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‘No Afghanistan in Ukraine!’: Anti-war protests spread as Kyiv wages all-out war in the south east

Anti-war protest in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, July 25, 2014, blocking traffic bridge over Bug River. Sign reads: "We demand, save the 79th Regiment!"

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis

July 31, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- A rising wave of anti-war and anti-conscription protests is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine. The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko 10 days ago that a “third” military mobilisation is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an "anti-terrorist operation".

The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders.

Poroshenko’s mobilisation proposal was approved by the Ukraine Rada (parliament) on July 22. The measure means that more people will be conscripted into military service and that more reserve army units will be thrown into the battle theatre.

Since the crash of Malyasia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), Kyiv has embarked on a frenzied military push into south-east Ukraine to try and defeat a pro-autonomy rebellion there. It is blocking access by investigators to the MH17 crash site and the forward line of its military push consists of intense and random bombardments of towns and cities amounting to war crimes on a massive scale.

This video of shelling of an apartment block in the city of Donetsk on July 29 is an example of what is occurring. Buzzfeed reports, “Tuesday’s attack was the first time that shelling hit central Donetsk, a hitherto tranquil rebel stronghold. It left three people dead and wounded 15. The nearby city of Horlivka declared three days of mourning after heavy fire killed 17 overnight and wounded several dozen others. At least four more people died in shelling in the Donetsk suburb of Yasynuvata.”

Kyiv is in a race to defeat the rebellion before the crippling cost of it all as well as rising anti-war protests and army desertions bring its offensive to a halt. It also has to worry about anticipated revolts by the Ukraine population as a whole once the harsh consequences of the economic association agreement that Kyiv signed with the European Union on June 30 bite deeper and deeper.

Protests on the rise

Although the propaganda websites of the Kyiv government boast of the successes of its now three-month long "anti-terrorist operation" in eastern Ukraine (which it dubs its "ATO"), the special mobilisation measure approved last week shows its war is in trouble. More fighting units are needed, the national treasury is effectively bankrupted by it all and there are rising numbers of desertions from the army and growing protests by mothers, wives, friends and neighbours of conscript soldiers. ICTV reports that the advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Anton Gerashenko, has announced that anyone in Ukraine who agitates on social media against the regime’s war will be arrested.

The expanding protests have multiple messages. Some oppose the war outright. Others are specifically addressing the harsh and dangerous conditions that soldiers are facing in the east.

One of the most dramatic of the many protests since the "third mobilisation" measure was announced has been in the port and shipbuilding city of Mykolaiv (also spelled Nikolaev), on the Black Sea east of Odessa. Mothers and wives of soldiers repeatedly blocked the Varvarovsky Bridge over the Bug River for three days beginning July 25. They demanded a return of their sons or husbands from lengthy tours of duty in the 79th Paratroop Regiment. The tours have been extended and the regiment has suffered intense combat.

The women went on foot to the bridge carrying placards reading “Save our boys!” and used a pedestrian crossing to block traffic. Tussles with police and militia took place. (See dramatic video footage here from July 25.

On the first day of the protest, the women drafted a letter to President Poroshenko which the mayor of the city and regional governor agreed to deliver. The women said their action would not end until they received a satisfactory reply. They didn’t receive that. A police mobilisation ended the blockade on July 27. Some protesters were arrested.

The websites Hronika.info and ZIK.ua report that in the town of Bohorodchany in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast (region)[1], in south-west Ukraine bordering the Carpathia region, angry people attacked the military registration office and the premises of other local organs of power on July 22. They burned conscription documents. (Ukraine language report here.)

It’s a rural region and protesters sounded a theme that is common to many of the anti-conscription protests: they say their menfolk lack proper training and equipment and therefore face “certain death” when sent to the east.

“Certain death” faced by soldiers is not a sign of a war going well. It also suggests that the most recent report of the Office United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reporting “at least” 1129 killed by the war in Ukraine is seriously understated. It’s a fact that the report’s claim of “100,000” people made refugee by the war is laughingly low. Russia says more than 500,000 refugees have crossed its border since the war began in April and Ukraine admits to nearly 100,000 internal refugees.

Russia has condemned this latest report by the OUNCHR, saying, “Its key message is that the government of Ukraine is permitted to legitimately use force to restore law and order in the east of the country”.

Also on July 22, residents of the village of Skobychivka linked arms and formed a human chain to block the road from Ivano-Frankivsk to Bohorodchany, causing a kilometre-long traffic jam. The protesters held placards reading: "No Afghanistan in Ukraine!", "Send call-up notices to the children of the higher-ups!", "Return our children to us" and "Stop the bloodshed". A common slogan in the protests is "Refuse!".

A separate report in Vesti quoted the relatives of soldiers saying their sons were being used as “cannon fodder”. The report said people were also protesting in Yaremcha, in the same region, and in Sambor, Lviv region.

Not far from that area, in Bukovina region, residents in seven villages blocked roads on July 28. That region is southwest Ukraine includes a significant population of Romanian descent.

A video published by 112.UA shows soldiers’ relatives blocking a road in Obukhivs’kyi district, near Kyiv on July 24 demanding a return of soldiers from lengthy duty.

Protesters in the Odessa region blocked the Black Sea coastal highway for hours on July 28.

Residents of six villages in Sokyryanskyi region (Chernivtsi oblast)–Bilousivka, Lomachyntsi, Mykhalkove, Serbychany, Korman and Romankivtsi–blocked the highway between Chernivtsi and Novodnistrovsk on the morning of July 25, demanding that their menfolk not be sent to war.

Protests have gripped the entire region of Chernivtsi in south-west Ukraine. A video recording showed people saying, “We don’t war – we want peace” and “We did not raise our children for war. We will not give them our children”.

This video shows a group of people, mostly women, from Chernivtsi who gather to confront a local military recruitment officer. They are carrying their sons or husbands’ conscription orders.

“Go fight your own war”, they tell the conscription officer, who tells locals to “go to the Internet” if they want to find out why the new mobilisation is happening. He is referring to the Kyiv regime’s intensely propagandistic websites devoted to all things "ATO". But the protesters are having none of that. They gather dozens of blue-coloured conscription orders into a pile and burn them.

As they stand around watching the flames, they’re all voicing their opinions. One mother says, “[Kyiv authorities] are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, but they come here to take our sons and send them to death. They made the mess and now they need us to clean it up.” The conscription officer stands by helplessly. What can he do? He is following orders.

In the settlement of Marshintsi in the Novoselytskyy region of Chernivtsi, protesters blocked the entry of soldiers and police. Residents brought tyres and barricaded the road leading into the village. Many wrote letters of refusal, describing the events in the south-east as a “slaughter”.

On July 20, the Kyiv-Chop highway was blocked by local residents, mainly women, in the vicinity of the village of Hamaliivka near Lviv. A protest last month also blocked the highway. The same highway was blocked on July 28, in the villages of Rakoshyno and Znyatsevo, near the border of Slovakia and Hungary.

Here is one of the latest videos to be published on YouTube, of a protest in the town of Novoselytsya in Chernivtsi oblast on July 30.

‘No Afghanistan in Ukraine’

Many protests are voicing a "No Afghanistan in Ukraine" demand. This harkens back to the 10-year war that the Soviet Union fought in Afghanistan, beginning in 1980. Altogether, 14,500 soldiers of the Soviet Union’s army died, 54,000 were wounded and many, many more Afghans died. The war was a major factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which happened not long after it withdrew from Afghanistan in ignominious defeat in 1988.

Post-Soviet, independent Ukraine later joined the US-led occupation and war in Afghanistan. A small force still participates.

The well-known Ukrainian television journalist and commentator Ostap Drozdov has called for a boycott of the latest mobilisation decree. The website Russkaya Vesna reports him saying: “My program yesterday (on the regional television channel ZIK) can be considered the start of an informal campaign to boycott the mobilisation. I state my intention to give my utmost support to this initiative, which goes by the provisional name ‘Mobilisation Equals Genocide’.”

He said, “It is very important that people who speak out against the mobilisation of the civilian population should see that they are not isolated. There are a great many of them.”

Army in trouble

Exact numbers of army desertions are not known and are the subject of considerable debate and counter-debate. This website report, for example, publishes a purported Ukraine army report saying that close to 3500 soldiers deserted in the third week of July and that 1600 soldiers died and 4700 were wounded in that same time. Sources in Russia say the documents it cites are not authentic.

