1 Ukrainian Soldier WIA; Volker Says Russian Peacekeeping Plan Would ‘Deepen Division’ Without Monitors’ Access to Border

September 16, 2017
Kurt Volker, US envoy to Ukraine at the Yalta European Strategy Conference September 16, 2017. Photo by RFE/RL

Ukraine Day 1307: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.

Yesterday’s coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


1 Ukrainian Soldier WIA; Volker Says Russian Peacekeeping Plan Would ‘Deepen Division’ Without Monitors’ Access to Border

Russian drone which fell on Ukrainian territory. Photo by ATO 

Russia-backed forces attacked just 10 times today and didn’t use heavy machine guns and mortars after midnight, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing the ATO dispatch.

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action in Krymskoye, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing the daily briefing of Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko.

The Avdeyevka industrial zone was attacked twice with grenade launchers and heavy machines and Zaytsevo was fired on with small arms. 
On the Maritime line, there was shelling of the approaches to Vodyanoye and Shirokino.

On the Lugansk line, grenade-launchers were twice used to attack Krymskoye, and heavy machines were fired on Novotoshkovskoye.

A Russian-manufactured Orlan-10 drone fell in the ATO [Anti-Terrorism Operation[ zone today, Ukrainska Pravda reported,citing the ATO dispatch on Facebook.
Ukrainian forces didn’t shoot it down; it fell on its own, said the ATO. The Orlan-10 is made by Russia’s Special Technological Center, with the body and engine manufactured in Russia, and the electronic parts imported from Taiwan. 

Russia has been using drones for reconnaissance and spotting, the ATO said. It costs 18 million rubles ($312,500), as distinct from a plane which would be 5-7 million rubles ($86,805-$121,527). Usually 2 or 3 are used together at a time.

In other news:
o Denis Pushlin, spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) said that UN peacekeepers could not be deployed in the Donbass without the consent of separatist leaders in regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing RIA Novosti.
Further, he said the peacekeepers should be deployed where there is a danger, in participator to OSCE employees. “On DNR territory, it’s quiet, as well as on the border with Russia,” he said. 
DNR territory is not so quiet as to prevent DNR military leaders from reporting claims of Ukrainian shelling of areas under their control. And Russia controls what used to be the Ukrainian border.
o Leonid Kuchma, past president of Ukraine and representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group, said that the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission should go anywhere on the territory of Ukraine without restriction — and that included Russia-occupied Crimea.
o Kurt Walker, US Special Envoy to Ukraine, said the US would not remove sanctions on Russia partially for partial compliance; only if there was full compliance with the Minsk agreement and restoration of Ukrainian control over the Donbass could they be lifted, Ukrainska Pravda reported.
Walker also cited in his speech at the Yalta European Strategy US criteria for considering a UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbass “real”, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing Evropeyskaya Pravda (reverse translation by The Interpreter):
“One which was responsible for security on the entire territory. One that would monitor the Ukrainian side of the Russian-Ukrainian border. One that would guarantee the monitoring of heavy armor.”
Volker was also quoted by the Guardian as saying that Putin’s proposal gave “more on the table that we can work with”.
But as Ukrainska Pravda reported Volker as adding (reverse translation by The Interpreter):

“That Russia proposed peacekeepers is a step forward, since Russia was categorically opposed. However, the outlines of the mandate of the mission that Russia has proposed would only worsen the conflict. A peace-keeping mission deployed along the line of contact would defend peacekeepers and not people. It would not provide access to the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

RFE/RL reported Volker’s remarks directly from the English as follows:

But he added that the mandate of any UN force must not “deepen the division” of the country.


Volker reiterated that the UN force’s mandate should not be limited to protecting the OSCE observers along the conflict demarcation line between zones controlled by Kyiv and those held by the pro-Russia separatists.

The current proposal, he said, “would only protect monitors, not people. It would not give access to control the Russia-Ukraine border. There’s a lot of obstacles, a lot of problems with the way it was proposed.”

Volker said the force should control the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia, enabling it to help prevent any movement of heavy weapons from Russia to the separatists.

 — Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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