1 Ukrainian Soldier Killed, 7 Wounded, 2 Concussed in Last 24 Hrs; Ukraine Files Suit Against Russia at World Court

March 7, 2017
A bell tower destroyed by shelling from Russia-backed forces near the front line. March 5, 2017. Photo by ATO

Ukraine Day 1114: 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


Is Col. Kiselyev of the Russia-Backed Army of the South East Still Alive?

Readers may recall we have covered the operations of the Russia-backed Col. Vitaly Kiselyev, a Donbass native leading the separatists known by the call-sign “Kommunist” who would wear a Soviet-style cap with a red star. He was deputy head of the self-styled “people’s militia” of the self-declared “Lugansk People’s Republic” (LNR), later described as the Army of the South East.
He was frequently featured by pro-Russian sites in videos uploaded to YouTube. One in December 2014 showed him leading training with a BPM-97 Combat Border Vehicle, which could have only been obtained from Russia’s FSB Border Guards. 

He was also at the battle of Debaltsevo in February 2015, and together with a Buryat soldier from Russia, lifted up the separatist flags over the administration building (shown here on the right).

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2017-03-08 02:47:39

The Lugansk city news site 0642.ua and the Ukrainian news site politic.kiev.ua published articles today titled “Is ‘Kommunist’ Still Alive? Topic of Kisilyev Discussed Again on Web”
They said without providing links that separatist news sites had reported that Kisilyev was detained in the fall of 2016 by soldiers of the LNR for an alleged assassination attempt on Igor Plotnitsky, the self-styled head of the LNR.

A source within the LNR was reported to say (translated by The Interpreter):

“He was jailed last autumn. They beat him really hard. They knocked the truth out of him. Then there was news that he had not withstood the physical methods of pressure and died from torture. But then later that information was refuted.”

Even Kisilyev’s closest relatives did not know where he was being held, had no visits with him, nor knew of his condition. In January, again there was news that Kiselyev had died during an interrogation. 

In January, the self-styled “prosecutor general” also said Kiselyev had been charged ultimately with “enabling actions aimed at the violent seizure of power” which in the DNR is punishable by imprisonment from 12 to 20 years. 

Kiselyev was said to fully admit his guilt for the crimes with which he was charged, and was said to have recanted, and given testimony about the circumstances of the plot and the other people involved in it.

He was then ordered to be placed under guard “taking into account his written statement, and is kept in a place guaranteeing the security of his life and health.”

But it has not been confirmed that he is still alive. Other former commanders have died in prison or been assassinated; at least 9 major leaders, most recently “Givi” (Mikhail Tolstykh) have been murdered, often with rumors that they challenged Plotnitsky. Meanwhile, Plotnitsky and other LNR leaders blame the Ukrainian army for these deaths.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

1 Ukrainian Soldier Killed, 7 Wounded, 2 Concussed in Last 24 Hrs; Ukraine Provides Evidence to World Court

A Russian soldier from the 46th Separate Brigade in the spring of 2015 stands amid the ruins of a Ukrainian town he attacked fighting with Russia-backed separatists. Photo via InformNapalm. 

One Ukrainian soldier was killed, seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded (three today) and two were concussed (one today), the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] reported in its dispatches this morning about the previous 12 hours and this evening about today. 

Note: the Ukrainian military reports as a separate category soldiers who are “traumatized” (travmovaniy), i.e. not suffering injuries such as fractures, lacerations, bullet or shrapnel wounds, but concussions or “shell shock”. (The Ukrainian term travmovaniy is not translated into English as “trauma” as in “wound” but refers to  “shell shock”). Since the circumstances or severity of these conditions is not always indicated, i.e. whether they involve actual traumatic brain injury, PTSD, or merely temporary confusion, and the Ukrainian army itself reports these cases separately we report them separately as well. 

Note that the US army considers concussion, a mild form of traumatic brain injury, as an injury that can have later consequences, which may enable medical compensation to be received.

Russia-backed forces attacked Ukrainian positions 122 times in the previous day and throughout today, there were 53 attacks.
On the Mariupol line, in the past day there were attacks on Vodyanoye and Lebedinskoye with tanks; mortars, grenade-launchers, anti-tank systems and small arms were used to fire on Gnutovo, Novotroitskoye, Krasnogorovka, Pavlopol, Vodyanoye, Novogrigoryevka and Shirokino. Mortar-launchers fired on Gnutovo, Chermalik, Talakovka, Pavlopol, and Vodyanoye. BMPs and snipers fired on Beryozovoye, Vodynoye and Shirokino.
Today there were attacks on Talakovka and Taramchuk; a tank fired on Shirokino and mortars were used on Vodyanoye, Maryinka and Talakovka. Grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns as well as small arms were fired on Vodyanoye, Gnutovo, Pavlopol, Maryinka and Shirokino.
On the Donetsk line, in the past day mortars of various calibers were fired on Avdeyevka, Mayorsk, Troitskoye, Verkhnyetoretskoye, Novgorodskoye and Peski, and grenade-launchers and small arms were used on Severnoye, Peski, Zaytsevo, Verkhnyetoretskoye, Kamenka and Nevelsk. A sniper was active near Kamenets and a BMP fired on Luganskoye.
Today, there were attacks with mortar-launchers on Severnoye, Avdeyevka, Zaytsevo, Verkhnyetoretskoye and grenade-launchers were used on Troitskoye, Peski and Zaytsevo. A BMP fired on Peski.

On the Lugansk line, in the past day 152-mm artillery repeatedly shelled Krymskoye and various mortars were used on Novoalekandrovka, Popasnyaya, Novtoshkivskoye, Novozvanovka, and Krymskoye. During today, militants fired 122-mm artillery on Krymskoye and mortars on Krymskoye and Novotshkovskoye; a PTRK was repeatedly fired on Novotoshkovskoye as well. Small arms were used on Novoaleksandrovka and Novozvanovka.

Not surprisingly, given the escalation of conflict in recent weeks, more Russian armor has been spotted. 

Once again, yet another effort to separate the warring sides in Stanitsa Luganskaya ended in failure, Ukrainska Pravda reported.  A Ukrainian military spokesman said Russia-backed forces had fired 7 times on Stanitsa Luganskaya, a town in Lugansk Region on the front line, from the period of March 1-7.

o With 3rd Anniversary of ‘Little Green Men,” Publications on Russian Military in Ukraine; Ukraine Counters Russian Denials at ICJ

In February 2014, Russian forces invaded Crimea, and together with the existing Russian military presence on the peninsula, took over Ukrainian air bases and forced the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation.

Then Russian forces and local separatist forces backed by Russia fanned out and took over some 100 administrative buildings in dozens of towns in the southeast of Ukraine.

InformNapalm has reported on one such Russian brigade’s actions at that time.

The Ukrainian military has reported on the Russian military presence in its suit against Russia filed at the International Court of Justice in January.

Today, Russia said the court “had no jurisdiction,” based on the outcome of the attempt by Georgia to sue Russia for military actions in the 2008 war.  It also denied the charges, which prompted a presentation of the evidence by Ukraine.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick