Tag Archives: Russia

Dmitry #Tymchuk’s military blog: Key parts of #Luhansk under control of #Ukraine forces


Dmitry Tymchuk's military blog

Brothers and sisters!

Here’s the Summary for August 20, 2014

The bad news:

[1]. “Humanitarian aid” from Russia is nonetheless entering into Ukraine – the last report was that the first group of trucks have entered into the transit zone of the Russian checkpoint of “Donetsk.” The National Security and Defense Council [NSDC] reported that Ukrainian customs and border control guards will start inspection and clearance of cargo “not earlier than Thursday.”

What abomination to expect from this special operation of the Kremlin’s – is anyone’s guess. Moscow still failed to explain any “water-salt” contents of the cargo and the method of withdrawal of its transport back to Russia. Nor have we heard any clear commentary on this “aid” from the Red Cross. A lot of questions and bad forebodings.

[2]. The Adviser to the Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said that the Ministry of Defense delays the issuing of heavy weapons for the Specialized Battalions of the Ministry of the Interior, whereas the latter “take the fight to the terrorists armed with Grads, canons, armored vehicles, [thus] assisting our Armed Forces.”

We clarified this situation for ourselves back in June. The Defense Ministry explained to us that for arms transfers to another agency, there is a statutory procedure, and such issues are not resolved in only two days. In what kind of time period is it possible to resolve this issue – we were unable to find out.

At the same time, the General Staff, in informal conversations, are of the opinion that the Specialized Battalions of the Ministry for the Interior should not operate as assault units by definition, because that’s what the army is for. And the Interior Ministry units must comply with the relevant tasks–to carry out the clearing of settlements and restore law and order in the liberated territories.

This may well be so, but it is necessary to ensure an ideal interaction between the divisions and the units of the Interior Ministry and the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] so that every man does only his job–in particular, so that the army can promptly destroy any heavy equipment in the path of these same Specialized Battalions. Which, unfortunately, we do not see. So, there is one of two things remaining–either solve the problem with interaction or arm the Specialized Battalions with heavy weapons.

[3]. The territories controlled by the insurgents in Donbas finally plunged into an abyss of lawlessness – from terrorists thriving by looting.

According to our data, in cities occupied by terrorists, residents are trying to sell movable property for a pittance, which the fighters for Putin’s idea did not have time to “squeeze out” from them. A decent car can be bought from the owner for 1-2,000 Hryvnias [USD $75.50–151]. However, for a “squeezed” auto, terrorists can give a couple of cartons of cigarettes. What a sad picture of the “Russian world” …

The good news:

[1]. A significant part of Luhansk is under the control of our forces, the freeing of Donetsk is underway as well.

I distinguish these two red dots on the ATO [anti-terrorist operation] map for one reason: the liberation of these two towns has a huge, so to speak, military and political meaning in the context of the conflict in Donbas. Since their liberation will be a major blow to Putin’s project of “Novorossiya” [New Russia], it’s two nails with one blow in the lid of a double coffin for the DNR and LNR [Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics]. I have no doubt about the fact that this will soon happen.

[2]. In Moscow, the good people repainted in yellow and blue, the star on the steeple of the high-rises built under Stalin on the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment and hung a Ukrainian flag on its steeple.

Russian Polizei immediately began raking the ground. Putin’s bodyguards seized four suspects. A criminal case has been initiated against them.

This is what I think … when the current mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, is replaced by the commander of the Donbas Battalion, Muscovites will still grieve in lines for Ukrainian flags in an attempt to please the new authorities. For the sale of blue and yellow paint, by the way, coupons will also have to be introduced in Russian cities.

And for now–thank you for your support, courageous local guys. We will not stay indebted to you, [we] will free you from the dictatorship, just give us time.

[3]. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today shortened the list of products that are prohibited for import into Russia from the West. It turned out to be not so easy to hit the West with the vaunted “retaliatory sanctions.”

Here, everything is clear: Vovka’s [slang for Vladimir] bravado has failed. People want to eat, very much so.

[4]. The National Agency of Ukraine on Civil Service has failed to establish the facts of inaction and sabotage by the First Deputy Minister of Defense Bohdan Butsa, accused of disrupting the procurement of the army. According to our data, the Prosecutor’s office previously reached the same conclusion.

Here, it is necessary to clarify some facts. B. Butsa came to the post of Deputy Minister of Defense after Maidan (he held this position during the “Orange Revolution” government), essentially ending up in a “hostile” environment. This spring, Butsa proposed not to put the money, allocated towards the ATO, into circulation towards the tenders for the purchase of fuel for the army from commercial enterprises (since it amounted to hundreds of millions of Hryvnias), and instead take the fuel from the state reserve, and only transfer the money to restock these reserves. The fact that the defense department officials in this instance were left without the “kickbacks” from the tenders, immediately made Butsa their enemy number one.

