The Donstsk Rebels and Proxy Warfare

Donetsk Rebels and Russian Intelligence
The XX Committee | July 19, 2014

As the world tries to answer the question of who exactly fired the missile that shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, killing 298 innocent people, Moscow is doing its best to lie, obfuscate, shift blame, and evade responsibility. The Kremlin’s best-case scenario now is that local rebels in Ukraine’s Donetsk region who are under the operational control of Russian military intelligence (GRU), took it upon themselves to shoot down a passenger aircraft, using a Russian-supplied Buk (SA-11) anti-aircraft system, having mistaken it for an unarmed Ukrainian An-26 transport plane. The reality may be worse, and it will take time to establish the facts, particularly with Kremlin proxies obstructing the investigation, destroying evidence, hiding bodies, and acting as if the world is not watching this closely. The extent of Russian push-back suggests that Moscow has a great deal to hide.

Nevertheless, even if the shootdown was entirely the work of Donetsk locals, self-styled Cossacks with an itchy trigger finger and an excess of vodka, it bears noting that the pseudo-state there is in fact under the tight control of the Kremlin, in particular of its powerful intelligence agencies, what the Russians call the “special services.” The premier of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) is Aleksandr Boroday, a Russian citizen who, Pravda reported back in 2002, is a member of the special services, specifically the powerful Federal Security Service (FSB).* Boroday was appointed an FSB major-general at the tender age of thirty-five. In the FSB, Boroday worked in the sensitive “political field” and has been tied to Russian nationalist causes. Right now he is busy keeping investigators away from the MH17 crash site.

The DNR’s “defense minister” is the shadowy Igor Girkin, AKA Strelkov, another Russian citizen who has been the subject of much media commentary, given his belligerent actions and obvious power in the Donetsk area. Although he is reported to have an FSB background, he is a GRU asset now, according to U.S. intelligence, and serves as the local coordinator of Kremlin-controlled militias. Strelkov was gloating online about the Boeing 777 shootdown, thinking his forces had destroyed a Ukrainian An-26, then quickly deleted his comments. The DNR individual caught by Ukrainian intelligence on tape discussing the shootdown with GRU superiors is Igor Bezler, another longtime GRU operative with a murky past. It is important to note that the intercept confirmed that Bezler is fully within the GRU chain of command, as is the whole DNR military.

To illustrate just how tightly controlled by the Kremlin the DNR actually is, a little over a week ago it relieved its deputy premier for security, a Ukrainian, and replaced him with Vladimir Antufeyev, another Russian from the special services. Antufeyev previously served as the head of security in the Russian-controlled territory of Transdnistria. Russian media have reported that Antufeyev was brought to the DNR to “restore order” and tamp down in-fighting among some of the rebel bands. It is known that Boroday, Strelkov, and Antufeyev all worked together on behalf of the Russian special services during the 1990s conflict in Transdnistria.

Regardless of who exactly fired the missile that killed 298 innocent people, and who issued the order to do so, the Donetsk pseudo-state is a wholly-owned Kremlin subsidiary, with its top-three “power ministries” all in the hands of Russian citizens who are longtime creatures of Moscow’s special services. The only law in the DNR is Putin’s, as exercised through GRU channels. As such, it is difficult to imagine anyone undertaking any important decision there without Kremlin approval and the go-ahead of Russian intelligence.

*It has recently been claimed that this article was a “joke” — some joke — but Boroday’s affiliation with the special services since the 1990s is admitted by the Russian media.


“Bravo” section of Information Resistance group: separatist/collaborationist movements in Ukraine
Dmitry Tymchuk
Information Resistance | 04.10.2014

Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

NOTE: Complete data on the leaders of organizations are already in the possession of intelligence services.

Currently in the border regions of our state, representatives of individual structures of the Russian Federation have increased their activity in order to use Russian minorities to provoke autonomist and separatist sentiments, as well as creating conditions to violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine. One of the structures that creates these prerequisites is the all-Russian political youth organization: “Eurasian Youth Union” (ECM).

Among its active leaders are the following Russian citizens (list). The aforementioned Russian citizens, using the media and Internet, openly support the idea of ​​the need to separate the Southeasatern regions of Ukraine, followed by their accession to the Russian Federation. At the same time, they call for the formation of volunteer brigades from among the citizens of the Russian Federation for the support and protection of the Russian-speaking population from “armed gangs” operating on the territory of our state. Information materials of their announcements were broadcast and circulated on air on Russian TV channels, Internet media and through “Youtube.”

At the same time, in recent years, the aforementioned Russian citizens have been actively engaged, associated with the initiation of infringement of the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine by the representatives of the “ECM” (data confirmed by numerous third-party sources). As activists, they spread calls for the recognition of the legality of the annexation of Crimea to Russia, and the necessity of further transition of the Southeastern regions of Ukraine under Russian jurisdiction, while actively promoting separatist appeals.

Separately, it should be noted that currently, the presence of the “ECM” figures has been recorded in Crimea, and in the Southeastern regions since the beginning of March of this year, as well as their efforts to inflame national enmity and hatred, humiliation of national honor and dignity of the citizens of Ukraine.


Coordination of separatist movements in Ukraine

In the course of our work, we received reliable data regarding the inspiration of specified manifestations directly from the territory of Crimea. It has been established that the organization of numerous separatist protests, coordination of the activity network of pro-Russian activists in the southeastern regions of our country, including its funding (which comes from Russia), are performed by the self-proclaimed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, S. Aksenov and his inner circle.

We have also been able to establish the radical individuals who are organizing and coordinating the secessionist acts in the southeastern regions of Ukraine.

In particular, in the territory of Odesa region this activity is carried out by:

– the organization’s leadership of the political party “Russian unity” in Odesa (…); – one of the organizers of the so-called “Antimaidan” in Odesa (…).

In Kharkiv oblast [region]:

– one of the journalists, the head of a PR agency, chief editor of online publication (…); – one of the leaders of the organization that unites veterans of “Berkut” (…).

In Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts:

– one of the participants of the representative office of the NGO “International anti-terrorism unity” in the Luhansk oblast (…); – one of the leaders of the self-organizing unregistered PO [Public Organization] “Militia of Donbas” (…); – as well as individuals (…).

Organizations that fully engage in separatist activity, or representatives of which are in one or another way taking part in the current events:

Kharkiv oblast

Registered organizations:
– Kharkiv City PO [Public Organization] “Oplot [Stronghold].”
– Kharkiv City PO “For cultural and language equality.”
– Union of Soviet Officers.
– Kharkiv Rayon [District] PO “Liubotyn Cossack Sotnia [Squad].”
– Kharkiv Rayon PO “The Tersk Cossacks of Kharkiv.”
– Kharkiv Rayon PO “Chervonohrad Cossack Sotnia.”
– Kharkiv Rayon PO “Lozove Cossack Sotnia.”
– Kharkiv Rayon PO “Saltiv Cossack Sotnia.”
– CPU [Communist Party of Ukraine].
– PSPU [Progressive Socialistic Party of Ukraine].

Unregistered organizations:
– “Velikaya Rus [Great Rus].”
– “Borba [Struggle].”
– “Narodnoye Yedinstvo [People’s Unity].”
– “Defenders of Kharkiv City.”
– “Ukrainian Eastern Block.”
– “Sut Vremeni [Essense of Time].”
– “Union of Citizens of Ukraine.”
– “Rus Triedinaya [Rus the Triune].”

Donetsk Oblast

Registered organizations:
– Donetsk City PO “Monolit.”
– Donetsk Oblast Youth PO “Union of Born by Revolution.”
– Donetsk Oblast PO “Russian Community.”
– Donetsk Oblast PO “Russian Union of Donbas [Donetsk Basin].”
– Donetsk Oblast Organization of the “Russkiy Block” [Russian Block] party.
– Donetsk Oblast PO “Rus of Donbas.”
– PO “Committee of Electors of Donbas.”
– Donetsk Oblast PO “Union of Citizens of Ukraine.”
– Donetsk City PO “Crew of Navy Veterans.”
– Union of Cossack Organizations of Ukraine.

Unregistered organizations:
– PO “Donetskaya Respublika [Donetsk Republic].”
– PO “Vostochnyy Front [Eastern Front].”
– PO “Narodnoye Opolcheniye Donbasa [Citizens-in-Arms of Donbas].”
– PO “Federatsiya Borey [Boreas Federation].”
– Khartsyzsk Kosh [Camp] of the Ukrainian Cossacks.
– Novo-Azovsk Stanitsa [Village] of the Don Cossacks.
– Donetsk PO “Vsevelikoye Voisko Donskoye [All-Great Army of Don].”

Luhansk Oblast

Registered organizations:
– All-Ukrainian PO “Moloda Gvardiya” [Youth Guard].
– PO “Luhansk Guard.”
– All-Ukrainian PO “Ukrainskiy Vybor [Ukrainian Choice].”
– Oblast National PO “Russkaya Obshchina [Russian Community].”
– Oblast Society “Russkoye Naslediye [Russian Legacy].”
– PO “Russian Union of Donbas in Luhansk Oblast.”
– PO “Luhansk Okrug [county] of the Don Cossacks.”

