Sunday 25 January 2015

Ukraine civil war: 21 die after shelling of Mariupol

E. Ukraine militia denies shelling Mariupol, accuses Kiev of provocation

A car burns following a shelling in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, January 24, 2015. (Reuters/Nikolai Ryabchenko)

24 January, 2015

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.

Twenty-three people died at the scene, including one child. Another 93 people have been injured, including eight children,” a statement from local authorities said. Another seven people died in hospitals, it added. But Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov later said that 102 people have sustained injuries.

Two children – a 15-year old girl and a boy about five years old” are among the dead, the statement reads.

Our militias have no weapon systems near Mariupol that would be able to shell that region. Our positions are simply too far away,” a spokesman for the Donetsk militia headquarters told RIA Novosti.

According to our intelligence, the artillery fired from the Stariy Krim neighborhood [less than 10 kilometers from central Mariupol]. Ukrainian troops are stationed there. We believe it was a provocation committed by the Ukrainian troops,” the spokesman dded.

The deputy speaker of the DPR parliament, Denis Pushilin, has called the artillery shelling in Mariupolyet another provocation” by Kiev who are pushing the development of the situation in the military direction.”

"It is all clear, who shelled Mariupol: from which regions they are, from which spot and where the artillery was located. As far as I know, [rockets were] fired by a Grad multiple rocket launcher. Our militia units don’t have artillery capable of reaching the location of the shelling,” Pushilin said.

The comment comes after a local Ukrainian Interior Ministry official accused their opponents of shelling the city some 110 kilometers south of the militia stronghold in Donetsk.The assessment was confirmed by Eduard Basurin, a military official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who told RT that the rebel forces are not conducting any offensive on Mariupol at the moment.

Mariupol City Hall earlier said that 16 people were killed and 83 injured.
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. Восточный. улица Киевская
Several rockets have hit a residential area, seting several cars on fire and damaging a building. They are presumed to have been fired by a Grad multiple rocket launcher.
The strike hit Kyevskaya Street in the eastern part of the city. Ukrainian authorities said it was fired from an easterly position between the villages of Zaichenko and Sakhanka some 35 kilometers distant, according to Interfax-Ukraine. The militia’s claim puts the position of the launcher in a neighborhood about 30 kilometers west of the attacked area.
The city police said two checkpoints outside Mariupol were fired at on Saturday with no casualties reported.
The OSCE said it has dispatched people from the Mariupol observer mission to the area hit by artillery fire to conduct a fact-finding mission on the ground, according to RIA Novosti. The organization is expected to report on the situation later in the day.
I condemn this violent act in the strongest terms and call for a full investigation of the incident. I also convey my most sincere and deep condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of Ukraine,” the Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apaka, said. "This dangerous situation can’t continue. We need an immediate ceasefire. Ukraine and its people need and deserve peace. The parties must return to the negotiating table without further delay and implement fully the Minsk agreements."

However, the deputy speaker of the DPR parliament Pushilin has blamed Ukraine for doing everything possible” to suspend peace talks.

How can we make agreements with people that aren’t responsible either for their words, or signatures and have clearly showed their incapability to reach agreements,” Pushilin told the Donetsk local news agency. They agree to meet in Minsk, but they don’t come.”

The Ukrainian government has called on its Western backers to immediately convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the development. The request was sent by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk to the ambassadors of the G7 member states.
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, рынок Киевский
Kiev’s troops and militia forces are locked in renewed hostilities after a shaky ceasefire has utterly collapsed. Kiev launched a massive offensive last week, but failed to gain any ground. Hopes of hostilities being deescalated are slim, with officials from both sides voicing their intention to continue fighting for their respective causes.
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Вот что творится на Восточном((( Просто ужас!
Mariupol, on the Azov Sea coast in the Ukrainian Donetsk region, remained relatively insulated from violence, which was focused to the northeast..

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.

Until now, we weren’t conducting any operations outside Mariupol. We’re saving strength,” Zakharchenko was cited by RIA-Novosti news agency as saying.

But now, after Kiev decided to shift the blame on us for its erroneous fire from Grad multiple rocket launchers at residential areas [in Mariupol], I gave an order to suppress the positions of the Ukrainian military, stationed east of Mariupol,” he added.

