NSDC: Terrorists enforce conscription, forced labor in Horlivka

At a briefing in Kyiv, National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) spokesman Andriy Lysenko informed that in Horlivka DNR terrorists have enforced conscription on city’s residents. In the report, all local residents aged 20 to 60 are thus required to join so-called “self defense” squads, or perform forced labor.

Horlivka is currently under the control of Igor “Demon” Bezler, a Lieutenant Colonel of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

Bezler is known particularly for his discipline, temper, and brutality. In an interview with the Guardian, Bezler openly admitted to executing hostages. “We question them and then shoot them on the spot. Why should we show any pity to them?” he said in one of his many altercations with journalists.

Russian neo-Cossacks hold military parade near Luhansk

While today in Donetsk a rally of 1,500 individuals pining for the return of the Soviet Union was held to celebrate the 71st anniversary of “the liberation of the Donbas region from Nazi occupation,” a different kind of procession was held by swaths of neo-Cossacks in the occupied town of Perevalsk in the Luhansk region.

Here the crowds were dwarfed by the military parade put on by Don Cossacks and other Russian paramilitary types. In the video below a wide array of insurgents can be seen, ranging from obvious volunteer collaborators to obvious professional Russian soldiers.

Their flags bear the phrase “God is with Us,” – they number in the hundreds if not more.

Coinciding with Donetsk’s Soviet revivalist rally marking Nazi defeat, the timing of this similar celebration is ironic as the original Don Cossacks (along with other Russian Cossacks) acted as Nazi collaborators in the form of the 1st SS Cossack Cavalry Division. This alliance led to the forced repatriation of up to 50,000 Cossacks and their families to the Soviet Union for forced labor or execution. (Some may remember this fact as the plot point from the James Bond film Goldeneye).

The event was led by Russian neo-Cossack Nikolai Kozitsyn, a key figure behind acts of terrorism in the Ukraine who has also been implicated in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and kidnapping of OSCE observers.

Kozitsyn at the rally
Kozitsyn at the rally

Kozitsyn ironically called for autonomy from Moscow in 1997 as a matter of “historical justice.”

The parade also included a significant amount of main battle tanks and artillery. Specifically, a number of T-72B tanks, a model only used in the Russian Federation, were seen.

Lithuanian consul murdered by Russian-backed terrorists

Lithuania’s Honorary Consul in Luhansk was murdered today by Russian-backed terrorists. Shortly after the announcement, a tweet was sent out by the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevicius, saying that the consul, Ukrainian businessman Mykola Zelenets, was “kidnapped and brutally killed by terrorists.”

“We lost a sincere friend of Lithuania and Ukraine […] who had a lot of plans for the development of the two countries, including cultural and business ties. We condemn this crime and we believe that it will be investigated and those responsible prosecuted and punished persons.” the Ministry said in a written statement.

The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite also expressed her condolences. “I am shocked by the news..myself and the people of Lithuania on behalf of the deceased to express condolences to the family and loved ones, ” said the President.

According to the Lithuanian Ambassador to Ukraine Peter Vaitiekűnas, Zelenets was kidnapped 12 days prior by a group of armed terrorists, his whereabouts since unknown. He was then shot.

Update:

Below is the official statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

[box]

Abduction and murder of the Honorary consul of Lithuania in Luhansk Mykola Zelenets was confirmed today. This tragedy happened as result of criminal actions of the Russia-backed terrorists. At their hands suffer residents of Donbas region, hundreds of citizens of Ukraine and other countries of the world have been murdered.

We extend our condolences to the relatives of the deceased and to the friendly people of Lithuania.

We will take all efforts to bring those murders to justice.[/box]

Mykola Zelenec © cxid.info nuotr.
Mykola Zelenets © cxid.info nuotr.

Pro-Russian insurgents openly recruit child soldiers

Donetsk militants are now recruiting child soldiers, and they’re not hiding the fact either.

This worrisome fact comes from a Russian photojournalist who recently arrived in Donetsk by train to document the situation.

The boy seen above, Andrew, is 15 and wears the uniform of the Vostok Battalion. The identity of the two masked adolescents who flank him wielding assault rifles are not known.

Andrew was recently put in a unit of reinforcements during an actual combat mission, but has so far avoided taking part in any battles. A Donetsk Republic militant says the boys have yet to be ‘baptized by fire’. Despite not being an adult, the terrorist group has already made him a commander of a training division.

Andrey feeding the magazine of his Kalashnikov assault rifle
Andrey feeding the magazine of his Kalashnikov assault rifle

The apple does not fall far from the tree, though: his parents approved of sending him off to fight the Ukrainian army, and his father is also a member of the notorious Vostok Battalion, one of the many terrorist groups to emerge in eastern Ukraine that is largely made up of Russians and Chechens.

He’s been indoctrinated to believe tropes typical of Russian propaganda. Andrew says he’ll fight to the death against what he calls “the junta” because “we have nowhere to retreat.” He believes his cause is defending against a “true genocide.”

While according to the Geneva Conventions, recruiting children over the age of 15 into an armed force is permissible under certain conditions, under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which was adopted and signed in 2002, non-state actors and guerrilla forces such as the Donetsk Republic organization are expressly forbidden from recruiting anyone under the age of 18 for any purpose.


Source
Via: UkrNews24, Obozrevatel

More of the old ultraviolence – confessions & testimony add up

While many of tales of atrocities have come to surface over the past few months, most have been defined by two attributes: the perpetrator’s Russian origin, and the body of evidence coming from the testimony of victims and witnesses.

Some first hand interviews have offset the latter, shining light on the motivations and actions from both sides of the trigger, these have still mostly come from foreign invaders and not locals. One Sovietized insurgent from Armenia detailed his destructive foray into Ukraine, confirming that 80% of militants occupying Donetsk are foreigner like himself. Another Russian mercenary issued his disinterest in Luhansk’s destruction to the New York Times, ‘not giving a damn about any of this.’

Volodymyr Parasyuk, a revolutionary hero to many in Ukraine, provided first hand details of a captive’s confession, one that offers more than just casual indifference as a reason for violence. As the account goes, the National Guard’s Dnipro Battalion captured a Ukrainian paratrooper who had turned-coat and defected to the militants in the Donetsk Republic terrorist organization – informing them of military positions, weapon intel, checkpoint locations, and made possible Grad rocket attacks on Ukrainian positions.

The prisoner, Dmytro, was of the belief that Putin was going to save them, and that they already had Russian assistance.

He also told Parasyuk how the Donetsk Republic’s men treated the location population: “They get all liquored up in the evening, they go down the streets, and they shoot at innocent civilians. Whoever kills more wins the bet.”

He also admitted that the group had raped young girls, “and anyone who refused got a rifle to the head and was offered a choice: obey or get a bullet to the head.”

Regionnaires (Party of Regions members) and Commies always yell that these aren’t terrorists, that they’re just people with different views, and that Russians are our brothers. But here’s the way it is, they’re no brothers of ours. These are swine who hate everything Ukrainian and dream of destroying the Ukrainian nation, so that there’s not a trace of it left.

While it may be hard to gauge how much of the above is true – either said under duress or as twisted bravado – the scars of war undoubtedly yield likened brutality the world over. What sets Dmytro apart, however, is that he is not a foreign plunderer but a local collaborator; and not one with blasé detachment but frenzied indifference to his own people. If insurgent forces are described as “anti-Kyiv,” then why is equal attention given to local innocents?

It is true that the Russian backed ‘militias’ have been described as disorganized, chronically dysfunctional, and also drunk, just as the above testimony illustrated.

UN monitors have especially noted the steady rise in wanton violence by Russian-backed groups in Ukraine. “A climate of lawlessness prevails in the east with an increase in criminality, killings, abductions and detentions by the armed groups,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic. More than a simply gradient increase, Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch bluntly called these groups are “out of control” and “abusing people at will.”

Another top UN human rights office official described the situation as a “reign of fear, if not a reign of terror,” in the areas controlled by these terrorist groups.

Amnesty International deputy director Denis Krivosheev describes, in clarifying that the bulk of abductions have been carried out by Russian-backed groups, that victims are “often subjected to stomach-turning beatings and torture.”

Russian-backed militias have also been known to employ terrorist tactics (MH17 aside), with Human Rights Watch noting that they use “beatings and kidnappings to send the message that anyone who doesn’t support them had better shut up or leave.”

But perhaps Oliver Carroll described the regional situation and local phenomenon best in Foreign Policy, calling it bluntly “a bit of the old ultraviolence,” a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange – because that’s what the situation on the ground, unleashed from the east, is increasingly appearing to be.


Translation assistance courtesy of William Risch

Interior Ministry: Pro-Russian terrorists murdered, mutilated two Sloviansk priests & their sons

Security officials have exhumed a mass grave in the Donetsk region where they say a pile of mutilated bodies – two priests and the two sons of one of them – were found. The official, Interior Minister advisor Anton Herashchenko, reports the dead were involved in assisting the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO).

“We have now exhumed a grave where two priests from Sloviansk were buried. Also, the two sons of one of the preists, who were tortured and killed just because they helped our soldiers,” said Herashchenko.

While Herashchenko refrained from stating which denomination the priests belonged to, but Patriarch Filaret has previously spoken out against “numerous death threats against the Kyiv Patriarchate clergy and believers” by Russian-backed terrorists in the Donetsk region. Virtually all Christian denominations other than the Russian Orthodox Church have been subject to levels of harassment, threats, kidnapping, torture, and violence.

Sloviansk has had a documented history of brutal murders during its occupation by Igor Girkin’s militia, who was recently discovered to have carried out summary executions.

[box size=”large”]Editor’s note: This article originally mentioned “children” were found, but was later changed solely to “sons.” While they were the priest’s children, officials have not explicitly informed that they were minors and we would like to avoid any confusion.[/box]

Terrorist organizations declare New Russian "Union of People's Republics"

Representatives of self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics signed a joint document at a session of its Supreme Soviet, declaring the “Constitutional Act of the confederal merger of the DRP and LPR into a Union of People’s Republics.” Separatist leaders announced that their republics will be rebranded “People’s Union Republics,” acting in a new Soviet-styled “Union of People’s Republics.” The two ‘Union Republics’ would then form what they call “New Russia.”

The DPR and LPR remain legally classified as terrorist organizations in Ukraine.

“Today members of the DPR Supreme Council voted for a single constitution of New Russia. It means that the DPR and LPR will share the same constitution,” prime minister of the Donetsk Republic, Alexander Borodai, said. Borodai is a Russian citizen with ties to anti-semitic organizations.

Area controlled by 'New Russia' in relation to the ongoing Anti-Terrorist Operation
Area controlled by ‘New Russia’ in relation to the ongoing Anti-Terrorist Operation

Insurgents Identified: The Green Men of VKontakte

This article was originally published on UkrainianPolicy.com

Ukrainian intelligence produced and presented a dossier of photographs to the OSCE last week. The images, and official accusations, point to Russian “sabotage-reconnaissance groups” being involved in the recent armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine – Donetsk region specifically. According to a New York Times article, the photos and their descriptions were “endorsed by the Obama administration,” but who are these men? With the power of crowdsourcing, but mostly with the power of social networking and public profiles, the identities of a series of Russian insurgents in Donetsk have been uncovered. Men have been comparing the size of their guns since the invention of gunpowder, and thankfully these few decided to flaunt just that. Publicly. On the internet.

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From the identified militants, a few notes can be made from the following gunmen who appear to be connected to the raids in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. For one, not all are from Russia. While some may be local radicals, others appear to come from Belorechensk in Russia, or have connections to related neo-Cossack groups. This does not necessarily exonerate Russian state involvement, however. While it’s been known that military veterans and Russian ‘tourists’ have been actively involved for some time, the presence of Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation connects Russia officially to the ongoing crisis. Registered Cossack organizations enjoy financial and organizational support from the authorities, including monthly salary as police auxiliaries. This, of course, isn’t the first controversial deployment of Cossack forces, who made a name for themselves on the world stage enforcing the law in Sochi.

Another point of interest is the insignia seen on a number of the gunmen. For clarity’s sake, the symbol is that of Andrei Shkuro‘s ‘Terek Wolf Company’, a detachment of White emigre Cossacks who fought for Nazi Germany during the second world war.

So who is involved in the Ukrainian invasion? Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Insurgents Identified: The Green Men of VKontakte”