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?
Right Sector, the ultranationalist group in Ukraine that has supplied some of the volunteer fighters in defense against Russian-backed separatists, reportedly blocked a hotel where a round-table was taking place titled “Problems and Tasks of Eurointegration in the Odessa Region,” Unian reported, citing a Right Sector press statement.
Pictures from the scene show about 20 Right Sector activists, some masked, holding up signs.
It’s not clear if the protesters actually blocked the doorways.
The statement from Right Sector said (translation by The Interpreter):
“The conference of pro-Russian forces like the “People’s Council of Bessarabia” was supposed to take part in Odessa on September 30 under the guise of a ‘discussion about the European integration of Ukraine.’ Several foreign citizens were brought into Odessa in order to conduct a hostile action, including from Greece and Bulgaria, and were placed in a hotel in the center of town.”
The organizers of the conference were reported to be planning a bus tour of Odessa that “was to be a picture for Russian media and a pretext for destabilizing the situation in the south of Ukraine,” said Right Sector.
Militants from Right Sector and another group, Self-Defense picketed the hotel. Fearing attack, the foreigners did not come out of the hotel.
Odessa Media, a local publication, also reported that some foreigners with openly pro-Russian views were planning to hold an assembly of the “Bessarabian People’s Republic.” The publication said that the Bessarabian People’s Republic and another group, the “People’s Rada [Assembly] of Bessarabia, which are separatist movements harshly discouraged by Ukrainian law-enforcement, were going to use the round-table to raise the issue of the “Bessarabian People’s Republic.”
The Right Sector picketers carried signs saying “Aggressor: Hands of Bessarabia!”; “Foreign Russophiles Have No Place in Ukraine” and “We Won’t Allow the Putinization of Our National Lands.”
Bessarabia is a historical region in Eastern Europe made up mainly of parts of modern Moldova and also parts of Ukraine known as Budjak. It is bounded by the Black Sea, the Danube and Moldova and the Russian-controlled breakaway region of Transnistria. Fewer than half of the region’s 570,000 people are Ukrainian; the rest are Bulgarians, Russians, Moldovans, Gagazu or Albanians, and tend to be pro-Russian in their views.
The idea of proclaiming a separatist “Bessarabian People’s Republic” similar to the self-proclaimed “Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic” was rumored late last year and early this year as a possible project of Moscow and articles appeared in the Western press early this year with this concern, but then the cause fell into the background. Now it appears it has been revived.
In a separate development, thousands of protesters turned out in Dnepropetrovsk to protest against the decision by regional officials not to allow the Vidrozhennya (Renewal) party to take part in the elections October 25.
The party’s application for registration was turned down, and Anatoly Krupsky, a candidate for mayor of Dnepropetrovsk, was also denied registration. Instead, authorities registered a “clone” candidate who was from Kharkov Region, and a “clone party” called the “All-Ukrainian Association for the Renewal of Ukraine”
Svyatoslav Oleynik, former deputy of former Dnepropetrovsk governor Ihor Kolomoisky, who was running for office from the Renewal party, said that the “fake party” had come along with titushki, the thugs who beat people in January in Dnepropetrovsk during the Maidan demonstrations, to ensure success for the Opposition Bloc.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Denis Pushilin, representative of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” said that the decision approved by the parties at the Minsk talks yesterday, September 29, to withdraw all armaments of a caliber of 100 mm or less ‘may mean the end of war.’
The agreement was signed by former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, representing Ukraine, OSCE representative Martina Saydik, Russian diplomat Azamata Kulmukhametova and DNR prime minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko, Unian reported.
The problem is that OSCE, which has been brokering the talks of the Trilateral Group between Russia, Ukraine and the separatists is still finding heavy artillery above 100 mm, not in the positions to which is was supposed to withdraw.
While the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission reported yesterday that there was no shelling around the Donetsk Airport and only a few ceasefire violations elsewhere in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, it reported that an Akatsiya 152mm 2S3 was missing from a Ukrainian Armed Forces holding area and that in the DNR-controlled area of Michurino (56k northeast of Mariupol, there were four main battle tanks, (MBTs) and 20 MBTs and other military hardware in Solntsevo (Sontseve), 58 kilometers northeast of Mariupol. In Ukraine-controlled Starohnativka, 51 km south of Donetsk, two MBTs were noted.
This suggests that the Russian-backed separatists are keeping heavy armor in violation of the Minsk agreement within striking distance of Mariupol. OSCE SMM also complained of an “impediment” — their drone was jammed in DNR-controlled areas around Mariupol when they attempted to observe the area.
In the area beyond the withdrawal line, the OSCE SMM also found 16 122mm 2S1 Gvozdikas at a training ground in the LNR-controlled area of Uspenka near the Russian border, 23 km southeast of Lugansk. They also observed infantry-fighting vehicles, MBTs and two T-72s tanks as well as anti-aircraft guns on trucks at the LNR training ground in Mirnoye (Myrne). There were more than 60 MBTs in DNR-controlled Torez, 57 km east of Donetsk.
The SMM also investigated the report of a bomb at the Kiev rail station yesterday September 29 in which a woman was reportedly injured. The SMM could not find any signs of damage to buildings or remnants of an explosive. A police officer said the woman had suffered a minor injury and was not hospitalized.
At about 18:00 today Kiev time, the press center for the ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) said there was only one episode of “chatoic firing” by Russian-backed militants” on Ukrainian positions in the last day along the Mariupol line.
Earlier this morning, the ATO reported on their Facebook page being “pummeled” with 120mm artillery in violation of the Minsk agreement.
The ATO noted that Ukrainian television broadcasting continues to be blocked by separatists in the Donbass.
“According to our surveillance information, recently in the city of Metallist in the Lugansk Regionl, the broadcast of television from Ukraine was halted.”
He also noted that LNR leader Igor Plotnitsky had opened up an Universam supermarket in the building of the former Aist chain and was selling Russian and Belarusian goods at considerably marked-up prices.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry also announced today that it will now send the humanitarian convoys into Ukraine once a week. These trucks have not been open to inspection by Ukrainian officials and are widely believed to be used to bring in assistance to the Russian-separatist hybrid army.
While the Minsk accords specifies return to Ukraine of control of the Ukrainian border, Russia still controls approximately 475 kilometers of the land border.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick