Ukraine Live Day 454: Russian Special Forces Soldiers Captured In Schastye

May 17, 2015
Remains of a rocket which landed near Shirokino | screenshot taken from video by Dmitry Steshin, war correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda

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Ukraine Says It Has Captured Two Russian Soldiers, Video Seems to Confirm

The BBC reports that two soldiers, apparently part of a group of Russian special forces troops, have been captured in Schastye, in the northern part of Lugansk province (here):

A video emerged apparently showing one of the soldiers – which it said were members of Russia’s elite special forces – saying during questioning that he was a sergeant from the central Russian city of Togliatti…

On Sunday, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said that the two Russian soldiers were captured by the volunteer Aydar battalion in Shchastya, Luhansk region.

He said this happened close to the front line, without giving further details.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian MP Anton Gerashchenko posted a video purportedly showing the questioning of one of the seized soldiers, who was injured during the fighting.

The soldier identifies himself as Aleksandr Aleksandrov – a sergeant in the third special forces brigade.

He says he was part of a 14-member group, naming the commander and his deputies.

Meanwhile, RFE/RL provides more details about the video, but also about the context within which these soldiers have been captured — escalating fighting across the front lines of Ukraine:

The Ukrainian Aidar volunteer battalion has claimed it captured the two Russian troops close to the town of Shchastya, which is controlled by government forces around 15 kilometers away from the rebel stronghold of Luhansk.

The battalion said on Facebook that the men captured were from Russian military intelligence, or GRU.

Lysenko said three Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 17 wounded in the past 24 hours.

Two of the soldiers died in a mortar attack near the town of Svitlodarsk, northeast of separatist-controlled Donetsk.

As you can see in the map provided by Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council, heavy fighting took place across most of the front lines of Ukraine today, including near Schastye where these Russian soldiers were captured:

The Interpreter has compiled weeks of liveblogging this crisis with statements from NATO, the Ukrainian government, statements from the Russian-backed separatists, and other observers, The conclusion: renewed war is just around the corner:
James Miller