Ukraine Live Day 599: Contradictory Claims On Ceasefire Situation As Withdrawal Continues

October 9, 2015
Russian-backed fighters on exercise in the Donetsk region. Screenshot from YouTube

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Russian Justice Minister Suggests Savchenko Could Be Returned To Ukraine After Conviction

Aleksandr Konovalov, the Russian justice minister, has said that Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian military office and now MP who was captured by separatist fighters in Ukraine and illegally transported last summer to Russia, where she is on trial for murder, may be returned to Ukraine if convicted.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported this afternoon that Konovalov had said that “if Savchenko is convicted,” then, by use of existing bilateral agreements between Russia and Ukraine, the Ukrainian could possibly be transferred to Ukraine to serve out her sentence. 

Despite her right to diplomatic immunity and the wealth of evidence that she was not responsible for the deaths of two Russian journalists near Lugansk, it is expected that the Russian court will find Savchenko guilty.  

Later today, Yelena Pamfilova, a member of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council, told Interfax that she approved of the suggestion.

The Interpreter translates:

“If such a possibility is really being considered, then regardless of the sentence, it would be reasonable and most importantly, humane.”

— Pierre Vaux

Contradictory Claims On Ceasefire Situation As Withdrawal Continues

The Ukrainian government claims that there were no ceasefire violations by Russian-backed forces over the last 24 hours. 

The Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Centre reported this morning that the withdrawal of armour, artillery and anti-tank guns with a calibre of less than 100 mm was still underway, with observers from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) overseeing the process. 

The SMM are recording individual serial numbers on the withdrawn hardware in order to verify the withdrawal procedure.

Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, announced today that while there had been no combat casualties, two Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded after setting off a landmine near Yasinovataya, north of Donetsk.

Lysenko also claimed that three drone flights had been detected near Mariupol over the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile Eduard Basurin, a military spokesman for the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), claimed today that Ukrainian forces had violated the ceasefire five times over the last day.

Basurin told reporters that Ukrainian troops had shelled the north-western fringes of Donetsk with mortars. To the south, the separatist official claimed that Ukrainian troops had attacked the village of Sosnovskoye, south-east of Telmanovo, and positions near the Izotov mine with small arms and grenade launchers.

— Pierre Vaux