Day 730: Batkivshchyna Party Withdraws From Governing Coalition

February 17, 2016

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

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For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.

For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.


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


Prosecutor Arrested For Trying To Buy Position At Anti-Corruption Bureau

Novoye Vremya reports that agents of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) have arrested a prosecutor for attempt to bribe the agency.

According to the report, the as-yet unnamed prosecutor offered US $10,000 dollars to members of a NABU interview panel to secure a senior post in the Bureau. 

NABU director Artyom Sytnik said:

“The recruitment of personnel for the NABU takes place through open competition. I assure you that any attempts to buy off members of the competition commissions will receive severe reactions from the Bureau, such as that which took place today.”

The Bureau released a photo of the arrest, which took place today at a room belonging to Kiev National University:


— Pierre Vaux


Russian Finance Ministry Files Suit Against Ukraine In London For $3 Billion Debt

The Financial Times reports that the Russian Ministry of Finance has filed a lawsuit against Ukraine in the High Court in London today.

The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said that Moscow is seeking the repayment of $3 billion in debt.

Moscow’s move came after “repeated unsuccessful attempts to encourage Ukraine to constructive dialogue on debt restructuring and to recognition of the fact that the Eurobond Russia invested in are official credit and the claim should be settled on terms better than those Ukraine proposed to its private creditors,” he added, reports Kathrin Hille in Moscow.

Mr Siluanov expressed confidence that Russia’s interests would be well-protected in a UK court with independent and transparent proceedings.

— Pierre Vaux

Ukraine Reports Widespread Shelling And Grad Use

The Ukrainian military claims today that Russian-backed fighters used Grad multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to bombard Ukrainian positions near Donetsk.

According to the ATO Press Centre, Grads were fired from the direction of separatist-held Staromikhailovka at positions near Pervomayskoye and Nevelskoye.

The Ukrainian military has presented what they claim is photographic evidence of the use of Grads to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination and the OSCE.

According to the military, at least seven rockets were fired last night, exploding as close as 400 metres to Pervomayskoye.




While Ukraine claims that this is the first use of Grads in two months, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has in fact reported the use of MLRS on at least two occasions this year, near Gorlovka and Starognatovka.

In addition to the rocket attacks, the ATO Press Centre reports mortar shelling of positions near Peski and Krasnogorovka and grenade launcher and small-arms attacks near Marinka and Opytnoye, where a guided anti-tank missile was also used, wounding one Ukrainian soldier.

Another soldier, Ukrainian military spokesman Colonel Andriy Lysenko said today, was wounded when they drove over an anti-tank mine near Zolotoye, in the Lugansk region. 

In turn, the ‘defence ministry’ of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed that Ukrainian forces had shelled Staromikhailovka, as well as the Petrovsky and Zhabichevo areas of Donetsk city. 


In the Gorlovka area, Ukraine claims that positions near Novgorodskoye, Zaytsevo and Luganskoye were attacked with grenade launchers and small arms, while the DNR says that Ukrainian troops shelled the northern outskirts of the town itself with mortars.

To the east, in the Lugansk region, the ATO Press Centre reports grenade launcher attacks near Troitskoye, and mortar shelling of positions near Krymskoye and Zolotoye.

Meanwhile, in the south of the Donetsk region, Ukrainian positions in Shirokino and Lebedinskoye, as well as ones near Chermalyk and Vodyanoye, were all reportedly shelled with mortars.

The DNR claims that the village of  Naberezhnoye, on the other side of the River Kalmius from Chermalyk, was shelled by Ukrainian troops.


— Pierre Vaux

Batkivshchyna Party Withdraws From Governing Coalition

The Batkivshchyna party, led by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has withdrawn from the governing coalition following yesterday’s failure of a vote of no-confidence in the incumbent prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The move was announced at a press conference this morning.

Interfax-Ukraine reports that Tymoshenko said (translated by The Interpreter):

“We have to admit that a coalition of democratic forces, a pro-European coalition, has never existed in this parliament. There has always been a shadowy, backstage, political coalition of clans, which has formed the government, ruled the country, and has brought the country to the extreme edge of the destruction of our lives.”

Tymoshenko called on other parties or individual MPs to follow suit and withdraw from the coalition.

Much of what happens next depends on the junior member of the coalition, the Samopomich party.

Both Batkivshchyna and Samopomich boycotted this morning’s first session of parliament in protest at yesterday’s surprise outcome, which has been attributed by some, including members of President Poroshenko’s own party, to deals struck between the President, the prime minister, and influential oligarchs.

Samopomich have been threatening to leave the coalition since February 1:

The Kyiv Post reports that the party released a statement today condemning the government:

“A cynical coup has occurred in Ukraine, with the help of the president, the prime minister, the kleptocratic part of the coalition, and the oligarch bloc,” the statement reads. “All the rules were ignored. The president, prime minister and kleptocrats have lost their sense of reality.”

As a result, Samopomich said, Ukraine now has an “illegitimate government,” whose work was branded “unsatisfactory” in a vote taken after Yatsenyuk presented the government’s annual report, but who would stay in power. The chance to obtain proper public administration has been missed, and parliament has totally lost control of the government, Samopomich party leaders said in their statement.

If Samopomich does indeed leave, then the coalition, which already lost Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party in December last year, will have only 221 seats of the 226 required to form a legislative majority.

— Pierre Vaux