IR Coordinator: the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has a very one-sided and simplistic understanding of their functions

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)
05.23.2017 (May 23, 2017)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Concerning the statement by Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

We cursed our military leadership for forbidding our troops to return fire when they were being shelled by Russian-terrorist troops in Donbas. But here is a short quote from a recent interview given by the deputy head of the OSCE SMM, Alexander Hug, to the Latvian radio station, Baltkom: “… Both sides violate the ceasefire, both sides still use heavy weapons, both sides utterly fail to keep their promises under the Minsk agreements.”

Of course, Mr. Hug does not specify which side starts the shelling and armed provocations, and which is merely forced to respond to them. The upshot after his words is that the responsibility for violating Minsk lies not exclusively with Moscow and the terrorists, but with Kyiv and the “LDNR” as well. Our Western partners do not go into the details, either – they listen to Hug and draw corresponding conclusions about Ukraine.

We have been through the times when only the UAF observed the “silence,” while our guys quietly died under the fire from Russian “Grad” multiple rocket launchers without firing back. We know what the outcome of that is. So now we expect from the OSCE not statements that both sides are “shelling,” but a fundamental and objective approach to their monitoring work. Somehow, the OSCE SMM has a very one-sided and simplistic understanding of their functions, placing half the blame on the side that is not only a victim of external aggression but now is also portrayed as a bloodthirsty monster.

No, Mr. Hug, combining truth and Kremlin propaganda to please everyone is not a valid option. You have to choose one or the other.

– Dmitry Tymchuk, IR coordinator

Source: sprotyv.info 

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Ukraine War Amps: Aid needed for military instructor who smothered a grenade with his body to save 30

By Channel 5 and Ukraine War Amps
06.03.2017
Translated by Ukraine War Amps and edited by Voices of Ukraine

HELP US HELP!
MEET A HERO – OLEKSANDR POPRUZHENKO

Military instructor Aleksandr Popruzhenko covered a grenade with his body in order to save the lives of 30 mobilized soldiers. He suffered numerous serious injuries in an accident which happened on the training grounds. Medics from Odesa Military Hospital managed to stabilize his condition, but he needs to have an emergency surgery on his eyes to save his eyesight. Ukrainian physicians are not able to help the hero because of the complexity of the operation.

Oleksandr graduated from the military institute externally and was sent to Mykolaiv to train mobilized fighters. The 20-year-old instructor was training newcomers to throw grenades. At one of the sessions, a de-pinned grenade fell in the midst of the soldiers. Oleksandr did not hesitate, and covered the grenade with his body.

He was taken to the Odesa Military Hospital with severe injuries to his limbs and eyes. Doctors stabilized his condition but noted that to save his eyesight the officer urgently needed an operation abroad. Odessa doctors found out that Israeli doctors are able to do this ophthalmic surgery and it was originally thought he would go there but the family’s latest Facebook posts say that they are hoping that the Filatov Institute of Eye Diseases and Tissue Therapy in Odesa will be able to do the surgery. Here the operation is free but the family must buy the cornea and oil (silicon). The surgery is now planned for after the 10th or 15th of June. The family has been able to gather a large amount of what is needed (about 60,000 of the 80,000 hryvnia needed) but is still short about 20,000 (approx. USD800).

Ukraine War Amps, whom Voices of Ukraine has written about before, would like to help the family and Oleksandr out here through its campaign of compassionate crowdfunding, and to adopt Oleksandr in their Adopt a Soldier program. Oleksandr is missing two fingers, is deaf in one ear and has no sight. Just last week he went through a surgery on his ear on May 31, 2017 in Kyiv.

Ukraine War Amps cannot stand aside and is asking for help to gather the much needed funds for this Hero and to continue helping him with any future surgeries and rehabilitation. Ukrainian War Amps’ representatives are in contact with the family directly. If you are able, please help Aleksandr receive his much needed eye surgery this month and help support his proper rehabilitation. The links are below.

Video about Oleksandr Popruzhenko in Ukrainian:

Source: Channel 5 online

ABOUT UKRAINE WAR AMPS:
Founded in July 2014, Toronto-based Ukraine War Amps is a worldwide community whose sole purpose is to assist amputees, severely injured soldiers and patriots who have been fighting for the liberty of Ukraine during Russia’s ongoing invasion and war against it. The Ukraine War Amps community is comprised of caring people who sponsor and support Ukraine’s heroes, and now also, their families. UWA has an international team of volunteers working 24/7 all over the world to make aid available and deliver it directly to the recipient’s doorstep or bedside in any city, town or village within Ukraine in a timely manner.

