Ukraine Live Day 285: EU Passes New Sanctions On Rebel Leaders

November 29, 2014
Russian trucks, part of yet another uninspected 'humanitarian convoy' | © Sputnik. Vera Kostamo

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Geolocated Video Shows Russian-Backed Rebels Firing Heavy Artillery Near Donetsk

Scenes like this were not seen in Ukraine until August, as Russia was pumping its armor, artillery, and fighters over the border, and yet in this impressive video a convoy of vehicles, marked with the flag of the self-declared ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, is clearly visible. The end of the video shows a group of 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm howitzers firing their guns:

The blogger at Ukraine at War has geolocated the video for The Interpreter. Early in the video the vehicles can be seen driving down a street. Here is a panorama taken from the video:


That video was taken in the town of Olenivka, here on the map, which matches the description that these are near Donetsk. This is very close to the front lines.

The picture shows the direction the artillery is headed:


We know from previous geolocations that there are positions north of here from which the Russian-backed militants have fired artillery. Here we have mapped the path traveled by these vehicles with an arrow, and the possible firing positions we’ve documented before are circled:


It’s also worth noting that this equipment appears to be operating inside of the 15km demarcation area where both sides have agreed not to use heavy artillery. This appears to be another flagrant breach of the Minsk agreements on behalf of the Russian-backed rebels, but it’s also a very good example of the kinds of heavy weaponry which are hitting Ukraine’s positions on a daily basis.

EU Sanctions Hit Organizers of Separatist Elections

One week after Ukraine held their internationally-recognized parliamentary elections, a vote which even Moscow did not contest, local elections were held in the areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Only Moscow recognized these elections, and now the European Union has sanctioned 13 Ukrainian separatists who are responsible for the vote. Reuters reports:

In its official journal, the European Union said Sergey Kozyakov, who was election commission chief in the Luhansk region, was “responsible for organizing the so-called elections … in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic”.

“He has actively supported actions and policies which undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” the bloc said.

Others on the sanctions list are election organizers and separatist ministers in Luhansk and in the eastern region of Donetsk. They are accused of the same wrongdoing as Kozyakov.

That means that the EU has now sanctioned 132 individuals and 23 organizations for their actions in Ukraine, including both Russians and Ukrainians.  

Absent from this new round of sanctions — any Russians. European leaders continue to debate the best course of action with regards to Moscow. There are signs that Germany, for instance, is trying to reach out to Moscow. So far, the official line out of Berlin is that the door cannot be closed on Moscow because more sanctions could mean there is no recourse left, no incentive for Moscow to change its patterns. Skeptics, however, suggest that Germany is simply afraid to pay the price for angering Russia.

Meanwhile, the world waits to see what Moscow will do next as winter settles in and eastern Ukraine endures neither a ceasefire nor the full-fledged fighting which occurred in August.