Unregistered organizations:
– Self-Defense of Luhansk.
– General Denikin Luhansk Volunteer Brigade.
– “The Great Army of Don” (registered in RF [Russian Federation]).
– “Union of Cossack Troops of Russian and the Abroad” (registered in RF).


Ukraine rebels recruiting in Moscow
An open-secret office in capital signs up volunteers for war
Anna Arutunyan
USA TODAY | August 8, 2014

Ukrainian rebels are openly recruiting fighters, raising money and collecting combat gear here in Russia’s capital, even as the Kremlin denies backing the pro-Russia fighters.

The recruiting office in Moscow for the Donetsk People’s Republic doesn’t have a street address, but volunteers can join by calling a number or writing an e-mail. Even the U.S. State Department acknowledged last month that the office exists and that Russia allows it.

Word of the recruiting effort is spread through colorful fliers and banners calling on Russians to "Join Strelkov’s Army" — referring to Igor Strelkov, a former Russian security officer who heads the insurgency’s militia — displayed at rallies in Moscow and on the Internet.

The recruiting comes as the Ukrainian military is intensifying its campaign against the pro-Russia insurgents and is closing in on the largest rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, Russia has amassed about 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s eastern border, NATO said.

Detailed instructions about the recruitment office appeared in June on Russia’s VKontakte social network, on the page of the Donbass People’s Militia.

Artur Gasparyan, a volunteer fighter from Armenia, told Russia’s Radio Svoboda that after his second attempt to contact the VKontakte group, several unidentified men met with him and 10 other recruits in Moscow before he was sent to fight in Ukraine.

A flier from Strelkov’s militia requesting "humanitarian aid" listed a variety of combat gear, such as army boots, optical sights for AK-47s, night-vision glasses and camouflage. The items were being collected by a group called the Foundation for Aid to Novorossiya and Donbass.

During a Moscow rally last week, the group filled a 5-ton truck with food, clothes and military equipment. Among the donated items was a generator for an armored personnel carrier.

"Ordinary people will get this aid. Of course, some of this is for the militiamen. It will go straight to the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic," said Sergei Zakharov, a Ukraine resident in Moscow to help the group, as men loaded boxes into the truck.


Russian aid said not getting from Luhansk to Strelkov

Text of Vladimir Dergachev report headlined "The DPR and LPR no longer expect military assistance from Russia. ‘Practically nothing is reaching Strelkov’" published by Russian news website, often critical of the government, on 6 August:

There’ll be no military assistance from Moscow, the militiamen should look to themselves -such are the results of the recent dialogue of the military command of the self-proclaimed republics with representatives of Moscow, a source close to the leadership of the republics told Meanwhile, the area of the antiterrorist operation is shrinking constantly: the Ukrainian military has cut off Luhansk and Horlivka from Donetsk and announced an imminent assault on the city.

It is claimed that representatives of Russia told the military command of the self-proclaimed republics that Moscow would not agree to direct military intervention. "The command is vexed and has thus far only noted the fact. It is possible that there will be clarification later," the source told

Aleksandr Zhuchkovskiy, coordinator of "non-humanitarian aid" to the DPR and the LPR, explained to that support continues to come from Russia, but "this consists rather of initiatives of private individuals. This is not enough and cannot effect a fundamental change in the situation." "Furthermore, the assistance is coming across the border with the LPR, and it’s not known where it is accumulating. Practically nothing is reaching the DPR and Igor Strelkov. Whence the thoughts that so popular a leader is only getting in everyone’s way and that everyone would have been happy for him to have died heroically while still in Slovyansk,"’s source says.

But Zhuchkovskiy maintains that the militiamen could keep up the defence of Donetsk, despite the statements of the Ukrainian military, "for a very long time" yet and that there’ll be no repetition of the Slovyansk surrender situation.

"Slovyansk would still have been held, it is simply that people would have continued to have died in their hundreds. There are always plans to evacuate, even when everything is going well. But as for the expediency, it’s hard for me to say: there is a multitude of interconnected factors here. By the Slovyansk logic, all cities could be abandoned altogether lest people die, but the situation in Donetsk nonetheless differs from Slovyansk," he argues. "And proximity to the Russian Federation border affords advantages, although these advantages are not operating for the time being for an understandable reason. A withdrawal could be secured -with fighting, of course. In order to leave Slovyansk, we had to punch through a corridor and carry out diversionary manoeuvres. I’m hoping that it will not come to this in Donetsk: no-one is talking about the surrender of the city at this time, this subject is not discussed." is informed that intensive arguments about whether Moscow will support the militiamen are taking place in the political leadership of the republics and its missions in Russia. The official position of the state amounts, as earlier, to "benevolent neutrality".

