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Old 20th October 2014, 21:03
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Russia Frees Activist Who Was Investigating Soldiers’ Deaths
By ALEXANDRA ODYNOVAOCT. 20, 2014 NY TIMES

MOSCOW — A Russian activist who sought to document the deaths of soldiers believed to have been sent covertly to fight in Ukraine was released from custody on Monday for health reasons, according to an advocacy group.

The Soldiers’ Mothers Committee in St. Petersburg, an organization that defends the rights of soldiers, announced last week that one of its associates working in southern Russia, Lyudmila Bogatenkova, 73, had been placed in pretrial detention on fraud charges. The organization called her arrest “an act of intimidation connected to her activities,” in a statement.

Ms. Bogatenkova, who was said to be in poor health, was released after she pledged not to leave her town, Budyonnovsk, in the Stavropol region, the organization’s spokesman said Monday.

Ms. Bogatenkova was investigating the deaths of soldiers who by official accounts served in the southern Rostov region near the border with Ukraine, but who activists suspected were actually killed or wounded while fighting in Ukraine.
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Old 24th October 2014, 14:08
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Ukraine's Heroes: Soldier says 'I just want to protect my native land'
Oct. 24, 2014, 12:05 a.m. | Ukraine — by Anna Yakutenko

Editor's Note: Ukraine's Heroes is a Kyiv Post project devoted to soldiers injured in Russia's war against the nation. Periodically we will tell the stories of these wounded warriors, many of whom need money for treatment, surgeries and prosthesis. Over 1,000 soldiers have been killed and at least 3,400 injured in the war so far.

It’s been just a few days since volunteer soldier Mykhaylo Symonenko, 33, has been transferred to Irpin Military Hospital after being wounded in Chernuhino village in Luhansk Oblast, but says he is happy to be here.

“At least this one is close to home,” he says and lights up a cigarette. Symonenko’s family lives in Vladislavka village in Kyiv Oblast. His wife just visited him, still shocked.

Smoking is forbidden in the hospital room, of course, but the man’s foot injury doesn’t allow him to move around much.

He’s already been in two hospitals in Artemivsk and later in Kharkiv after his brigade came under shelling on Sept. 25 as they protected a checkpoint. When shrapnel struck his foot, breaking almost all the bones. Four surgeries, including skin grafting, have already been done; though doctors are still not sure how long rehabilitation will take.

However, Symonenko does not seem despairing. He even jokes, welcoming visitors to sit on his bed by saying that his wounded leg doesn’t occupy much space now.

He used to work as a blacksmith, doing artistic forging. The soldier has a simple reply to what made him voluntarily go to war. “I just wanted to protect my native land,” Symonenko says.

Symonenko’s family has been living in Donetsk since he was a child. He even worked as a coal miner. He moved to Kyiv oblast only a few years ago when offered a job in a private blacksmith company. His family is still in the war zone.

The soldier says his former colleagues in Donetsk now accuse him of betrayal; however, this has not affected his desire to fight for Ukraine.

Symonenko volunteered for the army on Aug. 29 and became a soldier of the 11th Territorial Defense Battalion of Kyiv Oblast. The battalion was sent to the country’s east right away without prior training.

His wife Viktoria Mordan says back then she didn’t even try to convince him to stay at home. “I knew that he is too stubborn to listen to me,” she says sadly and takes out some homemade food to serve her warrior.

Symonenko says he would gladly go back to Donbas to keep fighting, but doubts his injury would let him to do it any time soon. “Besides that, now I am not sure that I can get away from my wife alive”, he laughs.

To transfer money to help Mykhaylo Symonenko, send contributions to:

Bank “Pryvat”
4149 4978 1212 5732
Victoria Mordan (Mykhaylo Symonenko’s wife)
Mobile number: 097 391 6414
===========================
Ukraine's Heroes: Soldier says 'I just want to protect my native land'
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Old 1st November 2014, 16:04
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Agence France-Presse: Over 4,000 killed in Ukraine conflict
Nov. 1, 2014, 9:23 a.m. | Ukraine abroad — by Agence France-Presse

KIEV: More than 4,000 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian separatists, the UN has said as the Ukrainian president took steps to "unite" the country after elections.

The United Nations said in over six months there have been 4,035 deaths, more than 300 in the last 10 days alone, showing the fragility of a ceasefire reached in September.

The new UN report comes after legislative polls last weekend that elected a pro-Western government and led Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko yesterday to back rival Arseniy Yatsenyuk as future premier in a bid for unity.

Poroshenko said his choice was dictated by the "need for the country to unite" in order to implement reforms and push Ukraine along a path towards European integration.

Yatsenyuk's People's Front has a narrow lead over Poroshenko's party according to a near ..

Ukraine's election commission said that 99.74 per cent of votes have been counted, however the final makeup of the Verkhovna Rada is still unclear as half of the deputies are chosen by a first-past-the-post constituency system.

The presidency said on the website that the Poroshenko Bloc has secured a total of 150 seats out of 450.

The number for the party of Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's chief negotiator at global financial institutions, is not yet known.

Poroshenko's aim is a strong pro-European coalition in parliament that can implement direly needed reforms as the war-ravaged country is faced with financial ruin and a relentless battle with pro-Russian rebels in the east.

The Ukrainian president has been unable to stop the separatist "people's republics" in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions from slipping away, and they are set to hold their own polls tomorrow, a ballot decried by the West and welcomed by Moscow as the region con ..

New NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Moscow yesterday against such recognition, adding that statements like Lavrov's "show that Russia continues its efforts to destabilise Ukraine".

Over 4,000 killed in Ukraine conflict - The Economic Times
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Old 5th November 2014, 13:16
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Cabinet increases payments to families of law enforcers killed in Donbas to Hr 609,000
Nov. 5, 2014, 2:33 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

The Ukrainian government intends to increase the payments to the families of law enforcers, who died during the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in Donbas, to the same amount that is paid to families of soldiers, who died in ATO, Ukrainian Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said.
Cabinet increases payments to families of law enforcers killed in Donbas to Hr 609,000
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Old 6th November 2014, 13:10
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Russian actor and opponent of regime found dead
06.11.14 HUMAN RIGHTS IN UKRAINE

Theatre and cinema actor Alexei Devotchenko was found on Wednesday in his flat, lying in a pool of blood. At the moment it is known only that he did not die of natural causes.

Devotchenko played in television serials and films, but was also known for his active civic position. He was a member of the United Civic Front in St Petersburg during the 2000s, and took part in many opposition protests. In 2010 he signed an appeal calling on Vladimir Putin to leave, and in 2011 rejected two state prizes and status of recognized actor. In March 2014 he was one of the signatories of a letter from the Cinema Union “We’re with you” in support of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. He was involved in the Congress of the Intelligentsia ‘Against the War with Ukraine and Propaganda Hysteria’, in the March for Truth for Media Freedom and Against Propaganda.

Russian actor and opponent of regime found dead :: khpg.org
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Russian actor and Putin critic found dead in Moscow
Police suspect foul play after Alexei Devotchenko, critic of Vladimir Putin, discovered "in pool of blood"
By Tom Parfitt, Moscow 9:10PM GMT 05 Nov 2014 THE TELEGRAPH

A well-known Russian actor who was a vocal critic of the Kremlin has been found dead in suspicious circumstances at his home in Moscow.

Alexei Devotchenko, 49, was discovered in his apartment in the north of the city, police told Russia news agencies.

"There is reason to suppose that the artist's death is of a criminal character," said one law enforcement source.

Mr Devotchenko was know for his roles in several popular television drama series such as "Bandit Petersburg" and "The Street of Broken Lamps" and in performances at the highly regarded Moscow Art Theatre.

Some reports said the actor was found by a friend in a pool of blood outside his home while others said he was inside the apartment.

Police said the scene was being investigated and there was no immediate confirmation of whether he had been murdered, or the potential motives of a killer.

However, Mr Devotchenko's outspoken criticism of the rule of Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, is likely to provoke intense scrutiny over how and why he died.

In 2011, the actor said he was renouncing two state acting prizes "received from Putin's hands", saying he was "ashamed". "I've had enough of all this tsar-state stuff," he wrote in a blog post. "With its lies, its cover-ups, its legalised theft, its bribe-taking and its other triumphs."

A year earlier he had urged fellow actors, artists and musicians to boycott "ultra-patriotic, propagandistic, chauvinistic, anti-Semitic, or pro-Stalinist feature films and television projects" and "agitprop documentaries".

He also called on them not to talk to "lying and tendentious state media" or to take part in Kremlin-linked banquets.

Money earned from such appearances, "smells of dank prison cells, of neglected hospitals and homeless shelters, of the acrid smoke of burnt-out architectural monuments and historical buildings and night clubs and homes for the elderly," he said.

"It smells of the boots of the OMON riot police."

Mr Devotchenko took part in several anti-Kremlin street demonstrations and was a member of the United Civil Front, an opposition group.

In March he signed an open letter of Russian cinema professionals condemning Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Later on Wednesday evening, a source in the State Investigative Committee told Interfax there were no signs of violence on Mr Devotchenko's body, and he may have died by striking his head while drunk. LifeNews, a pro-Kremlin website with links to the law enforcement agencies, said he had cut his hand and then fallen and hit his head after suffering blood loss. It said empty whisky bottles and empty packets of a drug called Phenazepam*** were found near his body. Russian actor and Putin critic found dead in Moscow - Telegraph
--------------------------
***Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine with anxiolytic, euphoric, anticonvulsant, amnestic, muscle relaxant, and hypnotic (sleep-inducing) effects. Effects last over 60 hours and in case of overdose many days or weeks. Its extreme potency, the urge to redose, 3 hour delay of effects, amnestic and loss of inhibitions makes overdose common. Its English name is a transliteration of the Russian . Alternate spellings: 'fenazepam', 'phenazeram'.
https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showwiki.php?title=Phenazepam
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Old 6th November 2014, 13:55
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10:57 06.11.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
OSCE mission verifying reports of shelling of school in Donetsk

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) to Ukraine is verifying reports of the shelling of School No. 63 in Donetsk, where two teenagers were killed and four more were injured at a sports ground on Wednesday.

"OSCE SMM is aware of reports of shelling of school in Donetsk involving children casualties. OSCE SMM is verifying this information," the mission reported on its page on Twitter on Thursday.
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14:35 06.11.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
Ukrainian Security Service opens criminal case into death of two teens in blast on school sports ground

The Ukrainian Security Service has opened a criminal investigation into an explosion on a school sports ground in Donetsk on Wednesday evening which killed two teenagers and injured four others, National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

"An explosion of an artillery round fired from territory controlled by gunmen at the sports ground of school No. 63 killed two teenagers and injured four others. Intelligence indicates that the round flew from the side of the city of Makiyivka, where terrorists groups are stationed. The Security Service has already opened a criminal case into this fact," Lysenko said at a news conference in Kyiv on Thursday.

Ukraine has repeatedly pointed out that illegal armed groups regularly fire artillery at residential neighborhoods and then accuse Ukrainian government forces of this, and the Wednesday tragedy is one of such examples, Lysenko said.

"We have said repeatedly that terrorists shell residential neighborhoods, trying to prove that this was done by Ukrainian troops and set the local population against the Ukrainian security forces by such provocations," Lysenko said.

"This was a planned action," he said.
Ukrainian Security Service opens criminal case into death of two teens in blast on school sports ground
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Old 9th November 2014, 18:59
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Frontline stories. “We Right Sector fighters don’t get captured. They kill us right away”
2014/11/09 • Stories from the Front EUROMAIDAN PRESS

War came into my life on November 7, 2014. After eight months of wanting to be at the front, I finally was going there in a van heading to a Right Sector base near Donbas. We are a motley bunch: three journalists, four fighters, and a van of supplies that Ukraine’s volunteer army of suppliers provides to Ukraine’s volunteer battalions, one of which is the Right Sector.

“Why do we need these volunteer battalions? Isn’t the regular army enough to defend Ukraine?” I ask a question that we often hear from our readers. “If you were a patriot, would you go to fight to a division where a traitor general would give you orders to retreat, or would prohibit you from shooting back? We came to fight and protect our land, and not to just give away territories as the Army command does,” responds a fighter with the nom de guerre Solovei and an oseledets, a traditional Ukrainian Kozak hairstyle with lock of hair on a shaved head. Solovei means nightingale in Ukrainian. Such a aptly placed callsign — he sings well, and sings of war. The van heads full speed into war listening to Haidamaky, a Ukrainian folk-rock group, and its new album created for Ukraine’s battalions fighting the Russian-backed militants and Russian army in Donbas. But one song is about love, about a nightingale that sings for a girl.

