English speaking soldiers in Ukraine and 20 other things you should know – Video
Various media distractions have covered up the recent surge in violence in the Ukraine proxy war.
1. English speaking soldier recorded on video in Mariupol
Saturday, a video (from a longer news clip) surfaced that shows an English speaking soldier (or mercenary) refusing to be recorded by a news crew in Ukraine. Speculation immediately fell on American soldiers or mercenaries because the man said “out of my face” in clear English.
A Ukrainian journalist asks a soldier, who appears to be wearing a Ukrainian military uniform (and carrying an AK), “what happened here?” and he replies “out of my face please” in English while blocking his face and walking away.
Another video (at 14:21) has moments of English language spoken from off camera, which sounds distinctly American.
The videos break the trend of recent increases in media reports of Russian troops in Ukraine territory, and raises many questions about American involvement in the ongoing conflict. Others speculated the soldier had an accent that could be British or Australian, which still points to the certain participation of western powers in the messy conflict on behalf of US-installed Ukraine leaders.
This is not a new development but a continuation of increased western assistance, 2 months ago, hacked US documents revealed undisclosed “lethal aid” being given to Ukraine. The public aid includes “U.S. assistance, to date, includes body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, counter-mortar radars, uniforms, first-aid equipment, supplies, other related items” as listed on the State Department website. Canada also donated approximately 30000 coats, pants, 70000 pairs of Gore-Tex boots and 4500 pairs of gloves for protection from the cold winter. To be fair, Novorossiya has had similar donations.
2. Mariupol shelling
A renewed offensive by both Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists in the southern city of Mariupol led to at least 40 deaths and over 100 injuries as the two sides battle for the key region along the coast, leading to Russian allied Crimea.
The most dramatic live action video was captured by a civilian dashcam showing shells exploding on a busy road, striking cars in front of it.
Responsiblity for the attacks has been blamed on each other by Ukraine forces and separatists. Videos are readily available showing Ukrainians living in the region blaming Ukraine military forces for the indiscriminate shelling in residential areas.
The battles may not be as simple as one side or the other, but both sides committing war crimes with civilians caught in the middle. A Human Rights Watch report describes the scenes while blaming separatists.
Human Rights Watch
By the time we arrived in the area, ambulances had already taken away the dead and injured, but signs of the deadly attack were everywhere. Virtually all windows for several blocks were shattered. Firemen were still extinguishing fires in a couple of stores. A burned-out minivan was standing on the side of the street, and roads, backyards, and playgrounds were pock-marked by craters.
We counted more than 20 impact craters in the area, which spanned several blocks and included a market, apartment buildings, single-story houses, a church, and a school.
Human Rights Watch has previously documented how both sides have used Grad rockets in the war in eastern Ukraine. Evidence indicates that separatist forces were responsible for this attack: the Grad rockets struck government-controlled territory, the craters and rocket remnants stuck in the ground clearly indicate that the rockets came from due east, the direction of the frontline, and a rebel leader announced today that the rebel attack on Mariupol has begun in revenge for an attack Thursday that killed 13 people in a trolleybus in rebel-controlled Donetsk.
Grads are unguided rockets that cannot be targeted accurately, and are often fired in salvos from multi-barrel rocket launchers to saturate a wide area. Because of their indiscriminate nature, these rockets should never be used in populated areas, and their use in such areas is a violation of the laws of war.
Intensified fighting in east Ukraine during the last few weeks have involved increased violations of the laws-of-war and increased civilian casualties. With one of the attacks with the highest civilian casualties of the whole war taking place today, it is time for both sides to end the violations.
The second video referenced in number 1 shows the immediate aftermath of the shelling and many dead civilians in the streets, some covered by sheets or with crying family members nearby.
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 rebel 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.
More to the point, Kiev went old school to add some protection along the Azov sea coast by adding mines to slow down invading forces coming from the sea in the area seen below on the map.
KYIV, December 31 /Ukrinform/. Combat engineers in southern Donetsk region have worked out the task of countering enemy landing from the sea and protecting the coastline near an important facility, anti-terrorist operation (ATO) spokesman Leonid Matiukhin has said.
“Combat engineers, in the composition of two mobile obstacle detachments, have laid dozens of anti-landing troop mines along a section of the coast,” he said.
According to Matiukhin, Ukrainian soldiers put out to sea on floating transporters under difficult weather conditions, with strong winds and a storm of 2-4 points.
As a final point…
novorossia.su via Google Translate
Verkhovna Rada deputy and battalion commander “Azov” Andrew Biletsky said that generals and politicians’ war is already lost. “
– The situation at the front is critical. Awakening can be very painful. We must face the truth – Biletsky wrote on his page on Facebook, calling on Ukrainians to join his battalion.
Combat Battalion located in Mariupol believes that the Ukrainian side was not ready for this confrontation. He is sure that in Kiev even “four months” truce “did nothing to strengthen their defense.”
3. Another public city bus was blown up
The war in Ukraine has become increasingly dangerous for civilians living near the front lines. Thursday, January 22, a transit bus was hit by shelling in the Donetsk region, which was blamed on separatists by some media despite reports of ‘covert groups’ at work.
At least nine people were killed and up to 20 injured in a shelling in Donetsk on Thursday morning. In the wake of the attack, conflicting reports emerged over the arrests of what local authorities call a ‘covert group.’
Residents of Donetsk’s Leninsky district heard shelling at about 08:30 local time, media report. Windows in the buildings near a tram stop were blown out. Locals say they believed their district to be “a quiet place” and were shocked by the “tragedy that happened when people were heading to work.”
A trolleybus was also hit, and eye-witnesses said there were victims inside, as well as bodies lying at the stop, local news outlets said. Conflicting reports, citing medical sources, indicate there may have been up to 13 deaths.
This was the second recent bombing of a bus in the same region. The second attack came right after President Poroshenko was a guest at the expensive World Economic Forum in Davos to tell crowds of world business leaders and poiliticians that East Ukraine separatists funded by Russia were responsible for the January 13 bombing of a city bus in Donetsk.
12 people died and 13 more were injured when a city bus was shelled in eastern Donetsk region. Denis Pushilin, Donetsk People’s Republic representative, said the attack may have been staged by Kiev while speaking at Minsk peace talks. The incident took place near a Ukrainian military checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha and was attacked from the north, still in Kiev controlled territory, possibly indicating that rebels were not responsible for the attack.
Ambroskin said the checkpoint was shelled from the direction of the town of Dokuchaevsk, which is under the control of local militia forces. The town of Volnovakha is under Kiev’s control.
Ukraine’s Donetsk Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the shelling, qualifying the case as a terrorist act, according to its press service. It said that the attack was “targeted” and “carried out by a Grad multiple rocket launcher using over 40 shells.”
The site of the shelling was “deep in Kiev-controlled territory” and the Donetsk militia could not have reached it, the spokesman for the DNR People’s Council, Andrey Purgin, told Donetsk media.
“We don’t have the capability to shell this checkpoint either from the side of Telmanovo or Elenovka. The Ukrainian side has to figure out what has happened deep in its territory. It’s very far from the contact line,” Purgin said.
Denis Pushilin also told RT that the shelling occurred near Volnovakha at a Ukrainian army checkpoint that is “out of the operational range of the artillery of our militia.”
“I don’t rule out the possibility that [the attack] could be the Ukrainian army’s provocation, to attempt to put the blame for what has happened on local militia,” Pushilin said. He added that according to his data the closest DNR artillery crew was stationed 50 kilometers from the site, which makes it technically impossible for the local militia to have shelled it.
The DNR Foreign Ministry called for an independent investigation into the incident in a statement published on its website.
“The tragedy took place in the area of Bugas near Volnovakha town. This region is located out of the operational range of artillery and multiple rocket launchers of the DNR army,” the ministry’s statement said.
The ministry said that “the most probable explanation of the incident is that the Ukrainian army or the representatives of the nationalist armed groups like DUK or Right Sector shelled the bus.”
4. Did separatists capture a high ranking Ukrainian commander over the attacks in Donetsk?
Multiple videos show captured Ukraine troops paraded in front of angry civilians who vent their frustration at them for the attacks.
Captured Ukrainian servicemen have been taken to the scene of Thursday’s deadly bus stop attack in Donetsk and paraded before an angry crowd, firmly convinced that Kyiv was behind the bloodshed.
Wearing civilian clothes and visibly injured, the prisoners were taunted and hit by locals, their separatist guards doing little if nothing to shield them.
Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko had urged residents to gather, promising them the opportunity to confront prisoners of war.
With victims still lying on the ground where they died, civilians lashed out at the captured government troops.
As in other bloody episodes of Ukraine’s conflict in which more than 5,000 people are estimated to have died, the truth as to what happened may never be known.
A longer video of these exchanges shows Ukranian prisoners including a high value target, Oleg Mikats, was was a unit commander possibly involved with the Kiev directed assaults in Donetsk. A SOTT.net article suggests Mikats’ unit may not have known separatists had gained territory around their position at Donetsk airport and could either “surrender or die”, a common fate in this war.
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk for FortRuss
At first he was described as a battalion commander. But it’s not so. Oleg Mikats is the commander of the 93rd Brigade. He was the third on the Right Sector party list during the recent Rada elections [he is shown in illustration above in the top row, second from the left]. So I wish to congratulate Novorossia fighters on their good catch. And I hope they realize what a big fish they caught.
The Ukrainian exterminators were captured during an attempt to break through to the airport. Poroshenko’s advisor Biryukov tried to explain yet another defeat (“Damn you, you Russian bastards!”). But the advisor either did not know or failed to mention that one of the prisoners turned out to be Oleg Mikats, the commanding officer of the 93rd Brigade who took part in the well known meeting with Motorola and Kupol. I hope everyone understands that brigade commanders do not lead “tens of soldiers” (as Biryukov claimed) into an attack (a Ukrainian brigade has a full personnel strength of 3,000 soldiers). Is that so hard to understand? So what kind of advice is he giving Poroshenko? And what’s the value of a brigade commander who took his troops straight into captivity.
The story gets even worse for the exterminators: this was a real assault, with tanks and everything. And they failed yet again. It failed spectacularly, with the capture of a brigade commander, one of 11 in active service.
Background: Oleg Mikhailovich Mikats (born 23 October 1975, Novograd-Volynskiy, USSR)—Ukrainian exterminator, Ukrainian Armed Forces colonel, commander of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade. Participant of the war on the Donbass. Became known as one of the commanders of the assault on the Donetsk Airport.
Givi took in the Ukrainian Nazis and looked their commander in the eye, asking him a few direct questions. Motorola, who was supposed to have been killed several times, only asked him “So, you took your people straight to the slaughterhouse?”.
“Today for the first time in my life was felt open shame for a Ukrainian serviceman. The commander of the 93rd Brigade Oleg Mikats publically threatened me and a colleague from foreign media with a physical assault. With tens of witnesses, he told me that if he sees us one more time (he was referring to all journalists) in the village of Peski, he will personally shoot us” wrote the Ukrainian journalist Trubachev.
Now he can feel shame for a second time.
Translator’s Note: It does appear possible that the entire 93rd Brigade was destroyed or at least decimated in the battle, though it is unlikely the unit was at full strength of 3,000 soldiers or that it had its full complement of vehicles and artillery. Ukrainian brigades are usually little more than battalions, comparable to individual Novorossia battalions in terms of numerical strength though certainly not fighting ability or determination. Mikats’ capture suggests he, a rising star in the Right Sector, tried to prove his organization would succeed where the regular military had failed. Imagine the hero’s welcome he’d have gotten in Kiev had he succeeded in retaking the Donetsk Airport. Though one should not assume his political career is over–the Right Sector will not hesitate to pin all blame for yet another military disaster on both the military leadership and the civilian one, up to and including the commander-in-chief Poroshenko.
Tensions are boiling over as, in the same video, Youtube fan favorite Givi is seen yelling at Ukrainian soldiers taken prisoner, including Mikats.
This may feed the sentiment that Kiev is not in solid control of the military or intelligence, which has led to soldiers abandoned in battle and casualties in some cases. There are credible fears of a real armed coup against the Ukrainian government, except this one against the US-installed puppet regime, as “Ukraine” morale is lower than ever by some estimates.
5. Donetsk Airport
The battle of Donetsk airport is one of the most incredible parts of this war that Western media does not discuss. Since hot warfare broke out in 2014, the airport has been in control of both Ukrainian military and Donetsk separtists and has come under heavy assualt by both sides during many battles to reclaim control. The scale of the damage has to be seen to be understood, but the runways, terminals, radar and other equipment are completely destroyed and has been unusable since Fall 2014. Both sides have been fighting for the destroyed airport as it is still an important tactical location.
The 8 month battle is effectively over after Ukrainian military forces retreated from the airport as summarized by Telegraph, January 22.
Ukrainian forces appeared to withdraw from Donetsk airport last night, bringing to an end an eight-month battle in what will be seen as a bitter blow for pro-Kiev forces and a triumph for the Russian-backed separatists they are fighting.
It came as at least six civilians were killed on Thursday morning after a bus came under fire in the separatist-held part of the city.
The Ukrainian ministry of defence had insisted earlier this week that part of the airport complex was still under government control and that fighting continued.
But Yuri Butusov, a Ukrainian journalist, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night that the airport had been abandoned because “the new and old terminals, the control tower, everything that could serve as a defensive point has been completely destroyed.”
The claim was later confirmed in a post by the Azov regiment, one of several volunteer battalions fighting alongside regular government forces.
A Ukrainian military spokesman on Thursday played down the surrender of the terminal buildings, saying it was simply a tactical withdrawal.
“Yesterday the decision was taken to leave the territory of the terminal for new positions,” Vladislav Seleznyov said. “Fierce fighting continues.”
“We continue to control the southern part of the airport … we left the new terminal because it looks like a sieve and there’s simply nowhere to hide there,” he said.
Reports of the fall of Donetsk airport sparked mourning on Ukrainian social media, with many users posting tributes to the fallen defenders and angry denunciations of the failure of generals and politicians to avoid the defeat.
Separatist commanders originally claimed to have captured the airport on January 14, when reports from Russian journalists embedded with rebel forces showed rebels moving freely through the rubble of the terminal buildings.
LifeNews, a fiercely pro-Kremlin outlet, showed footage on Thursday of what it said were dead Ukrainian soldiers found in the basement.
Rebel fighters told the station that they found about 15 badly wounded Ukrainians amongst the dead, and that the troops had apparently been abandoned by their officers.
The battle for Donetsk airport, where a garrison of Ukrainian troops held off separatist attackers for eight months, had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.
The defenders of the airport came to be known as “cyborgs”, a nickname that was reputedly coined by a separatist fighter exasperated by the defenders’ apparently superhuman tenacity in the face of ferocious attacks.
It was quickly adopted by both Ukrainian bloggers and the military, with those who served inside the airport earning the right to wear a cyborg shoulder patch.
What remains of it…
Phosphorus during the day near Donetsk airport
Road to Donetsk Airport
Combat quad bike
Givi 1127 airport
The airborne video from a drone that went viral…
Before it was completely destroyed…
Some battle footage
Ukrainian troops have launched a massive assault on militia-held areas. The Putilovsky Bridge, which is located near the Donetsk airport has been destroyed in the shelling along with countless buildings. Read More: http://on.rt.com/jzjlt7
Anti-Kiev forces alleged to be the Novorossia Armed Forces (NAF) firing on Kiev positions just outside Donetsk with field artillery. The footage was reportedly filmed overnight on Saturday.
The suspected sound of a jet engine was heard moments before a rocket attack targeted the area surrounding Donetsk International Airport on Friday.