Saakashvili Resigns As Odessa Governor, Accuses Poroshenko Government Of Corruption And Betrayal

November 7, 2016

Ukraine Day 994: 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


Russian Drone Recovered From Sea Near Mariupol

The Ukrainian State Border Service (DPSU) announced this morning that one of their coastal patrols had discovered the wreckage of a Russian drone in the waters off Mariupol.

According to the DPSU, the Orlan-10 UAV was found floating around 3 kilometres from the shore. 

The drone was recovered successfully and filmed by the DPSU:

Orlan-10 reconnaissance drones are not in service with the Ukrainian armed forces and have been brought down in eastern Ukraine several times in the past. 
— Pierre Vaux
Ukraine Reports 52 Attacks Yesterday; 5 Soldiers WIA

Five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday as Kiev reports 52 attacks by Russia-backed forces in the Donbass.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told reporters today that three of the soldiers had been wounded in Novoaleksandrovka, in the Lugansk region, one in Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk, and one in Novotroitskoye, on the Donetsk-Mariupol highway.

According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report,  the majority off attacks took place to the west or south of Donetsk.

The military claims that Ukrainian positions in Shirokino, on the Azov coast east of Mariupol, were shelled with 122 and 152 mm artillery and 120 and 82 mm mortars.

Mortars were also reportedly used against positions near the neighboring villages of Vodyanoye, Talakovka and Pavlopol, in addition to Maryinka and Krasnogorovka, west of Donetsk, where tank fire was also reported. 

Two civilians were wounded as a result of shelling in Krasnogorovka on Saturday night, suffering shrapnel wounds. 

To the north of Donetsk, mortar shells fell near Troitskoye while positions in Avdeyevka came under fire from tanks, BMP infantry fighting vehicles and both 120 and 82 mm mortars.

These same weapons were all reportedly used near Luganskoye, east of Gorlovka. To the north of that separatist-held town, grenade-launcher and mortar fire was reported in Zaytsevo.

In the Lugansk region, the military reported 12 attacks, near Schastye, Zhyoltoye and Novoaleksandrovka, where grenade-launcher and machine-gun fire was directed at Ukrainian positions, and Stanitsa Luganskaya, which came under 82-mm mortar bombardment, as well as sniper fire.

Further fighting has been reported today.

— Pierre Vaux

Saakashvili Resigns As Odessa Governor, Accuses Poroshenko Government Of Corruption And Betrayal

The governor of the Odessa region, Mikheil Saakashvili, has announced his resignation, accusing allies of President Petro Poroshenko of being corrupt and sabotaging reforms.

Saakashvili, who was President of Georgia from 2008 until 2013, was appointed governor of the Ukrainian region in May, 2015. 

During his tenure, he has been engaged in heated, public feuds with several Ukrainian officials, including the former prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the interior minister, Arsen Avakov. But the most tense of his relationships has been that with the mayor of Odessa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, an erstwhile ally of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

The governor gave a press conference today at the port of Odessa, during which he accused Poroshenko of supporting two entrenched local clans and claimed that the region was being surrendered, “not only to the corrupt, but to the enemies of Ukraine.”

Saakashvili said that funds allocated for repairs at the port customs center had been stolen and that nothing had been done, despite the President’s prior promises to support the project. Similarly, the Citizens’ Services Center, opened by Poroshenko in October last year, had, the governor said, been forced to close last week due to interference from both central and city government.

“A few days ago the Citizens’ Services Center was closed, which Poroshenko had formally opened. Then, as a result of motions from members of his own faction, rules were introduced that prevented this center from working. I called on the President not to sign this law, but he signed, and the center was closed.

To be honest, for me, the last straw came with the electronic declarations. When I see those brazen mugs – there are no more words – who here and across all of Ukraine state unashamedly that they have billions in cash alone, and further receive welfare from the state, from those pensioners who collect their last penny with shaking hands so as not to die of hunger…

And when, in reality, the President is personally supporting two clans in the Odessa region – the bandit criminal gang of Trukhanov’s 90s killers, and [arms dealer Igor] Urbansky’s corrupt Izmail clan, and all power in the region has really been surrendered to these two and furthermore their allies – the separatists from Anton Kisse’s Nash Kray.

 This is going on absolutely openly.

The Odessa region is not only being surrendered to the corrupt, it is being surrendered to enemies of Ukraine. I don’t intend to keep quiet about this. I’m completely fed up with it.”

Saakashvili said that he did not want to abandon Odessans to “these vultures,” but claimed that Odessa could not be reformed and developed until Kiev had undergone the same process.

“In this situation I have decided to resign and begin a new stage in the struggle. I won’t lose heart, I won’t tire. They shouldn’t hope or expect to get rid of me.

I am that soldier who goes as far as they can, and then further, as long as necessary for complete victory, in order to save Ukraine from this scum, from this corrupt filth, which capitalizes on the blood of our soldiers, on the victims of the Maidan, which has betrayed the idea of the Ukrainian revolution and whose only reason for existence is to fill their pockets, to strengthen their clan and finally rob Ukraine blind. You won’t see this come true.

We will definitely come together and we will certainly finish this struggle with a victory for Ukraine. For the sake of Odessans, for the sake of the rest of the citizens of Ukraine. The struggle continues and we will definitely win.”

The next stage could well refer to Saakashvili’s Khvylya (wave) party, which was formed in July this year. The party could conceivably serve as a vehicle for bid for national political influence.

But, as several commentators have noted today, Saakashvili would face an uphill battle, as the party currently barely registers on the electoral scene:

Saakashvili’s departure marks the final end of the technocratic period of post-Maidan governance in Ukraine, which saw the appointment of a number of foreign citizens to key posts in the government. Almost all of these officials, including the US-born finance minister Natalie Jaresko, the Lithuanian economy minister, Aivaras Abramovicius, and Georgian prosecutor Davit Sakvarelidze wound up being dismissed or resigning earlier this year. 

— Pierre Vaux