Ukraine War Amps’ Adopt a Soldier, and I CARE, projects are proud to be sponsored by the following organizations: Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada, Mississauga Branch; Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada; Daughters of Ukraine, Regina, SK Branch; Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association; Ukrainian Orthodox Men’s Association of Regina; and to be supported by the following bodies: the online blogs Voices of Ukraine; Nash Holos radio station; Meest; The Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada, Ottawa Branch; Kramarczuk’s Sausage Company, Minneapolis, MN; Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church, Hamtramck, MI; the Ukrainian Restaurant, Windsor, ON; the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Anne, Scarborough, ON.

To help support the Adopt a Soldier and I CARE programs
please access both through this link:

https://www.youcaring.com/Adopt_a_Soldier

To contact them:

ukrainewaramps@gmail.com

For more information, please visit the official UWA website

http://ukrainewaramps.ca

RELATED:
Family and friends post updating Oleksandr Popruzhenko’s status on Facebook

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IR summary: Occupiers are sharply increasing the firepower of LNR 2nd Army Corps artillery units

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)
05.15.2017 (May 15, 2017)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

(See end of post for acronym glossary)

Operational data from Information Resistance:

Over the past weekend (May 13-14, 2017), the volume and intensity of shelling by the Russian-terrorist forces in Donbas has sharply increased. The occupiers continue actively using 120-mm mortars, 122-mm cannon artillery, and occasionally 122-mm “Grad” BM-21 MLRS, all of which are banned by the Minsk agreements. The enemy is also actively using armored vehicles, including tanks, on the front line (in small groups and individually). Furthermore, small enemy infantry groups are active along many sections of the front, carrying out abrupt shelling on the ATO forces’ front edge, conducting sabotage, and carrying out active reconnaissance to discover the Ukrainian troops’ defense systems at both the front line and in the tactical depths.

Shelling by the occupiers serves multiple purposes: to provoke retaliatory fire from Ukrainian troops, to target residential buildings as well as to inflict damage on advanced units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and force their withdrawal from a number of lines and positions. In some instances, occupier artillery units also conduct range-finding fire.

Notably, the following instances of enemy heavy weaponry use and high-intensity shelling were observed in the ATO zone during the past 24 hours:

In the Mariupol region (on the PavlopilShyrokyne stretch), the occupiers continue massive shelling, in an attempt to push UAF units all the way back to the eastern outskirts of Mariupol. In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian advanced positions east of Vodyane, southeast of Lebedynske and along the eastern outskirts of Shyrokyne, were repeatedly subjected to massive fire strikes from 120-mm mortars and 122-mm cannon artillery. The enemy also deployed these weapons at the ATO forces’ positions east of Lomakyne, Talakivka and Hnutove. The use of heavy weaponry was accompanied by a continuous shelling of UAF battle formations and advanced units from enemy heavy machine guns, 82-mm mortars, hand-held and stand-mounted grenade launchers, and automatic small arms.

Occupier mobile fire groups were active on the stretch between Naberezhne and the village of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktyabr). These groups usually include one to two 120-mm mortars and two to three 82-mm “Vasilek” 2B9 automatic mortars, sometimes backed up with one or two ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft systems. These strike groups are used for brief shelling raids along the front edge, after which they promptly leave their firing positions. During the past 24 hours, similar groups repeatedly fired on UAF positions northeast of Pavlopil, south and east of Chermalyk, and north and east of Pyshchevyk. It should be noted that the use of such groups by occupiers is widespread throughout the ATO zone and not limited to the the Mariupol direction of operations.

The enemy also actively used armoured vehicles in the Mariupol region. Southeast of Vodyane, two BMP-2s, under covering fire from 82-mm automatic mortars, fired several series of rounds from on-board 30-mm automatic guns at the advanced ATO forces’ positions, while changing their firing positions repeatedly. In an area northeast of Shyrokyne, a single BMP-2 repeatedly opened fire on advanced UAF positions. North of the MariupolTelmanove highway, a single enemy BTR-70/80 maneuvered along the front edge and fired on the UAF advanced positions west of Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove).

Particularly notable was the night-time shelling of the UAF tactical rear on the NovohnativkaBohdanivka stretch on 13.05 (at 01:42 am), when the occupiers used 152-mm. The enemy also carried out a brief fire attack on the UAF tactical rear using a separate artillery battery (four 152-mm Msta-B 2A65 cannons) from positions southeast of Styla (18 HE shell bursts were recorded beyond the Mykolaivske reservoir, in the fields between Rybynske and Buhas in the Volnovakha direction). The apparent target was one of the sites in the rear of the UAF brigade defending this area.

“Giatsint” 152-mm cannon artillery

Shelling also remains continuous in the Donetsk region. The enemy used heavy weaponry most actively in the Avdiivka area, as well as close to the highway junction at the Donetsk Bypass Road north of the Donetsk-Pivnichnyi railway station, the Putilovskaya (Butivka) mine air collector and DAP [Donetsk International Airport]. Here, the enemy was observed using 122-mm artillery, as well as 120-mm and 82-mm mortars. The occupiers also repeatedly used individual armored combat vehicle groups. In the Pisky area, a pair of armored combat vehicles (BMP-1 and BMP-2) fired from the southern part of Zhobunky and from beyond the Pozharka [Fire Station] bus station; afterwards, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars actively fired at Opytne. The occupiers used 120-mm mortars and 122-mm cannon artillery to carry out a series of several short but intense fire strikes on UAF positions in the vicinity of the “Almaz” position, “Tsarska ohota” restaraunt, and the Avdiivka industrial zone, as well as further north (near Stara Avdiivka). In this sector, the enemy also used 122-mm cannon artillery (separate shell bursts near Levanevskoho Street and Shkilnyi Lane).

Near Marinka, an occupier mobile fire group repeatedly fired 120-mm mortars from the southern outskirts of Oleksandrivka, at the eastern outskirts of Marinka and at advanced UAF positions south of this settlement. A combination of 82-mm and 120-mm mortars was used to actively shell Ukrainian troop positions in the area of the Internat [Orphanage] station (firing from the waste heaps in the Trudovski neighborhood of Donetsk and the forest park further south). From the private residential sector in the same area, south of the Osykova (Bakhmutka) River, a pair of occupier armored combat vehicles (BMP-2 and BTR-80) alternated firing on ATO forces’ advanced positions on the eastern outskirts of the village.

At the Svitlodarsk salient, the situation has escalated sharply, particularly in the Novoluhanske area (according to initial information, the Ukrainian officials’ “closure” of a smuggling route here made the militants extremely dissatisfied). The enemy shelled advanced UAF positions on the eastern outskirts of Dolomitne, using 82-mm mortars and heavy machine guns from the direction of the Dolomitne railway station and from the direction of Travneve, while 120-mm mortars were used heavily from positions east of Holmivskyi. During the past weekend, the enemy carried out a fire strike on the farm and the northeastern outskirts of Novoluhanske, using 122-mm BM-21 Grad MLRS, in order to “test” the firepower of Ukrainian troops in this sector.

On the Lozove to Rozsadky stretch, there was permanent shelling by the occupiers from 120-mm mortars and BMP-1/2s. The procedure was the same as the IR group reported earlier – the arrival by stealth at previously equipped and camouflaged firing positions on the frontmost line – a short but massive fire strike with mortars followed by withdrawal deep into militant battle formations under covering fire from the mortars.

An occupier armored vehicle group raked UAF positions with fire east of Troitske (a tank and BMP-1 firing for at least an hour at UAF advanced positions, relaying one another and changing firing positions). The armored vehicles received covering fire from 120-mm and 82-mm mortars.

Near Novozvanivka, the occupiers renewed shelling from 122-mm cannon artillery. From a position northeast of Kalinovo, an enemy self-propelled howitzer artillery battery (four 122-mm 2S1 “Gvozdika” self-propelled guns) persistently shelled (in series of 12-15 rounds) advanced UAF positions northeast and east of the village (individual shells exploded in the vicinity of the “10th km” railway station). During the shelling, the enemy battery maneuvered to change firing positions.

In the vicinity of the Bakhmut highway (Luhansk–Severodonetsk) along the Severskiy–Donets River, the occupiers renewed the heavy use of 120-mm mortars, armored vehicles, and 122-mm artillery. Near Krymske, a single BMP-1, operating under covering fire from heavy machine guns and 82-mm mortars, fired from several positions in an attempt to destroy the fortifications at one of the UAF strongholds. A short fire strike against UAF advanced positions with 122-mm artillery (three 122-mm D-30A howitzer guns) was also noted from positions south of Pryshyb (up to 20 rounds).

* * *

Movement of the occupiers’ vehicles was particularly prominent along two directions: ShakhtarskKhartsyzk and through Starobesheve. Over a three-day period, these included several convoys:
• through Shakhtarsk: two 152-mm 2S3 “Akatsia” self-propelled guns on low-bed trucks moving towards Makiivka, plus at least 20 trucks (mainly army Urals) making up three different convoys;
• south of Starobesheve: a mixed convoy of three MT-LBs and four Kamaz trucks heading south, and two Ural trucks moving towards Styla.

Large amounts of mortar and artillery ammunition are being transferred from the army base ammunition storage in Amvrosiivka towards Donetsk (5-6 trucks per day).

Eight “Grad” MLRS units, previously brought in from the Russian Federation, have arrived near Novoamvrosiivske (Amvrosiivskyi district). The units are located on the territory of Novoamvrosiivske Cement Factory (Heidelberg Cement in Ukraine). Ammunition and military hardware are also being transferred by rail transport to the factory site.

Close to the Lenin mine (Horlivka), the occupiers are conducting earthworks and equipping new firing positions. The occupier commanders operating in this area plan to boost the firepower of enemy formations with 120-mm mortars and SPG-9 stand-mounted anti-tank grenade launchers.

The high command of the “LNR 2nd Army Corps” is liaising with the Center for Territorial Troops of the South-East Region of the Russian Armed Forces on plans for a sharp increase in the firepower of the corps’ artillery units. According to the current proposals, artillery divisions in LNR 2nd Army Corps brigades would switch from a three-battery to a four-battery structure, with a fourth “long-range” or “heavy-artillery” battery equipped with 152-mm 2A36 “Giatsint” cannons and 203-mm 2S7 “Pion” self-propelled guns. An alternative proposal is not to change the division structure, but to create a separate “reserve division of the high command” comprised of “Giasints” and “Pions,” or else a three-battery brigade equipped with these guns. It should be noted that separate groups of one or two such guns are already operating in “test mode” within the “LNR 2nd Army Corps.”

A lice infestation has been reported in the “9th separate motorized rifle marine regiment of the 1st DNR Army Corps” (Novoazovskyi district) at positions on the front line and in directly adjacent bases. Currently, militants are busily disinfecting and issuing new equipment and uniforms as a matter of urgency.

The leaders of the “Peace for Luhansk Land” social movement (controlled by Ihor Plotnitsky) have been instructed by their Russian supervisors to step up the recruitment of residents of the pseudo-republic into its ranks. The headcount of the movement must be increased to 100,000 persons by 1st September of this year (currently at 88,000). In order to reach this target, the ringleaders of the “Peace for Luhansk Land” social movement’s regional branches are resorting to falsification, by listing as members of the movement deceased persons and citizens who have departed the temporarily occupied territory.

Source: sprotyf.info 

Glossary:

AC – Army Corps
ACV – armored combat vehicle
AGS-17 – automatic grenade launcher
ATO – Anti-Terrorist Operation
BMP – infantry fighting vehicle
BTG – battalion tactical group
BTR, APC – armored personnel carrier
BRDM – armored reconnaissance and surveillance vehicle
BRM – armored reconnaissance vehicle
DAP – Donetsk International Airport
DNR – “Donetsk People’s Republic”
DRG – sabotage and reconnaissance group
ELINT – Electronic Intelligence
GRU – Russian Defense Intelligence, the main military foreign-intelligence service of the Russian Federation
KSM – command and staff vehicle
LNR – “Luhansk People’s Republic”
MGB – Ministry of State Security
MOD – Ministry of Defense
MT-LB – light multipurpose tracked vehicle
MLRS – multiple-launch rocket systems
OMSBR – Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade
SBU – Ukrainian Secret Service
SPG-9 – stand-mounted grenade launcher
TZM, TLV – transporter-loading vehicle
UAF – Ukrainian Armed Forces
UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drones or other)
ZU-23-2 – anti-aircraft artillery system

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News from Oleksandr Kostenko #FreeKostenko

By Yana Goncharova, Russian activist
05.18.2017
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

News from [Oleksandr] Sasha Kostenko:

A few weeks ago Sasha was taken to the hospital to determine how important it is to perform surgery on his arm [VoU Editor: which was broken under state torture over 2 years ago in February of 2015]. Of course, the doctors’ consultation said that, at the moment, they do not consider surgery on his arm to be a necessity. Prison doctors are certain that when Sasha gets out [of prison, VoU Ed: his sentence ends in September of 2018], he can then have the surgery once he’s free.

Kostenko has problems with his immune system,; he was often ill during the winter, and his arm continues to hurt. He has been sent vitamins and pain medications [from the outside].

For over six months now, the prison administration has had no complaints [against him]; he was not put in SHIZO [penal isolation] and, in principle, everything is fairly calm.

Yesterday the Presidium of the Kirov Regional Court cancelled the court decision and the appeal for UDO [grant of parole]: in other words, Kostenko’s petition will be reviewed again.

Sasha receives some letters, but recently there are fewer. Write to him with an interesting story or tell him about your journey – he will be pleased to hear from you.

His address is:
613049, Kirov region, Kirovo-Chepetsk, ul.Ovrazhnaya, 16, IK-5,
Kostenko Alexander Fedorovich, born in 1986.

Or write a message to Sasha at Slova Svobody [Words of Freedom FB page]: https://www.facebook.com/slovasvobody, we will definitely send them all to him!

IK-5, where Aleksandr Kostenko is serving his sentence. Photo: May 16, 2017

Source: Yana Goncharova FB

READ MORE ABOUT OLEKSANDR KOSTENKO:

Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: “Russia refuses to investigate torture of Ukrainian it jailed in revenge for Euromaidan”


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The Sviatohirsk Holy Mountains Lavra and the Moscow Patriarchate in Slovyansk – whose people do they serve?

By Denis Bihunov 
05.09.2017
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Ihor Girkin, head of the occupation forces in Slovyansk, in the Church of the Holy Spirit, 2014

In 2014, the “St. George’s ribbon” became an emblem of the terrorists who, armed with automatic rifles and RPGs, captured towns and villages in our peaceful Donetsk region. At the time, the Kremlin mercenaries failed to bring Ukraine to its knees. Thus, Moscow apparently decided to adjust their plans, and activated the Russian “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Ukraine. At first glance, this campaign may appear apolitical, but its purpose is to cynically exploit the unhealed historical wounds of the Ukrainian people.

The organizers of the Kremlin’s pompous “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Ukraine declare that it aims to promote peace and to honor the memory of those who fought against fascism. At the same time, cynical Russian propaganda relentlessly continues spreading lies about the alleged “domination of fascism in Ukraine,” adding fuel to the fire.

The main message peddled by the campaign organizers is: “We are one people.” Yet Crimea is occupied by Russia, and terrorists in Donbas are not running out of shells, tanks, or mines, even three years in. Is their supply inexhaustible? It is obvious that Russia is illegally supplying military hardware, equipment, and ammunition to Donbas, bringing wholesale bloodshed to this tormented region while, at the same time declaring that we are “one people.”

Branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) are working hard to promote the Kremlin’s “flash mob” in our region, too.

On May 9, the Sviatohirsk Holy Mountains Lavra (Cave Monastery) is organizing a Kremlin flash mob in Sviatohirsk, closely following the template of Russia’s “Immortal Regiment” campaign. One might ask – why does the Ukrainian Orthodox Church organize, here in Ukraine, events that promote the aggressor country, a country that illegally annexed our Crimea and started the war in Donbas with the capture of Slovyansk by [Ihor] Girkin’s (Strelkov’s) armed formations? Because we are “one people,” of course. This clearly reveals the real views of the Moscow-controlled church in Ukraine toward the Ukrainian people, our state, and its sovereignty.

At this time, the monastery is collecting photographs of Soviet soldiers from the Second World War, to use in the Kremlin “Immortal Regiment” campaign. Meanwhile, judging from the monastery’s website, Moscow’s holy fathers fail to show similar fervor in commemorating our ATO soldiers, who are even today defending the sovereignty, state independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Examples from recent years show that events like the “Immortal Regiment” are designed to split Ukrainian society, sow conflict and confusion, and disorientate people. It is hard to believe that the Moscow Patriarchate is oblivious to this. Yet it is nevertheless staging the “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Sviatohirsk: essentially a Russian state propaganda event disguised as a religious procession.

It bears reminding that religious processions are primarily spiritual events, performed by believers, who are asking for God’s help and who walk carrying icons, crosses, and saints’ relics – not portraits of Red Army soldiers. Religious processions move from church to church, or around towns or villages. They do not proceed to USSR-era memorials, even if dead soldiers are buried there, and they do not turn a religious event into political propaganda in favor of a neighboring aggressor country.

Organizing events to commemorate non-religious dates is the prerogative of  civil society and the authorities.

By deciding to hold a religious procession in honor of a secular and ideological public holiday – Victory and Red Army Day – the church authorities have transformed a spiritual event into a show of political and ideological solidarity with the Kremlin. This raises quite a few questions.

In reality, on this coming May 9 in Sviatohirsk, certain members of the clergy will exploit the religious and spiritual values of the populace to shape people’s political and ideological views, while drawing on the Gospels, and images of the saints, God and Christ. Does anyone see the hypocrisy?

Considering what went down in the town’s churches during its occupation in 2014 [see video below], it is not difficult to guess what the Moscow Patriarchate is really trying to achieve by holding such events in Ukraine. One wonders if that is a heavy cross to bear.

A church ceremony to consecrate the occupier’s flag and banner in the Church of the Holy Spirit, 2014

Video: “Novorossiya – Birth of an Orthodox Army”

Source: sprotyv.info

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