The Interpreter

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Photo: Voice of Ukraine / Alexander Klimenko

Ukraine Day 137: Kiev Says It Controls Two-Thirds Of The East

Yesterday’s liveblog can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

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View Ukraine: April, 2014 in a larger map
For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.

Below we will be making light updates due to the holiday weekend.


Days ago we suggested that with the end of the ceasefire Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, was calling the bluff of the Russian government. In the past, whenever Ukraine’s military was poised to win significant victories, Russia would threaten all-out invasion. This time, however, Poroshenko appears to have outmaneuvered Putin. At the end of the ceasefire, it seems no one expected Poroshenko to so aggressively relaunch his anti-terror operation to retake the east. Moscow’s rhetoric is stuck between condemning the offensive while calling for a new ceasefire. In the meantime, Russian troops appear to have largely been out of place. Unlike two weeks ago, Russia’s threat of invasion is more hushed and falling on deaf ears.

And ceasefires take time to negotiate. At this rate, while it’s possible that a ceasefire could go into effect as early as tomorrow, next week is a more realistic expectation. By that time, Ukraine will have won significant military victories against the separatists. Globalnews.ca reports:

National security council secretary Andriy Parubiy said Friday that Ukrainian forces are still attacking rebel positions with artillery and planes. He said 17 villages had been secured by government forces since a unilateral cease fire expired Monday.

He said Ukrainian forces now control 23 of 36 local regions within Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, two regions along the Russian border that have declared independence from the government in Kyiv.

Ukraine does claim that Russia is moving troops to the border, however, and today Kiev is also accusing Russia of allowing as many as twenty tanks to cross into Ukraine. ABC reports:

Ukraine says Russia is arming and supporting the separatists, a charge that Russia denies. Ukraine is also wary about Russia grabbing more territory after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in March. Putin, however, has ignored rebel requests to join Russia and calls by Russian nationalists to send troops into Ukraine for fear of more Western sanctions.

Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the head of Ukraine’s SBU security service, told journalists that over the past four days 20 Russian tanks or armored vehicles had illegally crossed the border to take part in the insurgency.

For its part, Russia said Ukrainian troops fired shells that landed on the Russian side and hit Russian border posts, wounding one customs officer.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday that Ukraine had proposed a place and a time for peace talks but had not heard back from the other parties. Representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the rebels took part in earlier talks along with representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.