Ukraine Liveblog Day 191: Fighting In Ilovaisk, Amvrosievka and Novoazovsk

August 27, 2014
"Shelling of Novoazovsk [on August 26] set on fire the cemetery in the western part of the town near Mariupol highway." Photo - Petr Shelomovskiy

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Moscow ‘Checking’ Information on Soldiers’ Deaths; Reinforcements Not Arrived in Ilovaisk

Here’s a round-up of a number of reports on the Ukrainian battlefront:

The Russian government has been denying reports of Russian soldiers killed or captured in battle in Ukraine, but now presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov seems to be changing somewhat in tone. ITAR-TASS reports (translation by The Interpreter)

Without a doubt this information is likely being checked by the relevant ministries. It needs a detailed check before making any conclusions.

However, Peskov could not say whether the information was already being checked and in any event continued to say that reports of Russian soldiers active at the Ukrainian border “did not correspond to reality.”

Semyon Semyonchenko, head of the Donbass Battalion, recovering from serious wounds in the hospital, has been filing reports from his Facebook page from the front.

Five hours ago:

Ilovaysk:  according to information from two sources, the commander of Dnipro Battalion and commander of Donbass Battalion, no help has yet arrived. Two Russian Federation tanks are driving around the city and firing at our guys. The guys are holding up well, exhaustion is taking its toll, but their combat spirit is high. There are three wounded men in Donbass Battalion.

It is impossible to listen to the brave speeches of generals and their press secretaries which have nothing in common with reality. It is impossible that they “forget” about the volunteers, therefore I urge people to support the guys and come out tomorrow to picket the General Staff at 10:00.

Some media have distorted my words that supposedly I confirmed that help arrived. That’s not true. This information came from the top brass, but it was immediately clear it was premature to make conclusions with real, and not mythical (like the ATO speech-maker) soldiers and commanders. That’s how it was.

The list of demands will be published in the morning and sent to the picket. I beg and plead you that we show ourselves to be civilized but firm Ukrainians and not brutal Moskalya [pejorative term for Russians]. We will get by without breaking glass, hanging generals from the chandeliers and other such pranks. We cannot be depicted as a bunch of marginals. You are our rear guard, we are your front and together we need each other. I will especially send to you to help about 10 men who are recuperating to maintain order, including by a belt to the rear end to any provocateurs. Together everything will work out for us. Thank you. Glory to Ukraine!

In contrast to the report by a Kommersant correspondent of orderly departures of Ukrainian troops from Novoazovsk, UNIAN reports late tonight Kiev time that 60 soldiers from the National Guard are missing in this area.

Two days ago, 60 soldiers from the National Guard disappeared along the road from Amvrosievka to Mariupol, TSN reported. Their relatives cannot get in touch with them. No one knows anything about the Herson Battalion of spetsnaz patrol service.

Relatives have been keeping watch by the bases and going to rallies to try to learn the fate of their loved ones.

Nothing is known at all. About the guys who were in Ilovaisk, there is nothing at all. Nothing on losses, whether alive or dead, nothing, the girlfriend of one of the Herson Battalion soldiers Polina Bulba complained.

Kommersant Reporter Describes Separatist Occupation of Novoazovsk

Ilya Barabanov, special correspondent for the Russian business newspaper Kommersantreports from Novoazovsk, after midnight tonight local time.

The Interpreter has provided a translation.


Novoazovsk. Photo by Sergei Grits/AP

Yesterday after a short artillery preparation, the forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic occupied virtually without a fight the strategically important town of Novoazovsk, 40 kilometers from Mariupol. Thus, the militiamen have come out on the Azov Sea.

Special correspondent Ilya Barabanov witnessed the occupation of the town and is convinced that the advance on the positions of the Ukrainian forces in the south is really on a wide scale now.

The artillery shelling of Novoazovsk began some time around 10:45 am. There were virtually no Ukrainian soldiers in town by that time. They had begun to leave it even the day before, as the northern and western suburbs came under fire. When we entered the town, we only encountered one BTR with the Ukrainian flag. The main forces, according to soldiers, had left Novoazovsk in organized fashion early that morning.

Shooting was going on right nearby, but the target this time was apparently the northern districts of the town.

“It’s better to move to the hospital basement,” some medics advised us as they passed by. “We have tea and Wi-Fi, and we’ll all be safer there.”

The shelling ended 40 minutes later, after which we decided to drive further, toward the Russian-Ukrainian border.

In the seaside village of Sedovo, to which refugees from three regions of Donetsk Region had been fleeing in recent weeks, where there were active clashes, they did not seem to notice the approaching war. The beaches were packed with people, two local residents were boiling some ukha [fish soup] nearby and the lamp posts were covered with advertisements about rentals by the day for vacationers.

Two women from the village of Kirovsk, Krasnoliman District of Donetsk Region told us that they had come with their families to Sedovo four days earlier and ever since then had been waiting to cross the border.

“I have a daughter who only completed 11th grade, she was going to the institute in Rostov-on-Don, but there is shelling at home, so we had to leave,” one of them said. “The DNR people seem to have left Kirovsk, but the army hasn’t stopped the shelling.”

From Sedovo to the border is less than 10 km through the villages of Obryv and Kholodnoye. In Obryv, there was the same peaceful life and working cafes and people on the beach. But we didn’t manage to get to Kholodnoye. The road was blocked by some well-armed people in masks, without identifying insignia, with white arm bands. To the right of the highway, several vehicles could be glimpsed, on one of them the red flag of “Novorossiya” had been raised.

When we asked if we could pass through the checkpoint, one of the fighters shook his head and gestured silently without lowering his weapon that our car should turn back.

It turned out to be easier to get to the Novoazovsk checkpoint a few kilometers to the north. In just a few kilometers from the border — on the turn to the Odessa-Novoazovsk highway — our car was stopped by more motley people in camouflage, introducing themselves as “DNR militia.” After checking our ID, they quickly let us through.

“Only be careful at the crossroads, it’s going to get hot soon,” one of them advised us.

Turning toward the border, we immediately bumped into a convoy of several tanks and trucks. The vehicles had started up and were loaded with people, and the same read Novorossiya flag was on the sides.

The man in charge at the checkpoint introduced himself as Aleksandr.

“The border is open, we’re letting through everyone who wants, including refugees, in both directions,” he said. “You, for example, would you like to go back home right now?”

According to him, fighters had occupied the border relatively recently, but he couldn’t supply an exact date. Aleksandr forbid us to photograph the checkpoint and the positions. He left us his phone number in parting and urged us to return to Novoazovsk not by the direct route, but through Sedovo again.

We drove back to the city hospital in Novoazovsk.

“Colleagues from the villages occupied by the DNR called, and told us that a vehicle convoy is headed our way,” the workers shared with us. “You had better think about the cellar, you can definitely sit through it here, but you might not reach Mariupol.”

As it turned out, Ukrainian forces had left for the village of Bezymyannoye [Bezimenne], 20 km from Mariupol. When we drove out of Novoazovsk toward Mariupol, a tank was turning toward the western outskirts of the city with the same red flag on the side. The soldier sitting up on the tank waved his hand: “Go away.” The city was virtually occupied without a fight.

State Department Warns Russian Troops Have Pushed 30 Miles into Ukraine

The US Department of State has acknowledged that Russian troops have pushed as deep as 30 miles into Ukraine. The Associated Press reports:

“These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, referring to two rebel regions in eastern Ukraine. She also voiced concern about overnight deliveries of materiel in southeast Ukraine, where separatists on Wednesday entered a key town linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula it recently annexed…

Russian forces, she said, are being sent 30 miles inside Ukraine, without them or their families knowing where they are going. She cited reports of burials in Russia for those who’ve died in Ukraine and wounded Russian soldiers being treated in a St. Petersburg hospital. She said such actions show Russia isn’t acting transparently.

Despite the critical rhetoric, Psaki didn’t outline any immediate response.

Russian Troops Threaten Mariupol and Volnovakha By Offensive in Novoazovsk
Russian troops are advancing on Mariupol and Volnovakha through Novoazovsk (map of the area).

Vladimimr Kochetkov-Sukach, former Azov fighter and now volunteer in the ATO zone, has spoken to TV channel 112 Ukraina, UNN reports.

The Interpreter
has provided a translation:

“We know that they have occupied one part of the city, virtually from the other side, across the river. Our units are located there. For now they are actively attacking the city. Shelling has been going on constantly, but there haven’t been such active combat in the middle of town yet,” he said.

He added that the situation is complicated by the fact that a large vehicle convoy is moving toward Volnovakha.

Now, according to him, there is talk of the possible surrounding of Novoazovsk, and Mariupol is awaiting a difficult situation in the future.

Ukrainian Government Announces Russia Has Invaded
A tweet sent from the official Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine:
Russian Newspaper Asks Whether Russia is At War In Ukraine
Vedomosti, an independent business publication, has an editorial published today August 27, “From the Editors: Are We at War?”

The editors Pavel Aptekar, Nikolai Epple and Andrei Sinitsyn point out that with a growing number of unanswered questions about Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, with evidence of paratroopers buried in Pskov and prisoners of war interrogated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), it’s time for the Kremlin to provide some answers.

Yesterday, Sergei Krivenko and Ella Polyakov, two members of the presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights publicly asked questions about the death of nine contract soldiers for the 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade in Rostov Region. (These human rights advocates officially recognized by the Kremlin as consultants explained publicly that they had been quietly seeking answers for weeks.)

Ludmila Bogatenkova, head of the Stavropol Territory Committee for Soldiers’ Mothers, told yesterday that 9 soldiers had died in Snezhnoye on the border of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions. The Dagestani journal Chernovik has also asked questions about soldiers from their republic who have apparently been killed in battle, although they were claimed to have died during training.

Vedomosti also asked about reports of the paratroopers of the 76th Assault Guards in Pskov; as we reported, two men, Leonid Kichatkin and Aleksandr Osipov whose documents were found in BMDs seized by Ukrainian army in Lugansk Region were buried in Pskov Region 25 August.

Several dozen paratroopers in a list of men matched to the documents Ukrainian army said were found in the BMDs also have not updated their social media pages since August 16, and have not gotten in touch with relatives and are feared dead or captured.

Finally, today the SBU held a press conference with 9 POWs from the 331st Regiment of the 98th Svirsk Division of the Russian Airborne Troops. The Defense Ministry claims they “lost their way” near the border. The Interpreter has provided a translation of an excerpt of the editorial. The translation can be read on our Russia Liveblog.

Pictures Reportedly Show Russian Armored Convoy Destroyed Near Donetsk

Dorozhny Kontrol (, an online publication that usually covers traffic accidents and the GAI [Traffic Inspection], has published a report today, August 27 at 16:36, claiming that the Ukrainian army has attacked a Russian military convoy outside of Ilovaisk (map), destroying some BMDs, killing most of the paratroopers and taking some prisoners.

The report includes pictures (warning: graphic) that Dorozhny Kontrol says the Ukrainian forces provided to them. The pictures show the blue beret of the paratroopers, the label from a Kevlar vest manufactured in the Russian city of Kazan, a Ukrainian soldier holding up a VSS Vintorez (a rifle only used by Russian Spetsnaz), and the dead bodies of soldiers.

The Interpreter has a translation:

Last night, 26 August 2014, Ukrainian artillery destroyed a convoy of Russian paratroopers who advanced on BMDs. The Russian Federation soldiers were moving toward Ilovaisk with the purpose of destroying the position of the Ukrainian army. As soon as the column was noted, strikes were delivered.

Photographs of the destroyed vehicles were given by soldiers to Dorozhny Kontrol journalists who are on the scene of events. As can be seen from the photos, the paratroopers were dressed in the RF military uniform and had Vintorez rifles with them, which are not in the arsenals of Ukraine. Most of the paratroopers were destroyed, but some were taken captive.

They noted that their reporter Rostislav Shaposhnikov and Yegor Vorobyev, a journalist of Espresso TV and his cameraman Taras Chkan are embedded with the 2nd platoon of the 39th TRO Battalion, 93rd part, remnants of the 51st brigade and some units of the Dnepr-1 battalion, and are surrounded outside of Ilovaisk.

“The Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry of Ukraine are not doing anything to save the soldiers and volunteers,” said Dorozhny Kontrol.

Several of the destroyed vehicles look like the MT-LB amphibious infantry fighting vehicle, a type of vehicle which has not been spotted in this fight until recently but one which we located in Lugansk Region yesterday.



In this picture there appears to be some sort of green lettering or numbering on the side of the vehicle, an MT-LB. 


Yesterday, a convoy of Russian armor was geolocated to Sverdlovsk, between Lugansk and the Russian border (map). The vehicles were marked with green paint, often in exactly the same location as the picture above. We have not seen this paint before, but evidence strongly suggests that the convoy located yesterday, complete with 4 T-72s and the advanced Strela-10 anti-aircraft weapon, must have crossed the Russian border. While we can’t prove that the vehicle below was in Sverdlovsk yesterday, it might indicate that Russia is marking the vehicles it is sending across the border with this green paint.

A screengrab from a video uploaded yesterday showing a MT-LB in Sverdlovsk:


Government Claims Reinforcements In Ilovaisk, Semyonchenko Denies This As Protesters Call For Action

The Ukrainian government and the leaders and families of volunteer battalions fighting in Ilovaisk are clashing over claims that Ukrainian reinforcements have arrived to relieve the beleaguered volunteers, who have been fighting a bloody and costly battle for control of the town.

Earlier, Semyon Semyonchenko, the commander of the Donbass battalion, who was himself wounded in a mortar attack in Ilovaisk, wrote on his Facebook page that his fighters would wait no more and that reinforcements were not coming. He endorsed a protest today outside the presidential administration in Kiev and said that he would make an announcement later on another protest to be held tomorrow outside the headquarters of the General Staff. 

Meanwhile, Andrei Lysenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian National Defence and Security Council (SNBO), told reporters that help had arrived in Ilovaisk.

Ukrainska Pravda reports on the contrasting statements (translated by The Interpreter):

The SNBO insists that military assistance has for Ukrainian volunteer battalions has arrived just outside Ilovaisk.

This was announced by the spokesman for the SNBO Infocentre, Andrei Lyenko, at a briefing at 17:00 on Wednesday. He said that, 15 minutes before the briefing, he had been on the phone with fighters, located near Ilovaisk.

“The guys say that counter-attacks are being mounted. But they have ammunition, they have backup and artillery has been brought up along with additional forces helping to push back the counter-attacking militants. The operation to finally liberate the town from the militants is now under way. Active combat operations are ongoing,” said Lysenko.

Meanwhile the commander of the Donbass battalion, Semyon Semyonchenkok, said Lysenko’s words were untrue.

Semyonchenko wrote on his Facebook page (translated by The Interpreter):

I’m watching the press conference of the ATO spokesman right now, who called a guy in Ilovaisk and help arrived there. I understand, the man is bound, the officer reads what is written. But I cannot do that. I’m also an officer, but of some other kind apparently.

In short. What was said was not true. Almost everything. Full stop. The rest is on your conscience dear generals. Tomorrow at 10:00 in front of the General Staff. And all you fabulists can go to… Only your fairy tales are more like horror films.

Semyonchenko addressed protesters outside the presidential administration in Kiev today via phone.  

The protesters include friends and relatives of volunteers in the Azov and Aidar volunteer battalions and some members of Praviy Sektor, UNIAN reports.

Slogans shouted and borne on placards included: “President, defend the patriots,” officials’ procrastination brings death to patriots,” and “give tanks to the patriots!” 


Another example of rift between government statements and outside reports came today as the SNBO claimed that the town of Novoazovsk was “fully under the control of ATO forces” while Hromadske TV reported that it had in fact fallen to Chechen fighters. 

Nadezhda Savchenko To Be Transferred To Psychiatric Hospital

In a disturbing echo of Soviet practice, Nadezhda Savchenko is to be transferred from her detention centre in Voronezh to the Serbsky Centre (formerly the Serbsky Institute), an infamous psychiatric hospital in Moscow.

One of her lawyers, Nikolai Polozov, tweeted:

Nadezhda Savchenko will shortly be transferred to Moscow for psychiatric evaluation at the Serbsky Institute.

Ukrainska Pravda reported:

Savchenko handed her lawyers a statement on her non-participation in psychological and psychiatric examinations.

She wrote that she does not consider these examinations legal. She refuses to communicate with clinic staff, give testimony, fill any forms, take tests or medication etc.

As a result, Polozov reports that she will not be accessible to her lawyers for a month:

The investigators have refused to carry out an outpatient medical examination in Voronezh. It will not be possible for lawyers to have access to Nadezhda at the clinic for a month.

Nadezhda Savchenko fears that her being in a closed clinic, without access to lawyers, will be used to exert pressure on her.

 The court extended Savchenko’s detention without bail for another two months. The Voronezh prosecutors also rejected a filing for kidnapping made by Savchenko’s lawyers (relating to her illegal rendition across the border to Russia, having been detained by militants from the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic).

Savchenko’s other lawyer, Mark Feygin, tweeted: 

In the coming days Nadezhda Savchenka will be recognised by Russian human rights organisations as a political prisoner

All translations by The Interpreter.

Ukrainian SBU Holds Press Conference with Russian POWs

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) held a press conference today August 27 in Kiev with a group of Russian POWs seized by Ukraine near Amvrosievka in Donetsk Region on August 24, Ukrainska Pravda and reported.

They were part of a Russian military convoy that invaded Ukraine and engaged in battle alongside separatists against Ukrainian forces.

The commander of the Kostroma-based paratroopers in Russia said that only 9, not 10 were seized, and that 2 soldiers had died during the encounter. Originally, Ukrainian media reports had said there were “10” prisoners but today only 9 were at the press conference.

Videos and pictures of the POWs released earlier this week indicated that they had swollen faces and cuts and bruises, opening up the question of whether they were mistreated in captivity. Furthermore, as the videotapes of interrogations indicated, the prisoners were likely coerced into making confessions or statements that they now had come around to the Ukrainian perspective.

A number of the captives repeated that they had seen lies on Russian TV but now saw the truth. As reported, Jr. Sgt. Yegor Pochtoyev said:

“We are surprised at what we really saw with our own lies. If I hadn’t been here, until now I would have believed what was shown on Russian news. Having been here awhile, we realized that we are not told a lot.”

Sr. Sgt. Vladimir Savasteyev, head of the group, was said to recognize Ukrainian forces right to defend their country: “Let us say only one thing. The guys are fighting for their own land.

Under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, POWs “may not be subjected to physical mutilation” and must “at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”

This has been interpreted in the modern era to mean that prisoners should not be shown on television, as the ICRC interpreted in 2003 regarding American POWs in Iraq. US media refused to show their pictures, while Al-Jazeera did.

But as news media and social media have become more ubiquitous, many media believe they should report the news of the holding of POWs and even what they say while not humiliating them. The issue continues to be a matter of debate and legal interpretation but it is generally agreed that showing coerced confessions of the POWs on television is a serious violation.

Nevertheless, POWs have continued to be exploited in propaganda wars. On Ukrainian Independence Day, Russian-backed separatists paraded Ukrainian POWs through the streets of Donetsk. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he did not believe the prisoners were humiliated.

Russia has returned Ukrainian POWs who strayed or fled into Russian territory during battle, and military experts believe that unless Ukraine promptly returns the Kostroma soldiers, Russia will retaliate. Meanwhile, at a trial today in Voronezh, Russia has ruled to extend the pre-trial detention of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko and intern her for examination in the notorious Serbsky Institute for Forensic Psychiatry

Russia Accuses NATO Of Destabilizing European Security As Russian-Backed Troops Capture Ukrainian Towns

NATO has long been the target of Russia wrath. What the Kremlin’s statements on NATO miss, however, is that NATO has been demobilizing its forces in Eastern Europe since the fall of the USSR and has been focusing elsewhere, and it is really only Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine that has changed that narrative.

Still, while Russia and Ukraine are trying to negotiate an end to this crisis, and while there are reports that multiple towns in eastern Ukraine have fallen to Russian troops in the last 24 hours, the Russian Foreign Ministry has just sent a torrent of tweets (actually, retweets of the Russian mission to NATO) which say that it is NATO, not Russia, that has soured the relationship between the West and East and has been actively destabilizing the security situation in Europe.

Each of these tweets could easily be debunked, though for now we’ll say this. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has become one giant projection machine in recent months. Nearly every tweet and message accuses NATO, or the United States, or the government in Ukraine of doing exactly what Russia is actually doing. And each time the rhetoric from the MFA increases like this, there is usually a significant direct or indirect escalation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the Russian government’s “response” to the West’s imagined actions.
Large Russian Military Column Reportedly Heading Towards Telmanovo

The ATO press centre has announced that reports have been received of a column of up to 100 Russian military vehicles, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles and Grad rocket launchers, on the move towards Telmanovo along the road from Starobeshevo, which reportedly fell to Russian or Russian-backed forces earlier. 

According to Ukrainska Pravda, the ATO press centre noted that the vehicles were marked with white circles or triangles. 

A battalion task force of the Russian Armed Forces has reportedly set up headquarters in the village of Pobeda, just to the south of Snezhnoye.

Russian or separatist reinforcements have been sent to Amvrosievka, where they are fighting Ukrainian forces, claims the ATO press centre. 

They also noted that:

“Information has been received on a column, of 6 Grad MLRS, 8 tented Kamaz trucks and 2 Urals with troops, proceeding from Russian territory and through the village of Dibrovka in the direction of Dmitrovka.”

They did however state that there had been a reduction in the numbers of Russian military units in the border regions of the Belgorod, Kursk, Voronezh and Bryansk regions. 

Red Cross Representative In Ukraine Resigns

Interfax-Ukraine reports that Andre Loersch, the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ukraine, has resigned. 

Loersch told Interfax-Ukraine of his resignation today and declined to comment on the reasons for his departure. 

Savchenko In Court In Voronezh

Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian military officer who was abducted by separatist militants and taken across the border to a jail Russia, is in court in Voronezh today. She is accused of murdering two Russian journalists who were killed when the separatist checkpoint at which they were standing was shelled by Ukrainian forces on June 17.

Her last hearing took place on July 25, when she was refused bail.

Savchenko’s lawyers, Mark Feygin and Nikolai Polozov have once again proposed that she be granted bail, set at one million rubles. 

The prosecutor objected to the bail request, citing the current political situation.  

Savchenko: I do not understand how the political situation can have influence over the integrity of the court.

Savchenko: I did not kill them and I was not involved in the deaths of the journalists. I do not understand what Russian court investigations have to do with the affairs of Ukraine. 

Savchenko: I am a Ukrainian soldier and have fulfilled my duty. How can foreigners decide how I defend the Motherland?

The court hearing has just resumed following a recess. We will provide further updates later on. 

Decisive Day In Ilovaisk – Semyonchenko

Semyon Semyonchenko, the commander of the Ukrainian volunteer Donbass battalion, reports on his Facebook page that today will be a decisive day in the battle for the town of Ilovaisk, where Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a bloody struggle with separatist fighters for over a week now.

He writes that his fighters are now waiting for help from outside:

Ilovaisk. Nobody died last night. I still have no information on the other battalions. One gets the impression that someone wants the units to pull out of Ilovaisk straight back to Kiev. Not a rotation. 

