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Ukrainska Pravda reports that Oleksandr Turchynov, secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, has issued a statement with Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, head of the SBU, on the standoff between the Ukrainian authorities and Praviy Sector.
The Interpreter translates:
In his words, for victory over the enemy there must be a united, monolithic, professionally-trained and well-armed army controlled from one centre.
“For this reason all patriots, in particular those from Praviy Sector, who are ready to defend Ukraine with weapons in hand, have taken the decision to join our armed forces and National Guard,” he said, explaining that the best trained fighters were going into intelligence units and air-assault battalions.
“In order to avoid artificially constructed incidents, there is only one way – to speed up the transfer into the ranks of our army of patriots, who are prepared to defend our country not at rallies, nor on the internet, but at the front,” said Turchynov, noting that there was no alternative to this process and the military leadership must, together with the leaders of patriotic movements, fully cooperate on this, “lifting any bureaucratic restrictions and delays along this path.”
The head of the SBU, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, gave a similar statement.
“I am convinced that the battle-hardened fighters for the independence of Ukraine from Praviy Sector will strengthen the Ukrainian army and should receive legal status and social security from the state,” he said.
In his opinion, this is as obvious as the fact that the armed forces and security forces of our state should be one united force that ensures the defence of Ukraine.
10 minutes before the above report went out, UNIAN reported, citing Hromadske, that the commander of Praviy Sector’s 5th independent battalion had claimed that the paramilitary group had not accepted an offer from the authorities for the unit to join the army as a separate battalion.
This is surprising as Praviy Sector representatives have repeatedly stated that their desire is to be incorporated into the Ukrainian army as a complete unit rather than have fighters assigned to different, existing army units.
If true, Turchynov and Nalyvaichenko’s statements may indicate that Praviy Sector have finally backed down on this issue.
— Pierre Vaux
Novosti Donbassa reports that the press office of the Donetsk regional branch of the Interior Ministry has announced that a civilian has been wounded as result of shelling in the village of Chermalyk, north-east of Mariupol.
According to the report, the 77-year-old woman received several shrapnel wounds after a shell went off. She has been taken to a hospital in Mariupol.
The announcement comes after it was reported last night that a 75-year-old man had been killed by shelling in the same village.
Local news site 0629.com.ua reports that “Chermalyk has become the new hotspot outside Mariupol.”
Dmitry Gorbunov, press officer for the Ukrainian military operation in the area, claimed that there had been four attacks by Russian-backed forces around Chermalyk yesterday. Another attack was made on Ukrainian positions near Orlovskoye.
Two of the attacks, he said, were conducted with 120 mm mortars, the other three with anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers and small arms.
At 3:00 this morning, there was yet another 120 mm mortar attack and, by 4:00, the press officer claimed, fighting had resumed in Shirokino with the use of small arms.
Gorbunov also said that there had been two engagements with enemy reconnaissance teams near Chermalyk.
Ukrainian military analyst Dmytro Tymchuk reported further on the situation (translated by UNIAN):
“Near Chermalyk a sabotage-reconnaissance group of militants (10 people) tried to secretly take a firing position on the flank of Ukrainian strong point to launch close-range fire attacks, followed by a withdrawal. The movements of the militants were spotted in time. Short attacks from rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns were launched at the sabotage group, forcing it to retreat.”
— Pierre Vaux
Yesterday we reported that there was a forest fire near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the 1986 nuclear meltdown which has left the area heavily irradiated. The fires are feared because of the chance that they can release radioactive material back into the air. However, RFE/RL reports that the fires are reportedly contained:
Yatsenyuk, told a government meeting today that, “as of 12:45 p.m. [local time], the fires have been localized and contained. Radiation levels are normal.”
The blaze in woodlands, parts of which are still contaminated by radioactive particles from the 1986 Chornobyl disaster, had raised fears of increased radiation in Ukraine and neighboring Belarus as high winds pushed it towards the plant about 20 kilometers.
Emergency services deployed more than 300 firefighters, three planes, and one helicopter to battle the blaze, which Yatsenyuk said was the largest in Ukraine since 1992.
Yesterday the Ukrainian government downplayed the risk:
The relationship between the Ukrainian government and the nationalist Praviy (right) Sector (PS) paramilitary organisation, which has often been subject to tension since PS member Oleksandr Muzychko, known as Sashko Bily, was shot dead during a security operation in March last year, appears to have reached a new low today with PS members protesting in Kiev and accusations that the the group is to be disarmed by force.
PS volunteers fought on key fronts during the ensuing conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass, most notably during the siege of Donetsk Airport. However at the end of last month PS fighters, then operating in the Mariupol area, were given an ultimatum: withdraw from the front or join the regular forces of the Ukrainian army or National Guard.
On April 5, Colonel General Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of the General Staff, announced that Dmytro Yarosh, leader of PS, had been appointed his adviser and had agreed that the group would be subordinated to Ukrainian army leaders on military issues.
However last night PS announced that their base in the village of Velykomykhailivka, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, had been surrounded by Ukrainian army forces.
Ukrainska Pravda reports that PS claimed that around 25 armed troops from the 25th and 95th brigades had set up roadblocks on either side of the base and brought up armoured vehicles, training their weapons on the PS camp.
Yarosh issued a statement (translated here by Lugansk News Today):
Our base was blocked without any warnings by units of 25th and 95th Paratroopers Brigade, they used armored vehicles and heavy weapon to set checkpoints with young, recently mobilized soldiers. They stopped one of our cars, and demanded from warriors to give up their weapon.
When I called Viktor Muzhenko the Chief of the General Staff, he didn’t respond right away and we couldn’t immediately discuss the situation. Although, that was obvious that without the order from General Staff this operation couldn’t be done.
I contacted the paratroopers’ commanders, we used to fight together, and military commanders guaranteed me that they would not use weapon against their brothers from “Right Sector” regardless of the worst orders that can be given by politicians.
I gave orders to all units of “Right Sector” not to give up their weapon. Nobody can forbid us to protect our land and fight against Russian aggressors. At the same time we will not respond to provocations… I see that military and political administration decided to provoke the conflict deliberately. They want to push “Right Sector” warriors to take illegal actions towards Ukrainian Army soldiers in order to discredit volunteer corps. This provocation will not work. We got our weapons fighting against the enemy.
The actions of military command today is exceptionally cynical and meanness provocation against the patriots of Ukraine. Now the situation of the territory of “Right Sector” base is under control, the guards are on duty. People are in good mood, we got used to provocations long time ago, and we are not going to fight against out friends in arms, we will not do that for the joy of shameless politicians.
As People’s Deputy I will demand detailed investigation on this incident. Political and military administration is responsible for the provocation and attempt to initiate a conflict between army soldiers and warriors of “Right Sector”. I hope for fast reaction from the authorities regarding this case. I want to hear response, what was the reason to make this provocation against one of the most battle-worthy Ukrainian units on the front.
Censor.NET reports that the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration (OGA), Valentyn Reznichenko, has said at a press conference today that all paramilitary groups beyond the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry or the SBU must be disarmed.
The Presidential Administration’s ATO spokesman, Oleksandr Motuzianyk, claimed at a briefing today that there was no plan to disarm PS and that the roadblocks would be removed.
ZN.ua reports (translated by The Interpreter):
“As it happens there is no pressure being placed on them whatsoever. Statements that weapons have been aimed at the fighters are completely untrue. No one is disarming anyone, the negotiation process is continuing.”
Motuzianyk stressed that the Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Viktor Muzhenko, and the PS leader Dmytro Yarosh were maintaining constant contact.
“They are constantly in touch. All organisational issues are included in this negotiation process. There will be more information later,” he said.
He also commented on the appearance of roadblocks outside the Praviy Sector base in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
“When the exercise (training for high-mobility assault troops in the Dnipropetrovsk region – editor) is finished, as according to plan, these roadblocks will be lifted. When all of the objectives within the bounds of the exercise will be completed – I am not prepared to say,” he told journalists.
Earlier it was reported that the leader of of the Praviy Sector organisation, Dmytro Yarosh, had arrived at the base, accompanied by the deputy defence minister, Stepan Poltorak.
The chief of staff of the 5th independent battalion of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps (DUK), Oleksandr Karas, said that 11 checkpoints had already been set up around the base, Hromadske TV reports. They are allegedly manned by 20-25 soldiers each, who are digging trenches and digging in their armoured vehicles. Their machine guns are under wraps, but they are directed towards the DUK base.
Journalists have confirmed the presence of at least one of such roadblocks, manned by 20 soldiers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They refused to say which brigade they were from. The checkpoint itself is located half a kilometre from the former Pioneer camp where the fighters from the DUK are now located.
Lugansk News Today has photos:
PS spokesman Artem Skoropadskiy told reporters that the maintenance of PS as a complete fighting unit after incorporation into the Ukrainian Armed Forces (rather than fighters being reassigned to separate units) was a key point in the ongoing negotiations.
“Nobody will enter the base. This is our base and [these are] our weapons,” Skoropadskiy said.
“The Right Sector will continue to negotiate with the state to legalize and join the Ministry of Defense as a separate structural unit,” he said.
“We insist that we should enter into the structure of the Ministry of Defense as a unit,” he said, explaining that the Ministry of Defense has proposed that the Right Sector unit disband and that its fighters apply to join the military in enlistment offices individually.
In protest, PS members and supporters have been protesting in Kiev:
There are some reports, though no official statement yet, that a compromise has been agreed upon.
Translation: Yarosh has already spoken with General Bessarab. Can have a smoke.
— Pierre Vaux
0629.com.ua reported last night that Dmitry Gorbunov, press officer for the Ukrianian military operation in the Mariupol area (dubbed sector M), had announced the death of a civilian in the village of Chermalyk, north-east of the port city.
According to Gorbunov, the 75-year-old man was killed at around 18:00 as a result of shelling by Russian-backed forces. He was killed outside his home on Lenin street in the centre of the village.
The press officer said that the shelling of the village had begun with automatic grenade launcher fire at 14:00. Fire was intermittent but a second wave begun with the use of of artillery at 17:40. A further wave of shells came at 18:26.
Novosti Donbassa reports that the Lugansk region’s civil-military administration has announced that three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in fighting this morning outside Tryokhizbenka.
The Interpreter translates:
“An enemy sabotage and reconnaissance group approached the the wrecked bridge over the Seversky Donets, along which the demarcation line runs, and fired on our soldiers first with a sniper rifle and then with automatic weapons. A fight broke out, as a result of which three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded (two of them seriously),” says the statement.
After the shoot-out the saboteurs retreated, now (as of 10:30) it is quiet in Tryokhizbenka.
The wounded soldiers, according to the press office, are being taken to hospital.
Moskal reported that the town of Schastye had been attacked with grenade launchers and automatic grenade launchers yesterday morning. Later at 17:00 and then again after 18:00, Ukrainian defensive positions outside the town were attacked from the direction of separatist-held Vesyolaya Gora.
Over the course of yesterday and last night, Moskal wrote, there were skirmishes between Ukrainian-held Krymskoye and separatist-held Sokolniki with both grenade launchers and mortars being used. The last combat here took place this morning.
The governor also reported fighting last night on the outskirts of Troitskoye, in Stanitsa Luganskaya, Tryokhizbenka and near the 29th checkpoint on the Bakhmutka highway.
Gorlovka news site 06242.com.ua reports fighting and shelling in the separatist-held town last night.
The Interpreter translates:
Local residents report that, as of 23:00 on April 28, the ceasefire is no longer effective in Gorlovka: a fierce battle is under way close to the town.
A convoy of the militants’ heavy weaponry proceeded through the town to the autodrome [a large asphalt lot used by locals for car competitions]. From there a series of artillery salvoes were fired towards Dzerzhynsk, under the control of the Ukrainian military.
In addition, shelling with heavy weaponry was carried out from the town centre – from the wholesale market (in the Kochergarka mine district) – through the whole Central Gorlovka district.
Blasts were heard near the sewage treatment plant (on the north-western outskirts of the town). Residents also recorded the aggressive use of small arms near the reserve reservoir, located on the western outskirts of Gorlovka.
Gorlovka say that this battle was the most intense seen throughout the whole time of the so-called ‘ceasefire’ since the middle of the winter.
Informator.lg.ua published photos of damage to school number 13 in Dzerzhynsk, caused, the report said, by last night’s shelling.
Overall, the ATO press centre claimed today, Russian-backed fighters conducted 29 attacks on Ukrainian positions between 18:00 and midnight yesterday.
“The situation was tense. The militants fired twice on the village of Chermalyk and the town of Shastya. At 1800 near the town of Avdiivka the militants again fired Grad multiple rocket launchers on the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces,” the report says.
Near the village of Chermalyk, the militants fired antitank grenade launchers and 82mm mortars on the Ukrainian army from the left bank of the Kalmius River. A few shots hit a residential area in the village of Chermalyk. As a result of the attack, one local resident was killed in the courtyard of his house.
From 1830 to 2000, the militants fired 120mm mortars, an automatic grenade launcher and a sniper rifle at the Luhansk thermal power plant in the town of Shastya.
“In the Donetsk area, Russian-backed militants fired 120mm mortars on the positions of the Ukrainian troops near the town of Avdiivka and Artemove, the villages of Opytne, Leninske, Pisky and Chermalyk. Near the town of Artemove the militants fired tanks several times at our fortified positions,” the report reads.
— Pierre Vaux