Ukraine Live Day 586: Calm on the Front But Homicides in Occupied Crimea and Donbass

September 27, 2015
Medical workers gather near the scene of the shooting of their co-workers in Simferopol September 26, 2015. Photo via

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.

Please help The Interpreter to continue providing this valuable information service by making a donation towards our costs.

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?

Calm on the Front But Homicides in Occupied Areas

The Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation press center said there was a day of calm on the front with no cases reported of shell fire along the contact line, Unian reported.

But the ATO spokesman said criminal incidents had worsened (translation by The Interpreter):

First of all, assaults of civilians, looting and theft are being committed by armed fighters whose leaders virtually cannot control them.

This month, two local residents who had been driving a car with a trailer disappeared. Two weeks later, their bodies were found in the village of Sosnovskoye in their own trailer with gunshot wounds to the head. The car had disappeared.

In the village of Oktyabr in Novoazovsk District, at the entrance to the Ukrainian side, militants detained civilian automobiles of local residents with seafood. They checked the civilians’ ID, then seized their load without any explanation.

In Russian-occupied Crimea today, a gunman shot  three medical workers in an ambulance, Unian reported. Two women, a paramedic and a nurse died at the scene and a third male paramedic died later of gunshot wounds at the Simferopol City Hospital. Seven others were wounded. The gunman escaped the area in a Moskvich car. Law-enforcement sources say the murders may have been revenge for an incorrect diagnosis made on the gunman’s female relative.

On September 23, a man who had moved out of his house in Sosnovskoye to Pervomayskoye returned to his former home with a friend for tools and found DNR fighters had occupied it. When he complained, they shot him and his friend dead.

Residents of Oktyabr and Kulkikova report a rash of thefts and another home occupied by militants who took a home-owner’s belongings, then told him they were guarding the house so other fighters wouldn’t steal more.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission reported today that yesterday, September 26, there was “relative calm” on the Donetsk front but they recorded 68 explosions, which were reportedly demining or training activities. In Lugansk, there were some ceasefire violations recorded.

Last week we reported on the tank biathlon organized by the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” in which a child was reported killed. The SMM reported:

The SMM followed up on media reports of an incident in “DPR”-controlled
Torez (57km east of Donetsk) on 24 September. Medical staff of the
Shakhtarsk city hospital and the “chief” of Torez city “police” station
separately informed the SMM that during a “tank biathlon” contest at the
shooting range in Torez, where several military-type vehicles were
stationed for exhibition, an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB)
suddenly had caught fire from the inside and two children who had been
inside had suffered severe burns. According to the interlocutors, as a
result, a nine year-old girl had died and a seven year-old boy had been
taken to a hospital for further medical treatment.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick