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Euromaidan-SOS&Donbas-SOS Digest, July 1-17 2014

Focus: Human rights infringements linked to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine

Civilian aircraft shot down in Eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists on July 17 and carrying over 300 people on board became a major tragedy showing inhumane terrorist practices of the supporters of Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics”.

The tragedy took place against the background of Russia’s increasing assistance to separatists through heavy armament, unmanned aircrafts and shellfire against Ukrainian army from Russian territory.

Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine continues to provoke deaths of both military and civilians every day. Separatists continue to use inhumane tactics of kidnapping, murdering, attacking from civilian quarters and buildings, torturing the hostages and looting.

Read below the concrete reports about human rights violations in Eastern Ukraine over the last week.

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Malaysian aircraft shot down by pro-Russian terrorists. Photo: Reuters

Airplane crash

On July 17, a large passenger aircraft Boeing 777, performing a flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur, was shot down in the eastern part of Ukraine. Over 300 people were killed in the crash. According to the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed Forces, the airplane was crashed down by “Buk” missile system as the liner was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters, reports Ukraine’s foreign ministry.

Ukraine has no long-range air defense missile systems in this area, the ministry said.

The leader of the terrorists Igor Girkin (Strelkov) immediately commented on the airplane crash, believing that it was the Ukrainian jet that crashed down: “In Torez An-26 was shot down, its crashes are lying somewhere near the coal mine “Progress”. He cynically added that the separatists “have warned everyone not to fly in our skies”.

Ukrainian intelligence service intercepted a phone talk among the separatists in which they admit that the plane was shot down from their checkpoint. In the end of the conversation, although visibly shocked about the crash of a civilian aircraft, they try to justify their shooting saying that this plane was probably “importing spies” and that nobody should fly over the territory where the war is going on.

Watch the video of the phone talk with English subtitles:

Russian intervention

Dmytro Tymchuk, a Ukrainian military expert, reports about growing involvement of Russian military after the end of the ceasefire. Heavy armament with personnel is supplied for terrorists; direct fire is regularly opened from the Russian territory on Ukrainian border guards and Ukrainian army.

Tymchuk reports that Russian professional military are operating again on Donbas, similarly to events in spring this year.

Aviation strike on Snezhnoye on July 14 could have been performed by the Russian aviation since the Ukrainian planes did not go aloft in the afternoon of that day. Regular shellfire of the Ukrainian military units from the Russian border is another evidence that Donbas events are not the Ukrainian internal conflict but a war of Russia against Ukraine, Tymchuk says.

Photo evidence posted by Russian border guard Arten Karat shows that tanks and armoured vehicles are heading through the official Russian border checkpoints to Ukrainian territory with the aim to help separatists.

On July 12 several unmanned aircrafts flying from Russia violated the Ukrainian airspace.

Similarly, on July 12 Ukrainian border guard checkpoint Marianovka was attacked by bomb fire from Russia’s Rostovska oblast.

Murders and attacks

Ukraine’s defense ministry reports that it found a grave of two priests tortured by the separatists in Sloviansk. Two sons of the one of the priest were also buried in the grave. They were reportedly kidnapped and killed by separatists who suspected them in assisting the Ukrainian army.

In Luhansk, on July 14th three civilians were killed, and 14 persons were wounded in clashes going on in and near the city. In the previous days, 8 civilians were killed, including one child, after shellfire launched by the separatists.

On July 8th thirty armed men captured neurological surgery building of the Donetsk regional clinical unit. Unknown persons opened fire against a bus in Avdiivka, killing 69-year-old woman.

Deaths

Local dwellers of in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk say they found huge number of dead bodies (estimated number can reach 1,500 people), buried by separatists in the suburbs of the cities. The bodies could have been left in the city after terrorists’ retreat.

Tortures

Yuriy Onyshchenko, Mayor of Prapasnaya, a town in Luhansk oblast, was released from detention by separatists; during the detention had been tortured, had his leg shot off, had a knife wound and a heart attack.

 Kidnappings and robberies

More than 10 people were kidnapped on July 9-10 in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

On July 8, orthodox priest Yuriy Ivanov (Kyiv patriarchy) was kidnapped in Donetsk. Terrorists also kidnapped a catholic priest, Viktor Vonsovich.

Two Ukrainian soldiers wounded during a battle in Donetsk airport on July 12th were taken by separatists from Donetsk regional hospital.

On July 8, directors of two coal mines in Donetsk were also kidnapped by the separatists.

A woman addressed a police unit in Donetsk saying that unknown people kidnapped her 34-year-old son.

Dmytro Ivchenko, a professor at Luhansk medical university, was kidnapped; the “health minister” of the Luhansk people’s republic requires USD 500 thousand for his release.

Every day over dozen cars are stolen in Donetsk. 19 cars were reportedly stolen on July 14; 14 cars on July 10, and 20 cars on July 9-10.

