Donetsk/Lugansk News*May 20-21, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015
(Updated throughout the day)

BREAKING: Battle near Maryinka, Donetsk under Ukrainain fire / rusvesna.ru / May 22, 2015; 4:45 / The 28th mechanized brigade of Ukrainian occupation forces and DPR militia are fighting now at the borders of Donetsk in Maryanka area. The militia’s sabotage groups came very close to 28th mechanized brigade’s positions and were firing from grenade machine guns and large-caliber machine guns. At about 23:10 Kievskiy district of Donetsk and Putilovka area experienced heavy shelling from Ukrainian positions. The Ukrainian forces made several strikes on militia’s positions at the airport. It is to be reminded that constant combat activity is being observed around Maryinka settlement: mortar guns fire, sabotage groups activity as well as massive attacks.

Ukrainian Shelling Continues; Twitter Reports: Reliable source John Delacour tweets at 22:15 UTC May 21: “More reports of shellings & constant to & fro of ambulances — Donetsk, Kievsky, Putilovka; Gorlovka — UAF build-up at Dzerzhinsk.” Gleb Bazov tweets at 23:30 UTC “FLASH—As of 02:03, VeselayaGora (LPR/Lugansk) subjected to strikes by Ukraineian forces using tanks, mortars, light arms.” John Delacour tweets at 23:00 UTC “#DONETSK #GORLOVKA Whether tonight’s shellings, deaths & destruction will be a signal for NAF to drop all respect for Minsk, we shall see…”

Kiev refuses to guarantee human rights protection in east Ukraine conflict zone / TASS / May 21, 2015 / The Ukrainian parliament has backed a decree allowing the country to rescind its commitments outlined in a number of international agreements.

Donetsk (--TASS/Valery Sharifulin)

Donetsk (–TASS/Valery Sharifulin)

KIEV / Ukraine has refused to guarantee protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the zone of military operations in the east. The Ukrainian parliament has backed a decree allowing the country to rescind its commitments outlined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Social Charter. Thursday’s second reading of the decree was passed by 249 votes in the Verkhovna Rada, 23 more than the minimum required. An explanatory note to the document says that in view of Ukraine’s inability to protect human rights to the fullest extent in compliance with its obligations under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Social Charter, in its revised version, and in connection with “the objective need to take measures to repel armed aggression of the Russian Federation, Ukraine has to temporarily rescind its commitments to upholding certain human rights [in the zone of military operations] within the limits permitted by relevant international agreements”.

Russian upper house speaker criticizes Kiev’s refusal to observe human rights in Donbas / TASS / May 21, 2015 /”If Kiev doesn’t think these regions are part of Ukraine, let it state its position overtly then,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

Valentina Matviyenko (--rupaper.com)

Valentina Matviyenko (–rupaper.com)

VORONEZH / Kiev shirks responsibility for the events unfolding on the territory of Ukraine as it refuses to guarantee observance of human rights in the southeastern regions of the country, Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament told reporters on Thursday. “If Kiev doesn’t think these regions are part of Ukraine, let it state its position overtly then, and if it Ukrainian territory then responsibility for what’s happening in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions rests with the Ukrainian authorities and no one else,” she said. She also believes that endorsement of a resolution on denial of guarantees for defence of human rights on the territories swept by the so-called ‘antiterrorist operation’ can be perceived as willingness to recognize Russia’s huge humanitarian contribution, considering the number of humanitarian convoys with foodstuffs and medicines that Moscow has already forwarded to the people entrapped an economic blockade.

Earlier on Thursday, the Verkhovna Rada endorsed a statement on Ukraine’s backdown from the obligations specified by the Human Rights Convention, the international pact on civil and political rights, and the European social charter. A commentary appended with the statement said that in the wake of impossibility to ensure the full scope of human rights on the territory of the ‘antiterrorist operations’ and pursuant to the ‘objective necessity to rebuff armed aggression on the part of the Russian Federation’, Ukraine needs a provisional backdown on its commitments to human rights within the limits allowed by international agreements.

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Dmitry Peskov (--newseurope.eu)

Dmitry Peskov (–newseurope.eu)

Kremlin Sets Record Straight. In response to Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko’s absurd remark Wednesday that Ukraine is at war with Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made it clear Russia is not involved in the war. “[U]nfortunately, Kiev is at war with its own citizens, citizens of Ukraine, they are being shelled, they are being killed,” declared Peskov. See Sputnik report Kremlin Reminds Kiev That Ukraine is Waging War Against Its Own People (May 20).

Ukrainian Troops Bomb Passenger Train in Donetsk / tvzvezda.ru / May 21, 2015 / Edited autotranslation by Quemado Insitute / On the night of May 21, Ukrainian troops led an intense mortar attack on a passenger carriage depot in Donetsk. According to the press service of the Ministry of Transport of the DPR, the shelling burned 22 passenger cars, and also damaged wall washing systems with shrapnel. No casualties were reported. According to recent accounts, the Ukrainian army [are moving] to Donetsk and Mariupol. Intelligence of the DPR militia has daily reported mass transfer of troops and military equipment to the line of contact. Video evidence is constantly emerging on the Web of the rearrangement of the Ukrainian army. On May 20 there were reports on the movement of the column MLRS “Smerch”, and previously “Grad” and “Uragan” were seen near Donetsk. At the front line were “lit up” American armored Humvee, recently received by Kiev.

Mariupol, May 9, 2014 (--Graham Phillips)

Mariupol, May 9, 2014 (–Graham Phillips)

Human Rights Watch Covers up Mariupol Massacre. Just over a year ago, on May 9, 2014, the Ukrainian army launched an attack on Mariupol and killed a number of civilians. Human Rights Watch claimed the number of dead was only 7, however many eye witnesses were reporting on Twitter as the events unfolded that the number was much higher. One hospital estimated the death toll at 100. British video journalist Graham Phillips was in Mariupol at the time of the massacre. He writes a commentary now explaining his analysis, making it appear probable Human Rights watch is guilty of a cover-up. See Russia Insider commentary with videos at The Human Rights Watch Cover up of Mariupol Massacre of May 9th, 2014 (May 21, 2015). Editor’s note: On the night of the Mariupol massacre, a member of Quemado Institute was watching Twitter running a continuous real-time search on the word “Mariupol” and saw these arguments about the number of killed. Our conclusion was that the figure was somewhere between 50 and 100 dead. It is disappointing that HRW would cover up this atrocity, as we had held them in higher esteem than Amnesty International, who prompted our commentary Amnesty International Abuses Its Mission, Deserves Class Action Lawsuit (April 9, 2015).

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Poetic Photo Essay

Donetsk.

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Donetsk The City of Love. Veteran’s Today correspondent Alla Pierce offers impressions of a peaceful Donetsk.

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Donetsk
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“Donetsk is a peaceful place, including the people that live there. They are not warmongering but kind and friendly.”

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Donetsk
“Overgrown weeds on the sides of the roads, instead of the usual decorative grass, bring a special soft effect and make it appear somehow provincial. Together with clean streets full of green trees, there is a deceptive atmosphere of coziness.”

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Donetsk
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“I saw many men with flowers, and I even regretted that I am not a Donetsk woman, because somebody would have brought flowers to me. Rows of flower stalls are open until late at night.”

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“As I walked in Donetsk, breathing in this love and peace, there were little children were playing by a fountain while only five kilometers away the thunderous roar of ‘Grad’ unguided missiles rained down on a defenseless population….” For more see Donetsk – The City of Love (May 21) by Alla Pierce, at the Axis of Logic website.

