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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK APR. 30 – MAY 4
22:20, 4 May 2018

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK APR. 30 – MAY 4

Donbas Conflict, Joint Forces Operation, Holodomor, political prisoners in Russia, May 2 tragedy in Odesa, fire in Balakliya- main events of the week in Ukraine on one page

22:20, 4 May 2018

Ant-Terrorist Operation in Donbas ends replaced by the Joint Forces Operation

Donbas conflict area

Fire in Balakliya

Anniversary of May 2 tragedy in Odesa and recognition of Holodomor

The attack on Ukrainian MP Mustafa Nayem

112 Agency

Ant-Terrorist Operation in Donbas ends replaced by the Joint Forces Operation

As of April 30, the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donbas has officially been replaced by the Joint Forces Operation (JFO).

The format change of the Anti-Terrorist Operation to the Joint Forces Operation is provided by the law on Donbas reintegration. According to the law, the Joint Operation Headquarters is the main HQ in the Donbas conflict zone. Read about the main differences between the two operations.

On April 30, the press service of the headquarters of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) stops its work due to this change. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko declared that the Anti-Terror Operation in Donbas is completed. signed order on the start of Joint Forces Operation the same day.

Serhiy Nayev, the Joint Force Commander during the briefing at Donetsk Regional Civil-Military Administration said that the escalation in Donbas Conflict zone due to the beginning of Joint Forces Operation (JFO) is not predicted. Nayev also noted that the significant efforts will aim to strengthen the positions of Ukraine's Armed Forces at the contact line.

Related: Siil 2018 drills kick off in Estonia

Donbas conflict area

The military action’s nature in the combat area has not changed much over the week; Russian militants and regular troops of the Russian army have been landing attacks on positions of Ukrainian warriors and the residential quarters.

On Monday, the police of Donetsk region reported that over the first four months of this year, they detained 86 fighters of the local pro-Russian armed units. Ukraine’s State Security Service, the SBU, counted the casualties among its agents over four years of the ongoing conflict; meanwhile, Joint Force Commander said that the frequency of inspections at checkpoints in Donbas will drop. On Wednesday, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) imposed personal economic sanctions against legal and physical entities involved in the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

On May 3, Head of OSCE SMM in Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan claimed that constant non-observing of the Minsk Agreements threatens the work of the Donetsk Filtration Station and puts the civilians at risk. According to him, almost 100 violations of the ceasefire were observed on May 2 near the Donetsk Filtration Station.

Another case of the use of a laser weapon is observed in Donbas. Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's interior minister reported this at Friday briefing in Kyiv. 'One of our fighters sustained injuries due to the use of laser weaponry, which damages the retina. It concerns, above all, the border guards who observe the situation, using respective equipment all the time. It's not the first time that they used this weapon against fighters of the State Border Guard and the National Guard of Ukraine. We are now considering the countermeasures, such as filters, protective goggles et cetera, but the fact remains - the Russian aggressors have been using a new kind of weapon against us,' Avakov said. The minister added that Ukraine intends to raise the issue of using laser weapons on the international level.

On April 30, Ukrainian border guards marked the Border Guard Day – for the first time since the date of this professional holiday was changed. Previously, it was celebrated on May 28. The change took place due to the presidential decree – to mark the centenary of Ukraine’s Border Guard, originally created in 1918. Ukrainian border guards paid a tough price for their active part in the current military conflict in Donbas; 70 of them have perished since the hostilities began in April 2014.

One of the most discussed news this week appears to be the one about the Javelins, the U.S. anti-tank missile launchers, reaching Ukraine. This actually happened several weeks ago; the media and the U.S. government confirmed this. On the other hand, the army has not yet officially adopted the new equipment, Joint Force Commander said. Since the beginning of Russia's military aggression in the spring of 2014, Ukraine has been negotiating with the United States on the supply of lethal weapons. Previously, Washington supplied Kyiv with only non-lethal assistance (including armored Humvee cars, RQ-11B Raven drones and counterbattery radars) and helped in the training of Ukrainian servicemen.


The US defense budget for 2018 presupposes the allocation of $ 350 million to Ukraine for enhancing security and defense, including the use of lethal weapons. In March this year, the U.S. State Department made a decision on the sale of anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine.

Related: NATO standards: Poroshenko shows new food intake of Ukrainian soldiers

Fire in Balakliya

On May 3, the fire occurred at the armament depot in Balakliya, Kharkiv region. According to the Defense Ministry, the fire tank ran over some explosive device during the execution of the technical works. Also, a series of powerful blasts took place at the same depot on March 23, 2017.

Later, the police has restricted the vehicle access to Balakliya.

As of 5 p.m, the overall area of the fire at the arsenal made some 35 hectares. 37 vehicles and 150 men had been putting out the fire at the military infrastructure object.  Low-intensity blasts and small ignition sites were observed at the end of May 3.

As of 8 a.m. on May 4, the minor ignition sites were almost extinguished. The explosions have ceased as of 11 a.m. on May 4 as Emergency Service of Ukraine reported. The restriction for the movement of the vehicles around Balakliya was lifted. The evacuated population returned to homes.

Also, the Commander of the armament of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed that the fire at Balakliya armament depot could be caused by the falling of the spark of the fire tank’s exhaust pipe.

Related: Moscow’s Maritime threats to Ukraine and the West

Anniversary of May 2 tragedy in Odesa and recognition of Holodomor

Odesa law enforcers checked the territory of the Kulikove Field (a historical area of Odesa with the House of Trade Unions, where the May 2 tragedy happened back in 2014) for explosives and enforced patrolling due to the fourth anniversary of the tragedy in Odesa.

Later it was reported that the fight took place near the entrance to the Kulikove Field. The police detained three partakers of the brawl and took them to the district department. According to this incident the criminal proceeding due to the slight intentional bodily harm was opened.

Law enforcers also opened a criminal investigation for violation of the racial and national equality of rights, a case of which occurred in Odesa, southern Ukraine on May 2. “Public anti-Semitic appeals in Ukraine are unacceptable,” Ukraine’s Interior Minister said commenting on the incident.

As we reported earlier, on May 2, 2014, the severest clashes took place in 2014 in Odesa. Forty-six pro-Russian protesters were killed and over 200 people were injured during a confrontation with pro-Ukrainian unity protesters at the Trade Unions House.

As for another tragedy that happened in Ukraine in 1932-33, New York adopted a resolution on recognition of Holodomor as genocide. It was noted that as of May 2, nine U.S. states recognized Holodomor in Ukraine a genocide. These states are Washington, Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Earlier, in March 2018, Massachusetts recognized Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine a genocide of Ukrainian nation.

Related: U.K. House of Commons approves equivalent of Magnitsky act

The attack on Ukrainian MP Mustafa Nayem

Ukrainian MP Mustafa Nayem was beaten in the center of Kyiv on Bessarabska Square after a conflict on the road on April 30. He was hospitalized with jaw fracture. Three of four attackers were detained the same day and accused of hooliganism. Couple days later the surveillance video of the attack appeared online. The fourth participant of the conflict flew to Baku (Azerbaijan) 2 hours after the incident. He faces 4 years of imprisonment.

In their commentary to 112.ua, the Head of Kyiv police told about the fifth attacker, and why one of the perpetrators managed to escape from the country.

Related: Improved combat module for armored vehicles successfully tested, - Poroshenko

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