Ukrainian Lawyer Gunned Down in Odessa; Represented Estonian Businessman

May 16, 2016
The body of a victim of a shooting in Odessa May 15, 2016, tentatively identified as the lawyer Aleksandr Pogoreliy. Photo by Photo by Darya Yarchuk/Odessa Region National Police

Ukraine Day 818: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.

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


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


Major Upsurge In Fighting In The Donbass With Military And Civilian Casualties

Yesterday saw a major escalation in fighting, the Ukrainian military claims, with the highest total number of attacks seen since a reduction in violence that followed an Easter truce at the beginning of this month.
According to Kiev, Russian-backed fighters conducted 36 attacks on Sunday, using heavy artillery and mounting infantry assaults.
One Ukrainian soldier was killed outside the village of Opytnoye, north of Donetsk, and another wounded in Zaytsevo, north of Gorlovka – both as a result of enemy fire.

The Donetsk area was the epicenter of fighting, with mortars used in attacks yesterday near Opytnoye, Avdeyevka and Krasnogorovka, while small arms and grenade launchers were used to attack Ukrainian positions in Maryinka.

One civilian was wounded in Avdeyevka, the Donetsk police reported, at 17:40 when a mortar shell exploded near a bus stop on Lenin street.

The 44-year-old man is being treated by medics for blast trauma, shrapnel wounds and a fractured thigh.

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Vlad Voloshin, a Ukrainian military press officer, wrote on his Facebook page that shelling had carried on throughout the night, with Russian-backed forces using tanks and artillery to bombard the industrial park on the southeastern edge of the town.

“Overnight they worked on the defenders of the Avdeyevka industrial zone with tanks, artillery and 120 mm mortars, not to mention grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms. They’ve already moved onto serious caliber stuff. The Easter and May truce is finished.”

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2016-05-16 14:32:54

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Anton Mironovich, spokesman for the ATO Press Center, told that more than 60 122 mm artillery shells had been fired towards Avdeyevka overnight, with a tank firing 15 rounds before ceasing in the morning ahead of the arrival of an OSCE monitoring team. 

*Promka here refers to the industrial zone.

To the west of Avdeyevka, the ATO Press Center reports that a group of Russian-backed fighters attempted to break through the front line near Opytnoye under cover of 82 mm mortar fire. A battle broke out and the attackers were forced to withdraw.

A little further clockwise around the separatist-held regional capital, volunteer Miroslav Gai reported on his Facebook pageyesterday evening that Russian-backed forces were shelling Peski with artillery.

To the south of Donetsk, the ATO Press Center reported that Russian-backed fighters had used 82 and 120 mm mortars to shell positions near Novotroitskoye, on the highway to Mariupol, as well as Granitnoye, east of Volnovakha, and Taramchuk, northeast of the port city.

Further shelling was reported near Novotroitskoye in the early hours of this morning:

In the Gorlovka area, Ukrainian positions in Zaytsevo were shelled with 82 mm mortars and automatic grenade launchers, while those near Luganskoye, on the highway between Bakhmut (formerly Artyomovsk) and Debaltsevo, came under fire from small arms and grenade launchers.

Finally, in the Lugansk region, the ATO Press Center reported automatic-grenade-launcher and machine-gun attacks near Schastye.

In turn, the ‘defense ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed that Ukrainian forces fired on separatist-held territory 340 times over 24 hours. Of these shots, 166 reportedly came from 82 and 120 mm mortars, in addition to several tank and anti-tank gun rounds.

According to the DNR, Ukrainian forces attacked the northern and western outskirts of Donetsk as well as Gorlovka and several villages in the south of the region.

Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the DNR, told reporters that three houses had been damaged as a result of Ukrainian shelling in the western Donetsk suburb of Staromikhailovka. 

The fighting appears to have carried on at an elevated pace today.

The Ukrainian military issued their evening report at 18:00 local time, claiming that Russian-backed fighters had conducted another 14 attacks since midnight.

According to the report, Ukrainian positions in Avdeyevka were shelled with 82 mm mortars while those near Tryokhizbenka, in the Lugansk region, were attacked with small arms. 

— Pierre Vaux

Ukrainian Lawyer Gunned Down in Odessa; Represented Estonian Businessman

A lawyer was shot dead by unknown persons in Odessa, local news and social media reported.

UPDATE: This story turned out to be a hoax staged by the Ukrainian National Police to catch persons plotting to murder Aleksandr Pogoreliy. See further story here

Translation: #Police : In Odessa, a human rights defender has been shot. 

The name of the victim was not available for about 8 hours, and then some media began to report him as “Aleksandr P.” and then Aleksandr Pogoreliy.” 

According to a report from Trassa E-95 [Highway E-95], unknown persons shot at a Lexus car on Krasnykh Zor Street in Odessa late on the evening of Sunday, May 15.
According to preliminary information, there were two gunmen who used automatic weapons to shoot at the car. Police declared a manhunt and locked down the area.
The victim was described as a “human rights defender” at first and then later as a prominent attorney, Aleksandr Pogoreliy who headed the law firm Privilegiya. The firm was known for representing the interests of Marsel Vikhman, an Estonian businessman and originator of a project to build an embankment in Zatoka. Privilegiya was doing the legal work for the project including resolving land issues. reported that half an hour before the shooting, a car was stopped with license plates from Russian-occupied Crimea, and weapons were found.

There was some speculation on social media about Pogoreliy’s murder related to his business dealings.  Explanations have been provided by two Twitter accounts, the first called “Cheburator Terrorist” (@vitaliy00700) and the second “Coastal Fox” (@ponaduse).

Translation: A lawyer who crossed Kivalov on land issues worth tens of millions of dollars was murdered in Odessa.

The reference is to Sergey Kivalov, a politicians and former Party of Regions MP who was a close associate of deposed president Viktor Yanukovich.

Translation: The lawyer A. Pogoreliy handled the cases of Marsel Vikhman who intended to reconstruct the Embankment in Zatoka. Everyone knows what kind of battle Kidalov [sic] waged for Zatoka.
Translation: The murdered lawyer Pogorely is the son of a judge on the appellate court of Odessa Region. He worked for Kivalov, but then crossed over to his enemies.
Translation: Aleksandr Pogoreliy fought with Kivalov also about the elections in Zatoka.

Translation: Yes, but Pogoreliy ran the judicial investigation in court regarding the falsification of the elections in Zatoka.

There has not been any confirmation of the claims from law-enforcement or mainstream media.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick