Ukraine Live Day 377: Ukrainian MP Arrested In Moscow

March 1, 2015

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here. An archive of our liveblogs can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

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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: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

Poroshenko To Hold Parliamentary Vote To Approve Plan For International Peacekeepers

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko continues to move forward with a plan which would request a team of international peacekeepers to be deployed in eastern Ukraine. UA Today reports:

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko intends to hold a parliamentary vote on allowing international peacekeepers into Ukraine.

Poroshenko wants lawmakers to vote on Tuesday on the proposal, already agreed by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

Last week, Poroshenko told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he wished to see peacekeepers from European Union nations deployed to eastern Ukraine. But there is no evidence that any of those nations is anxious to take the lead and deply troops to Ukraine. Any United Nations peacekeepers would need the approval of Russia, which has already indicated that it has no interest in seeing UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine.

James Miller

Protesters In Moscow Call For Release of Detained Ukrainian POW Nadiya Savchenko
We’re covering the very large protest march in Moscow, a memorial for Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader who was gunned down outside the Kremlin on Friday night. 

 However, many in the crowd were also protesting in support of another person – a Ukrainian, Nadiya Savchenko,  a Ukrainian airforce pilot in the Aidar Battalion who was captured by Russian-backed separatists and kidnapped across the border into Russia, and is now facing murder charges for the deaths of two Russian journalists who were killed in eastern Ukraine and whom Savchenko almost certainly never encountered. In other words, she is being prosecuted for being a symbol.

Furthermore, Savchenko has been on hunger strike for 79 days to protest her detention, and is in failing health. 

Many of the protesters in Moscow today have called for Savchenko’s release:

Translation: Free Savchenko! One of the demands of the march in Moscow today

Rallies have also been held in Kiev, London, and many other cities worldwide: 

James Miller
Ukrainian Photographer Killed In Shelling North Of Donetsk
There are reports of shelling both north of Donetsk and north of Lugansk today. 

Over the last several days the fighting has slowed or stopped across many fronts, but fighting has continued north of Donetsk. In Pisky, near Donetsk Airport, fighting has been especially fierce. A Ukrainian photojournalist, Sergei Nikolayev, was killed there on Saturday, according to the Anadolu Agency:

Nikolayev, 43, was reportedly injured in the mortar attack and died in the hospital, the daily said in a statement. “He was an outstanding photographer and fully committed to his job,” the statement added.

The daily’s Chief Editor Olga Guk expressed condolences to Nikolayev’s family and relatives.

Ukrainian army spokesman Andriy Lysenko said that they did not have details about the incident, but acknowledged that there was shelling in Pisky on Saturday. “The threat of an offensive remains,” Lysenko said.

According to the Ukrainian army, three soldiers were injured in the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine. The army had earlier announced a drop in the attacks from pro-Russian separatists.

James Miller

Ukrainian MP Arrested in Moscow
We start today’s live coverage with some breaking news:

This is a quote from our live coverage of the memorial march in Moscow remembering assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov:

Oleksiy Goncharenko, deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was detained. He wrote on his Facebook page that he was put in a police van and his passport was taken. Although his passport was then returned, he was then beaten. He continues to be held near a police van, and complains that he wasn’t chanting or carrying a sign but he was detained for what his t-shirt said.  112 Ukraina reported that he was in Kitay-Gorod Police Precinct.

But there was concern that the charges could be more serious, related to the Trade Union Building fire in Odessa May 2, 2014 in which 40 people lost their lives after clashes between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian nationalists.

We’ll have more details soon.

James Miller