Back to School in Donbas (OSCE report). #FreeSavchenko

Excerpted from the report of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 1 September 2015:

The SMM visited two schools in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the opening day of the academic year. At School 16, it noted that all damage caused by shelling the previous week had been repaired. The principal told the SMM that 207 pupils were enrolled, as opposed to 470 before the conflict. He added that text books had been mainly supplied from the Russian Federation. He said the curriculum had been approved by “DPR” “authorities”, with “My Motherland Donbas” the theme for the first day of classes. The SMM noted two armed men dressed in camouflage in the school yard, said by staff to be school security. At another school in the town, the SMM observed posters on the front door outlining protection measures in the event of shelling and the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance (UXO) and mines.

At School 19 in Donetsk city, the principal told the SMM that some parents were reluctant to send their children there, given its proximity to the airport, which he said partly explained the reduced enrolment. Before the conflict, there had been 800 pupils, whereas currently only 300 attended, he said. The school had most recently been shelled on 9 February, he said, with repairs paid for by the German government. Although an adapted Russian Federation curriculum was used, the principal said Ukrainian was taught, as well as English and German. At School 21 in the city, the principal told the SMM that pupils from grades nine to 11 would henceforth be taught “Military Studies”.

At Shakhtarsk Gymnasium – a school in  “DPR”-controlled Shakhtarsk (47km north-east of Donetsk) – the principal told the SMM that “DPR” “authorities” had provided 95% of the funds required to replace windows which had been mostly damaged by shelling. The school itself financed repairs to the roof, which he said had been hit by a mortar round the previous year. Attendance numbers – 920 before the conflict – were now 650, he added.

At a school in government-controlled Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk), the SMM observed significant damage caused by shelling to windows, walls and the roof, which the principal said could be repaired within a month if there were no fighting. He said the school – which had only approximately 25 percent of its pre-conflict enrollment – also hosted another local school which had lost approximately 90 percent of its pre-conflict enrollees. The principal of another school in the town told the SMM that the school had suffered significant damage – sustaining 12 direct hits on 3 June, and most recently, two on 27 August – forcing staff and pupils to abandon the building. They are now housed in another school in the town. At that school, the SMM also spoke to another school principal, who said they had been forced to relocate, too, because their building was occupied by 20 Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers.

At a school in government-controlled Avdiivka (15km north-west of Donetsk), the principal told the SMM that 560 pupils were attending, compared to 700 before the conflict. Teacher numbers were down 50 percent, he added. The SMM observed the school basement, which has been converted into a shelter, with beds, blankets and water.

The principal of a recently-repaired school in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that only 70 pupils – compared to 180 before the conflict – were enrolled. He added that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had recently conducted mine/UXO awareness lessons for teachers, parents and children, given that the area around the village was heavily contaminated.

Staff at a school in each of the government-controlled villages of Toshkivka, Novotoshkivka and Zolote (60, 53 and 60km north-west of Luhansk, respectively) told the SMM that preparations for the beginning of the school year had been completed. Repair work had been financed by the Luhansk regional administration and heating fuel – or alternatives – was available for the upcoming winter, they said. They added that English or German was an obligatory foreign language in the curriculum and Russian was optional.

The deputy head of the “city administration” of “LPR”-controlled Zymohiria (28km west of Luhansk) told the SMM that 500 pupils had attended the opening day at local primary and secondary schools. He did not provide further figures but said this represented a drop on the previous year. He added that text books and stationary had been provided as humanitarian aid from the Russian Federation.

 

Source: OSCE SMM press release

Posted in English, English News, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dmitry Tymchuk: Military update 9.02 #FreeSavchenko

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
09.02.2015
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Operational data from Information Resistance:

During the past 24 hours, we recorded no use of heavy armaments by Russian-terrorist troops in Donbas; however, militants continue armed provocations using automatic small arms, RPG, 82 mm mortars, AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers, and ZU-23-3 anti-aircraft guns. In addition to that, terrorists continue actively scouting out the combat positions of Ukrainian troops, using aerial drones and sabotage and reconnaissance groups.

Specifically, southwest of Shchastya, militants fired several unaimed shots from 82 mm mortars in the direction of Ukrainian troop positions (according to our data–in order to provide cover to the militants’ observers operating in the “neutral zone”). In the vicinity of Raivka, several militant groups were spotted on the move; they did not open fire.

Between Krasnohorivka and Mar’inka, militants fired small arms chaotically for 15 minutes, and fired several shots from an AGS-17.

Between Opytne and Avdiivka, militants opened fire from heavy machine guns several times, and used RPG with high-explosive shells against one of the Ukrainian troop strongholds located beyond the ring road.

Ukrainian soldier at a fortified position. Source: Karpatska Sich

Ukrainian soldier at a fortified position. Source: Karpatska Sich

Strange actions by a militant group were observed on the stretch between Rozsadky and Sanzharivka. Namely, the enemy, acting without coordination, would demonstratively advance towards the positions of Ukrainian troops, open chaotic small arms fire, then retreat, with the same lack of coordination. The terrorists were either “road testing” the new reinforcements, or were acting while in an inadequate [intoxicated] state.

In the vicinity of Krymske, the enemy opened fire from ZU-23-2, machine guns and submachine guns, firing towards the ATO forces’ stronghold.

Between Hranitne and Mykolaivka, militants opened unaimed fire from machine and submachine guns, several times.

During the past 24 hours, no movement of large enemy units was spotted in the vicinity of the demarcation lines, with two exceptions:

1) north of Luhansk, a militant group with combat equipment (5 tanks, 7 MT-LB, two BTR-70 armored personnel carriers, 3 trucks with 50-60 personnel) was spotted transferring towards the salient between Shchastya and Stanytsia Luhanska. (At this time, it is unknown whether this was a rotation or reinforcement of militant groups already concentrated in this area.)

2) in several districts of Donetsk (Kyivskyi, Kuibyshevskyi, Petrovskyi), convoys of vehicles and combat equipment (including tanks) were spotted on the move. One of the convoys included 11 armored vehicles (4 of which were tanks). The other convoy consisted of several army trucks carrying artillery guns (a 6-gun D-30 howitzer battery was transferred to the northern part of the city), escorted by six BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. Also, a convoy of three BTR-80 APCs and 10 trucks drove to the eastern part of the city.

Insurgents continue their efforts to camouflage their tactical reserves. In the vicinity of Komsomolske (area of Starobesheve), a unit of BM-21 Grad MRLS (6 systems), which had been previously deployed in the open, moved into the nearest forested area.

On several sections along the Bakhmut motorway, militants are actively constructing shelters and revetments for personnel and combat equipment, including tanks. According to the data of the IR group, terrorists are equipping the area south of the settlement of Frunze for a concentration of 2 battalions.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB 

Creative Commons License
This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The rights pertaining to the original work remain unaffected.

Posted in Dmitry Tymchuk, English, English News, Pictures, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dmitry Tymchuk: Military update 8.31 #FreeSavchenko

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
08.31.2015
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Photograph by Noah Brooks, reprinted by permission

Operational data from Information Resistance:

A sharp decline in the activity of Russian-terrorist forces has been observed in Donbas. During the past 24 hours, gangs opened fire on the ATO forces’ positions several times,  but solely from infantry weapons. In a number of areas, terrorist fire was recorded deep in their battle formations, in the directions of “the flank” and “towards the rear” [of their own ranks].

In particular, militants actively exchanged fire from small arms  in the area of the Svitlodarsk bridgehead (between Lohvynove and Kalynivka). The terrorists fired from one of their positions, in the direction of their stronghold, using a large-caliber machine gun, RPG, and 82 mm mortar.

In the vicinity of Nyzhnje Lozove, terrorists have repeatedly opened erratic fire from automatic infantry weapons towards the positions of Ukrainian troops.

Several shellings from infantry weapons by militants were recorded in the western and northwestern sectors of the Donetsk area: terrorists carried out fire from large-caliber machine guns south of Nevelske; while north of Avdiivka and in the vicinity of Pisky-Opytne, they have repeatedly opened fire from automatic weapons (in the latter instance, firing not only in the direction of the ATO forces’ positions, but also at their own flanks).

At night on the front, Azov Commander

At night on the front, Azov Commander “Grizlo” reads one of the bibles donated to the soldiers. Photo: Noah Brooks. Source

In the neutral zone north of Hranitne, approximately five detonations of 82 mm mortars were observed. It is [currently] unclear why the enemy opened mortar fire here.

In the vicinity of Shchastya, terrorists opened fire from small arms twice (including one attack on their own flank); militants also used an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher.

In the area of ​​Popasna, a militant sabotage and reconnaissance group was observed, which quickly left in the direction of Katerynivka. The enemy did not open fire.

Transfer of militant personnel continues through Shakhtarsk towards Donetsk. During the last 24 hours, vehicles transferred about 100 people, and two 82 mm mortars on a trailer (2B9 “Vasilek”).

In the area north of Telmanove, militants continue assembling their new tactical group. Over the last 24 hours, about 10 ACVs and six tanks, as well as artillery, were transferred into the area from Novokaterynivka.

South of Kuteynikove, the arrival of a new division of terrorist BM-21 “Grad” MLRS (four systems) was observed. The positions of the MLRS are camouflaged.

Militants transferred a mechanized infantry unit (up to one company in strength) to the area north of Yasynuvata junction. The unit includes eight BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-70/80 armored personnel carriers, as well as four tanks. The equipment positions are camouflaged.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB 

Creative Commons License
This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The rights pertaining to the original work remain unaffected.

Posted in Dmitry Tymchuk, English, English News, Pictures, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I will refuse all medals:” Remembering Ilovaisk by remembering “Sam”

By Mihail Lermontov-Nikolov, Chief of Staff of the 46th Separate Donbas volunteer Battalion of special purpose, of Ukraine
08.21.2015
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

I will refuse awards [medals].

I Mikhail Nikolov, call sign “Lermontov,” Chief of Staff of the 46th Separate Donbas volunteer Battalion of special purpose, of Ukraine, refuse the medal of the Order of Courage, the the medal for taking Lysychansk, the [medal of the] Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, with which I was presented a few weeks ago, and also all memorials, badges, letters and other decorations associated with the Ilovaisk boiler, which they are planning to generously bestow on us on its anniversary.

The reason for my decision – is my comrade Andriy Skachkov, call sign “Sam,” a shock trooper of the 2nd Assault Battalion, Donbas Company, with whom I had the honor to fight and share a basement [cell] in Russian captivity, and who remains in captivity a year already.

To accept the award while my friend cannot see the sky, my conscience and pride do not allow.

It doesn’t fit into my head, as we’re already summing up, rewarding ourselves for territory given up, even conducting peace negotiations with the occupiers, while on the other side, in the basement, Sam is languishing – alone, abandoned and forgotten.

Friend, if my words make it to you, remember – you are not forgotten. So far, we don’t have the ability to pull you out of there, we are just soldiers and army officers. But we will do everything for you to be free.

Glory to the heroes!

"Sam"

“Sam”

Source: Mihail Lermontov-Nikolov 

Anniversary of The Battle of Ilovaisk: August 7 – September 2, 2014

 

Creative Commons License
This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The rights pertaining to the original work remain unaffected.

Posted in "Voices" in English, English, Eyewitness stories, Pictures, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dmitry Tymchuk: Military update 8.28 #FreeSavchenko

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
08.28.2015
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Photographs by Noah Brooks, reprinted by permission

Operational data from Information Resistance:

Russian-terrorist troops in Donbas continue to actively fire at the positions of Ukrainian troops and civilian objects, using 120 mm mortars, 122 mm and 152 mm artillery, BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, and armored vehicles.

The terrorists are no longer camouflaging the movement of armaments to their positions. The militants’ artillery units and armored vehicles march openly in the daytime, take their firing positions, and fire directly from “the first line [of the front].” During the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces were especially active in the area of Donetsk and south of the city, as well as in the coastal areas.

In particular, militants carried out artillery and mortar fire on landmarks and targets near Avdiivka (specifically, precision fire was conducted in the northern outskirts of the town and at the Avdiivka Coke [plant]) over the last 24 hours. Fire strikes from 120 mm mortars and BM-21 “Grad” MLRS  were made on the positions of the ATO forces and civilian targets in the area of Opytne. In addition, attacks were carried out on the positions of Ukrainian troops between Kamyanka and Vesele, [settlements] north of Avdiivka. A short fire raid from 122 mm artillery was carried out on the northern outskirts of Novhorodske.

A woman looks out her apartment window where separatists killed 30 and wounded nearly 100 in a rocket attack earlier this year. Photo: Noah Brooks

A woman looks out her apartment window where separatists killed 30 and wounded nearly 100 in a rocket attack earlier this year. Photo: Noah Brooks

Continuous terrorist fire attacks from small arms were observed in the area of ​​Mar’inka – Krasnohorivka; in this area, the enemy also used 82 mm mortarts and AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers.

In the vicinity of Starohnativka, Novohryhorivka, and Hranitne, terrorists carried out active artillery shelling during the past 24 hours, making repeated fire strikes on the advanced positions of Ukrainian troops using 122 mm and 152 mm cannon artillery. Two militant artillery groups are operating in this area, each group is three batteries in strength; the IR group earlier reported about their concentration in the vicinity of Starolaspa and Krasnopillya (north of Telmanove).

North of this area – towards Petrovske – Bohdanivka, terrorists have made three consecutive volleys from 152 mm artillery on the advanced positions of the ATO forces located in tactical depth. Two enemy artillery batteries were observed (overall, 10 weapons, half of them were ACS 2S3 “Akatsiya,” transferred earlier from Starobesheve).

In the area of Mykolaivka, Chermalyk, and south of it, militants have actively employed several mortar units (both 82 mm and 120 mm mortars). 122 mm artillery was used to carry out fire strikes on the ATO forces’ positions in the vicinity of Orlivske, Lebedynske, and Pavlopil.

Azov photographer Ruslan photographs damage to a school. Photo: Noah Brooks

Azov photographer Ruslan photographs damage to a school. Photo: Noah Brooks

Terrorists have actively used armored vehicles in several sections [of the front] (mostly armored fighting vehicles (AFV), predominantly BMP-1 and BMP-2). In particular, in the area of Pisky, two BMP-2 fired at the advanced positions of the ATO forces using their on-board weapons (30 mm automatic cannons) from camouflaged positions.

North of Chermalyk and in the vicinity of Bila Kamyanka, fire strikes were made on the advanced positions of the ATO forces from a BTR-80 and BMP-2; attempts to destroy Ukrainian troop outposts were also made using the precision fire of 125 mm on-board tank canons.

In the Artemivsk area, near the settlement of Luhanske, enemy tanks actively maneuvered in the first line under cover of 120 mm mortars, but only fired several single shots.

Militants used two BMP-2 and 120 mm mortars on the stretch between Dacha and Zaitseve.

In the area east of Stanytsia Luhanska (behind the settlement of Syze), militants shelled the advanced positions of Ukrainian troops from 152 mm artillery, and 120 mm and 82 mm mortars. Mortar fire was also carried out on targets near Staryi Aidar and Trokhizbenka.

Militants heavily used AGS-17, RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] and ZU-23-2 [howitzers] to fire on the positions of Ukrainian troops in the area of Orikhove – Krymske (including Novotoshkivka).

Militants continue active implementation of “a set of measures” aimed at “repelling” a mythical “offensive by Ukrainian troops.” The IR group has observed the arrival of two new terrorist battalion tactical groups “in the first line” [of the front]; [these groups] comprise mechanized infantry battalions reinforced with tanks and artillery. According to our data, another four battalion tactical groups are currently at various stages of preparation (one of them is being formed around a tank battalion).

In addition, a motorized infantry company of militants (about 90 personnel) has been transferred to the area of  Debaltseve for reinforcement; it is accompanied by 4 tanks and 11 ACVs [armored combat vehicles]. In addition, the company includes two 2B9 “Vasilek” mortars, a significant number of anti-tank weapons (RPGs and several anti-tank guided missile systems). This unit has an extremely low level of discipline and mismatched uniforms.

Using the Bakhmut highway, the enemy transferred a four-cannon battery of 2A29 (MT-12) “Rapira” anti-tank guns, accompanied by a BRDM-2 and two BMP-2 armored vehicles, towards the settlement of Zholobok.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB 

Creative Commons License
This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The rights pertaining to the original work remain unaffected.

Posted in Dmitry Tymchuk, English, English News, Pictures, South&Eastern Ukraine, War in Donbas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment