In Ukraine

From, Oct 16, 2016

One of the commanders of the defense forces of the Donetsk Peoples Republic has been killed in an explosion after a bomb reportedly went off inside the elevator of the apartment building where he lived in eastern Ukraine.

Arsen Pavlov pictured in early July 2014 in eastern Ukraine (Flikr)

Arsen Pavlov pictured in early July 2014 in eastern Ukraine (Flikr)

The DPR’s ministry of defense confirmed the death of Arsen Pavlov, better known under the alias ‘Motorola’. He led one of the self-defense units resisting the Ukrainian government forces in the beginning of the conflict in Donbas.

According to preliminary data, an improvised explosive device was planted inside or near the elevator in the house where Pavlov lived. His murder is being treated as a “terrorist act” apparently conducted by Kyiv’s forces, said the speaker of DPR parliament, Denis Pushilin.

“With this murder Ukrainian side hopes to undermine the situation in the Republic,” he said, adding that Kiev still aims to resolve the conflict in Ukraine “by force” but due to its inability to achieve military victory resorts to “terrorist methods.”

The attack is a clear violation of the ceasefire in Donbass and an apparent “declaration of war,” the head of the self-proclaimed republic, Aleksander Zakharchenko stated.

“As I understand, [Ukrainian President] Petro Poroshenkoviolated the ceasefire and declared war on us,” Zakharchenko said.

The 33-year-old Pavlov fought in the Battle of Ilovaisk in August 2014 and the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport that same year. He is considered to be a heroic figure in the Donetsk republic. He was placed under EU sanctions after Kiev opened a criminal case against him for fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Pavlov also helped to lead the first, heroic stand against invading, far-right paramilitary forces from Ukraine in May 2014. The invaders were stopped in and around the city of Slavyansk. Defenders were eventually forced to withdraw from the city in early July. Today, Slavyansk is in Ukrainian hands.

Statement of Aleksandr Zakharchenko on the assassination of Arsen Pavlov, Oct 16, 2016

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Motorola is gone, but Donbass still stands strong

By Eduard Popov, exclusive to Fort Russ, Oct 17, 2016 (translated from Russian by Fort Russ)

Arsen Pavlov pictured in early July 2014 during the withdrawal of defense forces from the city of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine (Flikr)

Arsen Pavlov pictured in early July 2014 during the withdrawal of defense forces from the city of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine (Flikr)

On October 16th, shocking news came from Donetsk that Motorola, one of the famous veterans of the war in Donbass and the commander of the Sparta battalion, had been killed. Motorola was one of the most famous Donbass militia commanders not only in Donbass, but around the world.

All the supporters of the Donbass republics are asking two questions: who killed Motorola and how will the DPR avenge his death?

According to the jubilee in Ukrainian social networks and official reports, the militia commander’s death has been attributed to Ukrainian saboteurs. However, there are reliable publications (few, but there are) which deny the involvement of Ukrainian sabotage-reconnaissance groups in his murder. Let’s leave the answer to the first question to the investigation and not jump to conclusions. The second question is much more interesting.

Today in an interview for one Moscow newspaper, I expressed my opinion that DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko’s speech made immediately after Motorola’s death does not mean a declaration of war against Ukraine as many have thought. This is a case in which, as we say in Russian, “a mountain has given birth to mouse,” i.e., too much is being made out of too little.

From Zakharchenko’s speech, I would not conclude that the DPR is abandoning the Minsk Agreements. Ukraine has long since been violating them and yesterday it committed yet another terrorist act. But for a year and half, the Donbass republics have endured Ukrainian shelling and acts of terror (military, economic, etc.). It would be naive to accept that the murder of one, albeit widely known commander, will overflow Donetsk and Lugansk’s cup of patience. This cup will overflow when Donetsk and Lugansk need it too.

Thus, if the Ukrainians counted on Motorola’s assassination to push Zakharchenko to take drastic steps, with the hope of then accusing the republics of disrupting the Minsk Agreements, then they miscalculated. Donbass knows that doing such would mean succumbing to Kiev’s provocations and accepting its rules of the game. The hypocritical West, which has preferred not to notice Ukraine’s numerous violations of Minsk, needs only one violation by Donbass to jump into action. But Donbass will not fall for such foolishness.

During today’s interview, a Moscow journalist said that Ukrainian terrorist attacks in the Donbass republics are a one-sided game. Kiev hits, while Donbass is silent. This is true to a certain extent. Donbass was originally left disadvantaged and, for both moral and political considerations, could not use all of the means that Kiev has in its arsenal. It has to be patient and wait who knows how long.

The situation in Donbass is somewhat akin to the events of May-June 1941. The leadership of the USSR refused to succumb to Germany’s provocations and give Hitler a pretext for war. Now, no matter how painful Ukraine’s provocations are, Donbass will not respond to them in full. This tactic has huge minuses, such as casualties (including irrecoverable ones) among the population and social infrastructure of the republics. But Ukraine also loses: its Nazi militants and soldiers and officers are killed. All the more wounded are filling up Ukrainian hospitals, and Ukraine is gradually overheating with international contradictions.

This is a war of nerves. And in this war, Donbass is undoubtedly stronger. This is why it will be Ukraine that will restart the war once its limit of patience ends. And this is why not only the life, but the death of Motorola and other defenders of Donbass are not meaningless.

Eduard Popov, born in 1973 in Konstantinovka, Donetsk region, is a Rostov State University graduate with a PhD in history and philosophy. He is a regular contributor to ‘Fort Russ’. In 2008, he founded the Center for Ukrainian Studies of the Southern Federal University of Russia in Rostov-on-Don. From 2009-2013, he was the founding head of the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, an analytical institute of the Presidential Administration of Russia. In June 2014, Popov headed the establishment of the Representative Office of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Rostov-on-Don. He has actively participated in humanitarian aid efforts in Donbass and has been a guest contributor to various Donbass media, such as the Lugansk-based Cossack Herald.

Poroshenko’s statement on Minsk-2 means cancellation of agreement, new spiral of conflict — DPR head Zakharchenko

TASS, Oct 16, 2016

Aleksandr Zakharchenko, first minister of the Donetsk People's Republic

Aleksandr Zakharchenko, first minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic

DONETSK – Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s statements on Kiev’s reluctance to fulfill the political points of the Minsk Agreements can be assessed as a refusal of a peaceful settlement, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakarchenko said on Sunday.

At the meeting with heads of ministries, departments and local administrations, Zakharchenko said: “Today we held drills connected with two things. Firstly, it is the acute escalation on the contact line. Secondly, it is the statement made by Pyotr Alekseyevich Poroshenko, in which he completely cancelled the Minsk Agreements and basically opened the new spiral of military actions.”

Poroshenko said earlier that Kiev refuses to implement the political part of the Minsk Agreements until the issue of ensuring security in the region is resolved, despite the fact that the sequence of steps in the process is fixed in the roadmap.

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