Ukraine Live Day 414: Ukraine Reports Attacks Across Front Line

April 7, 2015
Aftermath of last night's blast in Kharkiv. Photo:

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here. An archive of our liveblogs can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

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For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

Court Orders Release Of Chornovol Attackers

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the Popular Front party has announced that the Boryspil District Court has ordered the release of two individuals who were charged with the beating of anti-corruption activist (and now MP) Tetyana Chornovol in December 2013.

According to Chornovol’s party, Roman Zalyubovsky and Serhiy Kotenko were released by the court on April 6.

Kotenko was given a sentence of 1 year, 3 months and 10 days; however he and his accomplice, Zalyubovsky, were granted amnesty by the court.

Surprisingly, the court did not accept arguments from the victim’s lawyers that the attack was organised by government officials. Neither was the context of the attack, with Chornovol being a high-profile critic of the government as the EuroMaidan protests were in full sway, considered, the Popular Front claimed.

Back on February 22, 2014, as activists explored Viktor Yanukovych’s freshly abandoned Mezhyhirya estate, documents were discovered in the Kiev reservoir, some of which reportedly listed license plates for cars driven by Chornovol.

Chornovol was driven off the highway near Boryspil on December 25, 2013 and savagely beaten, leaving her severely injured. 

The Popular Front is preparing an appeal for Kotenko and Zalyubovsky to receive a “valid punishment,” and calls for the Prosecutor General to bring the investigation to its “logical conclusion.”

“The contractors and executors of Tetyana Chornovol’s brutal beating must sit in the dock. There can be no amnesties or concessions for them.”

— Pierre Vaux

FSB To Question Another Crimean Journalist

RFE/RL’s Crimean service reports that Anna Shaydurova, a Crimean journalist, has told them she has been summoned for questioning by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

The Interpreter translates:

“They rang in the morning, inviting me to the FSB. I asked them about their official documents, they replied: ‘You’re a good citizen, come and we’ll hand them to you,'” said Shaydurova.

The FSB major inviting her for questioning did not give any details on the telephone.

Shaydurova suggests that her questioning may be a continuation of a case relating to publications at the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CJR), where she previously worked.

The journalist intends to present herself to the FSB on Tuesday afternoon.

On March 13 we reported that Natalya Kokorina, a journalist from the CJR had been taken in for questioning by the FSB after her her parents’ apartment, and that of another CJR journalist, Anna Andriyevska, in Simferopol, Russian-occupied Crimea, were searched. 

RFE/RL reports that the FSB opened a criminal case under article 280.1 of the Russian Criminal Code. Article 280 covers “public appeals for a forcible change of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation.”

Here is an English translation of the relevant article from

Public appeals for a forcible seizure of state power, its forcible retention, or for a forcible change of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 500 to 700 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of five to seven months, or by arrest for a term of four to six months, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to three years.

RFE/RL reports that Andriyevska, who no longer lives in Crimea, is of particular interest to the FSB, who are opening the case in relation to her published material on the Ukrainian ‘Crimea’ volunteer battalion.

Kokorina was released after 6 hours of questioning as a witness. Her laptop seized.

— Pierre Vaux

OSCE Sees A Lot Of Movement, But Cannot Say Heavy Weapons Withdrawn From Front

UNIAN reports that Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, has told Radio Vesti today that the international observers have not seen concrete evidence of the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the front line, as stipulated in the Minsk agreement.

Bociurkiw said that the SMM had observed “many cases of heavy weaponry moving around, but we cannot say precisely that a full withdrawal has taken place.”

For the head of the SMM, Ertuğrul Apakan, to be able to declare a withdrawal has actually occurred, Bociurkiw said, both parties would have to step up their efforts and also provide the SMM with details on weapons reserves. Furthermore, a the SMM would require a guarantee that weaponry would not be returned to the front after an apparent withdrawal.

Earlier today, we reported that the Ukrainian military has claimed that Russian-backed fighters are continuing to use heavy artillery (both 122 mm howitzers and 120 mm mortars), in breech of the agreement.

The Russian-backed separatists also continue to accuse the Ukrainian military of artillery shelling on a daily basis.

— Pierre Vaux

No Casualties After Blast In Kharkiv Last Night

Interfax-Ukraine reports that the Kharkiv regional Prosecutor’s Office has announced that there were no casualties after a blast last night in the centre of the city.

Translation: #Kharkiv #Kharkov Photo from the scene of the blast. Damaged stela with the flag on Pravda prospekt.

A spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office said:

“No one was killed or injured. However, the explosion blew out windows in nearby buildings and damaged the pedestal of the stele.”

Kharkiv news site Gorodskoy Dozor reported that the office had announced that the explosion had occurred at around 3:40 am. 

The security services regard the incident as a terrorist attack and have opened a criminal investigation. 


— Pierre Vaux

Ukraine Reports Attacks Across Front Line
Ukrainian sources report that Russian-backed fighters attacked numerous Ukrainian positions across the front line last night, with heavy artillery allegedly used.

Leviy Bereg reports that Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Defence and Security Council, has announced that two Ukrainian servicemen were wounded yesterday.

In addition, one soldier was killed and another two wounded away from the front line when a grenade exploded at a base in the village of Borovskoye, outside Severodonetsk. According to the governor of the Lugansk region, Hennadiy Moskal, an F-1 grenade exploded due to “careless handling.”

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the ATO press centre has claimed that Russian-backed forces violated the ceasefire 20 times between 18:00 and midnight. 

The Interpreter translates:

The militants were most active in the Donetsk region. From 18:05 to 18:12, ATO forces’ positions close to Granitnoye were shelled with a Nona self-propelled mortar.

From 18:35 to 19:50, the enemy shelled Ukrainian positions near the town of Avdeyevka with 122 mm artillery and 82 mm mortars.

In addition, from 19:36 to 19:40, ATO forces’ positions near Opytnoye came under mortar fire.

In the Lugansk region, from 20:35 to 20:40, a Ukrainian army defensive position south of the village of Sokolniki was attacked by militants with mortars, armoured personnel carriers and small arms.

In the Mariupol district, in the vicinity of the village of Shirokino, the militants twice used 120 mm mortars on Ukrainian positions.

“The bandits did not open fire on settlements,” note the ATO headquarters.

Meanwhile, at around 20:00 on Monday in the Lugansk region, two unmanned aerial vehicle flights were detected – over Tryokhizbenka, towards the settlement of Vsyolaya Gora, and over Starobelsk, towards Novoaidar.

Governor Moskal made further announcments on the fighting in the north of the Lugansk region. 

Interfax-Ukraine reports:

Ukrainian military personnel on the outskirts of Krymske and militants in Sokilnyke repeatedly exchanged fire using automatic weapon and grenade launchers, Moskal said on the administration’s website.

“Later after 17:00 the positions of our servicemen near the bridge over the Siversky Donets River in Triokhizbenka were attacked with submachine guns and grenade launchers from the bank which is under the control of the so-called ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’. A similar exchange of fire occurred in Stanytsia Luhanska as well,” he said.

The Mariupol Defence Headquarters also provided a more detailed report on local fighting.

The Interpreter translates:

From 6:00 yesterday until 6:00 today, the enemy conducted 8 attacks on the ATO forces’ positions.

1 small arms attack on a position near Chermalyk.

7 attacks in Shirokino and its outskirts with grenade launchers, assault rifles, machine guns and 120 mm mortars.

There were no casualties as a result of the attacks. 

— Pierre Vaux