Ukraine Live Day 409: More Russian Troops Claimed To Arrive In Donetsk As Attacks Continue

April 2, 2015
Russian police raid the Roshen confectionery factory in Lipetsk owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on April 1, 2015

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Bomb Explodes In Kiev; Bombers Arrested in Odessa

Early this morning a bomb exploded outside a bank in Kiev. No one was injured. RFE/RL reports:

No casualties were reported in the blast at about 4 a.m. at the entrance of a building that houses a bank branch.

It damaged doors and shattered windows of the building.

Meanwhile, Newsweek reports that three people have been arrested in the coastal city of Odessa on suspicion of being involved in eight bombings in that city:

The detainees are all Odessa natives, two of them men aged 46 and 55, while the third alleged accomplice is a 29-year-old woman. They are suspected of being members of a non-governmental organisation aligned with the pro-Russian movement – Anti-Maidan – which opposes last year’s Ukraine-wide Maidan revolution that toppled president Viktor Yanukovych.

Among the eight incidents, three bombings were carried out in March alone. One at a Christian organisation’s centre, as well as the offices of pro-European party Samopomich and at a centre for volunteers who support Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the east of the country.

According to Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) the alleged attackers are part of a bigger threat in Odessa. Over the last year cities such as Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa have become targets for pro-Russian cells functioning outside the eastern Donbas region of the country where the majority of fighting between Kiev forces and Moscow-backed rebels takes place.

Odessa, Kharkiv, and other Ukrainian cities have been hit by a wave of bombings, most of which have happened late at night and have caused no casualties. Some of the leaders of the Russian-backed separatists have warned that they have operatives in some of these areas who could work to destabilize Ukraine.

James Miller

Unexplained Reports Of Blast In Kharkiv Last Night

Leviy Bereg reports that Kharkiv residents reported an explosion in the Bavaria district of the city late last night, but that the news site has, as of 9:30 (6:30 GMT), been unable to obtain any further information on the reported blast from either the regional Prosecutor’s Office, the police or the Emergencies Ministry. 

Locals on social media had, Leviy Bereg reports, said that the explosion had occurred near a military base, used by the Interior Ministry’s internal troops.

The Kharkiv branch of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) did acknowledge that they had received reports of an explosion but told Leviy Bereg that they had not yet been confirmed.

However Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the Interior Ministry, told the news site that “everyone heard a blast, but no traces of it have been found.”

— Pierre Vaux

23rd Russian ‘Humanitarian Convoy’ Enters Ukraine

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGS) has announced that the 23rd Russian ‘humanitarian convoy’ entered Ukraine this morning.

According to the announcement, between 7:30 and 8:25, Russian trucks passed through two border crossings: Donetsk-Izvarino (near Krasnodon in the Lugansk region) and Matveyev Kurgan-Uspenka (near Amvrosievka in the Donetsk region).

Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported that the convoy was carrying “over 1.4 thousand tonnes of humanitarian aid.”

The SBGS said that the passage of the convoys into Ukrainian territory was a violation of international norms and national legislation  and agreements with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). An interdepartmental group of Ukrainian officials had only been unable to conduct customs controls beyond a “visual observation.”

— Pierre Vaux

Ukraine Claims More Russian Troops Have Arrived In Donetsk As Attacks Continue To The North

Novosti Donbassa reports that the ATO press centre has claimed that Russian-backed fighters continued to attack Ukrainian positions last night.

According to the press centre, Russian-backed fighters violated the ceasefire 10 times after 18:00 yesterday. The makority of attacks were “provocations” with small arms and grenade launchers to the north of Donetsk.

The Interpreter translates:

“Here the enemy fired on Opytnoye and Krasnogorovka. In addition, from 20:30 to 20:50, the militants shelled Avdeyevka with 122 mm artillery. And at 22:30, criminals shelled this same settlement with a 120 mm mortar.” 


The press centre also reported that Russian-backed fighters had fired on a Ukrainian defensive position in Stanitsa Luganskaya with a grenade launcher at around midnight.

However, there were not, the press centre claimed, attacks near Artyomovsk or Mariupol.

Donetsk news site reports that Colonel Valentyn Fedichev, deputy commander of the Ukrainian military’s Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO), has told the site that around 300 troops from the Russian 5th independent tank brigade of the 36th Army of the Eastern Military District had arrived in Donetsk on March 27.

This is the same unit, based in Ulan-Ude, from which Dorzhi Batomunkuev, a severely burnt tank gunner who spoke to Novaya Gazeta‘s Yelena Kostyuchenko last month, served in before being wounded near Debaltsevo.

Interestingly, Fedichev said that the troops from the brigade had been formally dismissed from the Russian army during their mission in Ukraine so that they could be claimed to be “volunteers.”

However, Batomunkuev explicitly stated to Kostyuchenko that he, a contract soldier, was not asked to sign any resignation papers before crossing the border into Ukraine.

— Pierre Vaux

Policeman Injured in Clash with Demonstrators in Kiev Over Construction Site

A policeman was injured in a clash over a construction site in the Dnepropetrovsky District of Kiev, and nine demonstrators were arrested, reports.

The Interior Ministry (MVD) press service announced that police were called out at 19:28 yesterday evening to the site where protesters had gathered to oppose the construction project. Shots were heard on the building site.

The police described encountering a “radicalised” crowd, which had broken through the concrete perimeter wall of the site. 

Police stopped a car at the scene in which weapons, including a Kalashnikov assault rifle, pump action shotguns and several dozen rounds of ammunition, were found. The weapons were seized and sent for examination.

The chief of police in Kiev, Oleksandr Tereshchuk, said that one police officer had received facial injuries while breaking up the dispute. Criminal proceedings on grounds of hooliganism have been opened.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick and Pierre Vaux