Here is a brief news report in which several Ukraine soldiers speak of their decision to take asylum in Russia. (Many videos of the fighting in eastern Ukraine are posted here on the "Anti-Maidan YouTube Channel".)

This video records a protest in Kyiv of relatives of the 72nd Army Brigade that suffered heavy losses from a rocket attack some days ago. The protesters chant “Help the heroes”. A poster reads: “Send [Rada] deputies and generals to the battlefield!”. They pray, and sing the Ukraine national anthem.

The brigade was caught in a grisly cauldron in south-east Ukraine with many killed and injured and some survivors taking refuge in Russia. In this video, soldiers of the brigade speak for 13 minutes of their difficult and disturbing combat experience.

The pro-Kyiv, Interfax news service reports on 18 Ukraine soldiers who took refuge in Russia and received medical treatment.

Russia Today reported several days ago of this group of 40 soldiers who entered Russia and requested asylum.

Recasted fascist introduces conscription bill

Andriy Parubiy introduced the "third" mobilisation bill to the Rada. He is secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, a key advisory body to the president and the parliament on military matters. He says the measure will mobilise 15 more army combat units and 44 combat support units.

Parabuiy is a renowned fascist in Ukraine who has modified his image in the past year and risen to prominence in the Kyiv regime that seized power in February of this year. Last year, he joined the Fatherland Party of former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and was elected to the Rada. Fatherland is a neo-conservative coalition/party.

US journalist Robert Parry wrote of Paruiby earlier this year, “Parubiy is himself a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols.

“Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding [in 2007] of the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’ to World War Two Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose own paramilitary forces exterminated thousands of Jews and Poles in pursuit of a racially pure Ukraine.”

The United States is boosting its military aid and training to Ukraine. The announcement came from US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on July 25. The US already committed to $23 million in equipment; that will now rise to $33 million. It is also intervening in the countries it dominates in the region to boost the training and equipping of their armed forces, including Moldova and Romania on Ukraine’s southwest frontier and Poland on the northwest.

Kyiv’s ruthless shelling and bombing of towns and cities is running out of time due to the war’s huge financial cost. Describing Ukraine’s economy, the Washington Post wrote on July 26:

The IMF forecasts that Ukraine’s annual GDP will drop by 6.5% this year, while the government deficit is projected at 10.1% of GDP. This week, the government announced that it would need at least 800 million dollars to continue its counterinsurgency operation and asked the parliament to further increase taxes and cut public spending. The deputies’ refusal to appropriate needed funds yesterday triggered Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation as he recognized that soldiers would receive no pay next month. The reconstruction of Donbas is even more uncertain as the government promised to turn to foreign donors for funds in the coming fall.

In a remarkable admission last week, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadym Prystaiko, told the Globe and Mail, “We are pouring all the money in our budget… into the anti-terrorism campaign.”

The war is scandalously riding roughshod over the international investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Investigators were blocked from reaching the site on July 27 and in the days following by the relentless shellings and other bombings by the Ukraine army in the region.

As reported by international media, inspectors are lodged in hotels in Donetsk each night and the passed easily through self-defence lines surrounding the city to get to the site. But as the days wore on, the international media reported the blockage as due to “fighting” and “clashes”.

On July 30, Kyiv propaganda began saying that rebel fighters had placed mines on the crash site and were shelling it. That story evaporated the following day when, in circumstances unexplained, inspectors finally reached the site.

The grim reality of Kyiv’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine has been airbrushed out of mainstream news reporting. Little or no visual presentation of bombardments or other war crimes is allowed to pass through editorial filters. The war and its consequences are explained away in the vacuous language of “fighting” or “clashes” taking place. The Toronto Star‘s Tanya Talaga  began a front-page article on July 30 with, “The European Union and western nations joined on [July 29] to try to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his military aggression in Ukraine…”

The European Union is matching the Ukraine army offensive by upping its economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions are punishment for Russia’s refusal to obey US and European demands that it police the pro-autonomy movements in eastern Ukraine and pressure them to surrender. They are also part of the long-standing drive by the member countries of the NATO military alliance to weaken and isolate Russia.

The rising anti-war movement in Ukraine has profound consequences for the future of the country. Will protests stop Kyiv’s war before south-east Ukraine is reduced to ruin? Will Ukrainian as well as international protests give pause to the military planners at NATO who are increasingly training their sites on Russia?

Ukraine’s economic elite has made a sharp turn to embrace austerity Europe. The kind of austerity consequences that have ravaged Greece and other countries of southern Europe await the Ukrainian people. How will the antiwar protesters and other ordinary Ukrainians react as the government deepens unpopular cuts to social programs and subsidies that reduce the cost of essential items?

Protests around the world are needed to stay the hands of the warmakers in south-east Ukraine. Solidarity actions can stop the killings. They can also help Ukrainians to chart a different path of economic and social development. That would be fitting because anti-austerity sentiment was at the heart of the rebellion in eastern Ukraine in the first place.

A new, 80-minute video compilation, Ukraine Crisis, has been produced that provides a powerful record of the war in eastern Ukraine during the past month. A warning, there are some scenes of death and destruction caused by the Kyiv government’s shelling that are disturbing, particularly in the four to six minute section, inclusively. The testimony of the woman who speaks for five minutes at the 1’17″30 mark is especially insightful and heartrending, as is that of the two women who precede her.

[This article draws in part from a July 28, 2014, article from the Russian website Rabkor (Worker Correspondent’ which was translated into English by Renfrey Clarke.]

Notes:

[1] Ukraine is subdivided into 25 regions: 24 oblasts (regions, or provinces) and one city with special status, Kyiv. Two former oblasts—Donetsk and Luhansk—voted in May for autonomy. The ferocity of Kyiv’s war is driving those two regions to a de facto secession.

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Latest G7 declaration against Russia heightens war threat

​By Roger Annis, published in Truthout, Aug. 1, 2014

Shelling attack in Lugansk, early August, 2014, photo Russia Today

Shelling attack in Lugansk, early August, 2014, photo Russia Today

In a statement issued on July 30, the leaders of the top seven imperialist countries in the world plus the European Council and the European Commission express concern over what they call an ongoing threat by the Russian government to the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine. They say that Russia “must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine.” The statement announced a new round of economic sanctions against Russia.

The accusation of Russian support for the popular rebellion in southeast Ukraine, and for the pro-autonomy sentiment more broadly in the east of the country, is a trope. It and the accompanying threats are a coded demand that the Russian government police the autonomy movement and pressure it to surrender.

The real, not fictional, story of Russian non-involvement in eastern Ukraine was detailed several weeks ago by a leader of the Donetsk Peoples Republic, Pavel Yurevich Gubarev. An Associated Press article of July 9, 2014 quotes Gubarev at a press conference in Donetsk: “We would like to receive help in the form of Russian forces. But we are realists and understand that’s impossible.”

The report continued:

Aleksandr Boroday, Prime Minister of Donetsk People's Republic

Aleksandr Boroday, Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic

Rebels in the Donetsk region and the adjacent Luhansk region have repeatedly called for Russia to send in “peacekeeping” troops as the fight against them intensifies. Russia has shown no inclination to do so…

Gubarev suggested that Russian tycoons are opposed to military action, fearing their businesses would be affected. Russia already has been hit with Western sanctions for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and for allegedly fomenting the unrest in eastern Ukraine, in which more than 400 people have reportedly been killed. Sending forces into Ukraine would almost certainly prompt even harsher sanctions.

“Their selfish interests are understandable,” Gubarev said.

The G7 says it wants a “prompt” investigation of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. But since the crash, the government in Kyiv, supported by the G7, has stepped up its cruel and devastating military operations in the southeast. Ukraine army operations blocked access to the site for four days running–July 27 to 30.

Inspectors were finally able to access the site beginning on July 31. The New York Times reported, “Ukrainian officials said they had suspended offensive operations against the rebels to allow the monitors to reach the site safely. Commanders at Ukrainian military positions near the site confirmed that they had been ordered to halt their advance.”

New York Times journalist Sabrina Tavernise reported from the crash site in the hours and days following the disaster. She told interviewer Charlie Rose on July 29 that rebel fighters created no barriers to the crash site during the time they controlled it and that the blockages that began on July 27 were instigated by Ukraine forces.

Why was access to the site blocked and what were Ukraine forces doing during the four days they had the site to themselves? These questions have not even been asked by mainstream journalists, leave alone investigated.

