Ukraine Liveblog Day 144: 30 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed Near Russia’s Border

July 11, 2014
Rebels drive a 9k35 Strela-10 surface-to-air missile system in Donetsk. Evidence suggests it crossed the border from Russia.

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 regular updates so check back often.

EU To Work With Russia And Ukraine To Address Moscow’s Concerns

The EU will work with officials in Kiev and Ukraine in order to mitigate problems that will occur as Ukraine adopts European Union standards. RFE/RL reports:

The European Union, Russia, and Ukraine on July 11 agreed to set up a consultation mechanism to address Russian concerns about Ukraine’s Association Agreement signed with the EU last month.

Under the consultation mechanism, Russian will circulate a list of precise concerns or potential risks it feels might affect its economy as a result of the EU’s June 20 deal with Ukraine.

Experts from the three sides will try during the summer to find solutions to problems presented by Moscow that are related to technical regulations, standards, and customs.

The experts are to present a final report no later than September 1.

Video Tour Of The Destruction In Slavyansk
Euronews reporters have toured Slavyansk, and report on the damage — and the efforts the government in Ukraine has promised to undertake to clean it up.

An Entire Armored Convoy Destroyed By Rebel GRAD Rockets
The damage in today’s GRAD missile attack appears to be significant:

According to Unian, a mechanized brigade in the 11th division was deployed 17 kilometers south-east of Rovenky (map), That could put the convoy less than 10 kilometers from the Russian border. According to the report, the GRAD rockets were launched from a distance of 15 kilometers. 19 were killed and 93 were injured. “Information about the destruction of the BM-21 GRAD is being checked.”

Other reports suggest that upwards of 30 were killed.  We are awaiting a more official statement from Ukraine’s government. Vladislav Seleznyev, spokesman for the ATO, says that such a statement is in the works:

“The fact is that fighters were firing from Grads outside of Zelenopillya [Zelenopolye] — yes, there are losses on our side, the details will come later and most likely will be at the highest level,” he said.

Euronews has amazing video reportedly showing the strike, and carries this report:

The Ukrainian military says 23 of its soldiers and border guards have been killed after pro-Russian separatists firing Grad rockets attacked a border post in the Luhansk region.

If confirmed, it represents a major escalation in the conflict. Earlier, an official gave an even higher number of victims but this has been denied.

The military also said five miners had been killed and ten wounded in a rebel attack on a bus near Donetsk.

“A school and four apartment buildings were destroyed and a power plant was damaged after terrorists fired at the town of Chervonopartyzansk. One of the shells hit the bus carrying miners,” said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council.

Ukraine Shuts Off Pirate Russian News Broadcasts In Recaptured Towns

When the Russian-backed separatists took over Kramatorsk, Mariupol, and Slavyansk, they captured TV and radio broadcast channels, shut them off, and replaced their signals with Russian state-operated TV and radio signals. Now that Ukraine has recaptured those towns they have shut off the Russian broadcasts and once again replaced them with Ukrainian news.

Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko says that this is part of a plan to restore these towns to normal, but also to ensure that accurate information is being reported in eastern Ukraine (translated by The Interpreter):

“The population of Donbass requires truthful information about Ukraine,” the president emphasized. “We cannot allow the distortion of facts in informing people about the course of events in Lugansk and Donetsk regions.”

Separatists Seize State Treasury Building in Lugansk

According to, armed separatists raided the main department of the State Treasury Service in Lugansk today. 

It’s not clear if they were able to gain access to any of the money inside.

30 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed In Rocket Attack Near Russian Border

The Ukrainian government says that 30 of their soldiers were killed in a  GRAD rocket attack near the Russian border crossing. ABC News reports:

Defense Ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said the attack was on a forward base in a village near the Russian border and confirmed there had been heavy casualties, but did not give any specific figure.

The base was located near one of three border crossings whose closure Russian officials had announced Friday…

Ukraine on Friday said it had regained control of one of those rebel-held crossings.

The Russian-backed separatists of the self-proclaimed ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ say that their attack near Zelenopillya, south of Lugansk and very close to the Russian border (map), targeted the 24th Motorized Brigade. RIA Novosti reports (translated by The Interpreter):

Militia shelled a column of Ukrainian forces on Friday from a GRAD emplacement on the outskirts of the village of Zelenopolye in Lugansk Region, and about 30 [Ukrainian] soldiers may have been killed, RIA Novosti was told by the DPR headquarters; the Ukrainian Interior Ministry has confirmed these numbers.

“According to our information, the 24th Motorized Brigade of Lviv fell under fire. The exact number of those who have been killed is not known; the count may be two to three dozen. The column was destroyed,” a representative of the militia’s h
eadquarters told RIA Novosti.

Zoryan Shkiryak, advisor to the head of the Interior Ministry, confirmed that 30 troops had died, according to a report from the TV channel 112 Ukraina. “For now, we have just this information — 30 killed. I concede that there will be more mortalities in the end,” he said.

There are even reports that the GRADs may have come from the Russian side of the border, but those reports are unconfirmed.

Regardless, so far there is not sufficient evidence that the GRAD rocket launchers seen being driven by separatists are from Ukraine’s military stockpiles. In fact, just yesterday we reported that a 9k35 Strela-10 surface-to-air system was seen driving through the streets of Donetsk. There is no evidence that the weapon was captured from Ukraine’s military, and the camouflage does not match the Ukrainian military’s. Eyewitness reports say that the vehicle crossed over from Russia around July 2nd, and videos place it in the Lugansk area moving toward Donetsk between July 2nd and July 5th. There is a growing body of evidence that the Russian military gave the separatists both the GRAD rockets and the Strela- 10 SAM system, along with a handful of T-64 tanks, and possibly many other armored vehicles.

On June 13th the separatists tried to conduct a GRAD rocket strike in Dobropol. The rockets misfired, killing a civilian and a security guard. The incident suggested that the separatists were not trained on how to use those weapons.