Butsa also blocked attempts by some officials to commit fraud with the sale of movable property of the Armed Forces. Which made him more enemies on the level up. After which, he got blamed for all the sins in the supplying of the army.

Honestly, I don’t know how crystally honest this bureaucrat is. However, the recent prosecution against Bohdan Butsa was clearly ordered–it is an obvious fact. Also, I’m confident that the acquittal of the Deputy Defense Minister should be an occasion for more thorough investigations in the abuse of the army supply and the search for true culprits. Moreover, I think that Butsa himself, after all this persecution, could suggest to the law enforcement where they should be “digging.”

#Abducted Ukrainian pilot #Nadiya #Savchenko resists pressure in #Russian jail as third month of #captivity starts


By Denys KrasnikovUkrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, 33, has not seen a Russian judge after more than 60 days in captivity, following her capture in Luhansk Oblast while fighting with the Aidar Battalion during her leave from military service. She is being prosecuted extra-judiciously by Russian authorities and is accused of involvement in the killing of two Russian journalists. © CourtesyUkrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, 33, has not seen a Russian judge after more than 60 days in captivity, following her capture in Luhansk Oblast while fighting with the Aidar Battalion during her leave from military service. She is being prosecuted extra-judiciously by Russian authorities and is accused of involvement in the killing of two Russian journalists. © Courtesy

After more than 60 days in captivity, Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian Air Force pilot who was captured by Kremlin-backed guerrillas on June 17 as part of the volunteer Aidar Battalion while on military leave, has yet to face a Russian trial judge.

Her younger sister, Vera Savchenko, told journalists on Aug. 19 at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, that Kyiv authorities aren’t doing enough to set her free, a part of which reportedly involves a prison swap for Russian Federal Security Service officers being held in Ukraine.

Being charged extra-judiciously in Russia, authorities there accuse Nadiya Savchenko, 33, of complicity in killing two Russian TV journalists in the war zone in eastern Ukraine. Taken prisoner in Luhansk Oblast, she was subsequently transferred to Donetsk, after which Radio Free Liberty reported that as of June 23 she was being held in a prison cell in Voronezh, Russia near Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast.

Kyiv accuses Russia of abducting her and levying trumped up charges and has demanded her release.

In a video released on June 19 of Nadiya Savchenko being questioned by her alleged Russian captors, she appears fatigued yet dignifiedly justifies her choice to join the Ukrainian multi-task force operation to rid eastern Ukraine of Russian-backed elements. In a separate video she explains her decision to join a volunteer battalion while on military leave subordinated to the Interior Ministry because the military wasn’t doing more to engage in the government’s “counterterrorism operation.”

“The army should be used (more) because there’s a foreign enemy involved, instead mostly interior forces are being used, which gives the impression that this is a civil war, and that is obviously not the case,” she says in the video.

Now Savchenko is in the international media spotlight, and has become a symbol of heroism in Ukraine. According to Interfax-Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Aug. 14 during which he asked him to facilitate her release.

Communication with her, however, has been slow through lawyers. Her sister Vera Savchenko said it took 15 days before Nadiya Savchenko could receive her letter. Moreover, Russian authorities allegedly do not allow her to receive Ukrainian-language literature, according to Vera Savchenko. They have only one explanation — they cannot be checked for apparent coded messages.

According to Petro Okhotin, a member of the non-profit Open Dialogue foundation that helps political prisoners, there are four lawyers working on Savchenko’s case in Russia and only one of them is a Ukrainian. “Moreover, in their work, Ukrainian and Russian lawyers are beholden to different systems. So how can we reach a compromise (in Nadiya Savchenko’s case)?” said Okhotin at the Aug. 19 news conference with her younger sister.

According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Nadiya Savchenko is one of Ukraine’s first female jet and helicopter pilots. A native of Kyiv, Nadiya Savchenko graduated of the Kharkiv Air Force University after serving in Iraq in 2004-2005. Her current rank in the army is senior lieutenant.

(Kyiv Post staff writer Denys Krasnikov can be reached at denys.krasnikov@gmail.com).


Kyiv Post.

German Chancellor Angela #Merkel to visit #Ukraine on Saturday


German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Kiev on Saturday and meet with top officials, making her first visit to Ukraine since the crisis there erupted.

Merkel is making the visit at Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s invitation and also will meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Tuesday. He said their talks will focus on Ukraine’s relationship with Russia and ways to help Ukraine as it battles a pro-Russian insurgency in the east.

Germany has played a leading role in diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine. Merkel has spoken frequently with Poroshenko and with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted a meeting about the crisis with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and France. There was little sign of progress at those talks. Germany aims to reconvene them, but it’s not yet clear whether and when that might happen.

However, the Kremlin announced Tuesday that Putin would meet with Poroshenko on Aug. 26 in Belarus, their first meeting since early June.

Steinmeier told ZDF television he believes “the conflict in eastern Ukraine is still solvable.”

“My impression, even after the difficult talks we had, is that there is a change in the position of both partners in the conflict,” he said. “I have the impression that both are searching at the moment for possibilities to find a way to a cease-fire.”


Associated Press.

#Poroshenko confirms #Russia sent 1,200 fighters, #military hardware to insurgents in #Ukraine


By Christopher J. Miller.taken and released by Presidential press-service on August 18, 2014 shows Ukrainian Presient Petro Poroshenko (2L) speaking during a cabinet meeting in Kiev. Ukraine accused on August 18, 2014 pro-Russian rebels of shelling a convoy of civilians fleeing the war-torn east, leaving Photo taken and released by Presidential press-service on August 18, 2014 shows Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (2nd left) speaking during a cabinet meeting in Kiev. Ukraine accused on August 18, 2014 pro-Russian rebels of shelling a convoy of civilians fleeing the war-torn east, leaving “many” dead, as crisis talks to halt months of bloodshed failed to make a breakthrough. AFP PHOTO/ PRESIDENTIAL PRESS-SERVICE/ MYKHAYLO MARKIV © AFP

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, after a meeting with heads of security forces, said that the government has confirmed that Russia recently sent to Ukraine military reinforcements for the insurgents, including 1,200 trained militants and additional armoured vehicles.

“Today, we must consider a new content of military operation under new conditions,” Poroshenko said. “Part of these vehicles have been destroyed. Now, measures are being taken to destroy the rest of them. Today, we must regroup our forces. It will ensure the protection of our territory and the continuation of offensive actions of our army.”

Poroshenko’s announcement confirms a boast made on Aug. 15 by the new rebel leader in Donetsk, who said a column of military hardware and reinforcements were on their way to eastern Ukraine from Russia.

Alexander Zakharchenko, the newly appointed prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said during a meeting with separatist leaders that a column of military vehicles with weapons and personnel was advancing toward the Ukrainian frontier from Russia.

“I’d like to give you some good news,” Zakharchenko told his comrades in an address on Aug. 15 that was published on YouTube. “At present, moving towards the corridor [from Russia to Ukraine that is controlled by the rebels] are… 150 items of military hardware, 30 of which are tanks and the rest are infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.”

Joining the military column are 1,200 personnel who had received four months’ training in Russia, he added.

However, speaking to journalists in Donetsk on Aug. 18, Zakharchenko backpedaled, denying any fighters or weapons were en route to eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv Post editor Christopher J. Miller can be reached at miller@kyivpost.com and on Twitter at @ChristopherJM.


Note: This article has been produced with support from http://www.mymedia.org.ua, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action, as well as Ukraine Media Project, managed by Internews and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.


Kyiv Post.

#Klimkin: #Russia still wants to make #war, not peace in #Ukraine


French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius, Ukraine's Foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a meeting on the situation in Ukraine on August 17, 2014 at Villa Borsig in Berlin. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday he hoped a French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius, Ukraine’s Foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a meeting on the situation in Ukraine on August 17, 2014 at Villa Borsig in Berlin. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday he hoped a “roadmap” for a sustainable ceasefire in Ukraine will emerge from talks in Berlin with his counterparts from Moscow, Kiev and Paris. AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ © AFP

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin acknowledged on Aug. 18 that Russia is not meeting conditions needed for an internationally monitored peace and ceasefire in Ukraine’s east. Kremlin-backed insurgents have waged war on the nation since mid-April, particularly in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where violence has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

“The Russian side today is not ready to take all the commitments…” Klimkin said, including controlling the Russian-Ukraine border to stop the flow of mercenaries and military equipment to the Kremlin-backed insurgents in Ukraine. Klimkin said Russia is also not willing to “recognize the facts” that Ukrainian forces are being shelled and fired upon from Russia in border areas.

Without such commitments, Klimkin said, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe cannot work.

Klimkin’s press conference comes a day after he met in Berlin with three other foreign ministers, including Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Germany’s Frank Walter-Steinmeier and France’s Laurent Fabius.

Klimkin also said that Western allies have not agreed on a military assistance package for Ukraine, but said they have not refused to offer one either.

He also confirmed the Aug. 23 visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Kyiv, a day before Ukraine celebrates its national independence.


Kyiv Post.