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War in Donbass: 3,600 Civilians Killed by Ukrainian Forces and Neo-Nazi Militia since Minsk II Agreement

by Theo Russell, from Global Reasearch

According to figures obtained from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) authorities, since the February 2015 Minsk II agreement over 3,600 civilians have died in the republic due to shelling, sniper and other attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

donetskThe DPR, along with the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), broke away from Ukraine in May 2014 following ‘status referendums’, and on 24 May the two separatist republics signed an agreement creating a confederation, Novorossiya, but the region is more widely known as the Donbass.

After the February 2014 coup in Kiev, an ‘Anti-Maidan’ movement rapidly grew in the largely Russian-speaking Donbass, Odessa and Crimea regions, which sought to prevent the far-right groups which hijacked in the ‘Euromaidan’ protests entering their towns and cities.

Their fears were confirmed by the Odessa Trade Union House fire on 2 May 2014, in which at least 50 Anti-Maidan supporters died when the building was surrounded by a far-right mob and petrol-bombed.

There are reports of civilian casualties caused by Ukrainian strikes on the rebel republics on an almost daily basis. On 28 August, according to residents of the Petrovsky district of Donetsk city, a Ukrainian sniper shot two women dead.

It was hoped that Minsk II, which followed the September 2014 Minsk Protocol and was signed by Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Holland and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, would bring the war in eastern Ukraine to an end, paving the way for elections and separate status for the two Donbass ‘people’s republics’.

However low-level clashes have continued unabated for the past 18 months, with increasing warnings of escalation and a build-up of forces and equipment by the Ukrainian side in recent months. Tensions were heightened three weeks ago by allegations of armed incursions by Ukrainian forces into Crimea.

According to data obtained recently from the DPR authorities, 3,609 civilians died in strikes by Ukrainian forces between 13 February 2015 and 26 August 2016, of which 3,133 were men, 476 women, 65 children and 352 “unknown”.

In addition, figures from the DPR Ministry of Utilities and Housing Construction state that up 20 July 2016 4,359 ‘multi-family housing’ were damaged, of which 54 are irreparable, and 6,307 private houses damaged, of which 1,853 are irreparable.

As the neighbouring Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) has also experienced similar military strikes and civilian casualties, a very rough estimate would suggest that at least 6,000 civilians have died in strikes by Ukrainian forces on the Donbass republics since Minsk II.

Obtaining accurate figures for casualties in the war in eastern Ukraine is extremely difficult due to the unstable and insecure situation on the ground, and the fact that the conflict is highly politicised and controversial not only locally, but across Europe and globally.

On 3 August the UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun reported to the UN Security Council that the total number of conflict-related casualties since the Ukrainian government launched its ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ in April 2014 was 30,729, including 9,333 killed and 21,396 injured.

nazis-ukraine

But the report provides no breakdown of where the casualties have occurred other than “in the conflict area”, and there is no indication of which side was responsible.

According to the latest figures from the UN Human Rights Office and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, from February 2015 to June 2016 261 civilians were killed in the conflict on both sides – far fewer than the DPR’s figures would suggest.

However, the UNHRO stresses that its figures are a “conservative estimate of the OHCHR based on available data” which are “incomplete due to gaps in coverage of certain geographic areas and time periods, and due to overall under-reporting”.

In February 2015, press reports quoted claims from the German BND intelligence service that 50,000 civilians and servicemen people had died in the Ukraine conflict, almost 10 times than figures given by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshkenko only days before, which said 1,200 Ukrainian soldiers and 5,400 civilians had died.

In fact the Ukraine government does not appear to have any accurate figures for civilian casualties in the conflict. A report in May quoting Mykhailo Koval, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, says “Russia-backed militants have killed 10,000 Ukrainians and injured more than 20,000 over the past two years” – a strangely precise number, but with no breakdown of civilian and military casualties, or locations.

The only other body providing detailed information on casualties in the conflict is the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SSM) to Ukraine, which has over 570 unarmed civilian monitors in the conflict region. But apart from daily updates, the SMM has provided no total figures for casualties in the conflict, although it has issued reports on the displacement of civilians, access to water, and “Gender Dimensions of SMM’s Monitoring”.

Relations between the DPR and LPR governments and the OSCE mission have been deteriorating for months. The people’s republics claim its reporting is biased towards the Ukrainian side, while the OSCE alleges its monitors are being harassed on the territories of the republics.

On 29 August the DPR’s Defence Ministry claimed OSCE observers had refused to register damage caused by Ukrainian shelling of Yasinivataya, just north of Donetsk city, “explaining this by the absence of security in this area”.

Last April, the Donbass International News Agency reported that the OSCE mission failed to report heavy shelling of Zaitsevo, a village close to the frontline by Ukrainian forces. At the time Zaitsevo was a flashpoint stoking fears of a return to all-out war, with over a thousand residents denied electricity, gas and humanitarian aid for several months.

It was also claimed in April that the OSCE failed report the shelling of a hospital in Yelenovka, despite reporting another shelling only 880 meters away. According to reports from the DPR side, 6 civilians were killed and 10 wounded in the two strikes.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine’s mandate states that its mission is “to reduce tensions and to help foster peace, stability and security” by engaging “with authorities at all levels, as well as civil society, ethnic and religious groups and local communities to facilitate dialogue on the ground”.

Last May, the leaders of the DPR reacted strongly to claims by Petro Poroshenko’s press office that the other leaders of the ‘Normandy four’ contact group (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) had approved the deployment of an armed OSCE police force to the region, which according to Poroshenko would be “well-armed with heavy weapons”.

The most senior members of the DPR government, Denis Pushilin and Alexander Zakharchenko said such a force would be “foreign intervention”, and Zakharchenko called on Kiev to make a real effort for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, “rather than trying to arm the OSCE to seize the Donbass”.

It is important to bear in mind that the ‘Armed Forces of Ukraine’ include 84 far right and neo-Nazi militias who were incorporated into the AFU last year. These forces are extremely undisciplined, and to this day they continue to run amok across Ukraine, mounting racist, anti-semitic, anti-communist and homophobic attacks, murdering journalists, threatening and intimidating judges, and frequently kidnapping defendants when they are released by the courts.

These militias have played a major role in the ongoing clashes on the contact line with the Donbass, as well as deliberately targeting civilians on the DPR and LPR side in various ways.

The latest ceasefire announced on 1 September announced by the ‘Trilateral Contact Group’ (Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE) showed promise of holding for several days, building hopes of a return to talks on the implementing of Minsk agreements, but already the Ukrainian side is alleging violations by the DPR and LPR.

Despite the problems with obtaining a clear picture of casualties in the eastern Ukraine conflict, what is clear is that up to now the fighting has continued with civilian and military casualties on both sides, and this has blocked any prospect of a resolution allowing separate status for the Donbass republics.

Given the huge variations in figures given by the various parties, the latest very detailed data from the Donetsk People’s Republic authorities should be given serious consideration by observers.


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18 Comments

  1. Connections:
    Kegan: one of the authors of the war on terror and the New American Century – pre 9/11
    Nuland [Kegan’s wife]: The mid-wife of the Miadan Coup.

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  2. Fellow bloggers if u want to get some alt news to msm on the Donbas http://www.fort-russ.com/https://syncreticstudies.com/http://katehon.com/http://novorossia.today/https://dninews.com/
    Yanakocvich was petrified of Nuland . During the beginning of the manufactured colour revolution u can c Yankovich meeting with Nuland and literally shaking in her presence. Further more famous “Fuk the Eu and Nuland virtually midwifing the coupd’etat and “Yats the guy” phrase. Caught red handed on recording . The Washington consensus can never live this event down and history will always show the imperialist hand of Pax -Americana/washington consensus on what they did to Ukraine . They have only themselves to blame . Look at the rhetoric that is coming out of washington and London with regards to Russia . Its always the Russians fault . Portion has poisoned everybody from Litvenko to Hillary hitler in drag.

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  3. Please note the armband on the Neo-nazi goons above. It carries the logo of the Svoboda is Ukraine’s fourth biggest party holding 36 seats out of 450 in parliament. They’re also part of the Alliance of European National Movements along with the British National Party (BNP) and Jobbik.

    This is their old logo, a Wolfsangel rune, a common symbol for European neo-Nazi organizations. It was formerly used by the militarised Waffen SS divisions during WW2

    It was also the symbol of the Patriots of Ukraine, a paramilitary organisation Svoboda went hand in hand with until 2004. Add to this the Proto-nazis of Right Sector (Parviy Sektor) descendants of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), Stepan Bandera’s outfit whose red and black flag has been a feature of the Maidan and (ironically) which was copied from the flag of the short-lived Spanish Republic. The UPA were responsible for the ethnic cleansing in the west Ukraine between 1943-45 where tens of thousands of ‘non-pure’ ethnic groups, Russians, Jews, and particularly Poles were massacred. The Kiev junta has seen fit to rehabilitate the UPA rebranding them as ‘freedom fighters’

    Another outfit which fought alongside the UPA was the 14th Waffen SS Division which was composed many of Ukrainians from the Galicia region augmented by other eastern European nazi elements. This group was driven out of the Ukraine in 1945 by the Red Army and eventually surrendered to the western allies in Italy. Many of its former members sought and got political asylum in Canada and the US. The UPA fought on until the early 1950s until it was finally liquidated by the Soviet forces.

    Bandera himself, who has statues lovingly adorned all over the western and central Ukraine, particularly in the nazi rat’s – nest, Lviv, got whacked by a KGB hitman in Munich in 1959.

    Thus Naziism has a long history in Ukraine its ideological godfather being one Dimitry Dontsov. It was a sleeping monster which was awakened by the Maidan events. Petty fuhrers include Tyahnybok, Yarosh, Lyashko, Parubiy, Biletsky, and the most recent recruit, Savchenko. Bear in mind this does not include the nazi-infested volunteer battalions, Azov, Aidar, DonBass responsible for much of the human rights abuses in the East.

    The point is that the ultra-nationalists are not some lunatic fringe of the sort more common in western Europe, they are a powerful political force – moreover, an armed and out of control political force. They represent one side of the political balance, on the other side of the scales are the oligarchs, Kolomoisky, Pinchuk, Akhetov, a motley represent a fractious coalition representing no-one but themselves – Poroshenko is usually identified with the faction. These are the only two internal political forces at present relevant to the Ukrainian imbroglio.
    Given the existence of what is effectively dual power, Poroshenko’s ability to act is essentially circumscribed. He might want to conduct peace negotiations and implement the Minsk II accords, but this would enrage the storm-troopers of the Maidan, who wish the war to continue, and threaten a new Maidan if there is any sign of appeasement, as they see it. One also suspects the Americans also wish the war to continue in order to keep the pot of destabilization of Ukraine boiling on Russia’s border.

    So a low-intensity war continues. It is meant to give the impression that Poroshenko is doing something – and keeping his ultras and the US onside – whereas in fact he is doing nothing, at least nothing decisive. A Ukrainian army of 200,000 sits around at enormous costs doing nothing, other than conducting artillery duels with the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF), engaging in botched sabotage operations (in Crimea) and killing civilians. In the meantime, the Ukraine sinks further and further into the mire of economic and political catastrophe. The fruits of Russophobia – enjoy!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Seamus Padraig says

      FOOTNOTE: Andriy Parubiy, who co-founded Svoboda years ago, worked (in)security for the protestors on the Maidan. After the coup, he was appointed to Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council overseeing the war against Donbass, then became an MP and is now Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

      Remember that the next time some NATO troll tells you ‘there are no Nazis in the Ukrainian government’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seamus Padraig says

        Forgot to add: Svoboda was founded as the ‘Social-Nationalist Party of Ukraine’ – a clear nod to Hitler’s National Socialist Party.

