Friday, July 3, 2015
(Updated throughout the day)
Zakharchekno Announces Unilateral Minsk Enforcement. Special Regime of Self-Governance Introduced in DPR (Jul 2) / TASS / July 2, 2015 / Moscow / The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will introduce a special regime of self-governance on the DPR territory, the republic’s head Alexander Zakharchenko said in a statement on Thursday. The statement also says local election in Donbas will take place on October 18. Zakharchenko said that Kiev’s recent unilateral actions on adopting amendments to Ukraine’s constitution serve as evidence that “the Kiev regime has de facto exited Minsk peace process.” “Under the circumstances, the Donetsk People’s Republic has to start implementing the Minsk agreements itself in order to save them,” the DPR head said, adding that the republic “starts acting immediately, without waiting for Kiev to come to its senses.” “Firstly, DPR announces that a special regime of self-governance is in force on its territory, some conditions of which are outlined in Ukraine’s law ‘on Donbass special status’, in Article 11 of the Package of measures [on implementing the Minsk accords], as well as in the draft amendments to the Ukrainian constitution that we proposed. Secondly, in accordance with Articles 4 and 12 of the Package of measures, I set local election on the DPR territory for October 18,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted Zakharchenko’s statement as saying. Election will be organized in accordance with principal positions of Ukraine’s draft law on election developed by DPR and LPR (self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic) and handed over to the Contact Group in the framework of “dialogue on modality of holding local election,” the statement read. “In accordance with Article 12 of the Package of measures, local election in DPR on October 18 will be held in compliance with appropriate OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] standards under monitoring of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights [ODIHR] and other international organizations. The procedures of monitoring and work of observers were coordinated in the framework of the Contact Group,” the statement stressed. “Ukraine’s representatives took part in discussing and coordinating all aforementioned decisions,” the statement noted. “I order the government and Central Election Commission of the Donetsk People’s Republic, together with People’s Council, to take comprehensive measure for implementing them [the decisions]. I am confident that they will let not only maintain the Minsk peace process, but also give it some dynamics. In the end, they will lead to full ceasefire in Donbass and political settlement of the global crisis that this war caused,” Zakharchenko concluded.
Nuland, Karasin to Meet on Kiev Minsk compliance. US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland plans to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on July 9 to discuss how Washington can increase its influence on Kiev to better implement the Minsk agreements. For details see Sputnik report Russian, US Officials to Discuss Kiev’s Implementation of Minsk Agreement (July 2). Quemado Insitute comments: The involvement of Nuland, one of the chief instigators of the coup that illegally ousted Ukraine President-in-exile Viktor Yanukovich, is not a constructive step. Nor do we imagine there is the faintest chance that Kiev will ever abide by Minsk. The pitfall of this type of “diplomatic” foreign intervention is that it lends credibility to an illusion that Kiev is complying with Minsk, further obscuring the fact that it has routinely violated the agreements. Such intervention thus undermines the DPR/LPR position that Kiev has “exited” Minsk, as stated by DPR PM Alexander Zakharchenko. French oversight of Ukraine’s constitutional reform process poses a similar risk. Our opinion is that DPR/LPR officials should dismiss as irrelevant all such public relations ruses.
Paris Reviews Ukraine Constitutional Reforms. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said on Thursday that French authorities are reviewing Ukraine’s constitutional reforms proposed by President Petro Poroshenko to see if they conform to the Minsk agreements. “[T]he Minsk agreements contain the necessity of decentralization and institutional changes with the goal of providing more autonomy to the territories in eastern Ukraine. We are currently reviewing the constitutional reform project in this area that needs to be covered under Ukrainian legislation,” Nadal said at a briefing in Paris. For full Sputnik report see Paris Reviewing Ukraine’s Constitutional Reforms on Autonomy for Donbas (July 2). Quemado Institute comments: Nadal’s statement appears to be a fabrication: The fact that DPR/LPR representatives have not been included in the constitutional reform process already provides sufficient proof that Poroshenko’s amendments do not meet Minsk 2.0 requirements. “Reviewing the constitutional reform process” is therefore irrelevant, and serves only as a public relations ruse.
Steinmeier Pulls to Pieces Militants’ Plans to Hold “Local Elections” in Donbass / Censor.NET citing Deutsche Welle / July 3, 2015 / German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has strongly criticized the pro-Russian militants’ plans of holding “local elections” in the Donbas. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the action that was being prepared as the local elections could not be referred to as elections with regard to the terms of the Minsk agreement. The representatives of the “DPR” and “LPR” militants earlier expressed the desire to hold “local elections” in the territories controlled by the terrorists October 18. It’s a week before the local elections to be held in the rest of Ukraine. It should be reminded that President Poroshenko has also strongly criticized the statements made by the militants and stressed that the holding of elections on October 18 would be a violation of Minsk agreements. Quemado Insitute comments: Steinmeier, by overlooking the fact that Poroshenko’s constitutional reform, carried out in the absence of DPR/LPR representatives, violates the Package of Measures, is contributing to the failure of the Minsk 2.0 and fueling the risk of a greater European War. Such considerations lie within the sphere of responsibility of a regional Foreign Minister.
Basurin: Punishers Continue to Fire Heavy Artillery at DPR / News Front / Edited autotranslation / July 3, 2015 / Before reading the text of the military reports, Edward Basurin showed reporters a “gift” that the Ukrainian authorities had sent to residents of the DPR, saying that it does not shoot. This “gift” was a fragment of 152-mm artillery shells fired the day before by Ukrainian occupiers at residential areas of Gorlovka. Edward Basurin: “The situation remains difficult in the DPR. The intensity of the shelling by the Ukrainian side for the past day was 35 ceasefire violations. On the territory of Donbass there was released 15 artillery shells, 227 mines caliber 82-mm and 120-mm. Also used were antitank weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. The town of Sakhanka has undergone the most intense mortar fire from positions of the “Azov” Battalion. In addition, the settlements Spartak, Gorlovka, Shirokino, Kalinovka, Embankment, Vasilevka Red Partisan, the airport and the Kuibyshev region of Donetsk came under fire. There were no casualties among members of the Army and the civilian population.” Quemado Institute comments: Reports say the Azov battalion has seized the ruined town of Shirokino on the shore of the Azov Sea, after it was vacated by the DPR militia as part of a “demilitarization” process intended to appease Kiev officials. The neo-Nazi battalion is now bombarding nearby Sakhanka from that position. See our Quemado Institute commentary Shirokino Retreat: Gambit, Blunder or Outright Betrayal? (July 2), by Karl Pomeroy.
A Desperate Poroshenko Begs the West for more Anti-Russian Sanctions / Fort Russ from Rusvesna / translated by Joaquin Flores / July 3, 2015 / On Friday, July 3, Petro Poroshenko spoke with the delegation of the US Congress, which will take part in a meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Helsinki. In particular, during the meeting, the leader of the block wanted from Western politicians “an effective and coordinated plan” in case of failure of the Minsk agreements. Thus, Poroshenko urged the US to impose new sanctions against Russia if they are unable to settle the conflict in the Donbass, according to the site of the government of Ukraine. “We need an effective and coordinated plan in case of failure of the Minsk agreements. We are talking about a new wave of sanctions, well-coordinated actions,” said Poroshenko. Previously the European Union, on June 22, extended the restrictive measures against Russia. Thus, the economic sanctions against Russia will be valid until 31 January 2016.
Russia Not Party to Ukraine War. Deinego: Number of Volunteers from Russia among the Militia Do Not Exceed 2% / Russkaya Vesna / Edited autotranslation by Quemaodo Institute / July 3, 2015 / The number of volunteers from Russia in the ranks of the militia of Donbass does not exceed 2%, reports the Contact Group envoy of the Lugansk People’s Republic Vladislav Deinego. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the conflict in Donbass. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier that “there have been no” Russian troops in Ukraine, the Russian army was not at war, but there are volunteers who “can not remain aloof from the events that occur in Donbass.” [A further report states:] “The number of Russian volunteers among the militias of Donbass … are about [one in fifty] (every 50 minutes – sic), but no more,” said a Russian news agency referring to Deinego. So I commented on the report of the Ukrainian envoy to Washington’s secret services under the name “Russian aggression against Ukraine.” According to Deinego, Russian volunteers among militias are rare, but there are individual units where they constitute the bulk of the fighters. The Ukrainian authorities and the West have accused Russia of meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Russia denies it and calls the accusations unacceptable. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is not implicated in the events in the southeast, is interested in the fact that Ukraine has [to] overcome the political and economic crisis. Thus, the Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly reported that the militia is not supplied with military equipment, ammunition and other assistance. The Defense Ministry has called statements in Kiev on this issue [such] “absolute nonsense” that “does not lend itself to any criticism.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the statement of the Russian military presence in the Donbass is unsubstantiated; no one can yet provide specific facts, despite repeated accusations.