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“The Right Sector” and “OUN” Agreed Together to Kill the Population of Donbas / tvzvezda.ru / May 21, 2015 / Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute / The leader of the radical organization the “right sector”, People’s Deputy of Ukraine Dmitry Yarosh, agreed on joint action on the foreign and domestic fronts with Commander of the nationalist volunteer OUN battalion Nikolay Kohanovskim. This was announced in a statement on Yarosh’s Facebook page. “Held a meeting with the command of the OUN battalion – Nikolai Kohanovskim and colleagues. Agreed on all the positions on joint action on the foreign and domestic fronts. Together – to victory! Glory to Ukraine!” the statement said. “OUN”, the Ukrainian nationalist fascist political organization, which reached a peak in the 1930’s under the leadership of Stepan Bandera, is one of the most famous architects of Ukrainian nationalism, and was an accomplice of the Nazis and an accomplice of Nazi crimes. In Russia, the OUN was recognized as extremist and forbidden. The “Right Sector” is an association of radical nationalist organizations of Ukraine. The movement has united disparate extremist groups which took part in some of the first protests in November 2013 Euromaidan. The main political goal of the movement is to build a national Ukrainian State and national revolution. In November 2014, Russia’s Supreme Court recognized the Ukrainian organizations the Right Sector and the UNA-UNSO as extremist and banned their activity on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Harper attends swearing-in for Poroshenko "I'm sorta known in the Ukraine for my sweetness." "That's OK." "I'm sure you and I can find some similarities." (--mackaycartoons.net)

Harper attends swearing-in for Poroshenko “I’m sorta known in the Ukraine for my sweetness.” “That’s OK.” “I’m sure you and I can find some similarities.” (–mackaycartoons.net)

Poroshenko Feels Harper’s Friendly Shoulder. According to Kiev post-coup leader Petro Poroshenko’s official website, he has thanked the regime-sympathizing Prime Minister of Canada for his “decision to send military instructors to Ukraine and supply several batches of military equipment,” and invited him to visit Kiev as well, which Stephen Harper accepted. “Prime Minister Harper emphasized that Ukraine could further count on Canada. The parties coordinated their positions on the eve of the G7 Summit that will be held in Germany in June,” says the website. Poroshenko added, “We always feel your friendly shoulder.”

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DonetskDonetsk, Lugansk Emerge Into Statehood: A Commentary. Journalist Dmitriy Rodionov, on the perspectives of Novorossian statehood: “The key factor is the change in the mentality of the people,” Rodionov explains. “Those who identified themselves as a part of Ukraine have left long ago. As early as a year ago I payed attention to the cardinal change in the mentality of Donetsk dwellers. I talked to many of them before Maidan, in the course of it and afterwards, and if earlier they considered Donbass a part of Ukraine, a specific region with its own lifestyle, calling for a special status, today they realized how much they abhorred Ukrainian nationalism during the entire 23 years of independence.” For more at Novorossia Today see Donbass: the revolution of conscience (May 20).

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kiev-Held Mariupol’s Fortifications:
To Be Finished May 25

Diplomats in Mariupol
European Union Diplomats Visit Mariupol Fortifications and “East” District (May 19) / 0629.com.ua / Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute / May 19, 2015 / Today [May 19] the EU Ambassador to Ukraine Ian Tombinski, first counselor of the French Embassy in Ukraine Frederik de Touchet, and Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine Detlef Wolter visited Mariupol. During the visit, they looked at fortifications on the front line of defense near Mariupol.
Mariupol fortificationsGuests descended into the “ukrepsooruzheniya” [sic] and personally appreciated the place where Ukrainian soldiers can hide from enemy [Novorossiya Armed Forces] shells. As the press-secretary of sector “M” Dmitry Gorbunov said, there are several such ukrepsooruzheny. Nearby are a field kitchen and shelters. “The construction of ukrepsooruzheny on the first and second lines of defense should be completed in time for May 25,” said the mayor Yury Hotlubey.
Mariupol
Tombinsky Yang said that he came to Mariupol to see how to protect the city. “It needs to be protected,” he said. The EU Ambassador added that the European Union, not a military organization, is primarily worried that Ukraine have strong territorial integrity.

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Mariupol
After that, the honorable guests visited the plant sinter [sic]…, and then the “East” district, which suffered from shelling on January 24 this year. Then the EU diplomats were shown destroyed homes on the street, as well as Kuzbass, a children’s playground where a shell hit the center, school No. 5, and high-rise buildings with broken windows. According to chairman of Ordzhonikidze district administration Vladimir Stepanov, 36 thousand formerly lived in the “East”, but now there are 30% fewer. Until now, assistance has not been received for all residents, although colossal work has been done.
mariupolThe apartment on the street Kiev has not yet had a window inserted. On January 24 a direct hit here destroyed a kitchen and bathroom. At that time a family with three children lived in the apartment. All survived, but cannot yet return to live there. Novorossiya Daily Sun comments: There is much evidence, including map studies and crater analysis, that the January attack on Mariupol was due to mistaken fire by the Ukrainian army, although Kiev predictably denies this. On Ukraine’s Mariupol trenches, it seems curious that the fortifications will be completed “in time for May 25.” Is that a magic date for Kiev? Do they plan to launch an offensive? It is certain the NAF have no plans to attack Mariupol, as civilian casualties must be ruled out 100%. These people are, after all, relatives and family of citizens of the Donetsk Republic. Were the war to resume, some analysts predict the NAF might, at most, attempt to surround Mariupol. (More photos are available at source.)

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Downtown Donetsk (--Joshua Tartakovsky) Click to enlarge.

Downtown Donetsk (–Joshua Tartakovsky) Click to enlarge.

A Compassionate Portrait of Donetsk. “In a recent visit to the Donbass in East Ukraine, a group of journalists including myself visited Donetsk in order to better understand its reality for ourselves. The trip was organized by Europa Objektiv, a German-Russian NGO whose mission is to provide journalists with a tour of the frequently misrepresented region,” says author Joshua Tartakovsky. He goes on to add, “In the morning, we drove through the streets of Donetsk. One would imagine a barren city, or a city where residents lived in fear, yet people were walking around in large numbers; cars were busy driving around. Families and children were chatting amongst themselves, skating or walking. The streets were impeccably clean, despite the ongoing war.” After mingling with residents, Tartakovsky notably concludes, “[The] locals’ biggest nightmare, however, was that the city would be taken over by Ukrainian forces who would in turn slaughter civilians one by one. Consequently, defending their territory was a matter of survival. Considering the fact that many of the Ukrainian fighting units were composed of neo-Nazi fighters, this fear is more than understandable.” This impressive truth-out.org commentary revealing today’s reality in Donetsk is found at Donetsk: A Defiant and Besieged City (May 18), by Joshua Tartakovsky.
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Editor’s note: Joshua Tartakovsky is an independent journalist and filmmaker. He is originally from Jerusalem. Joshua is a graduate of Brown University with a BA in International Relations and a MSc from the London School of Economics. He worked or interned in Bosnia, UK, Brazil, Germany, Israel and Palestine.

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slavyanskmay20sFlight of Ukrainian Elite. Political commentator Alexander Dmitrievsky analyzes the escape from Ukraine of various members of the elite, such as the Estonian Yanika Merilo, Ukro-American Alexander Borovik, and Georgian Jaba Ebanoidze. “The flight of foreign advisers cannot be considered desertion: it seems that the West had already given up on Ukraine, thereby giving the go-ahead to junta helpers to abandon positions. It seems that Ukraine is really being prepared for default, since advisors in the economic sector are leaving their posts: no one wants to be a scapegoat,” says Dmitrievsky. See Fort Russ editorial Kiev junta is packing the bags (May 19), by Alexander Dmitrievsky.

Vladislav Deinego (--slavyangrad.es)

Vladislav Deinego (–slavyangrad.es)

Deinego Encourages Dialogue with Kiev. Lugansk People’s Republic Contact Group envoy Vladislav Deinego sees the Minsk sub-group arrangement as an opportunity to establish dialogue with Kiev regime leaders. The Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republic “have repeatedly demonstrated their readiness for such a dialogue,” he noted. The report is available at Johnson’s Russia List under Interfax: LPR would like to secure direct dialogue with Kyiv through Contact Group (May 19).

People Live Here, a documentary by Ilya Novodvorskiy

People Live Here, a documentary by Ilya Novodvorskiy

Cannes Festival to Show Donbass Film. A half-hour documentary filmed in Donbass by Moscow student Ilya Novodvorskiy during December, 2014, will be shown at the the Cannes Festival Short Film Corner. See Novorossia Today report Documentary about the war in Donbass will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival (May 19). Editor’s note: The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival is currently being held from 13 to 24 May 2015 (–Wikipedia).

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