Day 723: Three Civilians Killed After Bus Strikes Landmine Near Marinka

February 10, 2016

Three civilians have been killed after a bus struck a landmine while headed towards a checkpoint outside Marinka. The Ukrainian State Border Service also reports that Russian-backed fighters have fired on the checkpoint despite the presence of civilians.

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.


An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


IMF Warns Ukraine About Slow Pace of Reform; Ukraine Reassures International Partners

As we have been reporting, last week Ukrainian economy minister Aivaras Abromavicius quit in protest against rampant corruption and the slow pace of reforms within the Ukrainian government. As we noted in our analysis of the situation, whether or not Ukraine’s international allies are being fair or unfair to the government in Kiev, it is clear that they are losing their patience.

Today Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Ukraine that the slow pace of reform could jeopardize future IMF investment. The Associated Press reports:

“Without a substantial new effort to invigorate governance reforms and fight corruption, it is hard to see how the IMF-supported program can continue and be successful,” Christine Lagarde said in a statement. “Ukraine risks a return to the pattern of failed economic policies that has plagued its recent history.”

Lagarde also called on the government to cut “the influence of vested interests in policymaking.”

The Ukrainian administration is clearly aware of international frustration at Ukraine’s current government. They are simultaneously working to both ensure international partners that reforms are under way, while pushing back and asking for more support to combat both corruption and Russian aggression. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin is speaking about this issue today at a Chatham House event:

The Guardian also reports that Klimkin directly addressed the IMF’s concerns in statements to the press:

Responding to the IMF statement, Pavlo Klimkin, the Ukrainian foreign minister, said: “I do not consider it as a warning but as a message. Our IMF programme is critical for us – the main task and challenge is to make the whole system of tackling corruption operational and effective. It has just started. You cannot expect it to work over days but we don’t have time to develop the system over years and years.”

James Miller

Ukraine Reports 45 Attacks Over 24 Hours, Shelling Near Gorlovka, Stanitsa Luganskaya And Mariupol

This morning the Ukrainian military reported 45 attacks over the previous 24 hours.

As we reported earlier, the Ukrainian State Border Service said that Russian-backed fighters had bombarded positions in the Marinka area, west of Donetsk ,with automatic grenade launchers.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters at noon today that snipers had been operating in this area: 

According to the ATO Press Centre, Ukrainian positions to the north of Donetsk, in Peski, Opytnoye and Avdeyevka, were attacked with grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.

In turn, the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claims that Ukrainian forces shelled the western and northern outskirts of Donetsk with mortars, automatic grenade launchers and anti-aircraft artillery.

According to the DNR, four houses were damaged and a gas pipeline ruptured in the Trudovskie neighbourhood, near Marinka.

In the Gorlovka area, the Ukrainian military reports that mortars and grenade launchers were used in attacks on defensive positions in Zaytsevo and Mayorsk.

In the Lugansk region, Colonel Lysenko claimed that mortars had been used in an attack near Stanitsa Luganskaya, northeast of the regional capital:

Meanwhile on the Azov coast, the Ukrainian military reports multiple attacks east of Mariupol.

Aleksandr Kindsfater, military spokesman for the Mariupol area, told that Russian-backed fighters had last night conducted several attacks on Ukrainian positions in Shirokino with 82 mm mortars and heavy machine guns.

According to Kindsfater, the attackers approached within 150 metres of the Ukrainian lines, taking up positions in ruined houses in the village before firing. The attack, he said, was repelled after Ukrainian troops returned fire, wounding some of the Russian-backed fighters.


Gnutovo, to the north, was reportedly shelled twice with 82 mm mortars while Ukrainian troops were also attacked outside Vodyanoye, near separatist-held Kominternovo. 

The separatist-backed head of the Novoazovsk district, Oleg Morgun, claims meanwhile that Kominternovo was shelled throughout the night with 82 mm mortars.

Death Toll From Bus Blast Now At Four

Donetsk news site reports that the Donetsk Prosecutor’s Office has announced that four people were in fact killed after a minibus struck a landmine near Marinka.

According to the report, three people are now believed to have died aboard the bus, as well as a wounded bystander who died while being transported to hospital in Ukrainian-held Kurakhovo.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation under part 2 article 115 of the Ukrainian criminal code – pre-mediated murder.

— Pierre Vaux

Three Civilians Killed After Bus Strikes Landmine Near Marinka

The Ukrainian State Border Service (DPSU) reports that three civilians have been killed after a bus drove over a landmine near Marinka, west of Donetsk.


The bus was in separatist-held territory, headed for the Ukrainian checkpoint to pass into government-controlled Marinka when the driver, the DPSU claims, attempted to avoid the long queue by driving along the side of the road.

Andrei Zadubinny, a Ukrainian military press officer for the Donetsk area, told the 112 television channel that the incident had occurred at 7:56 this morning, 600 metres from the Ukrainian checkpoint.

Five people were aboard the Volkswagen minibus, which was bound for Kurakhovo. Two were killed immediately and a third died in a Ukrainian ambulance en-route to hospital 

Vyacheslav Abroskin, head of the Donetsk regional branch of the Interior Ministry, wrote on his Facebook page that one of the dead was a man who had been waiting for a lift by the side of the road.  

He posted more photos from the scene:



The DPSU reported earlier this morning that the Ukrainian checkpoint outside Marinka had come under fire yesterday while civilians were still queued up to pass through it.

According to the statement, Russian-backed fighters in nearby Aleksandrovka used automatic grenade launchers to bombard the checkpoint, forcing border guards to evacuate civilians. None were injured.

The DPSU released this video which they said shows border guards hurriedly letting cars through after Russian-backed fighters opened fire, but the attack itself cannot be seen:

— Pierre Vaux