Zakharchenko added that the forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR) have no plans of storming the city itself.

The DPR leader said that in the last few days the Ukrainian side had relocated a large grouping of its troops to Mariupol.”

Day and night, our positions in the town of Novoazovsk are subjected to massive bombardment from Grad multiple rocket launchers and heavy artillery. Today, the armored vehicles from the 28th Ukrainian brigade have arrived in the area as well,” he stressed.

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Mariopol NOW
According to Zakharchenko, Kiev is doing everything to make the rebels move the forces, which are now involved in the battle for the Donetsk airport, to Mariupol, to weaken us and dislodge us from there [the airport].”

The Ukrainian military is using the citizens of Mariupol as human shields,” the People’s Republic of Donetsk leader said.

Earlier, a DPR military official, Eduard Basurin, said that the Kiev forces have renewed their attempts to retake the strategically significant Donetsk airport on Saturday.
The Ukrainian military is trying to attack from the north, west and east. Hostilities are underway at the airport,” Basurin said, as cited by Interfax news agency.

According to the rebels, they established full control over the Donetsk airport on January 16, following an exhausting standoff with Kiev troops, which has been ongoing since May last year.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, has aborted his visit to Saudi Arabia for the funeral of King Abdullah, and has flown back to Kiev.
On his arrival, Poroshenko will host an urgent meeting of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council,” which was ordered to develop and implement more effective steps in view of the rapid deterioration of the situation in the east of the country,” the presidential press-service said.

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Mariupol today via @tombreadley
The EU has urged Moscow to persuade the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian militias to stop the hostilities, saying that the continued warfare in south-eastern Ukraine would inevitably lead to a further grave deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia,” according to a statement made by Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The EU and the US keep blaming Russia for supporting the militias in Donbas. The claims have not been backed by any significant proof and have been repeatedly denied by Russian officials.

Approximately 30 people, including two children, were killed when the city of Mariupol, which has remained relatively insulated from violence during the majority of the Ukrainian conflict, was shelled on Saturday.
Kiev was quick to place the blame with the militia, saying that the bombardment was part of their advancement on the port.
The militia representatives denied the accusations and called the shelling yet another provocation” by the Ukrainian forces.

According to the DPR’s speaker of parliament, Denis Pushilin, the rebels simply don’t have the necessary long-range artillery equipment to hit the center of the city from their positions.
The Ukrainian conflict began last April when Kiev launched a military operation in the southeastern the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after they refused to recognize the country’s new, coup-imposed authorities.
The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has exceeded 5,000 people. Over 10,000 have been injured, according to UN estimations.
According to Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, 30 people were killed and another 102 injured when the city of Mariupol, which has remained relatively insulated from violence during the majority of the Ukrainian conflict, was shelled on Saturday.

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.

The Saker

From Zero Hedge, reflecting western media

Pro-Separatist Rebels 

Launch Offensive On 

Ukraine City Of Mariupol, 

Where At Least 21 Die After 

Intense Shelling

24 January, 2015

Several days after a massive firefight for the Donetsk airport left the structure terminally ruined, and the Ukraine army, which until that moment had held on to its last remaining outpost in the east Ukraine city, promptly abandoned the premises, and two days after at least seven civilians died in a bus which was shelled in the same city by what the separatists claim were the Ukraine forces, the pro-Russian separatists yesterday announced they had launched "a new multipronged offensive against Ukrainian government troops."

As AP reported yesterday, the main separatist leader in the rebellious Donetsk region vowed to push Ukrainian soldiers out of the area and said insurgents would not take part in any more cease-fire talks. Another rebel went even further, saying they would not abide by a peace deal signed in September. Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko said rebel fighters went on the offensive to gain more territory and forestall a Ukrainian attack. He declared they would push government troops to the border of the Donetsk region and possibly beyond.

Which, according to the latest news, is precisely what they have done. As AP followed up, indiscriminate rocket fire slammed into a market, schools and homes Saturday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, killing at least 21 people, authorities said. Ukraine's top rebel leader announced that an offensive had begun on the strategically important port.

The latest photos from Mariupol confirm the attack:

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.

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