Ukraine Live Day 398: NATO Says Russians Still Supplying Weapons To Insurgents

March 23, 2015
"Ukraine troops keep a lookout near Donetsk" - BBC's Will Vernon, March 13, 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.

Please help The Interpreter to continue providing this valuable information service by making a donation towards our costs.

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?

Son Of Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych Dies In Car Accident

The son of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, also named Viktor, age 33, was killed on Saturday when a car he was in fell through the ice. BBC reports:

Reports say he had been taking part in a sporting event when the VW van plunged into the water.

Five other people in the vehicle escaped, Ukrainian news website Levvy Bereg quoted sources from his inner circle as saying.

Russian website RBK quoted local officials as saying the incident happened on Saturday, after the group drove on to the ice to take photographs.

Viktor Yanukovych Jr, 33, was known for his passion for extreme driving. 

We’re not aware of any specific reason to doubt the official narrative at this point, but there have been a string of people connected to the former Ukrainian president who have died in recent months. Six former Yanukovych officials have reportedly committed suicide since the start of 2015, and as the BBC points out, several people with connections to the ousted president have died in car accidents since 2009.

James Miller

Heavy Fighting Reported Near Donetsk
Multiple breeches of the ceasefire were reported today by the Ukrainian military:

Sky News reports that artillery fire could be heard coming from the direction of Donetsk Airport, now controlled by the Russian-backed separatists:

The sound of intensive explosions erupted at 9am local time on Sunday and appeared to come from the area around Donetsk airport, one of several flashpoints where shelling has rumbled on despite the February truce deal that has eased fighting around much of eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army said rebels located near the airport had used small arms, 82mm mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades against government troops overnight.

It said there had been three injuries in its ranks but no deaths.

In the separatist stronghold of Lugansk, the army also came under fire from small arms and heavier 120mm mortar shells, according to an official statement.

Meanwhile, NATO’s top general warned today that Russia is continuing to supply heavy weapons and materials to the separatists, in violation of multiple treaties and both Minsk ceasefire agreements. Bloomberg reports:

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove told an audience here at the German Marshall Fund Brussels Forum that Moscow continues to ramp up military and economic support to separatists in Eastern Ukraine. That conclusion was based on evidence gathered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s joint intelligence unit in the U.K.

“We continue to see disturbing elements of air defense, command and control, resupply and equipment coming across a completely porous border,” he said.

James Miller