Repressions and human rights infringements

600 orphans are kept in orphan homes of Donetsk oblast as separatists grant no permission for them to leave for other regions in Ukraine , says Iryna Herashchenko, Ukraine’s  envoy for peaceful settlement.

Casualties

Ukraine reports that 258 soldiers were killed and 922 were wounded since the beginning of the counter-terrorist operation in the Eastern Ukraine. 45 soldiers are kept as hostages.

Human rights violations

Ukraine’s consul to Russia, Gennadiy Breskalenko, was repeatedly refused in his requests to visit Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot now detained in a Russian prison. By detaining the pilot Russia openly violates requests of the international community to release all the hostages.

Terrorists are also regularly using civilians or their homes as a living shield to protect themselves against Ukrainian army or to dissuade Ukrainian army from shooting at them.

Criminals

Vladimir Antiufeev, who was appointed vice-prime-minister of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” for “state security” is a person under international search, and is banned from visiting EU after he worked the minister for state security of Transnistria in 1992-2012.

Displaced persons

The number of internally displaced persons from Donbas reaches 1200 people daily. Ukrainian authorities report about over 35,000 of persons from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts who were internally displaced.

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March 19 – Broadcast of Ukrainian TV channels has resumed at the occupied territories (namely "Channel 5", Espresso TV and Radio 24 is now broadcasting in Donetsk), – stated the Minister of Information Policy Yuriy Steys at a briefing. According to Stets, Poland has provided free transmitters, which, in addition to supporting the broadcast of Ukrainian channels, can also suppress frequencies used by the separatists.

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January 21: Ukrainian army retreated from Donetsk Airport

January 21 – Ukrainian army retreated from Donetsk Airport.

January 21 – 1 Ukrainian military was killed in the ATO area in the last 24 hours, – informed NSDC spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

January 21 – A large number of Russian soldiers in unmarked uniform was spotted near the city of Luhansk. Approximately 60 tanks, over 50 armored infantry carriers and 100 "Tigr" all-terrain infantry mobility vehicles have appeared in the city of Krasnodon. In the of Horlivka, militants of a terrorist group "People's Republic of Donetsk" are being replaced with military of regular Russian Armed Forces. Approximately 100 Russian tanks are located near the cities of Shakhtarsk and Torez, – informed NSDC spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

January 21 – President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has spoken about two thousand Russian soldiers crossing Ukrainian border. In addition, he said, more military equipment, including 20 tanks, were relocated to Ukraine from Russia.

January 21 – A bridge over Sieverskyi Donets river in the village of Stanytsya Luhanska was blown up at approximately noon on Wednesday, – informed the Head of Luhansk Oblast State Administration Gennadiy Moskal.

January 21 – Ukraine has requested an explanation from the Russian Federation on the reasons behind stationing over 50 thousand Russian soldiers near the border with Ukraine, informed the spokesman of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Yevhen Perebyinis.

January 21 – President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has called upon the civilized world to support Ukraine in its fight against terrorism and Russia's aggression when speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday. The President noted that according to Ukrainian intelligence, 9000 Russian soldiers, 500 tanks, heavy artillery and armored vehicles are currently located in Ukraine. "If this is not aggression then what is?", – asked Poroshenko.

January 21 – 8 Ukrainian soldiers were captured by terrorists at Donetsk airport, – informed the Advisor to the President of Ukraine and Assistant to the Minister of Defense Yuriy Biryukov.

January 21 – Broadcasting via TV station "Luhansk 24", the terrorists of "People's Republic of Luhansk" have called upon the residents of the city of Shchastya and the village of Stanytsya Luhanska to rally and demand that Armed Forces of Ukraine leave the abovementioned municipalities, otherwise they will shell them with artillery, – informed the Head of Luhansk Oblast State Administration Gennadiy Moskal. Stanytsya Luhanska and Shchastya are under control of Ukrainian Armed Forces.

January 21 – President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Ann Brasser asked the Speaker of the State Council of the Russian Federation, Serhiy Naryshkin to help free the Ukrainian air pilot and deputy Nadiya Savchenko from Russian Prison. This is the content of the letter to the Head of the Russian Council, informs the PACE site. In her letter Brasser asked that Savchenko be released "in a timely fashion, so that she can be present at the opening of the January session of the Assembly that will take place on January 26th." In her letter, Basser noted that the state of Savchenko's health is critical as a result of the hunger strike and reminded that the Minsk protocol, approved by Russia and Ukraine, foresees the immediate of all prisoners and illegally detained people. "Therefore I ask you to pursue all avenues together with your managers in order to guarantee her immedia framework of the Minsk protocol either on humanitarian or other grounds," states the letter. She noted that Savchenko was elected to the Ukrainain Parliament, while additionally also being a member of the Ukrainian delegation in PACE.

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