Fourth anniversary of Ilovaisk tragedy, Zakharchenko’s funeral and more – Weekly Update on Ukraine #69, August 27- September 2

Situation in the combat zone

Last week the situation in the combat zone tended to stabilize and stayed fully controlled by the Joint Forces. Russia-backed militants decreased the number of attacks though not ceasing them completely for the time of the so-called “school-time” ceasefire. Russia’s proxies were firing upon the Joint Forces’ positions in the area of Stanytsia Luhanska, Krymske, Novotoshkivske, Troitske, Svitlodarsk, Pivdenne, Novhorodske, Novomykhailivka, Pavlopil, Hnutove, Talakivka, Lebedynske and Vodiane. At the Horlivka direction militants used mortars in the area of Novhorodske.

OSCE.Last week the intensity of combat actions in eastern Ukraine decreased by 10 per cent, said Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Diplomatic front. The Normandy Four countries (France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia) are planning a meeting at the level of political directors (of the Foreign Affairs Ministries) in the second half of September, said the Foreign Affairs Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin.

“I will talk to him (the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian) in the nearest time as well as to Heiko (the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas), as we are planning a meeting of political directors on peacekeepers most probably in the second half of September,” Minister Klimkin told the Interfax Ukraine agency last week.

Fourth anniversary of the Ilovaisk tragedy.

Outside of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv activists held a rally called “Putin, you’ll be held liable for Ilovaisk”. They installed 366 white crosses on the road reminding of the victims of the Ilovaisk tragedy. Several hundreds of people took part in the rally including military, volunteers, family members and friends of the victims.

Zakharchenko’s murder: YouTube blocked the livestream of the funeral

YouTube blocked the livestream of the Russian TV channel “Tsargorod” and of the separatist channel “Oplot TV” of the funeral of Donetsk militant leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko. According to “Novosti Donbassa” news web site the message on the livestream was saying that it was blocked at the request of the Universal Music Group (UMG).

The exact reason for blocking is unknown. Both channels were livestreaming similarly from Zakharchenko’s funerals.

To remind, on August 31 the leader of the Donetsk militants Aleksandr Zakharchenko was killed in a blast in a restaurant in the center of Donetsk. “DPR” said that two persons were killed and nine were wounded in the blast.

Last goodbyes to Zakharchenko were paid on September 2 at the Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. Public sector employees and students were brought by the “DPR” to attend Zakharchenko’s funeral.

Russian media reported that suspects who had attempted the life of Zakharchenko were arrested in Donetsk. They said the detained were “Ukrainian subversives and the persons linked to them.” Acting “DPR” head Dmytro Trapeznikov said that the suspects in Zakharchenko’s murder had confirmed Ukraine’s involvement in the incident.

Read also: “’DPR’ head Aleksandr Zakharchenko killed: what’s next?”

Culture: Ukrainian film awarded in Portugal

Ukrainian film “Myth” narrating the life of opera singer and war veteran in Donbas Vasyl Slipak won one of the main awards at a film festival in Portugal, Ukraine’s Embassy in the country reported.

“Myth” was chosen best documentary at the Figueira Film Art – one of the country’s top festivals. Ivan Yasniy, one of the two film directors, received the award in person.

Vasyl Slipak lived in Paris for almost 20 years, he performed in the world’s most renowned opera houses as a lead singer. He was one of the organizers of the Paris-based Euromaidan. When the war started in eastern Ukraine, at first he was supporting the army with supplies, later he enrolled into a volunteer battalion.

Vasyl Slipak was killed outside Luhanske in Donetsk region on June 29. He was a machine gunner. His call sign at the frontline was “Myth”, short from “Mefistofele”. According to his brothers-in-arms the singer was killed by a sniper bullet, he died with a rifle in his hands while repelling a militant attack.