No Casualties Reported But Fighting Intense Around Mariupol; Ukrainians Mark Anniversary of Holodomor

November 26, 2016
A woman lays a piece of bread next to candles during a ceremony in memory of the victims of the Holodomor famine in Kyiv on November 26, 2016. Photo by AFP

Ukraine Day 1013: 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


No Casualties Reported But Fighting Intense Around Mariupol; Ukrainians Mark Anniversary of Holodomor

In his briefing today, Col. Andriy Lysenko, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman on ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] noted that the most powerful attacks by Russia-backed fighters were on Krasnogorovka (Krasnohorivka) which lasted steadily for two hours and twenty minutes, and also on Maryinka, Novogrygorivka and near the Sea of Azarov.
He reported on the Lugansk sector:

In the Luhansk sector combat actions restarted in Stanytsia-Luhanska area. Russia’s proxies were firing in the city of Stanytsia Luhanska itself for over two hours. In addition to light weapons of various types, militants were using armored vehicles. They also violated ceasefire in Valuyske village located close to the contact line and to the state border. “A total of 28 mines were fired upon Ukrainian positions, the attack lasted for one and a half hour. A series of hostile attacks also took place in Popasna area between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.,” said the spokesman. A total of 10 militant attacks took place in the Luhansk sector over the last day, two of them were made from heavy weapons.

No casualties were reported today. 

As of 18:00 today, the ATO reported on its Facebook page that Russia-backed militants had fired 31 times; 24 of these were along the Mariupol line using heavy artillery, mortar-launchers, greande-launchers and small arms on Maryinka, Vodyanoye, Shirokino, Talakovka, Lebedinskoye, and Pavlopol.

Along the Donetsk line, militants fired grenade-launchers, large-caliber machine guns on Avdeyevka and Opytnoye.
On the Luganskoye line, mortar-launchers, anti-tank missile systems, grenade-launchers and small arms were used to attack Novozvanovka, Orekhovo and Novoalekandrovka. In the city of toretskoye, the water main was damaged. For five days already, Ukrainian utility workers cannot reach the area to perform repairs due to the failure of Russia-backed forces to provide a guarantee of safety.

o Hug Reports on Trends in Ukraine War

Alexander Hug, First Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, visited Minsk to take part in the Working Group on Security of the Trilateral Contact Group, then gave a briefing in Kiev on November 25. While there are fewer explosions recorded by the OSCE SMM team, intense fighting continues.

Said Hug:

There is a reduction of all kinds of ceasefire violations in all sectors but their intensity is high. “The parties have agreed, according to the Minsk agreements, to withdraw tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, mortars and artillery to the assigned areas, but it is obvious that they have not fulfilled this,” stated Mr. Hug.

Alexander Hug visited Minsk to participate in the Working Group on Security of the Trilateral Contact Group. On September 21, this contact group agreed to execute the Framework Agreement on the withdrawal of forces and facilities. “The parties have not completed the process this week, and it is already two months after signing the Framework Agreement,” he stressed.

According to the First Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM, civilians are often forced to use unofficial routes for crossing the contact line. People expose themselves to danger because the fields in the area are covered with explosive remnants. “There is a need to implement security measures but the rules for crossing the contact line should be simplified for civilians, whose number amounts to 30,000 daily. […] As long as armed men in camouflage uniform and military equipment are located at the entry-exit crossing point, risk factors will remain,” noted Mr. Hug.

o Ukrainians Mark Anniversary of Holodomor 

Ukrainians marked the 83rd anniversary of Stalin’s artificially-induced mass hunger known as the Holodomor, Ukrainian and international media reported.

At least four million Ukrainians died in 1932-1933 due to the Soviet Communist leadership’s forced collectivization and mass murder. 

Rafael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the term “genocide” and authored the international Genocide Treaty, was among the first to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide. 

The US and EU countries recognize the Holodomor as a genocide, but Russia disputes this characterization, noting that other ethnic groups besides Ukrainians died in the state-induced famine. 

Translation: Two crimes, genocide and Russian agression in Donbass, woven together in the fate of Mikola Pavlovich Onishchenka

In Moscow, vandals disrupted the showing of “Hunger ’33,” a film about the Holodomor at the Ukrainian Cultural Center. Several dozens pro-government activists protested the claim of genocide, calling it “Russophobic,” and dumped a pig’s head and bones in front of the center, Unian reported.

o DNR Removes Accreditation for Czech Humanitarian Group People in Need

The self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) stripped People in Need Foundation (PINF), a Czech humanitarian organization among the oldest in the region, of its accreditation, DAN-Info reported.  The organization had been providing relief to communities in war-torn Donbass.

The DNR accreditation committee said that the permission to operate in DNR-controlled territory was pulled because the group’s activities were “incompatible with its previously-stated purposes” and because it had ignored programmatic demands made on it by the DNR. The DNR also claimed that PINF used “corrupt schemes” to distribute aid, although these charges were not substantiated and were inconsistent with the group’s record in this and other regions.

The DNR has ordered all PINF personnel who are foreigners to leave the territory. 

o Crimean Tatar Leader Dzhimelev’s Son Released from Prison 

Hayser Dzhemilev, the son of Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, was released from a prison in Astrakhan, Russia on November 25 at the completion of his term, Qha reported.

His lawyer Nikolai Polozkov reported his release on his Facebook page. 

Hayser, who lived in what is now Russian-occupied Crimea, was convicted of negligent manslaughter and illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to 3 years and 8 months of prison. Hayser pled guilty but insisted that he serve his term in Ukraine. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that he should be returned to Ukraine. The Russian government moved him to Russian territory to put pressure on his father, Mustafa, who has been barred from Crimea and Russia. The Crimean Tatar Mejis or popular assembly, which Mustafa led until his retirement, was declared illegal by Russian authorities.

Russia’s Memorial Human Rights Center was among the groups calling for the return of Dzhemilev to Ukraine.

Protest on Disappeared in Crimea 

A group of activists staged their monthly protest in front of the Russian Embassy in Kiev, demanding answers on 15 persons missing since Moscow’s occupation of Crimea, Qha reported. 

o Russia Complains about Ukraine’s Missile Test Plans

Russia has protested the plans of Ukraine to test its missiles, Reuters reported. 

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick