Summary – September 11, 2014

The bad news:

1. The State Border Service [of Ukraine] reported: almost 100 units of Russian combat equipment entered Ukraine from Russia. The RNBO [National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine] insists: yes, the Russians are bringing in tanks, APCs and Grad missile launchers, while simultaneously taking out the equipment they had brought earlier.

Essentially, this is a rotation of the Russian occupying contingent in Donbas – the very thing we were allowing for, yesterday. Therefore, we cannot yet rejoice that Russia is leaving Donbas, leaving us to deal with only the local rabble.

2. Moscow is using all means and methods to at least create an impression of Kyiv’s recognition of the DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] and LNR [Luhansk People’s Republic].

They started from afar. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that they see no reasons for the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov and the pilot Nadiya Savchenko to be included in the list of hostages to be exchanged under the Minsk protocol. Supposedly, the protocol applies to “prisoners of war captured by the parties (in conflict) during combat.”

Firstly, the very fact that Moscow has no intention of freeing Ukrainian citizens that it detained without any legal grounds is evidence of the Kremlin’s blatant disregard of the very notion of law. It is, by far, not the first evidence of such an attitude.

Secondly, it’s unclear, what kind of “military prisoners taken by the parties in conflict” are we even talking about? If we work based on the norms of international law, we cannot speak of any prisoners of war taken by the DPR and the LPR, period. Because, according to the Third Geneva Convention (1949), only a military serviceman can be a prisoner of war. However, the “DPR” and the “LPR” are not armed forces, but terrorist organizations, as declared by the Ukrainian judicial system.

Accordingly, since Russia wants to talk legalese, then captured insurgents are legally classified as criminals detained for terrorist activity. While military serviceman and civilians captured by insurgents are hostages, and nothing else. Therefore, if Russia is keeping the hostages that the terrorists handed over to it, then it’s understood that it [Russia] fully shares the liability for the terrorist activities in question.

One must be careful throwing these terms around. God knows what Moscow will come up with next.

On that subject, our state authorities should not be saying that captured Russian soldiers are being set free because we are not [officially] at war with Russia. That is pure nonsense. If Russian soldiers are taken prisoner while taking part in military operations as combatants – then they are prisoners of war, according to all norms of international law, and it’s irrelevant whether we are in a state of war with Russia or not.

3. Putin’s terrorists are loyally following in the footsteps of Stalin, as per the wishes of “the great Putin,” who believes that the mass murderer Stalin was “an effective manager.”

Refugees who gradually return to the cities of Donetsk oblast are welcomed into the open arms of the DNR – or rather, a division of that organization titled NKVD [named after the security service of the Soviet Union]. (It is strange they did not call it Gestapo, although the difference is immaterial now.) The task of the Donetsk NKVD is to carry out “filtering work” and actively search for “public enemies” among the locals. All local residents are having their registration checked, and anyone without registration is placed under arrest. According to our data, the “NKVD headquarters” are located on the 8th floor of the oblast state administration in Donetsk.

We await the first reports of concentration camps being created in the DNR. We have already heard enough about the tortures and executions eagerly practiced by the “loyal followers of Stalin” working for this new NKVD.

The good news:

1. The Ministry of Defense plans to receive 145 samples of new military equipment before the end of year. Those samples will include new planes, helicopters, APCs, and more. The plan also includes over 500 samples of side arms, over 2000 surveillance and sighting devices, and 200 new communication devices.

Sadly, the MoD did not disclose how many units of which equipment will be purchased – so it is difficult to judge the real extent of success here. For example, 50 strike planes like SU-25 would be nice (even though it is unclear from where the sorely needed combat planes and helicopters would be bought, since Ukraine only manufactures transport and passenger aircraft). On the other hand, 50 armored personnel carriers is merely a drop in the ocean. Still, the very statement about modernization of armaments is a highly positive thing.

2. The Ukrainian MoD also said that they repaired 12 thousand pieces of military equipment. They also specified that the main problem with the equipment was caused “by its infrequent use.”

12,000 pieces of equipment is a great thing to have. But, gentlemen, military officials, let’s call a spade a spade. The cause for disrepair was not “infrequent use” (stored in adequate conditions and regularly maintained, equipment is in no danger of disrepair), but massive-scale embezzlement in the army. That was why so much of the equipment in storage has been cannibalized – a fact that came to life with the start of military action.

And if the military prosecutor’s office and the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] fail to find and punish the guilty parties now, then new purchases will be pointless. Embezzlement in the army will continue to flourish, with all ensuing consequences.

3. The Kremlin continues to entertain the masses with “adequate responses” to western sanctions. Earlier, as you may remember, it banned food imports from the European Union, causing prices in some regions of the Russian Federation to soar by 30%. (Today, after the implementation of new EU sanctions was announced, the ruble rate against the dollar dropped to a historical low on the Moscow Stock Exchange.)

Today, Andrey Belousov, Assistant to the President of Russia, declared that Russia prepared “retaliatory measures against the new EU sanctions package” and may ban imports of cars and some types of clothes. (He must be a brave man indeed.)

You can just picture a visual of an ordinary Russian in the nearest future: hungry, dressed in a vatnik [quilted coat] and lapti [bast shoes], struggling to push his broken-down Lada out of the roadside ditch, to get to the nearest town, where, he heard, they were selling some food… God help you, dear Russian friends. For all this, you can thank Uncle Vova [Vladimir Putin]. And to think that the only thing he had to do stop his aggression…

Dmitry Tymchuk, Coordinator, Information Resistance

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Dmitry Tymchuk

Reserve officer, director of the NGO Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of “Information Resistance” (hereinafter “IR”) – a non-governmental project that aims to counteract external threats to the informational space of Ukraine in the main areas of military, economic, and energy, as well as the sphere of informational security.

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