"Moscow, as has been said repeatedly, was not originally a party to the conflict. And it said that this would be a violation of proceedings within the Geneva agreement. Moscow is lending humanitarian, diplomatic, and moral support, but there has been no documented corroboration of all the speculation about supplies of heavy equipment," political analyst Iosif Diskin said.

Konstantin Dolgov, co-chairman of the Novorossiya Popular Front and former Kharkiv "anti-Maydaner," who fled to Moscow from under arrest, which had been caused by his support for the pro-Russia separatists, assured that the militiamen are counting on the collapse of Ukraine as a consequence of likely fall revolts. Dolgov believes that revolts on account of the unhappiness with inflation, the non-disbursement of pay and pensions, the lack of gas, and the increased military losses, will flare up in many Ukrainian cities at this time.

Military experts questioned earlier also confirmed for that the republics’ reserve of strength has proved higher than expected. Aleksandr Golts, chief editor of Yezhednevnyy Zhurnal, expressed the opinion that Kiev will be fortunate if it can complete the antiterrorist operation by spring. Despite the fact that the area of the antiterrorist operation is shrinking and connections between Luhansk and Donetsk are weakening, and the ring around the militia outposts is tightening, the Ukrainian troops’ logistic support is trailing.

In addition, individual contingents have been pulled away to accomplish local assignments and repel guerrilla attacks, and some brigades are ending up surrounded. It is possible that Kiev will have to begin in the fall a new draft wave to smash the self-proclaimed republics, which would require additional mobilization measures under the conditions of a weakening economy.

It is interesting that Polish Premier Daniel Tusk said in an interview with the authoritative Polish Gazeta Wyborcza on Wednesday that the Poles have information that "the threat of direct intervention is undeniably greater now than just several days or months ago."

Source: website, Moscow, in Russian 0000 gmt 6 Aug 14


Rough justice by Ukrainian rebels
‘Punishment brigades’ are used to help defend militants’ besieged capital
New York Times | August 6, 2014


With Ukraine’s military tightening a cordon around this city controlled by separatist rebels, Oleg Grishin found himself enlisted this week in one of their plans for its defense: the forced labor of drunks, drug addicts and curfew violators to dig trenches and build barriers.

Sweat streaked his face. Yet with a militant commander standing nearby, he had no complaints about the stooped toiling in the sun. ”What can I say? I was drunk, I was guilty, they are right,” he mumbled.

Donetsk, the rebel capital, is now isolated by the siege, which the Ukrainian Army managed to achieve over the weekend. Government troops appear to have closed a gap in the encirclement with fighting over the past week near the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down last month, despite appeals by international monitors to refrain from combat near the wreckage and still uncollected remains of some victims.

Encircled, Donetsk is now the main redoubt of the pro-Russian insurgency. It is an apprehensive place.

Glum-looking detainees, seized by the rebel authorities for minor infractions, dig ditches, fill sandbags, clear brush and peel potatoes. More serious violations have been met with summary executions, according to some rebel leaders.

Igor Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer and now the separatist defense minister who uses the name Igor Strelkov, or Igor the Shooter, has declared a state of siege in the city and said he is now the ”military commandant” of Donetsk. He promulgated an order allowing militants to commandeer private vehicles, medical supplies and whatever else is needed for the war effort, further putting residents on edge.

The separatists and Russia accuse the Ukrainian government of attacking civilian areas. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday questioned why President Petro O. Poroshenko had stated publicly that he was committed to a peaceful solution, yet seemed intent on a military offensive.

The current military operations contradict his statements, said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, calling that unacceptable. ”This is frustrating,” she said. ”We don’t know which Poroshenko we can trust – the first one or the second.”

Ms. Zakharova said military exercises announced by Russia near the Ukrainian border were within Russia’s rights. ”On our territory, we can do what we want,” Ms. Zakharova said. ”Our troops are not crossing the border.”

In Donetsk, the detainee crews are called ”punishment brigades.” Along with the artillery craters in outlying districts, these detainees form part of the new cityscape. Often, the men are forced to work stripped to their underwear.

Mr. Grishin, 25, who was detained for drunkenness, worked at the Zemlyankin checkpoint in Donetsk. ”God forbid the Ukrainians attack now,” he said while clearing brush from a roadside.