Ukraine’s Dnepr-1 Battalion Documents Major Kiev Ceasefire Violation. Numerous reports have appeared on Twitter in the last day alleging video proof of a large Russian military base inside the Donetsk People’s Republic. A Russian analyst examined the video and discovered the base appears to belong to the Ukrainian Army, as trucks and equipment bear tactical marks of the UAF. See Eurasia Today report Dnepr-1 documents cease-fire violation of Ukrainian Army (July 3) by Olivier Fehr.
Donetsk IP Address Now Russia. RIPE NCC, a European IP address coordinator based in the Netherlands, has assigned IP addresses in Donetsk to the Russian Federation. “The addresses will not only be used in the .ru zone, but the registration documents state ‘Donetsk, Russian Federation,'” says Fort Russ. For full report see European IP address coordinator assigns Donetsk to the Russian Federation (July 2). Editor’s note: There is some confusion about this. We have seen at least one TWITTER source claim Donetsk IP addresses were not in fact assigned to Russia, while others say they were.
Donetsk Scholar on Origins of Donetsk People’s Republic. Sergei Baryshnikov, professor of political science and former rector of the National University of Donetsk, delivered a talk on April 16, 2015 to a group of foreign writers and journalists. In it he explains the very beginnings of the DPR, from early protests in late 2013, to the emergence of Igor Strelkov as a military commander in Slavyansk. See Russia Insider commentary ‘Russian Spring’ in Donbass: How Donetsk People’s Republic Came to Be (posted July 2), by Sergei Baryshnikov.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Purgin on Ukraine Constitutional Reform: Kiev Deceives European Union. Chairman of the DPR People’s Council Andrey Purgin said on Wednesday that Kiev is once again ignoring the Minsk 2.0 Package of Measures with its draft law on Ukraine Constitutional Reform. “By its actions Kiev is trying ‘to report back to Europe’ and ‘to deceive the European Union’,” states Purgin. “It is drafting its own laws, without coordinating them with us, even though this is envisaged in the Package of Measures.” See TASS report Passing of law on elections without consent of Donetsk, Luhansk to violate Minsk accords (July 1).
Poroshenko Submits Draft Constitution to Parliament. Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko claims he is submitting to the Ukrainian Parliament today a draft law on changes to the Ukrainian constitution, ostensibly to meet the requirements of the Minsk 2.0 Agreements. The draft law has been approved by Ukraine’s constitutional commission. Poroshenko admits the bill does not envision a special status for the Donbass region. “These are rumors,” he said. According to Sputnik, “the decentralization amendments were reviewed by the Venice Commission, an advisory body to the Council of Europe on constitutional matters, last week. The commission noted a need to create separate territorial administrative units through a special law, but generally approved the document.” Last week, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation Andrei Klishas stated that Ukraine’s proposed constitutional amendments diverged from the Minsk agreements. For full report see Poroshenko to Submit Ukraine Decentralization Bill to Parliament Wednesday (July 1). Quemado Institute comments: Poroshenko’s draft law meets none of the crucial Minsk 2.0 requirements. No representatives from the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics were consulted, as required by Minsk, and the draft was not approved by DPR/LPR officials. Therefore, Poroshenko’s amendments, while they may be valid in terms of internal Ukrainian law, have no bearing on the Minsk 2.0 mandate for constitutional reform, and should be dismissed as irrelevant to the Minsk process. The step of constitutional reform is therefore yet to be taken. Moreover, the Venice commission has no authority in the matter, as the Council of Europe is not a signatory to the Minsk 2.0. Their involvement is a sham intended for public relations purposes. Such shams, unfortunately, often trump law under Angela Merkel’s “Order of Europe”, which appears more and more like Merkel’s fourth Reich. Apparently acting to protect her own power, Merkel betrays disingenuousness as a guarantor of Minsk, blaming Putin for Kiev’s violations when Russia is not a party to the conflict. Update: Constitutional scholars may be interested the Interfax report on Ukraine’s amendments, which includes clause by clause detail. A brief glance shows frequent mention of Crimea, but nothing about Minsk 2.0 compliance. See Constitutional Commission approves draft of decentralization amendments, takes Venice Commission suggestions into account (June 30).
