Ukraine Day 955: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Liga.net reports that Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has voted to dismiss 29 judges on the grounds that they had persecuted participants in the Maidan revolution.
Four other judges were named in the list put before the Rada for consideration today
Earlier today the Opposition Bloc, formed from the remnants of Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, announced that they would boycott the vote on dismissing the judges as it was an “illegal act.”
According to the Opposition Bloc, current Rada regulations demand that judges be given three days notice ahead of a decision on their dismissal. Today’s extraordinary session was called for by President Petro Poroshenko only two days ago.
However Ukrainska Pravda reported that ten Opposition Bloc deputies, including the former deputy prime minister, Yuriy Boyko, did turn up to the session.
Meanwhile Leviy Bereg reports that President Petro Poroshenko has separately dismissed another judge – Oskana Tsarevich of the Pechersky District Court in Kiev.
Tsarevich’s dismissal was recommended by the High Council of Justice in March for her persecution of AutoMaidan activists.
In particular, it was noted in the High Council’s recommendation that Judge Tsarevich’s actions while considering dozens of cases against drivers protesting in the period from November, 2013, bore a prejudiced nature. Such actions indicate, in the opinion of the High Council, a violation by the judge of basic justice, of the supremacy of law, of the right to a fair trial, and a disrespect for human rights and freedoms.
— Pierre Vaux
Ukraine’s TSN news channel reports that a Ukrainian soldier has been killed in the Avdeyevka area.
According to TSN’s sources, the 25-year-old soldier was shot dead by a sniper in the Avdeyevka industrial park, northeast of separatist-held Donetsk. The industrial park or promzona is one of the most violent areas of the front line.
The channel reports that last night saw a long battle on the edge of the promzona, lasting several hours.
Journalist Roman Bochkala wrote on his Facebook page this morning that the soldier killed had spoken with him by phone the day before, telling him that the Russia-backed fighters “had strengthened their sniper component.”
Bochkala complained that while the Russia-backed fighters were armed with high-power, heavy-calibre rifles, the Ukrainian troops defending the promzona were not being sufficiently equipped,
According to the Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Center, Russia-backed fighters used 82 mm mortars, grenade launchers and machine guns in attacks on the Avdeyevka area.
There was a corresponding report on Twitter of one soldier seriously wounded in the industrial park:
Translation: 17:50 it’s begun in the direction of the airport. Kuybyshevsky [district] can hear it.
Across the whole of the front line, the ATO Press Center reported 25 attacks yesterday.
Notably, attacks continued near Stanitsa Luganskaya, northeast of Lugansk city. The area is under increased scrutiny as it has been proposed for demilitarization – a plan opposed by the Lugansk governor Yuriy Harbuz.
Elsewhere in the Lugansk region, Ukrainian troops near Novoaleskandrovka reportedly came under fire from BMP infantry fighting vehicles.
BMPs and anti-aircraft artillery are also reported by the military to have attacked Ukrainian positions near Novgorodskoye, west of separatist-held Gorlovka.
In the south of the Donetsk region, the ATO Press Center reports attacks near Starognatovka, east of Volnovakha, as well as Talakovka, Vodyanoye and Shirokino, nearer Mariupol.
One drone flight was detected over Ukrainian territory.
At noon today Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, confirmed that one Ukrainian soldier had been killed, with two more wounded yesterday.
Meanwhile the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk accused Ukrainian forces of firing 204 times over 24 hours.
According to Eduard Basurin, military spokesman for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Ukrainian troops fired 32 120 or 82 mm mortar shells and two tank rounds on Spartak and Yasinovataya, near Avdeyevka. He also claimed that the western outskirts of Donetsk and the southern village of Sakhanka had come under mortar fire.
— Pierre Vaux