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Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:23 PM

Ukraine's Army Advances; Unguided Rockets Kill Civilians; Demise of Rebels?

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There are lots of conflicting, even contradictory news reports regarding Ukraine in the past couple of days. Let's take a look at a few of them starting with the Bloomberg report Ukraine Army Advances as EU Plans Tougher Putin Sanctions.

Ukraine’s army advanced on a last main separatist stronghold as the U.S. said Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to give the rebels heavy weapons and European Union leaders considered their toughest sanctions yet on Russia.

Ukrainian troops are battling insurgents in the town of Horlivka, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of the regional capital Donetsk, a city of 1 million people where rebels retreated after abandoning other positions earlier this month. Taking Horlivka would open the way to attack one of their last redoubts, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Andriy Lysenko said yesterday in Kiev.

“Fighting to take over Horlivka is going on,” he told journalists. “Donetsk will be next.” CNN reported that long lines of cars jammed roads leading south from the city yesterday as residents tried to flee.

Ukraine’s State Security Service, or SBU, posted what it said was an intercepted plea for help made by Alexander Borodai, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, to a Russian it identified as Alexei Chesnokov.

“If nothing changes in terms of military activity, the situation will not be held for more than two weeks,” a voice that the SBU said is Borodai’s says in the intercepted call it posted yesterday on its YouTube page.
YouTube Page

Chesnokov cited a YouTube page in a voice that allegedly matches Borodai’s.

OK. Let's see the video. If you are going to post an allegation citing a YouTube that purportedly "sounds" like Borodai, why not link to it?

So why doesn't Bloomberg ask for it?

Civilians Flee Horlivka

In regards to Civilian fleeing Horlivka and other war zones. I don't doubt it.

Bloomberg cites CNN, but Bloomberg's link is to a totally useless Bloomberg discussion page called http://topics.bloomberg.com/cnn/, not anything useful on CNN, not even a discussion of the civilian flight.

Clearly Bloomberg is fishing for clicks. 

CNN Video of Fleeing Civilians

Here is a link to the real CNN report and video: Donetsk residents flee fighting; Russians report spike in Ukrainian refugees.
Long lines of cars jammed the roads leading south out of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine Saturday, as residents attempted to flee the city center after a night of heavy shelling on the city's northern outskirts.

Hundreds of vehicles were caught in heavy traffic, and trains are no longer running in and out of the city, which is a stronghold for the pro-Russia rebels.

There was heavy shelling and antiaircraft fire on the outskirts of the city to the north throughout the night. There has been sustained fighting in the area for weeks, but it appeared more intense overnight than in recent days.

Russian news agency Interfax reported a dramatic increase in the number of Ukrainian refugees seeking refuge over the border in Russia.

"The Ukrainian government officials were seeking to encircle the city, really squeeze the remaining pro-Russian separatist forces that had fallen back there since being driven out of other strongholds across Eastern Ukraine," said CNN's Phil Black, reporting from a congested road in Donetsk while scores of people attempted to leave.
Why do Civilians Flee?

Neither CNN nor Bloomberg gave the real reason civilians are fleeing. Human Rights Watch does provide the reason: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians.
Unguided Grad rockets launched apparently by Ukrainian government forces and pro-government militias have killed at least 16 civilians and wounded many more in insurgent-controlled areas of Donetsk and its suburbs in at least four attacks between July 12 and 21, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today.

The use of indiscriminate rockets in populated areas violates international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes.

Grads are unguided rockets that cannot be targeted accurately, and are often fired in salvos from multi-barrel rocket launchers to saturate a wide area. Human Rights Watch called on all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, particularly Ukrainian government forces, to stop using Grad rockets in or near populated areas because of the likelihood of killing and wounding civilians.

“Grad rockets are notoriously imprecise weapons that shouldn’t be used in populated areas,” said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “If insurgent and Ukrainian government forces are serious about limiting harm to civilians, they should both immediately stop using these weapons in populated areas.”.
Unguided Rockets Kill Civilians

40 Barreled Grad

My understanding is these rockets fire sequentially, one after another, sort of like roman candles going "poof, poof, poof" louder of course.

Both sides have these weapons, but it is the Ukrainian troops who are readily willing to use them on civilians. Please don't compare this to the accidental downing of a plane, regardless of who you think did it.

Attack on Gorlovka

Here's a short, 43-second video of a grad attack on the city of Gorlovka.

The title reads On July 27 Gorlovka suffered rocket mortar attack.


While Ukraine is advancing in some areas, the above videos add a needed perspective that mainstream media does not provide.

What with all the satellites in the sky, all the tens of billions of dollars the US spends on "intelligence" every year, is it too much to expect the US to portray these aspects? 

Not All Battles Going Ukraine's Way

Contrary to mainstream media reporting, not all of these battles are going Ukraine's way. Yesterday I posted a video of Ukraine's 72'nd brigade.

Today I have a video of the demolition of part of the 79'th brigade. It was taken a few days ago.

Ukrainian forces are doing the talking. Reader Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian provided this synopsis.
In this video, the speaker is actually on the Ukrainian side. The speaker is complaining about not getting enough support from Kiev, and recounting what types of munitions were used to destroy his camp. In the other video you posted earlier, it seemed that the people in the video were rebels who came to take a look. 

This is a different video, which shows remnants of a unit of Ukraine's 79th Airmobile Brigade, not the 72nd Mechanized Brigade.

Here's one notable part:

"We have no option but to retreat because our government doesn't do anything to pull us out of here or to give some kind of reinforcement, to save people. They are doing absolutely nothing."
Regarding Ukrainian advances, the flight of civilians, and trapped Ukrainian forces, Dreizin adds ...
41 Ukrainian soldiers are reported to have escaped to Russia today, the largest one-day total so far.

Nonetheless, the rebels in Lugansk city, Donetsk city, and some other spots are very hard pressed at the moment. Lugansk city in particular is being pounded hard.

However, the Ukranians are incapable of any kind of targeted fire.  OSCE observers have been monitoring the situation and have confirmed the civilian casualties and the indiscriminate, seemingly random fire that causes them. 

A few days ago, the rebels had to make an organized retreat from the Severodonetsk/Lisichansk region nothwest of Lugansk city. Their hope now is to finish off the surrounded Ukrainian forces in the south quickly in order to free up substantial forces for a counterattack in the north. These southern forces would certainly shift the balance. The question is how fast they can be freed-up.
So is the war really going as mainstream media plays it?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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