Donetsk & Lugansk News*May 18-19, 2015

May 19, 2015
(Updated throughout the day)

Dust covered pensioners, survivors of Ukrainian shelling, recount horror, curse Ukrainian govt, army (--Murad Gazdiev)

Dust covered pensioners, survivors of Ukrainian shelling, recount horror, curse Ukrainian govt. (–Murad Gazdiev)

Slavyangrad: Ukraine Shelling of Donetsk. Situation report on Monday and Tuesday military operations and Ukraine ceasefire violations in Donetsk may be found at the Slavyangrad website under Donetsk Under Massive Ukrainian Shelling May 18-19, 2015, translated by Gleb Basov.

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Toni Frisch, Head of Ukraine Humanitarian Subgroup

Toni Frisch, Head of Ukraine Humanitarian Subgroup

Minsk Sub-Group Meeting May 19. “Officials in Minsk are again seeking for ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis on May 19. Minsk is hosting negotiations of two sub-groups of the Ukraine contact group – on security and humanitarian issues,” reports Minsk Capital Television. See Sub-groups on humanitarian issues, security in Donbass gather in Minsk May 19 (May 19).

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Deputy Commander of the DPR Ministry of Defense Corps Edward Basurin

Deputy Commander of the DPR Ministry of Defense Corps Edward Basurin

SBU Prepares Terrorist Attacks Prior to EU Riga Summit – Basurin / riaf.an.ru / Translated by Quemado Institute / Donetsk / May 16, 2015 / The Security Service of Ukraine is preparing a series of bombings in the Donetsk Basin in anticipation of the EU summit in Riga. This statement was made today by the Donetsk People’s Republic Ministry of Defense Corps Deputy Commander Edward Basurin. “Taking into account the EU summit scheduled for May 21 in Riga, Kiev has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to take extreme steps, staging attacks against the civilian population in the Donbass territories under its control. According to our human intelligence, the SBU today began implementing a plan for a series of terrorist acts during the coming weeks, in order to subsequently charge us of the crimes in Riga,” Basurin was quoted as saying by the Donetsk News Agency.

In the words of the representative of the Ministry of Defence of the Donetsk People’s Republic, attacks are planned on the roads from Mariupol to Volodarskogo and Privolnoe to Kasyanovka, as well as near the village of Stary Krym. In these places, according Basurin, there is the possibility of land mine explosions or fire from artillery weapons. “In order to avoid the loss of innocent people, we call on all civilian populations on both sides of the line of contact to apply the maximum vigilance,” Basurin summed up.

The summit of “Eastern Partnership” will be held May 21-22 in Riga. Previous summits were held in Prague (2009), Warsaw (2011) and Vilnius (2013). Editor’s note: Volodarskogo is located some 120 km northeast of Mariupol near the contact line at the narrow neck of the DPR’s southern handle. Kasyanovka and Privolnoe lie about 30 and 40 km, respectively, north of Mariupol on the H20 highway. Stary Krim is a northern suburb of Mariupol.

Donbass  - Eliason
George Eliason: The Only Full-Time Western Journalist in Donbass. Commentator George Eliason of Global Research talks about his year of full-time reporting from inside Donbass and asks for reader support for a video effort to reach Western audiences, something that has been neglected. See Support Donbass War Journalism and Humanitarian Aid (May 19) by George Eliason. Novorossiya Daily Sun comments: We have wondered many times why the citizens of Donetsk themselves have not established news sites that publish prominent news in English. Kiev has several such English publications, most notably the Kyiv Post. Western-oriented news outlets in Donetsk and Lugansk would greatly enhance access to the truth about the war in Donbass, influencing world opinion and favorably impacting such processes as the Minsk talks, NATO involvement, peacekeeping forces and so on. We wrote a commentary entitled Donetsk vs. Paris: Why the Difference in Coverage? by Kennedy Applebaum, [no longer available at the Quemado Institute website but fortunately reposted at The Russophile’s] following the Hebdo massacre, asking this very question. We commend Eliason’s efforts, and pose the question directly to him: Why the difference in coverage?

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May 18, 2015

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin (--ITAR-TASS/EPA/Laurent Gillieron)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin (–ITAR-TASS/EPA/Laurent Gillieron)

Karasin: Nuland Talks Sincere, Tough. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin described the talks between Russian diplomats and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, which took place in Moscow May 18, as both “tough” and “sincere”. Karasin stressed, “The main result of the contacts held can be brought down to the following: the United States, Russia and the world community should do everything in their power to avert new aggravation of the situation in southeast Ukraine and make maximum use of Washington’ influence on the Kiev authorities to make them launch a real rather than nominal dialogue with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk.” The Tass report is available at Moscow says talks with US diplomat Nuland on Ukraine were “sincere, tough” (May 18).

John Kerry (--thestar.com)

John Kerry (–thestar.com)

Stragetic Culture Foundation: So Much For American Hysterics, and a Touch Of Optimism. Columnist Finian Cunningham lambasts the US State Department for its previous vilification of Putin in light of this past week’s surprise visits to Russia by John Kerry and Victoria Nuland. “Kerry’s respectful visit to Russian city Sochi last week had all the hallmarks of a school boy being brought to task by his seniors over a series of mad errors,” says Cunningham. Later, on a more optimistic note, the author further informs us, “Also, in the last week the NATO civilian chief, Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, told the Kiev regime that it must implement the Minsk accords on a mutual basis with the rebel militia in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. This is another marked change in attitude from the Washington-NATO axis. Up to recently, Stoltenberg has been dutifully reading his cue cards, claiming that Russia is covertly destabilising Ukraine. Now the NATO mouthpiece is putting the focus more on where it should: for the Kiev regime to take responsibility and engage directly with the DPR and LPR.” He goes on to analyze this remarkable change in Western policy, concluding, last but not least, “Finally, there is the increasingly unhinged behaviour of the Kiev regime itself. This regime may have seemed like a good idea to Washington last year. But more and more recently it has shown itself to be a dangerous train wreck.” This uplifting and witty dissection is available at US Blinks in Face-Off with Russia (May 18), by Finian Cunningham.

Alexey Ulyukayev (--themoscowtimes.com)

Alexey Ulyukayev (–themoscowtimes.com)

Russia Betrays Donbass: Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. Yet again, Russian officials, in their worldly free-wheeling deals and contemptuous two-faced policies, slickly ignore the concerns of Novorossiya while supporting the murderous Kiev regime. This is reprehensible, and paints another black mark on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s record. Although we generally agree with Putin’s policies, he has established a pattern of Donbass betrayal we consider abhorent, in view of the criminal genocide Kiev has executed against Novorossiya’s citizens. The Tass article, unfortunately, says none of the above, but coldly reports that “Russia did not raise the issue of further postponing the EU and Ukraine Association Agreement at the trilateral meeting [of the European Union, Russia and Ukraine].” As Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukayev explained on Monday, “We went through a big agenda today, and the result was the formulation of the mandate for experts to simulate the issues of most concern to us.” Aha. So Novorossiya is not of concern to you, is that correct, Mr. Ulyukayev? Quemado Institute strongly denounces this move by Russian officials. Does Putin support this betrayal? Or is this Russia’s fifth column in action? For this upsetting piece of news so blithely reported by Tass, see Experts will study areas of concern of Ukraine-EU association agreement by July (May 18).

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Bird-eye view of Russian capital from University tower (--Sputnik/Alexey Kudenko)

Bird-eye view of Russian capital from University tower (–Sputnik/Alexey Kudenko)

Nuland, Ryabkov, Karasin Moscow Meeting. Russian deputy foreign ministers Sergei Ryabkov and Grigory Karasin are expected to meet US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Moscow on Monday, May 18. “Along with the Ukraine peace process, Nuland will discuss bilateral US-Russian issues.” See Sputnik report at Russian Diplomats, Nuland to Discuss Minsk Deal Implementation in Moscow (May 18).

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Nuland in Moscow: No Cookies, but Plenty of Baloney / Russia Insider / May 18, 2015 / Our favorite U.S. government official comes to Moscow, for reasons which escape us… / RI Staff / Victoria Nuland is in Moscow! And she is 100% opposed to U.S. plans to arm Kiev, according to Interfax: “Arms supplies to all parties in the conflict in Ukraine must be stopped, but the United States has yet to see that happen, says Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.” B-a-l-o-n-e-y. Nuland went on to state that she considers any Russian aid to the rebels in East Ukraine as a violation of the Minsk agreements. But the U.S. is allowed to send army trainers and equipment to Kiev, of course. Minsk allows that, right? And to add insult to injury, Vicky didn’t pass out baked goods to unsuspecting strangers on Red Square. Rude. [This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Quemado Insitute.]

ukraine recruits
Ukrainian Soldiers in Flip-Flops Fear Becoming Cannon Fodder. There has been a protest of 300 ill-equipt Ukrainian recruits against the United States training program in Lvov, where they are learning such American expert operations as cutting barbed wire and breaking down doors with crowbars. See Fort Russ report at Ukrainian conscripts revolt at the Lvov base with American instructors (May 18), a LifeNews article translated by Kristina Rus.

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland attending a news conference after talks in Moscow on Monday  (--Moscow Times/Sergei Karpukhin)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland attending a news conference after talks in Moscow on Monday (–Moscow Times/Sergei Karpukhin)

Nuland to discuss implementation of Minsk accords in Moscow / Novorossia Today / May 17, 2015 / U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland will visit Moscow on May 17-18 to discuss with Russia’s representatives the implementation of the Minsk agreements, says a statement released by the U.S. Department of State on Saturday. Nuland is expected to meet with senior Russian government officials to discuss the next steps aimed at implementing the Minsk agreements following her visit to Kiev on May 14-16 and also the meetings held by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Sochi. She will also discuss bilateral issues with Russian officials and meet with civil society representatives, the U.S. Department of State says.

Earlier this week, Nuland traveled to Kiev, where she held meetings with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President Pyotr Poroshenko. “Coordinating our actions with the United States is vitally important,” Poroshenko said following talks. After a visit to Kiev, Nuland said Washington was willing to expand its participation in ensuring the implementation of the Minsk agreements, together with the EU and the “Normandy Four” countries. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has told TASS that the United States is showing interest not only in the “Normandy Four” format, but also in the Contact Group on Ukraine. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry sees no point in that.

The forthcoming visit will be the second trip of a senior U.S. diplomat to Russia in a week. On May 12, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov in Sochi and was later received by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The two sides exchanged views on virtually all key issues of present-day international agenda,” Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said following talks. “Of course, the Ukrainian issue was high on the agenda,” he noted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (second left) meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry (second right) at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, May 12, 2015.(-- RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (second left) meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry (second right) at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, May 12, 2015.(– RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi)

RT’s Phil Butler Writes Scathing Commentary on Nuland Moscow Visit. “One year into the Ukrainian crisis, Washington reveals a desire to jump on the bandwagon of the Minsk peace accords – brokered by France and Germany. Not bad news, after all, but when it comes from Victoria Nuland…” says Butler, leaving the finish to our imagination. He aptly notes, “To be honest, everyone I mention this [US desire to play a more significant role in the Minsk accords] to seems to come down with the shivers, whether they’re from western or eastern Europe.” He continues his biting analysis: “In hindsight, there’s no wonder Moscow raised eyebrows when Nuland appeared in Maidan Square sharing loaves and fishes with protesters there. The veteran State Department operative is virulently anti-Russia, despite proclaiming her love for the country. Between Nuland and NATO Commander General Philip Breedlove it’s hard to figure who has been more in favor of the US arming Kiev. As for her ‘killer instinct’ in spreading democratic ideals, Nuland is a cagey operator.” The trenchant editorial may be found at ‘Bigger role’ for US in Minsk II accords: Are you sure, Ms. Nuland? (May 17). Quemado Institute comments: Be this as it may, from the perspective of peace and freedom for Donbass, it doesn’t matter which American official has changed their mind nor how hawkish they once may have been, as long as they eventually see the truth about Ukraine and Russia. That the US wants to join Minsk gives us “the shivers” as well, not because we see it as a negative sign, but that a US presence will undoubtedly create arbitrary obstacles and confusion, disrupting Merkel and Putin’s clear agenda.

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Manual Ochsenreiter

Manual Ochsenreiter

Manuel Ochsenreiter’s Speech at International Forum Donetsk, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. “The crisis of Donbass means also a crisis of one of the most important collective human rights – the right of self-determination. Unfortunately we can say: The more Western politicians and media talk about self-determination, the less they practice it,” observed Ochsenreiter at the May 11-12 forum in Donetsk. Click here for full text of Ochsenreiter’s insightful speech.

Victoria Nuland

Victoria Nuland

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Nuland Moscow Visit: US-Russia Ties Improve? American Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is visiting Moscow on Monday, May 18, to discuss with Russian diplomats the Ukraine conflict, Minsk 2.0 compliance, and better US-Russian relations. See analysis by Nick Gass of Politico Kremlin hails improving U.S. ties (May 18).

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Victoria Nuland plans Moscow visit May 18 (--Tass)

Victoria Nuland plans Moscow visit May 18 (–Tass)

Nuland to Visit Moscow May 18. US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland will be in Moscow Monday May 18 for a visit with Russian diplomats. “We will discuss the settlement process (in Ukraine) and, first of all, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, establishing a dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk,” said Russian State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin. See Tass report Moscow plans to discuss efforts towards dialogue between Kiev, Donbass with Nuland (May 17). Editor’s note: this visit falls on the heels of Nuland’s trip to Kiev May 14, where she gave intimate endorsements to Ukraine’s acting “Prime Minister” Artseniy Yatsenyuk. The juxtaposition of the two trips, especailly after John Kerry’s meeting in Sochi last week, sends mixed messages to the post-coup government in Kiev.

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