DPR/LPR to Hold Hearing on Minsk Implementation. For the first time, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics will hold a hearing on the implementation of the Minsk 2.0 Agreements. Representatives, including Speaker of the People’s Council of the LPR Aleksey Karyakin and Chairman of the DPR parliament Andrey Purgin. will meet with political activists in Donetsk on Thursday July 2. The main issues include “the unwillingness of Ukrainian authorities to enact the Law on the Special Status of Donbass, start negotiations with the DPR and LPR representatives in regard to local elections, terminate the military operation in the region, declare clemency of the conflict participants and carry out the exchange of POW, as well as cease social and economic blockade of the South-East of the country.” For full Novorossia Today report see DPR and LPR MPs and public activists will hold the hearing in the issue of the Minsk Agreement implementation (July 1).
UAF Pounds DPR with Over 200 Mines. According to Executive Commander of Donetsk People’s Republic Ministry of Defense Corps Eduard Basurin, the Ukrainian army has, in the last 24 hours, hit the DPR with 27 tank shells, 211 mines 82 mm and 102 mm in caliber and 180 AGS-17 grenades. See Novorossia Today report Ukrainian Armed Forces pounded the territory of the DPR with more than 200 mines in 24 hours – Basurin (July 1).
UAF Destroys seven Houses in Sakhana. Seven houses have been destroyed by Ukrainian shelling in the last 24 hours in the settlement of Sakhanka, situated 24 km to the north-east of Mariupol. The administration of the settlement supplied the Donetsk News Agency with the pictures of the ruins taken earlier today. For more photos see Novorossia Today Sakhanka: consequences of Ukrainian shelling (photos) (July 1).
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Official Tuesday Report. An excerpt from this lengthy account: “Between 9:03 and 13:00 hrs, at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (‘Donetsk People’s Republic’-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard and saw 168 explosions consistent with mainly mortar and tanks rounds…. From a position at the eastern outskirts of Berdianske (government-controlled, 1.5km west of Shyrokyne, 20km of Mariupol), the SMM heard small arms, heavy machine gun and recoilless machine gun fire and 2.5km east of its position, as well as outgoing 82mm mortar shells originating 320m south-east of its position, impacting – according to SMM’s estimate – in the area of the village of Sakhanka (‘DPR’-controlled, 24km east-north-east of Mariupol). During the afternoon the situation deteriorated….” For full report see Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 30 June 2015 (July 1).
Voice of Sevastopol Tuesday Situation Report. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been shelling the village of Sakhanka near the Azov shore, in the Novoazovsk district of Donetsk People’s Republic, despite that the DPR militia is not positioned in the town. At least one house is destroyed, and the number of victims unknown. See June 30 sitrep with maps, photos and videos at The war in Novorossia Online 06.30.2015 Chronicle (June 30).
Foreigners Operate Ukrainian Army UAV’s. From an onboard flight recorder found in a Ukrainian Unmanned Aereal Vehicle (UAV) shot down by the Lugansk People’s Republic militia, experts were able to determine that foreign specialists were operating the drone over LPR territory. “The examination of the drone shot down by the LPR militias revealed photos of the drone operators made while testing the drone’s camera. ‘The photos feature men operating the drone from an apartment equipped with special devices,’ the agency [Lugansk Information Center] said. ‘Such equipment and work conditions are not typical for rank and file Ukrainian soldiers.'” For Novorossia Today report see Foreign specialists are operating unmanned aerial vehicles of the Ukrainian army to conduct aerial reconnaissance and adjust fire – LuganskInformCentre (June 30).
Yanukovich Interview Excerpt on Donbass Genocide. Reliable Twitter source John Delacour has posted this photograph showing an excerpt from the recent Gatehouse interview with President-in-exile Viktor Yanukovich, now residing in Russia. Yanukovich shows concern for the people and a clear awareness of the nature of Kiev’s crimes. Recall that Yanukovich was illegally ousted from the Ukraine presidency in February 2014, during a violent coup in part sparked by United States intervention. Never properly impeached, Yanukovich remains the technically legitimate President of Ukraine. For this reason, Quemado Institute continues to refer to Petro Poroshenko as “Kiev regime leader”.
Poroshenko Laughably Hyperbolizes: 200,000 Russian Troops in Donbass. The West and their puppet regime in Kiev feel no apparent embarrassment about claiming Russia has suddenly deployed 191,000 alleged troops in Donbass. The number is so far out of range, it demonstrates the power of lies to stun the enemy. It also renders language a useless tool for communication, which alas it has become a trademark quality of Petro Poroshenko. RT says, “In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko claimed there is a whopping 200,000 Russian troops in Ukraine. ‘Today, on Putin’s order, there are 200,000 men and an arsenal of armored vehicles, sophisticated missile systems and anti-air arms amassed in our territory.’ … It is unclear where Poroshenko got the enormous figure, which constitutes about a quarter of the entirety of Russia’s troops.” For full RT report, see From 9,000 to 200,000: Poroshenko’s displays numeracy problem in counting ‘Russian invaders’ (June 30).
Ghost Brigade Triumphs Following Mozgovoy’s Tragic Death. Red Star Over Donbass presents a commentary on the late Alexey Mozgovoys “Ghost Brigade” battalion, which continues to operate with cohesiveness and dedication in his absence. The article lists 13 moral guiding principles of the Ghost Brigade, including elaborations on the ideals of friendship, courage, and democracy. See Ideological principles of the Ghost Brigade of A.B. Mozgovoi (June 30), translated by Greg Butterfield. [Editor: if article does not appear, please scroll to title.]
Paul Craig Roberts: Greece Can Save Us from Washington-Brewed Armageddon. Political commentator and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts gives an insightful analysis of the critical role Greece plays today in the possible downfall of the European Union and the prevention of a US-sparked World War III. Among other trenchant statements, the gifted columnist says, “Washington is brewing armageddon. But Greece can save us. All the Greek people need to do is to support their government and insist that their government, the first in awhile to represent the interests of the Greek people, give the finger to the corrupt EU, default on the debt, and turn to Russia. This would begin the unravelling of the EU and NATO and save the world from armageddon. Most likely, Italy and Spain would follow Greece out of the EU and NATO, as these countries also are targeted for merciless looting. The EU and NATO, Washington’s mechanism for creating conflict with Russia, would unravel. The world would be saved and would owe its salvation to the ability of the Greeks to realize what really is at stake.” See Greece Again Can Save The West — Paul Craig Roberts (July 1).
Marcello Foa: Washington Plots Moscow Coup, Putin Overthrow. In an interview with news portal Il Blog di Beppe Grillo, renowned Italian political journalist Marcello Foa said that Washington plans to organize a coup in Moscow and overthrow Putin following isolation of the Russian nation. “[T]he United States has been on a warpath, involving itself in the domestic politics of other nations and staging coup after coup,” notes Foa. “After the conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine, Putin realized that his country would be Washington’s next target.” For Sputnik report see After Two Coups in Ukraine, US Takes Aim at Russia – Italian Media (June 30).
Stephen Lendman: US Wants Tehran Toppled. In a further episode of bad news about the wounded raging T-Rex called the United States of America, Stephen Lendman discusses Washington’s true intentions: “Longstanding US hostility toward Iran remains unchanged. Current talks haven’t improved relations. Washington wants Tehran’s government toppled. It wants its sovereignty destroyed. It wants a puppet regime installed like under the Shah.” Lendman concludes, “Washington wants Iran reduced to colony status. It makes promises it intends breaking. It’s all take and no give. It’s hard imagining a fair, equitable and sustainable deal from ongoing talks. Expect Iran to be unfairly blamed for US deceitfulness.” For full Global Research commentary see Obama’s Plan B: Military Confrontation with Iran? (July 1), by Stephen Lendman.