Donetsk Blog, April 25: Radioactive Equipment from Chernobyl - Ukrainian Military vs Nationalist Radicals - Human Shields

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Ukraine’s civil war is still very much ongoing.  Both sides are exchanging fire. Civilians and soldiers continue to die on both sides.

DONi was recently founded by a Finnish journalist and Russian businessman whom we know, and we have every reason to believe that their reporting can be relied on as truthful.  More information about the agency follows below this report.

Due to its slow, simmering nature, events in Novorossiya rarely make headlines, so people forget there is a real war going on.

Donetsk, Monday, April 25, 16.30 pm. Exclusive to Russia Insider

(Attn readers: this is frequent feature - if you would like to have clarification of facts mentioned here, additional information, more explanation of why certain events are happening, please ask us in the comments section, or email the author at:   [email protected]   This will help us provide you with information you want to have.)

The shelling of Donbass does not subside. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, the Republics have over the past week survived about 2,000 bombardments, including over 1,000 where the Ukrainian side used heavy weapons.

More than half of the attacks occurred on the outskirts of Donetsk. Residents of the northern and western suburbs of the city heard daily explosions of Ukrainian shells, lasting well into the night, until the DPR army returned fire. Last night soldiers of the Republic managed to destroy a Ukrainian warehouse filled with ammunition, creating a glow of the fire that was visible for several miles.

As a result of the Ukrainian attacks, according to the local authorities, one civilian was killed and another three wounded. The information about damage to homes and infrastructure is yet to be confirmed.

Early last week, the newly elected Speaker of the Verkhovnaya Rada Paruby said that constitutional reform in Ukraine was possible only after a complete ceasefire in Donbass. His statement was made against the backdrop of Kiev’s ongoing delivery of heavy weapons to the front line, including dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles. self-propelled artillery systems, howitzers, anti-tank cannons, and MLRS’s (see below pictures of weapons mentioned).

In his latest interview, the Head of the DPR, Alexander Zakhatchenko, said that the situation on the front was very tense. Having amassed a significant amount of weaponry near Donetsk, Kiev is also creating another two attack groups: in the north, in the Gorlovka area, and in the south, in the Dokuchaevsk area.

DPR intelligence reported of the discovery to the north of Donetsk of a Ukrainian foothold with Grad MLRS, fully prepared for combat. To the north of Gorlovka, several Uragan MLRS’s were detected. In the southern direction, which remained relatively quiet until recently, the intensity of Ukrainian attacks is also increasing.

Moreover, according to the Republican authorities’ sources in the Ukrainian General Staff, Kiev has been delivering to the conflict zone equipment from the Chernobyl area. The equipment is believed to have undergone restoration at Ukrainian repair plants. The removal of the radioactive residue, however, has proved to be impossible. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian army units have apparently already received this equipment, with no Ukrainian soldiers or their commanders warned about the dangers to their health and wellbeing.

Satellite images of the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl NPP show that the cemetery of contaminated equipment located there is almost empty. Earlier, the hacker group "CyberBerkut" published documents, according to which about a half of Ukrainian military equipment had been located, at a given time, in the Chernobyl zone.

Kiev is also massively delivering nationalist battalions to the front line. According to DPR intelligence sources on the ground, over the past three days in the Donetsk area alone, about 500 radicals from the Right Sector arrived, one of the most right-wing radical organisations in Ukraine. Local residents reported that the nationalists had been accommodated on the territory of a former children’s camp surrounded by minefields. The civilian personnel of the camp had been sacked prior to the radicals’ arrival.

Apparently Kiev is sending radicals to the east to strengthen the Ukrainian units on the contact line, whose morale decreases with each passing day. According to the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, the number of deserters from the Ukrainian army is close to 2,000, of which the Office has managed to prosecute just around 300 men.

However, the right-wing radicals’ methods of increasing the morale of Ukrainian soldiers usually ends in armed clashes between them. According to DPR intelligence sources on the ground, over the last week in the north of Donetsk alone, seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and over 20 wounded in such clashes. The nationalists suffered up to 20 men killed and about 25 wounded.

In addition, yesterday the press service of the Administration of the Ukrainian President responsible for the operational zone, indirectly confirmed the "self-destruction" of one of the checkpoints. The day before, two soldiers were found shot at close range, their commander hanged, and another soldier had disappeared together with his weapons, his whereabouts unknown.

The LPR Defense Ministry also reported of a clash at one of the Ukrainian checkpoints, resulting in two Ukrainian soldiers fleeing the shooting to the LPR side and surrendering.

Locals informed of recent attempts of the Ukrainian military to deliberately delay the process of crossing the contact line by civilians, in order to force them to spend the night on the Ukrainian side. At night, car drivers are forced to arrange their vehicles around the checkpoint, thus creating a "human shield" around the position of the Ukrainian military in case of bombardment from the Republics.

It should be noted that the Ukrainian side used the same tactics in seizing areas of the buffer zone. The Ukrainian command called the OSCE observers to the occupied territory, as a way of providing cover from return fire from the DPR army. In the protective presence of the OSCE observers, the Ukrainian military carried out engineering works, a fact that was never mentioned in any of the OSCE mission reports.

Kiev authorities, however, are not satisfied with shelling of civilian towns, even with heavy artillery. They are also tightening the economic blockade of the Republics. The local authorities of Pervomaysk, a frontline town in the LPR, informed yesterday that the town had been cut off from gas supply from the Ukrainian side. The city hospital, more than 30 schools and kindergartens and other social facilities were stopped from functioning. The Ukrainian side confirmed the cessation of gas supply to the town, without giving any explanation why.

A month ago the President of Ukraine Poroshenko announced that Ukraine would return Donbass within a year, exclusively by peaceful means.

Information on weapons mentioned in this article

Image icon maxresdefault.jpg
A mortar is a tube-like cannon which fires a projectile which explodes upon impact. They have ranges of up to 3 miles
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An infantry fighting vehicle
Image icon aacb513e1bac893dede07d5236a91a3e.jpg
An armoured personnel carrier


Image icon 2s3-akatsiya-sajjiouau-03.jpg
A 152mm motorised artillery system “Akatsia”
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A 152mm howitzer
Image icon 11060298_801651966591578_360193438751428279_n.jpg
A fighting armoured vehicle “Cossack”
Image icon 3dabd2b705eed6fd729b5f5f546623881423204606.jpg
An 100mm anti-tank cannon “Rapira”
Image icon 1424187184_6.jpg
A MLRS “Grad”
Image icon uragan_6_0.jpg
A MLRS “Uragan”

The Donetsk International News Agency is a private, non-profit information agency located in the center of the city of Donetsk. It is headed by Finnish journalist, Janus Putkonen and has 10 full time journalists on staff. Approximately half of them are natives of Western European countries. Its website is:



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