Ukraine Live Day 511: Right Sector Stand-Off Continues While Attacks Shift In Donbass

July 13, 2015
Aftermath of shelling in Krasnogorovka this morning. Photo via Novosti Donbassa

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Russian Soldiers Increasingly Deserting Their Units to Avoid Being Sent to Fight in Ukraine

Not All of Ukraine’s Problems are Result of the War or Moscow’s Actions, Kirillova Says
Right Sector Deny Child Hostage-Taking Claims

Ukrainska Pravda reports that Andiy Tarasenko, one of Pravyi Sektor’s leaders, has written on his Facebook page that claims made earlier today by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry (MVD) that two Pravyi Sector fighters had briefly taken a six-year-old boy hostage during the stand-off in Mukachevo are false.

Tarasenko said that the reports were “fake” and mocked the coverage of the situation:

“Get ready. Soon they will be in the mountains raping women and animals, and carrying grandmothers on their backs to shield themselves from bullets.”

Later, Pravyi Sektor put out a statement on their website, calling the claims “lies and defamation”:

“Pravyi Sektor state that these reports are part of an open war against our military-political movement with the aim of destroying the warriors who are taking the smuggling corridor in Zakarpattia seriously.”

Pravyi Sector said that the use of the subject of child-abduction mirrored Russian media propaganda claims that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a child in Slavyansk.

— Pierre Vaux

More Than 100 Ukrainians Reportedly Detained In Russia While Travelling By Bus To Saint Petersburg

UNIAN reports that more than 100 Ukrainian citizens have been arrested by the Russian authorities while travelling through the town of Nevel, in the Pskov region.

A source at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow told UNIAN that officers of the Federal Border Service, part of the FSB, had stopped 20 minibuses carrying more than 100 Ukrainian citizens. 

The detainees had been crossed the border between Ukraine’s Volyn region and Belarus before entering the Pskov region while headed to Saint Petersburg.

The source, described by UNIAN as a diplomat, told the agency that the majority had come from the Ivano-Frankivsk region. They had, the diplomat said, entered Russia legally.

The reason for the detentions is, as yet, unknown.

— Pierre Vaux

Ukrainian Interior Ministry Says Right Sector Fighters Briefly Take 6 Year Old Boy Hostage During Escape From Police

Following up on a story we just reported, the Associated Press (via RFE/RL) is reporting that a Ukrainian Interior Ministry statement has confirmed the rumors that a six-year old boy was abducted by Right Sector fighters during their latest confrontation:

Two gunmen from Ukraine’s notorious nationalist militia Right Sector have briefly taken a six-year-old boy hostage in western Ukraine as a standoff between the gunmen and police entered its third day.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement Monday that police and security services had tracked two Right Sector gunmen outside Mukacheve but they took a six-year-old boy hostage and managed to escape.

As is noted below, the boy was reportedly abandoned by the Right Sector fighters after they escape from the police by running into the woods.

As we’ve been reporting, a group of fighters from Right Sector engaged police in a gun battle over the weekend following an altercation with men reportedly associated with Mikhail Lano, a former member of the Party of Regions, the political party of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, allegedly regarding cigarette smuggling. 

James Miller

Ukrainian National Security Council Twitter Account Hacked, Supposedly By Right Sector

Earlier this morning, the official Ukrainian-language account of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC) posted a dramatic announcement:


Translation: General Taran has been relieved of his duties as the head of the Ukrainian party at the JCCC. He has been declared a suspect under article 111 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (High treason).

General-Major Andrei Taran is the head of the Ukrainian delegation at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination, a body formed after the first Minsk agreement to monitor and assist the implementation of the ceasefire. It is comprised of both Ukrainian and Russian military representatives.

Taran is also the deputy head of the Main Intelligence Directorate at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. 

The announcement was soon reported on by Ukrainian media outlets and it took a while for other government sources to issue a denial: 

However the original tweet remained online.

About three hours later, the account resumed tweeting, with the announcement that Praviy Sektor (Right Sector) had conducted the hack:


Translation: The NSDC Twitter is under the control of Pravyi Sektor.


Translation: General Taran is running a contraband racket in the ATO zone. We demand his dismissal.

As of 13:45 GMT, the account still appears to be hacked.

Other Tweets posted since the account was hacked relate to the ongoing stand-off between Pravyi Sektor and the Ukrainian authorities in the western Ukrainian town of Mukachevo (Mukacheve).


Translation: The police officials who gave the order to open fire in Mukachevo must be arrested immediately


Translation: The Pravyi Sektor fighters in Mukachevo acted with the realms of necessary defence

One tweet demanded the resignation of the interior minister, Arsen Avakov. The relationship between Pravyi Sektor and Avakov has been hostile since the death of Pravyi Sektor member Oleksandr Muzychko, known as Sashko Biliy, during a police operation in March last year.


Translation: We demand the resignation of minister Avakov


Translation: We demand the arrest of Lano and Medvedchuk

Mikhail Lano is the former Party of Regions MP at the centre of the events in Mukachevo.

Viktor Medvedchuk is an influential Ukrainian businessman with close links to Vladimir Putin. He has long been suspected of manipulating Ukrainian politics by means of provocation to serve Russian interests.


Translation: Pravyi Sektor do not want Ukraine to be destroyed as a state entity

The head of the NSDC, former president Oleksandr Turchynov, wrote on Twitter, accusing Russian intelligence agencies of conducting the hack: 

Translation: That the Russian security services are involved in discrediting Taran is indicated by their professional work.

The hacked NSDC account replied:


Translation: Turchynov imagines the FSB everywhere. It’s very convenient

Certainly there is no guarantee that Pravyi Sektor have carried out this hack. The group has long been the favourite bogeyman of the Russian state-directed media.

It is perfectly plausible that Russian agents are taking advantage of the discord created by the events in Mukachevo to further fragment the long-strained relationship between Pravyi Sektor, other Ukrainian volunteer fighters, and the government.

However the situation on the ground in Mukachevo continues to remain tense and may well deteriorate further. 

Interfax-Ukraine reported this afternoon, citing an unnamed Interior Ministry source, that two Pravyi Sektor fighters had briefly taken a 6-year-old child hostage near Mukachevo.

According to the source, the Pravyi Sektor fighters, armed with automatic weapons, took the boy hostage and fled into the forest to avoid attack by the security forces. 

Having evaded the police, the gunmen abandoned the child, claimed the source.

Meanwhile other Pravyi Sektor members set up a checkpoint on the road from Kiev to Mukachevo to prevent the dispatch of troops from the capital: 

— Pierre Vaux
Five Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded Over Last 24 Hours

Ukrainska Pravda reports that Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Presidential Administration on the military operation in the south-east, has announced that five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded over the last 24 hours.

Earlier this morning, the governor of Lugansk, Hennadiy Moskal, reported that four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded over the weekend in the region. 

Two of the casualties occurred on Saturday during an attack on a Ukrainian column near Stanitsa Luganskaya.

The column was moving close to the Seversky Donets river when Russian-backed forces opened fire. Both wounded servicemen were hospitalized and a Ural truck was damaged.

Two other soldiers were wounded after setting off a tripwire grenade on Sunday evening.

The incident occurred on the outskirts of the village of Novotoshkovka, near the 29th checkpoint on the Bakhmutka highway.

While one of the soldier’s wounds were described by Moskal as “non-severe shrapnel and blast trauma,” the other suffered multiple injuries and is unconscious. “Doctors are fighting for his life,” said Moskal.

This same area of the highway came under attack last night with Russian-backed forces reportedly using Vasilyok automatic mortars and self-propelled artillery.

Both Moskal and the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) reported that attacks on Stanitsa Luganskaya had left the town and seven neighboring villages without electricity today.

The NSDC reported Popasnaya, near the western edge of the region, had been shelled, while attacks took place near Zolotoye, to the north-east. Fighting was also recorded near Krymskoye, on the southern banks of the Seversky Donets.

To the south of Popasnaya, the ATO Press Centre reported that Russian-backed forces had shelled Ukrainian positions with 120 mm mortars before 6 am today.

Positions near Mayorsk, north of Gorlovka, and Verkhnotoretskoye, north-east of Donetsk, were attacked with the same weapons this morning, the Press Centre claims.

Notably, the Press Centre reported that Gornyak, about 25 km west of Donetsk, was shelled this morning with 122 mm artillery. As far as we can recall, this settlement, a considerable distance behind the front line, has not been shelled in the last year.

Closer to Donetsk, the Ukrainian held settlements of Avdeyevka and Krasnogorovka were shelled last night.

Novosti Donbassa relayed photos and reports of the shelling of Krasnogorovka, north of Marinka on the western side of Donetsk, from residents on social media.





The NSDC reported intense fighting to the north of the city, where Russian-backed forces used tanks and artillery in attacks on Ukrainian rear positions near Novoselovka Vtoraya and Kamenka, north-east of Avdeyevka. Skirmishes continued around the ruins of Donetsk Airport.

South-east of Artyomovsk, the Ukrainian military reported that positions near Lozovoye, Luganskoye and Svetlodarsk had been shelled last night.

In contrast to the extensive fighting in the Donetsk area, the southern front, near Mariupol, saw what the military headquarters in the port city described as “one of the calmest days in a month.”

One attack on Ukrainian troops was recorded in ‘Sector M’ throughout the day.

Just after 21:00, Ukrainian troops in Shirokino were fired on with small arms. There were no casualties.

Neither did the Mariupol headquarters report any drone flights over the area. 

Over the entire combat zone, the NSDC reported five enemy UAV flights over the last 24 hours.

— Pierre Vaux