Ukraine Live Day 512: Bombings In The East And West

July 14, 2015
Wreckage of Range Rover in which Yelena Filippova was travelling today. Photo via

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Ukrainian Air Force Commander Dismissed, Reportedly For Health Reasons

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has fired his Air Force commander, General Yuriy Baidak, 24 Today reports. According to that report, Baidak has been relegated to reserve duty. reports that Baidak was dismissed for reasons having to do with his personal health.

The Ukrainian air force has played no real role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since August 2014, when the military grounded the air force due to the number of aircraft which were being shot down by advanced anti-aircraft weapons which Ukraine says were supplied by the Russian military.

UNIAN also reports that Nikolai Tomenko, an adviser to the president (non-staff), was also dismissed. Vasyl Gritsak, the new chair of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), was given a seat on the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC).

James Miller, Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

Ukraine Reports Around 50 Attacks So Far Today, Five Wounded Soldiers Over Last 24 Hours

The Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Centre claims that Russian-backed forces have conducted around 50 attacks today, as of 18:30 local time.

According to the report, 19 attacks were made with weaponry that should have been withdrawn in accordance with the Minsk agreement, including 152 mm artillery and 120 mm mortars.

Over the course of the day, Ukrainian positions near Novgorodskoye, west of Gorlovka,  Luganskoye, to the east, and Opytnoye, Avdeyevka, Vodyanoye and Peski, north of Donetsk, were all attacked repeatedly.

In the Lugansk region, Schastye, Stanitsa Luganskaya and Krymskoye were attacked.

Between 10:50 and 12:30, Ukrainian troops near Marinka were fired on by a sniper.

At lunchtime today, Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Presidential Administration on the military operation in the south-east, announced that five Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded over the last 24 hours.

Lysenko claimed that Ukrainian positions near the railway line between Konstantinovka and Yasinovataya, north-west of Donetsk, had been subjected to “massive shelling” overnight.

Between Novgorodskoye and Verkhnotoretskoye, Russian-backied forces were reportedly using 120 mm mortars, tanks and artillery to fire under cover of darkness.

The Ukraine Crisis Media Centre summarised Lysenko’s comments on fighting elsewhere:

East of Donetsk, skirmishes continue 24/7 along the entire frontline between Avdeyevka and Marinka, while artillery shelling and sniper fire are registered more frequently. “At the same time, south of Donetsk ceasefire violation incidents by militant groups were not spotted,” added Colonel Lysenko.

In the Luhansk sector, Krymskoye village was the hotspot of the conflict. Russia-backed militants fired at Ukrainian positions from the southeast. Skirmishes with the use of small arms, mortars and IFV-mounted weapons erupted sporadically all day long. Also, enemy raids and firing incidents were registered near Schastye and Popasnaya.

In the Mariupol sector, ceasefire was generally holding with only two short-term enemy provocations were registered in Shirokino.

— Pierre Vaux

SBU Say 10+ Pravyi Sektor Members Surrounded In Zakarpattia, Meanwhile Fighters Reportedly Setting Up Checkpoints Around Lviv

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) has announced that more than 10 Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) members have been surrounded by  security forces in Zakarpattia (known as Zakarpatia in Russian and Transcarpathia in English).

SBU press secretary Yelena Gitlyanskaya said at a briefing this afternoon that the agency could not give the exact number surrounded, but that it was more than ten and that all were locals.

Gitlyanskaya noted that two Right Sector fighters had been arrested yesterday evening in connection with the events in Mukachevo (Mukacheve). However she would not comment on whether they had surrendered themselves voluntarily, as claimed this morning by Andriy Stempitsky, commander of Right Sector’s military wing. They are now being flown to Kiev, under guard, on a chartered flight.

Two other men have been placed under guard at a hospital in Mukachevo, added Gitlyanskaya.

But UNN reported today, citing an unnamed police source, that law enforcement officers in Zakarpattia believe that the Right Sector fighters in Mukachevo were allowed to escape this weekend.

The source claimed that Alfa and Omega special forces units had been deployed to capture the gunmen, and that this should have been a simple task for the security forces. However, the source says, MP and former minister Viktor Baloha arrived and “brought them something.” Following the intervention Baloha, a former mayor of Mukachevo, and the fighters, who had been pinned down, escaped.

The SBU has already conducted more than 40 search raids in response to the fighting in Mukachevo, with 27 taking place yesterday, Gitlyanskaya said.

Individuals and properties associated with both sides in the conflict are under scrutiny. Gitlyanskaya said that weapons, including rifles, smooth-bore guns, grenades and targeting equipment had been found at the homes of some of the individuals who had come into conflict with Right Sector. One assumes here that she means individuals associated with the local MP, Mikhail Lano, a former Party of Regions leader and now a member of the Opposition Bloc.

Meanwhile Svetlana Dobrovolskaya, an Interior Ministry (MVD) press secretary, told Ukrainska Pravda that while the MVD was considering several possible scenarios regarding the double bombing in Lviv today, which includes a possible connection to events in Mukachevo, they had not linked the bombs to Right Sector.

UNN now reports that Taras Kuzyak, a Right Sector representative for the Lviv region, has told the agency that Right Sector fighters will travel to Lviv to “control the city in order to prevent provocations.” 

“To this end, we have set up checkpoints around Lviv so as to prevent titushki [provocateurs] from entering the city and carrying out diversions here.” 

Kuzyak said that rumours connecting the bombings to Right Sector were part of a campaign to discredit the organisation. 

— Pierre Vaux

Following Yesterday’s NSDC Twitter Hack, Accounts of Interior Minister And Presidential Administrations Hacked

Yesterday, the official Ukrainian-language account of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) was hacked and taken over by individuals claiming to be members of Pravyi Sektor.

Today, the accounts of both the interior minister, Arsen Avakov, and the Presidential Administration were hacked. Control over all three has now been restored.

This morning, a tweet on Avakov’s account linked to a text on, a private website registered by an unknown individual in 2005.

The link led to a declaration in the name of the minister that the Interior Ministry would propose to the Verkhovna Rada that Pravyi Sektor leader Dmytro Yarosh be stripped of his parliamentary immunity.

According to the statement, the ongoing events in Mukachevo were being conducted with Yarosh’s full knowledge and Pravyi Sektor now constituted a serious challenge to the state and its security.

Avakov told Ukrainska Pravda that his account had been hacked and that no such move was under way.

Several hours later, the news site reported that they had been informed by the Presidential Administration that their official account had also been hacked. 

One tweet put out by the hacked account had claimed that President Poroshenko had given the order to remove all Pravyi Sektor units from the combat zone in the Donbass.

Yesterday, the secretary of the NSDC, Oleksandr Turchynov, said that the hacks appeared to be the work of Russia’s FSB. The hacked NSDC account responded, mocking Turchynov for “imagining the FSB everywhere.”

— Pierre Vaux

Policewoman Loses Leg, Remains Unconscious After Second Bombing In Lviv Today

Ukrinform reports that a 31-year-old policewoman lost her leg and remains unconscious in hospital after a second blast at a police station in Lviv, western Ukraine today.

Ukraine’s 112 television channel reported that a bomb exploded outside a police station on Yuriy Lypa street at around 10:00, an hour after a device exploded less than 2.5 km away at another police station on Pluhova street.


Ukrinform reported, citing Lviv police chief Pavel Herasym, that the 24-year-old police lieutenant wounded in the Pluhova street bombing had suffered injuries of a medium severity, with shrapnel wounds to his face and limbs.

Liga Novosti reports that the Interior Ministry (MVD) press office has said that the attacks in Lviv today are connected to the ongoing stand-off between the security forces and members of Pravyi Sektor in Mukachevo, Zarkarpattia, around 180 km to the south-west.

It should be noted however, that another bombing in the usually peaceful city of Lviv occurred before this weekend’s fighting in Mukachevo, on June 25.

— Pierre Vaux


Bombing At Police Station In Lviv, One Officer Seriously Wounded

At around 9:00 today, a bomb exploded at a police station on Pluhova street in Lviv, western Ukraine. One police lieutenant has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Svitlana Dobrovolska, head of the press office of the Lviv regional branch of the Interior Ministry, told UNIAN that the officer had received multiple shrapnel wounds to the head and body.

“According to preliminary reports, the explosion occurred as a result of the triggering of a booby trap device fixed to the door of the police station.”

Leviy Bereg reports that the Interior Ministry had said that the device had exploded when the lieutenant opened the doors of the station. 

11738079_879625188757774_375604704749876 reported that the device consisted of a grenade rigged with a tripwire.

The news site notes that this is the second such bombing in the western city, far from the conflict zone, in the last month.

On June 25 a policeman was lightly injured while leaving another police station at around 7 am as a police vehicle exploded.

— Pierre Vaux

Zakharchenko’s Secretary Seriously Wounded After Car Bombing In Donetsk

A car was blown up in the separatist-held city of Donetsk this morning, severely wounding Yelena Filippova, secretary to the head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Aleksandr Zakharchenko.

The pro-separatist NewsFront website reports that the blast occurred at around 10:00 near the Topaz factory, just north-west of the city centre. 

The site identified the driver of the Range Rover as Filippova and reported that she was alive and now in hospital. 



The BBC’s Will Vernon reports that the DNR has confirmed that Filippova was indeed the driver and was seriously injured.

Donetsk news site reports that one eyewitness had said that a bomb appeared to have gone off under the passenger side of the car. 


11901180a1181ee7f4417e3fc44a9378.jpg later reported that “informed sources” had said that the car was either rigged with explosives or had set off a bomb placed on the road.

Filippova has been taken to the Donetsk trauma hospital and doctors are not commenting on her condition.

Some sources suggested to that the intended target had in fact been Zakharchenko. One warned of possible repressions by the DNR leadership in response to the incident. According to the source, Zakharchenko’s adjutants and bodyguards are checking their entire vehicle fleet for more devices.

The same “informed source from among the separatists” told the news site that Vladislav Surkov, one of the most important figures in the Kremlin, is due to visit Donetsk today. Surkov has previously been accused of managing the separatists, even giving specific briefings on press statements, according todocuments released by the SBU in February. He was also rumoured to have visited Donetsk at least once earlier this year.

The source claimed that Surkov was coming to remove Zakharchenko from his post. Earlier, noted, there were rumours in Donetsk that Zakharchenko may be replaced by another separatist leader: Aleksandr Khodakovsky, leader of the Vostok Battalion, Denis Pushilin, DNR envoy to the Minsk talks, or Igor Bezler, former military ruler of Gorlovka.

The source could not speculate on these rumours but did say that Bezler is not headed to Donetsk today. This is unsurprising as Bezler has maintained a rather low profile since the autumn last year. also reported that there was talk among residents on social media of traffic being closed off in the centre of Donetsk for the arrival of a VIP. 

Beyond the report however, there has been no mention in the media of a visit by Surkov.

— Pierre Vaux