The rebel commander, known by his nickname, Lukich, said he treated the detainees humanely. The practice achieves two objectives, he said: imposing the social rules infused with Russian Orthodox Christian values of the new state, while helping the city’s defenses. Drug addicts are summarily sentenced to trench digging.

”If they cause some harm to society, we keep them here for 15 days,” he said. ”They live with us, they work, and they realize their mistakes.”

Maksim Bondar, 22, was forced to dig after his estranged girlfriend complained to militants that he had threatened her in a custody dispute over their daughter. ”She complained to the militia, and I ended up here,” he said. ”The commander said, ‘You need to marry her if you want rights to your child,’ and so I dug trenches.”

Bogdan Forsenko, 25, said he was riding his bicycle after curfew carrying a jerrycan of gasoline for his car, and was picked up for appearing suspicious. He sweated in the same fetid clothes he wore that night last week, and said he did not know whether his relatives knew his whereabouts.

”There’s a war, and I had gasoline,” he said, also interviewed with a militant gunman nearby. ”What can I say? They didn’t like it.”

A deputy prime minister in the insurgency, Vladimir Antyufeyev, conceded in an interview that the summary justice risked alienating the population. He said that he intended to separate the militants’ police and military functions, and set up courts and prosecutors.

For now, no court is needed, the commander known as Lukich said, because many detainees confess. More serious offenders go to a secret-police building in Donetsk that is a headquarters for Mr. Strelkov.

Outside that building is a scene of despair. Dozens of women seeking sons or husbands mill about behind a sandbag barrier for a grim nightly ritual. The warden of the makeshift prison emerges to read out family names of the detained, usually numbering about 50.

”Everybody says we should have gotten out,” said Olya Leonova, who was waiting for news of her brother, Pyotr Dyomin, who is 51, has two children and has not been answering his phone. He could be in a punishment brigade, she said. ”I’m hoping that’s where he is now – in his underwear, digging. At least then I would know where he is.”

Svetlana Rozova, a psychologist who works with refugees in Ukrainian territory for an aid group, Dnepr Help, described in a telephone interview treating former detainees. Some are held in basements for weeks. Some patients had fingernails pulled out or were beaten severely enough to break ribs.

”They all arrive in a state of shock,” she said. ”They don’t understand what has happened to them, they don’t accept it. They are crying. They are fearful, aggressive. This is not a small matter. People’s psychological health is broken by these experiences.”


Red Cross employees reportedly captured by rebels in east Ukraine

Pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine have taken hostage three representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), Andriy Lysenko, has told a briefing in Kiev on 6 August, broadcast live by the news-based 5 Kanal.

According to him, such reports emerged after an intercepted phone conversation between the militants was published by the Ukrainian intelligence.

Lysenko added that NSDC did not have information as to the exact number of the ICRC representatives being held captive by the militants.

"We only know the fact that these people were captured. I think that the ICRC will react shortly, because we have reported this to them," Lysenko said.

Below is the text of the conversation between militants called Valdis, Box and Wild, whose audio was broadcast by 5 Kanal.

[Alleged voice of Valdis, in Russian] Hi there. Are there any ICRC members in the city?

[Alleged voice of Box, in Russian] Is there an emergency?

[Valdis] No, a car is parked here and it has an ICRC sign on it. Find out what kind of company it is.

[Alleged voice of Wild, in Russian] It is Wild here. Your people have fucked up with the Red Cross.

[Valdis] Yeah.

[Wild] These people can move around. They are a normal Red Cross.

[Valdis] Normal? But they have no written permits on them… [ellipsis as published]

[Wild] It does not matter. This Red Cross is like OSCE, only normal kind of guys. We have fucked others out of here.

[Valdis] I see. But we have an order to detain them.

[Wild] Who issued the order?

[Valdis] Box, the commander of my group. The third unit from Khmuryy [Grim] (deputy of Igor Girkin) [aka Strelok, Russian national, self-proclaimed defence minister of the so-called Donetsk people’s republic].

[Wild] I will talk to Khmuryy now.

[Valdis] What should we do with the Red Cross?

[Box] They have sorted it out. Take them to prison.

[Valdis] We have three people here: a driver, an interpreter and one employee of this company. Where do we take them? Lock them down there or…They have written an explanatory note already.

[Box] The First (Girkin) said that they must stay under arrest. Let them stay this way.

[Valdis] Then we are taking them down. Let them stay there.

Source: 5 Kanal TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0934 gmt 6 Aug 14


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