The boys have dug into the ground and set up bunkers. The separatists are frightened to even stick their noses out, they’re only carrying out long range shelling. We cannot evacuate our wounded yet. Today is the decisive day. I believe, I hope. We’ve gathered up everyone who could be. All the promises have been made. We’ve fulfilled our duty, now we’re waiting for THEM to fulfil theirs.

A few hours later, Semyonchenko posted again, now decrying the lack of assistance from the Ukrainian army and joining calls for a protest on Bankova Street (the site of the Presidential Administration) in Kiev today. He also announces that he will call for a protest outside the headquarters of the General Staff:

We can wait no more. We have been deceived once again. I’m calling on all Ukrainians with an appeal to save our brothers. If their many-starred generals were thrown in, I don’t believe the people of Ukraine would abandon them. No help of any kind is coming today.

The responsibility for this lies with the minister of defence and the ATO command. Not even a command can get through to them. 

Now, if the still weak barriers on the road from Kuteynikovo to Starobeshevo are consolidated, there will be a second line in the blockade, and this here will become a mass grave.

I am not organising today’s picket, it is being organised by the community in Kiev. I am reposting it and asking for support. 

Tomorrow I will associate myself with the organisation of a new picket. We need as many people as possible in front of the headquarters of the General Staff. There will be more information on this after 17:00 today [14:00 GMT]. The time to gather tomorrow will be approximately 10:00.

A couple of hours later, Andrei Lysenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian National Defence and Security Council (SNBO) told reporters at a briefing in Kiev that help had arrived for the fighters in Ilovaisk. 

UNIAN reports that Lysenko said that wounded were being evacuated and additional reinforcements were continuing to arrive.

We are waiting to see how Semyonchenko responds to Lysenko’s announcement.  

Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet has uploaded video footage purportedly filmed alongside Ukrainian troops fighting in Ilovaisk yesterday:

All translations by The Interpreter.
The Battle For Novoazovsk Continues
There are reports that the battle for control of the coastal town of Novoazovsk continued with heavy shelling this morning. 

Al Jazeera cite an AP report on the shelling today in their liveblog:

In response to outgoing fire early on Wednesday, rebel forces lobbed at least 10 shells at the government-held town of Novoazovsk. 

Plumes of black smoke rose above the town, which was hit repeatedly shelled on Tuesday, injuring four residents in a local hospital, according to the town’s mayor, Oleg Sidorkin. [AP]

Ukrainska Pravda reports that Andrei Lysenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian National Defence and Security Council (SNBO) has told reporters at a briefing in Kiev today that the Russian army has captured several villages near Novoazovsk.

They report (translated by The Interpreter):

After the fighting on Tuesday Ukrainian security forces dug in on the eastern confines of the village of Bezymyannoye. The Novoazovsk-Mariupol highway is under our control,” he said.

Lysenko said that combined mobile groups of soldiers, law enforcement officers and guardsmen had been “organised at posts at the most dangerous likely routes in the Mariupol area.”

“The town of Novoazovsk is being shelled from both Russia and captured positions in Ukrainian territory. However the town remains under the control of our forces,” assured the representative of the SNBO.

However, to the north of Novoazovsk, “Russians and terrorists have seized the villages of Markino, Kovskoye, Shcherbak, Klimkino, Sedovo-Vasilyevka, Kuznetsy, and Rozy Luxemburg. Massive artillery bombardments of the settlements of Guselshchikovo, Sedovo, Obryv and Kholodnoye are being conducted from the territory of the Russian Federation.”

According to him, the artillery fire is being guided by unmanned aerial vehicles of the Russian armed forces.

In addition, Donetsk militants, together with Russian invaders, have occupied Starobeshevo in the Donetsk region.

“The local hospital was ransacked. The wounded, who had been in this hospital had been previously evacuated to Mariupol and Berdyansk,” said Lysenko.

The representative of the SNBO said that ATO forces had been transferred to Mariupol as assistance.

Lysenko said that the first operational brigade of the National Guard, equipped with new weaponry, had arrived in the area and that fortifications were being strengthened.