv Post has not independently verified his findings, but will correct any misinformation brought to our attention at news@kyivpost.com or 38-044-591-3344 or any of our contacts at http://www.kyivpost.com/contacts.

Brothers and sisters!

Here’s the Summary for July 30, 2014

The bad news:

  1. The SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] published the evidence that shelling onto the territory of Ukraine took place from Russia. The world must see this–especially those who still have doubts about the true murderous face of the Kremlin.

The fact that this evidence is available is undoubtedly a positive fact, but Russia responded in a peculiar way. As the Communist parliamentarian Vladimir Solovyov stated at the Russian Duma, Russia wants to impose restrictions on the soldiers’ use of the Internet. So that, the bastards, stopped posting the truth and did not interrupt the suit of professional liars like Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, Vitaly Churkin, Sergei Shoigu, Dmitry Kiselyov.

A Russian parliamentarian explained the initiative, saying that Anatoliy Serdyukov [former Defense Minister] destroyed the army, and that Shoigu [current Defense Minister] must still do a lot to “strengthen and improve discipline.” So the very fact that Russia is the aggressor (and simple Russian soldiers, out of stupidity, provide the evidence that Moscow denies as it foams at the mouth) does not bother the members of Russian Parliament. The most important [task] is to hide the truth. There is one word [for them]–monsters.

  1. Starting tomorrow, [Ukrainian] security services along with Maidan activists launch a “hotline” in their joint fight against terrorism. People can inform the SBU 24/7, at 0-800-501-482, of any facts regarding suspicious persons in the region or the intent to carry out terrorist or subversive intelligence activities.

The very fact that such a hotline has been created is an absolutely right step. But, alas, it also serves as evidence that Ukraine is getting immersed in an atmosphere of total suspiciousness and fear of terrorism.

We have been challenged, and we will respond worthily. But I hate Putin for the fact that he, after initially throwing his own country into an abyss of terror, brought this fire into my country as well. I don’t want Ukrainians, like Russians, to be afraid to ride the subway or to think about a possible terrorist attack while going to a concert. And all because of a bunch of schizophrenic’s in the Kremlin.

  1. In Donetsk, the remaining broadcasting Ukrainian TV channels were turned off. Previously, Ukrainian TV channels with news segments were disconnected, and the entertainment and business channels remained. Now all is filled with Russian propaganda.

…We say that Donbas welcomes the ATO forces that free its cities from terrorists. But let’s face it: very often, this attitude isn’t caused by the immense love of the Ukrainian flag, but an elementary fear and fatigue from the insurgents’ lawlessness. In the minds of the absolute majority of people in the region lies the same Russian garbage behind terms like “junta,” “fascists,” “Banderites.”

The terrorists know that if they don’t constantly keep heating this Kremlin hysteria up, they are done. Because objective information from Ukrainian TV channels is no less terrible an enemy than Ukrainian airborne troops to them. And after freeing our lands from the Russian decay, we should do a great deal to make sure that Ukrainian Donbas stops seeing the world through the eyes of the moral pervert Kiselyov. Continue reading

#MH17: Ukraine declares one-day cease-fire in east; investigators reach crash site


Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine — A team of forensics experts and crash investigators on Thursday reached the site where a Malaysia Airlines flight went down in eastern Ukraine two weeks ago, after days of delay caused by heavy fighting in the area.

The team of experts from the Netherlands and Australia, accompanied by monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), took an alternate route to the wreckage through territory that government troops have recaptured from rebels before passing through a checkpoint controlled by the pro-Russian insurgents.

Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the head of the recovery mission, said the team’s first priority is to recover any human remains. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Thursday that the remains of as many as 80 passengers and crew may still be spread around the fields and towns of eastern Ukraine where the Malaysian plane fell to earth in pieces after it was struck by an antiaircraft missile.

They also aim to recover the stuff of memories — possessions such as passports, books, photographs and stuffed animals that the passengers carried aboard the plane. And they plan to start collecting evidence from the plane’s wreckage, lying in pieces in meadows, trees and backyards.

The team is the first large group of investigators to visit the crash site since it was shot down on July 17, although small groups of investigators were allowed in last week to take some photographs. The team made it to the site after aborting visits on four successive days.

Their success came on a day when the Ukrainian government suspended its offensive in the east against the separatists, declaring a one-day cease-fire in response to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call for a “day of silence” around the crash site. Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said government forces would fire only in self-defense. Reporters in the area said clashes were ongoing in the vicinity of the debris field.

In Kiev, meanwhile, the government pulled out of a political crisis when the Ukrainian parliament voted not to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Yatsenyuk announced last week that he was resigning in what is now viewed as an ultimatum designed to force parliament to vote on an economic package.

Parliament’s rejection of his resignation is considered a victory for the reforms that Yatsenyuk has championed. Though officially in recess, the legislature returned for a one-day session Thursday and adopted a number of budgetary reforms in line with measures sought by the International Monetary Fund.

The legislature slashed the salaries of members of parliament and the cabinet, as well as other senior officials. It approved a 1.5 percent “military” duty through the end of this year, dedicated to national defense and the war it is waging in the east. That paved the way for Yatsenyuk to pursue new arms purchases, training for troops, gas for military vehicles and increased wages for soldiers. Continue reading

At least 363 soldiers killed in Russia’s war against Ukraine


by Iryna Yeroshko, Maryna Lysytsia.
Here are some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in war since July 17. For a more complete set of photographs, go to the Kyiv Post print edition of Aug. 1. © CourtesyHere are some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in war since July 17. For a more complete set of photographs, go to the Kyiv Post print edition of Aug. 1. © Courtesy

In its push to purge Russian-backed insurgents from eastern Ukraine, government forces this month freed several cities. Among them are the Donetsk Oblast cities of Dzerzhynsk, Rubizhne, Soledar, Debaltseve, Shakhtarsk and Torez, as well as Luhansk Oblast’s Lutugino, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk and Popasna.

But the nation paid a high price in liberating the cities, with more than 120 soldiers killed in battle since July 17. In total, 363 government troops have been killed and 1,434 wounded since the onslaught of the violence in April. The following is the list of soldiers killed in battle from July 17-28.

July 17

Ivan Yavkushyn, 31, from Yevpatoria, killed during shelling at a checkpoint in Marynivka, Donetsk Oblast. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Dmytro Hryhorenko, 22, from Fastiv, Kyiv Oblast, died from injuries received during battle on July 12.

Andriy Kostyrko, 24, from Bryukhovychi village, Lviv Oblast, was killed when Kremlin-backed insurgents shelled his group’s position in Luhansk.

July 18

Ruslan Chubatenko, 23, from Bereznyaky in Cherkasy Oblast, killed after rebels fired Grad rockets near Savur-Mohyla in Donetsk Oblast.

Oleh Barskyi, 38, was killed during shelling near Marynivka, Donetsk Oblast. He leaves a wife and a son.

Viktor Boiko, 40, from Cherkasy, was killed by sniper fire. He leaves a 12-year-old daughter.

Ihor Chernyak, a volunteer of the Donbass Battalion, was killed during battle near Popasna village, Luhansk Oblast.

Konstyantun Blozva was killed in battle near Popasna village, Luhansk Oblast.

Sergiy Bohonko, 22, from Yerky village, Cherkasy Oblast. The Donbas Battalion volunteer died from injuries in Artemivsk, Donetsk Oblast. Continue reading