The delay to the investigation created by the Ukraine government was criminally irresponsible and it strongly suggests that the government had compelling political or other reasons to keep inspectors at bay. The delay in recovery of the bodies was an unspeakable affront to their families and to human dignity. This apparent sabotage of a “prompt investigation” sheds new light on the unseemly rush to judgment and condemnation of Russia over the crash. As Robert Parry of Consortium News and other writers have argued so compellingly, the ‘blame Russia’ chorus has compromised the possibility of an impartial and authoritative investigation.

In their statement, the G7 imperialists condemn Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea last March. A sanctions regime was imposed on Crimea shortly after the people there voted in a snap plebiscite to get out of the line of fire of Kyiv’s course to civil war and secede from Ukraine. Economic sanctions on Crimea and now on Russia are a violation of economic sovereignty. Historically, sanctions lead to war, and that is precisely the discussions over Ukraine that are now taking place in the halls of power of the G7.

U.S. and NATO actions in eastern Europe underscore the war danger. The U.S. has increased its military aid to Ukraine—first with $33 million to its army, now with $15 million to train its notorious National Guard. The Guard was a moribund institution resuscitated after the seizure of power by the neo-conservative and extreme right in Ukraine in February of this year. Its cadre are include large numbers of volunteers from the parties of the extreme and fascist right.

Kyiv is making strong demands on other NATO countries to likewise provide military aid. According to Russia’s foreign ministry, the European Union has quietly lifted restrictions on suppyling military equipment and technology to Ukraine. Meanwhile, the U.S. is stepping up the training and equipping of the armed forces of Poland, Romania and Moldova. And for months, increased numbers of fighter aircraft and warships of NATO countries have assumed threatening postures in the skies and waters surrounding Russia.

Shelling in Donetsk, July 2014, photo ITAR-TASS

Shelling in Donetsk, July 2014, photo ITAR-TASS

Sanctions are serving to deflect attention away from what should be at the center of the world’s attention – the criminal war being waged by the neo-conservative government in Kyiv. This is a government that includes fascists as ministers, including its Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Parabuiy. Although its national treasury is broke and now dependent on loans from the big, international financial institutions, Kyiv is planning to spend “billions” more hryvnias on its war and stretch it into winter if needed (12 hryvnias=one US dollar).

The G7 statement reaffirms support to something it calls a “peace plan” of President Petro Poroshenko for southeast Ukraine. But the only “plan” that Poroshenko is implementing is a military offensive spearheaded by shelling and bombing of towns and cities until the population and its self-defense forces surrender. There are no signs of surrender, even if several thousand have died and more than half a million people have been made refugees.

The two main obstacles to the course of Poroshenko and his NATO backers are the crippling financial burden of the war and the diminishing political tolerance of Ukraine and world opinion. Antiwar and anti-conscription protests are on the rise in Ukraine. Defections from the army and refusals to answer conscription orders are growing. Kyiv’s war course is running out of time and money.

Progressive parties and other political forces in the G7 countries need to come together rapidly and effectively to oppose this war. We need to force Kyiv to heed the popular will in eastern Ukraine and increasingly in other parts of the shattered country to stop its bombardments and ground attacks and negotiate with the citizen movements it calls “terrorists”.

A symptom of the danger that the civil war in Ukraine could expand to clashes with Russia is the rise of extreme nationalist, Russophobic and openly fascist ideology in Ukraine, eastern Europe and parts of western Europe. The rise of the far right coupled with paralysis and confusion by important sections of the European left weakens the potential for urgently needed antiwar action. So not just the war threat but also the fascist threat needs to be challenged.

Russia and other governments have an obligation to act to stop the ongoing massacres in eastern Ukraine. Passive lamenting of events and appeals for peace will have no effect on the NATO warmakers. They are running amok, as is their partner Israel in Gaza. It is time for massive and sustained, antiwar mobilizations on the scale of an earlier moment in history that, compared to today, begins to look benign—the era of the Cold War and the war in Vietnam.

[Roger Annis’ extensive writings about the situation in Ukraine have appeared in different publications and are compiled on his website, ‘A Socialist in Canada’. He was a delegate to the antiwar conference that took place in Yalta, Crimea on July 6, 7.]

