Ukraine Live Day 527: Ukraine Reports Heavy Fighting Near Schastye And Avdeyevka

July 29, 2015
Aftermath of shelling in Stanitsa Luganskaya. Photo: Lugansk Regional Administration

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here. An archive of our liveblogs can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

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For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.

For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

The Interpreter Publishes Draft Resolutions from UN Security Council Members and Russia on MH17 Tribunal

Kommersant reports today that it has obtained a copy of the UN Security Council’s draft resolution on the MH17 tribunal, which it has published in Russian only.

The Security Council is expected to vote on the resolution today.

As we have reported, Russia has both threatened to block such a resolution and proposed alternatives to the tribunal.

The Interpreter has also obtained from a reliable source English-language copies of two versions of the resolution, one – the proposal for the tribunal by some members of the UNSC, and the other – the draft counter-proposal by Russia.

One element of the Russian draft is the proposal to create a “special
rapporteur” to the Secretary General on the issue of the downing of MH17 rather than a tribunal.

Such rapporteurs have
been created by the UN Human Rights Council in
the past, such as with the situations in North Korea or Sudan. A rapporteur’s study would
not have the weight of a tribunal, however, and there would be the
added problem of the inevitable political fighting over the appointment of the rapporteur.

Draft from Members of the UN Security Council:




Draft from the Russian Delegation:

The Security Council,

Recalling its Resolution 2166 (2014) of 21 July 2014,

Deploring the downing of a civilian aircraft on an international flight, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on 17 July 2014 in Donetsk oblast, Ukraine, with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew on board,

Reaffirming the rules of international law that prohibit acts of violence that pose a threat to the safety of international civil aviation and in this regard deploring all other acts of violence against civilian aircraft,

Noting the fact that the establishment of the true causes of this aerial incident is critical for bringing those responsible to justice and will be crucial for the non-recurrence of such incidents in the future,

Emphasizing in this regard the crucial role of the full, thorough, transparent and independent international investigation of this incident in accordance with the provisions of Resolution 2166 (2014) and in particular in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines, the results of which will enjoy the trust of the international community, regretting that Resolution 2166 (2014) has not been fully implemented,

Recalling the offer of full cooperation of the United Nations in this investigation, and in this regard expressing its regret that the Secretary-General has not yet reported on possible options for United Nations support to the investigation,

Recalling in this regard proposals aimed at enhancing the role of the United Nations in support of the investigation and, in particular, the nomination of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the incident,

Deploring that despite the fact that access to the crash site had been offered in compliance with the relevant provisions of Resolution 2166 (2014), all necessary actions were not taken in order to ensure the timely evacuation of material evidence from the crash site, including the establishment of a relevant security perimeter,

Being resolved to ensure a truly international and transparent character of the investigation with the aim of establishing the truth,

1.  Reiterates its deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of this incident and to the people and governments of the victims’ countries of origin;

2. Reaffirms all the provisions of its Resolution 2166 (2014) and reiterates its call for their full implementation;

3. Expresses its concern that the ongoing investigation has so far not fully complied with the criteria set out in resolution 2166 (2014) and, in particular, does not ensure due transparency in its organization and work methods, which may have a negative impact on its outcome;

4. Expresses also its concern with  the delay in the investigation of the aerial incident notwithstanding the rules and standards of ICAO and other established procedures;

5. Urges the earliest possible finalization of the investigation, without prejudice to its quality, while ensuring its independence, transparency and truly international character in full compliance with Resolution 2166 (2014) and the ICAO guidelines;

6. Insists on just and equal access to the materials of the investigation by all interested States;

7. Notes that ICAO could play a more active and appropriate role in this investigation;

8. Calls upon all States and actors in the region to accord full cooperation in the conduct of the international investigation  of this incident in compliance with Resolution 2166 (2014);

9. Calls upon all parties concerned to fully comply with the provisions of Resolution 2166 (2014) and in particular to provide all available evidence regarding the incident to the international investigation and also to make public all information in their possession related to the circumstances of the incident;

10. Requests the Joint Investigation Team to keep the Council fully and regularly informed on the progress of its investigation;

11. Demands that the perpetrators of the aerial incident be brought to justice and that full cooperation in this regard be accorded by all States upon the completion of the international investigation conducted in accordance with Resolution 2166 (2014), ICAO guidelines and other applicable procedures and recognized by the international community to be objective and reliable;

12. Urges once again all States Parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation to comply meticulously with all international norms, standards and practices on civil aviation security so as to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and demands that all States and other actors refrain from acts of violence directed against civilian aircraft;

13. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within two weeks on the steps that would enhance the role of the United Nations in support of the investigation and in particular the nomination of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the incident;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

SBU Names Captured Russian Major

Last weekend the Ukrainian State Border Agency claimed to have captured a Russian military officer driving a truck, loaded with weapons, along the Donetsk-Mariupol highway.

Today, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has named the prisoner and released more details of the incident.

Ukrainska Pravda reports that, according to the SBU, the captured man is Vladimir Starikov, a Major in the Russian Army.

Starikov is assigned to a military base in the town of Novocherkassk in Russia’s Rostov region. The SBU claim that Major Starikov was the head of the unit’s rocket-artillery service, and gave his personnel number as F-549345.

The SBU has published photos of the alleged cargo aboard the truck Starikov was driving: 

Translation: In the vehicle was found: 36 boxes of RPG rounds; 5 boxes of under-barrel grenade launcher rounds; 50 boxes of F-1 and RGD-5 grenades

— Pierre Vaux

Two Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded In Marinka

Ukrainska Pravda reports that Andriy Lysenko, a military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, has announced that two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded over the last 24 hours.

According to Lysenko, the soldiers were wounded in Marinka, south-west of Donetsk.

— Pierre Vaux

Yanukovych’s Former PM Azarov To Present ‘Alternative Ukrainian Government’ In Moscow

Russia’s reports that the former Ukrainian prime minister, Mykola Azarov, who resigned during the EuroMaidan protests on January 28, 2014, is to form an “alternative Ukrainian government” in Russia.

Azarov’s press secretary, Sergei Zavorotny, told that an “alternative candidate for the president of Ukraine” will be presented at a press conference tomorrow at the Ukraina Hotel in Moscow tomorrow.

Zavorotny said that the committee to form this alternative government includes several former Ukrainian MPs from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions: Igor Markov, Vladimir Oleynik and Oleg Tsaryov.

“Azarov himself may head the Ukrainian government in exile.”

As notes, Azarov told RIA Novosti in February this year that he does not consider the current Ukrainian government to be legitimate.

— Pierre Vaux

Ukraine Reports Heavy Fighting Near Schastye And Avdeyevka

The Ukrainian military reports that Russian-backed forces conducted more than 80 attacks over the last 24 hours, with heavy fighting near Schastye and Avdeyevka.

At 16:30 Russian-backed fighters attacked Ukrainian troops near Schastye, in the Lugansk region, under cover of mortar and tank fire. The attacking force consisted of around 100 troops. The ATO Press Centre claims that the battle went on for almost three hours until, having suffered losses, the Russian-backed fighters retreated.

To the north of Donetsk, around 30 Russian-backed fighters reportedly attempted to seize a Ukrainian defensive position near Avdeyevka at 20:20. This attack was also repelled.

According to the Press Centre, the Ukrainian military suffered no losses in either battle.

Between 18:00 and midnight, Ukrainian positions near Avdeyevka, Krasnogorovka, Pervovo Maya, Mayorsk, Nikolaevka and Marinka were shelled with artillery and mortars. Small arms attacks were reported in other areas.

Novosti Donbassa reports, citing the Lugansk Regional Administration, that Stanitsa Luganskaya, north-east of Lugansk, was subjected to “intense bombardment” with RPGs and mortars for an hour last night. As a result, four homes were destroyed and a gas main was ruptured, leaving over a thousand residents without gas. 



Today, as of 6 am, the ATO Press Centre reports artillery fire on Ukrainian forces near Stepnoye, north of Volnovakha, Novozvanovka, Popasnaya and Troitskoye, east of Artyomovsk, and Nikolaevka, on the river Kalmius.

— Pierre Vaux