E. Ukraine militia denies shelling Mariupol, accuses Kiev of provocation
The death toll in the Mariupol shelling in eastern Ukraine has reached at least 30 people, local authorities say. Kiev and the militia are trading blame. The rebels insist they don’t have weapons close enough to attack the city.
Donetsk militia 'not going to storm Mariupol', trades accusations with Kiev
24 January, 2015
The Donetsk militia has been ordered to suppress Kiev’s military positions to the east of Mariupol, but is not going to storm the city, said Donetsk Republic head, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, accusing Kiev of a false flag operation and shifting the blame.
Just an "honest" mistake this time? Maybe
By now most of you would have heard about the artillery strike on the civilian outskirts of Mariupol. The Nazis blamed the Novorussians, who denied it. Turns out the locals saw it all and even filmed it. Bottom line is this: this appears to be an "honest" mistakes, meaning that the Ukrainians were probably trying to hit the advancing Novorussians but that their salvo came in short (Ukie artillerists do not exactly have a reputation of being snipers...). Here is a map sent to me this morning by a friend:
On the ground, it looked like this:
Ugly and scary, for sure. And horrible for those who were hit, but what is forgotten in this story is that this is what Donetsk has been suffering every day and what Gorlovka is getting hit by daily, but in truly massive amounts. And, unlike in Mariupol, Donetsk and Gorlovka are getting hit like that deliberately.
What the events in Mariupol do show, however, is that regardless of the expertise and caution taken by Novorussian artillery (it is considered very skilled as it always aims at precision strikes at Ukrainian positions in order to prevent the latter from hitting the Novorussian civilians), there are major risks in an operation to take a city like Mariupol. If this time around it was probably just an "honest" mistake (to the degree that the word "honest" can be used for junta forces), the next time around it could be a deliberate SBU false flag. For example, imagine this:
You are Poroshenko or Nalivaichenko and you asked the USA and the EU to declare the Novorussians "terrorists". And then, for some reason, both the USA and the EU declined to do so (they did decline). How would you go about proving them wrong? The MH-17 and the recent civilian bus false flags failed, those pesky westerners still don't want to declare 7 million people as terrorists, so what would you do about it?
So the risk is real and huge. So far, the Novorussians have played their hand very well, but their offensive on Mariupol has me nervous all for the same reasons as the first time around. At least now they are moving in slowly and making darn sure that their lines of supply remain open and secure. Still, this is a very dangerous situation and the events this morning show that even an "honest" Ukie mistake can be immediately turned into political ammunition to flame anti-Russian hysterics in the West.
From Zero Hedge, reflecting western media
Launch Offensive On
Ukraine City Of Mariupol,
Where At Least
21 Die After
As a reminder, Mariupol is a critical town, and the last remaining major Ukraine outpost on the Azov Sea, between Russia and the Crimea which Russia took control over last spring.
The Russian RIA Novosti news agency cited eastern Ukrainian rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko as saying an offensive has begun on Mariupol. He spoke Saturday as he laid a wreath at the site where at least eight civilians died when a bus stop was shelled in Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city in eastern Ukraine.
AP adds that tebel forces have positions within 10 kilometers (six miles) from Mariupol's eastern outskirts.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement there were three separate strikes from Grad multiple rocket launchers on Mariupol and surrounding areas.
"The area that came under attack was massive," Mariupol mayor Yuriy Khotlubei said in a video statement. "The shelling was carried out by militants. This is very clearly Russian aggression that has caused terrible losses for the residents of the eastern part of our city."
The Donetsk region prosecutor's office said in a mid-afternoon statement that 21 people had been killed.
Defense and police officials said rockets struck homes, a kindergarten, a market and shops. There was no immediate report of how many people died in various locations.
A Ukrainian military checkpoint on a road leading out of the city toward rebel-held areas was also hit and one serviceman was killed, the Defense Ministry said.
The Mariupol city council denied the report that a separatist incursion was imminent and urged residents not to panic and to ignore rumors that Ukrainian armed forces were planning to withdraw.
"On the contrary, all units are on fully battle-ready. Security measures in the city have been strengthened," the council said in a statement. No armed separatist units have been noted moving toward the city, the statement added.
The U.N. human rights agency on Friday raised its estimate of the conflict's overall death toll to nearly 5,100 since April.
On Thursday, mortars rained down on the center of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk, hitting a bus and killing several bystanders. Rebel officials said 13 were killed in that attack. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe cited city morgue officials as saying they have received eight bodies.
The OSCE's special monitoring mission (SMM) in east Ukraine on Saturday expressed concern over the growing number of civilian casualties and called for restraint from all sides.
"The SMM strongly condemns the continuation of the fighting in residential areas. Using residential areas as firing positions attracts counter-firing to these areas, further endangering the lives of civilians," the mission said in a statement.
About an hour ago, the European Union was quick to condemn that separatist attack on Mariupol, having said nothing at all for months over the comparable shelling, and arbitrary slaughter of citizens in separatist-controlled Donetsk. The EU's kneejerk assessment: it's Russia's fault - "I call therefore openly upon Russia to use its considerable influence over separatist leaders and to stop any form of military, political or financial support." The full statement below:
Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the attack on Mariupol
Residential areas of the city of Mariupol have been fired upon today from separatist held territory, which has cost the lives of at least fifteen civilians, wounding many others and terrorising the innocent population. This comes after a series of indiscriminate attacks in the Donbas in the past few days, accompanied by the announcements of further offensives by Russia-backed separatists, who bluntly refuse to observe the cease fire.
This further escalation of the open armed conflict has tragic consequences for a population greatly suffering already for far too long. It would inevitably lead to a further grave deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia.
I call therefore openly upon Russia to use its considerable influence over separatist leaders and to stop any form of military, political or financial support. This would prevent disastrous consequences for all. Those responsible for the escalation must stop their hostile actions and live up to their commitments.
Below is a clip of what residents in the Vostochniy district of Mariupol woke up to on Saturday morning after at least least three suspected Grad rockets struck the eastern part of the city. The shelling hit a residential area, with houses and a nearby market struck in the process.
And just like that the Ukraine civil war is right back front and center, and is sure to add a level of volatility to everything else that is already taking place.
Mariupol resident appeals to
Poroshenko 24/01/15 Asks to
take UAF troops out from
BREAKING: Uniformed, Armed American Caught on Camera in Mariupol
An American mercenary caught on camera at 2’:35” in Mariupol among the junta's special forces,talks but hides his face
As you see forces of Donetsk and Lugansk republic make offensive in whole front line. 8000 fascists of Kiev junta with vehicles and ammunition are surrounded in the towns Debaltsevo (Дебальцево), Svetlogorsk (Светлогорск) and Uglegorsk (Углегорск). You see it in middle of map how "arrows" of Donetsk and Lugansk republic connected above white area. Also in top of map army of Lugansk republic going to surround Kiev junta forces in the cities S'chastye (Счастье) and Stanica Luganskaya (Станица Луганская). There are at least few thousands fascists with vehicles and ammunition.
In the lower part the map you see that Donetsk republic army surround fascists in the city Mariupol and villages around this city.
In fact this tactic is known from WWII, when fortified enemy positions our troops bypassed and cut off from the rest of the army of enemy. In same time enemy under constant attacks in whole front line, so can't to move troops from one part of front line to another.
Our forces use this old tactic because it allow to take from surrounded enemy vehicles and ammunition as fee for their live.