* * *

Kyiv warns civilians in southeast Ukraine to flee or be massacre

By Roger Annis,

In a move that would make the warmakers in Tel Aviv who are bombing hospitals and UN schools in Gaza blush, the governing regime in Kyiv has told the populations of the cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Horlivka in southeast Ukraine to flee or face the consequences of an artillery blitzkrieg it is preparing. Below is the text of a news report on Interfax-Ukraine as well as a link to an original, Russian-language announcement on August 4 by the junta, via its propaganda outlet called the ‘Ukrainian Crisis Media Center‘.

The announcement warns the populations of the three cities, respectively 1.1 million, 450,000 and 300,000 in number before Kyiv launched its ‘anti-terrorist’ war in April, to leave or be shelled and bombed. It orders them to wear white markings on their clothing to avoid being bombed or shot.

The announcement is part deadly threat, part last-ditch bluster in Kyiv’s war against its rebellious population in the south, east and southeast of Ukraine. The ‘last-ditch’ is evidenced by the large numbers of desertions from the junta’s army in recent weeks, including a widely-reported decision on Aug. 3 of 438 Ukraine soldiers and border guards to cross the border into Russia and seek refuge.

The conscripts are leaving duty for a variety of reasons. Some don’t want to kill their fellow citizens. Others say there is chaos in the army command and they are not being supplied with food, water or ammunition.

The conscript army defections underscore why, in its early days in March, the junta turned to reviving the Ukraine National Guard that was disbanded in 2000. ember sof the extreme right and fascist parties and militias in Ukraine are joining the resucitated National Guard in large numbers because it gives them access to weapons and military training, including from the NATO countries. The U.S. has created a new program to finance the training and equipping of the Guard,

But even the rightist and fascist shock troops are inadequate for defeating an organized civilian population, hence the turn, beginning in the city of Slavyansk, Donetsk region, in May, to the use of artillery, rocket and air strikes to cow and demoralize civilian populations and self-defense fighters in urban centers. This was a turn, in other words, to the use of war crimes.

News reports from Russia make no mention of whether Ukraine soldiers fleeing into Ukraine will be investigated for war crimes. Russian courts have opened cases against Ukraine army and political leaders. It would seem that Russia is not raising the matter now in order not to impede refuge seekers, both for humanitarian and for political reasons.

According to Reuters, Russian border authorities say that some of the soldiers who crossed the border in recent days have asked for asylum.

Last month, several groups of Ukraine soldiers who took refuge in Russia were allowed to return home after receiving medical care. Kyiv has warned soldiers who desert or take refuge that they will be prosecuted under military law. This policy dates back to April, but it’s not known if Kyiv has the means to enforce it or if it is politically advised, given the large numbers of examples over the past three months of soldiers refusing to fire on citizens, deserting or seeking refuge. This recent Ukrainian language news report says that in some areas of the country, 10-15 per cent of men are refusing to obey their conscription call-up order.

* * *

ATO command suggests militants establishing humanitarian corridors from Luhansk, Donetsk and Horlivka

Interfax Ukraine, Aug 4, 2014

Anti-terrorist operation (ATO) command authorities have reminded representatives of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics’ about the norms of international humanitarian law and suggested establishing humanitarian corridors for civilian population to leave the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk and the town of Horlivka.

“According to ATO command authorities, it is necessary to establish following humanitarian corridors for civilian population to leave Donetsk: along Leninsky Avenue up to bypass road, then along Donetsk-Kurakhove highway through Maryinka. To leave Horlivka: along Lenina Avenue, Marshala Zhukova Street, Vitchyzniana Street, Plekhanova Street and then along Horlivka-Druzhkivka high road through Dzerzhynsk. To leave Luhansk: along Radianska Street, Linia 16 Street, Frunze Street, Shevchenko Street, Linia 7 Street, Kominterna Street, then along Luhansk-Schastia high road through Metalist,” reads a relative report posted by the ATO press center on Facebook.

To identify civilian population is possible with white markings for groups of people and white band on every citizen’s sleeve.

Citizens can take personal things with them. From 1000 until 1400 p.m. every day fire will be seized on the distance of 200 meters to the right and to the left from the mentioned corridors.

“People violating international humanitarian laws regarding civilian population (keep civilian populations in a combat area impeding their exit through humanitarian corridors) are considered war criminals and are prosecuted according to the international laws,” ATO press center said.


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