The van speeds up, and I think that all these men should have been living from love to heartbreak, but instead they are going off to fight. And maybe to die. Russian and separatist forces don’t spare Right Sector fighters their lives when they are captured. The Right Sector has been so demonized by Russia’s media machine of lies that the fighters crack a joke: “A girl comes to her mother crying. -What happened, darling? -Mommy, I was raped! -Thank heavens, I thought the Right Sector came to town.” Nevertheless, the Right Sector fighters claim to not retaliate and treat their prisoners well. “We are not like them,” claims Bars, one of the commanders.

Around 4 AM we arrive at a base of the Voluntary Ukrainian Corps of the Right Sector, or DUK [Dobrovilchiy Ukrainskiy Korpus] and have some hours to attempt to sleep in it before morning. Vehicles on missions to Right Sector divisions performing duties leave regularly for the hot spots, and we hope to leave with one of them for the front. The base is wallpapered with children’s drawings with words of support for the fighters.

The DUK was formed on March 13 from the first 10 men that fought the first battle under Sloviansk, tells friend Philosopher, a second-year philosophy PhD student of 26 that was designated to tell us the “politics of the party” by the base’s information department. “Friend” plus callsign is the way you address anybody from the Right Sector corps. “We saw how easily our government surrendered Crimea, so the patriots from Right Sector that were at Maidan went to Donbas to prevent that.” Right Sector fighters first train for a month at a polygon near Kyiv. Anybody that wants to protect their country can join, but you have to be positive towards nationalism. The military corps of the Right Sector boasts a developing structure, with their own security service, reconnaissance, political leadership etc. They coordinate their attacks with the Ukrainian army, but do not have any official weapons, ammunition, provision, clothes, supplies from the government. All their funding and provisioning comes from Ukraine’s army of volunteers and private donations.

There are good reasons for Ukraine’s people wanting to crowdsource this alternative army. All the patriots that enroll are extremely motivated. Without heavy artillery, payment, and even small arms from the government, they managed to liberate many a town and are highly revered for their bravery. Right Sector fighters are among the legendary “Cyborgs” defending the Donetsk airport from enemy force for over five months in a row. Bars, a commander, tells me that when the regular army wanted to retreat, the Right Sector coerced them to stay and fight. That is why the Ukrainian forces still control Pisky and the Donetsk airport. The volunteer battalion gets its weapons in battle; they also trade it from the Ukrainian army for the clothes and other provisioning that is given to them by volunteers.

Belorus, a 21-year-old Belarusian Right Sector fighter from Minsk, came to Ukraine after his compatriot Mykhailo Zhiznevskyi was killed by the Berkut police in January 2014 during Kyiv’s Euromaidan revolution. “I am fighting for the freedom of our nations, as they have a lot in common, and against the resurrection of the Soviet empire that Putin is attempting. I could not stand the life in Minsk. Our resistance was broken in 2010 after the fraud elections when Lukashenka won and all the political and civic opposition was arrested. After that, we held protest demonstrations, but not even with signs, but by gathering together and clapping. Lukashenka banned that too. And now all freedom is broken. The Belarusian language is driven out of existence. You can’t even find people strolling the streets of Minsk, they just go to and from work, as they are too afraid.” Belorus could face arrest or even death if his engagement in Ukraine’s war as a Belarusian national. He is in no hurry to go back.

In Minsk, Belorus studied to be a tailor. Volunteers helped with bringing a sewing machine to the base, and part of Belorus’s activities in Right Sector is to mend soldier uniforms. In Minsk, he worked at Milavitsa, a lingerie factory quite popular in Ukraine, one boy among all the girls. I am wearing it, and laugh at how our lives that should have been connected by silly civil things, are now connected by war.
Frontline stories. “We Right Sector fighters don’t get captured. They kill us right away” | EUROMAIDAN PRESS | News and Opinion from Across Ukraine
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