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          • deschutes says

            All blatantly, defiantly, proudly pro-Goebbels and pro-Neo Nazi–but according to western mainstream media these facts are all lies….its just a smear tactic by ‘Russia sympathizers’! LOL! Or, when presented with photos of Ukraine army wearing Nazi wolfs-angel armbands, trucks with swastikas painted on it, etc.–the pro-Ukraine dorks whine….”it was photoshopped”. LOL! Fuckin’ losers.

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  4. James Carless says

    Ever wonder why there were no front page pictures of child victims from the Dombass region in the western MSM ?
    Unworthy victims, because a whole ethnic group who had lived there for hundreds of years in the eastern Ukraine, had been unilaterally labeled ” Terrorists” by the EU/US friendly oligarchs.
    Why ?
    Because a civil war cannot be legally funded,but a war on Terror has no rules and any twisted logic for targeting civilians,their houses and superstructure, anything goes.
    Including ethnic cleansing,then apply the public blinkers with the simple meme :”It’s all Putin’s fault !”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. archie1954 says

    Well this is very interesting! It seems that the fascists (neoNazis) are rampaging through Ukraine supported by the US and NATO. You know nations are known by the company they keep. The US is grossly hypocritical when it tells others to do as we say and not as we do. That particular superpower supports terrorism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and it supports Nazi like pogroms and destruction in Ukraine. Is there anything more you would like to know about the World’s most evil nation?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. paulcarline says

    Extremely happy to see this issue being given space by Off-Guardian. This is the ‘almost hidden war crime’ happening on the eastern borders of Europe – not in some remote part of the globe. It’s almost hidden solely because of the appalling bias of Western news media, which still continue to tell the lies about the “annexation” of Crimea and “Russian aggression”, and the equally appalling bias of EU politicians, who warmly welcome the war criminal and illegal head of state Petro Poroshenko to their meetings.

    Theo Russell exposes the crimes that the supposedly neutral OSCE is for whatever reason failing to report (perhaps due to an obsession with ‘appearing to be neutral’). The current head of the OSCE, Lamberto Zannier, is a career politician who spent around 8 years working for NATO. OSCE’s current Chairperson-in-Office is German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, from whom, in view of the German government’s position on Russia, we can hardly expect genuine neutrality.

    The main problem is the OSCE’s failure to distinguish between illegitimate aggression (by the UAF) and legitimate defence (by the Donbas militias).

    Liked by 3 people

    • DavidKNZ says

      Not just the Main Stream Media.

      I looked up https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_military_intervention_in_Ukraine_(2014-present).
      [ Surely, I thought, an encyclopedia would be factual ]
      It is a substantial (100,000 word) detailed account buttressed up with over 500 footnotes. On first reading it appeared to be a factual account of Russian transgressions against the newly emerging democracy of Ukraine. Yet no mention of the Maidan event so well documented , nor of the brutalities of the Ukrainian ATO, nor of the world class refugee work by Russia, (surprising underreported.)
      No Nuland cookies, no Soros interventions. No Accounting for the $5 Billion “invested” by the US

      So I dug a little further.
      The extensive references were mostly to western MSM or surrogates eg
      TIME – 55 references
      Reuters – 37
      Guardian – 35
      BBC – 35
      Kyiv Times – 21
      The Washington Post – 17

      Further, there was considerable cirularity – an article in Time references an article the the Guardian which in turn references the BBC and so on. Oh what tangled webs we weave.
      There’s also a link ( as well as 9 references) to that font of Western Truth, BellingCat.

      So another Idol bit the dust.
      But questions remain.
      This was an extensive article, albeit propaganda.
      It would have cost a LOT to produce.
      Who paid?? Ans what is the expected ROI??
      As they say, follow the money.

      Liked by 1 person

        • DavidKNZ says

          Its always a little sad to find something you considered objective and trustworthy is just not so.

          I now no longer trust Wikipedia on Politics..
          .. Its like ‘The Readers Digest’ on steroids 😦

          Liked by 2 people

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