NATO troops reportedly killed in Donbass, war provocations suspected

Donbass Ukraine soldier


Over the past two days, a number of important developments have taken place in Donbass and Ukraine.

Firstly, on May 17th, a group of NATO troops from the US and Canada stepped into a minefield near Avdeevka, a move which ended in explosions and, according to DPR reports, deaths and woundings. This news was published by Russia’s leading news agencies, which is in itself an important development, since earlier such resources had been very cautious in speaking of NATO involvement in the war in Donbass. Most significantly of all, Rossiiskaiia Gazeta, the official organ of the Government of the Russian Federation, shared the news.

To briefly recap, Avdeekva is a small satellite town of Donetsk. Since the very beginning of the conflict, the town has been occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Avdeekva is known as an industrial giant, whose coke-chemical plant has worked throughout all four years of the war and been a major source of contention between oligarchs. The overwhelming majority of Avdeevka’s residents support the DPR, and one of Donetsk’s lines of defense runs right in front of the city. It is in this very city that Ukrainian troops and OSCE observers have been spotted collaborating during military operations.

Allow me to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the DPR’s military intelligence reported at least two days before the minefield incident that the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ command is preparing a provocation involving NATO troops. It seems that they were deliberately sent into the minefield to blame Western troop deaths on DPR military sabotage. Such information was shared with journalists on May 15th by the speaker of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s army, Eduard Basurin.

But this story has another side. NATO troops, who are officially not supposed to be in Donbass, are undeniably, directly involved in the armed conflict. The US and EU’s constant accusations that Moscow is militarily and technologically aiding the Donbass Republics can now be rebutted by Russia’s foreign ministry. Moscow could now present evidence that the US and NATO are directly participating in the war.

The next piece of news is that also near Avdeevka, on May 17th, the commander of the DPR’s Pyatnashka international brigade, Oleg Mamiev, was killed. The backbone of Pyatnashka was made up of 15 fighters from Abkhazia, and the name “Interbrigada” was meant as a direct allusion to the international volunteer brigades from the Spanish Civil War. The unit was subsequently joined by many volunteers from North and South Ossetia, like Mamiev himself, who proved to be one of the most famous and authoritative Donbass commanders, a person who is spoken of with only the utmost respect. Mamiev was killed in the trenches alongside his soldiers.

In addition to these incidents, a number of events have taken place which would be difficult to fit into one article, but their significance can be expressed with one short word: war.

Ukraine is continuing to accumulate manpower and military vehicles and bring ammunitions up to the frontline. Kiev has essentially discarded its pretending to comply with the Minsk Agreements, and Avdeevka, Gorlovka, and the Svetlodarsk arch (near Debaltsevo) have been particularly “hot” as of late. Overall, things have been “hotter” in the DPR than in the LPR. Hence the differing assessments of the prospects of war from the two republics which I have shared in a number of articles for Fort Russ News.

Some of my friends in Donbass believe that the Americans and, as follows, the Ukrainians expect to play a long-term game. In other words, they want to wage a war of attrition. There is merit to this theory, but I nonetheless do not believe that the Ukrainians are capable of maintaining the status-quo for any significant period of time. Their resources and especially their patience are severely limited. Therefore, there are evermore grounds to believe that the war in Donbass will “wake up” again sooner or later.

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Russian forces move into Douma, site of suspected chemical attack

Russian troops moved into the Syrian town of Douma, where the suspected chemical attack took place. Now the new concern – what happens if a US strike on Syria accidentally hits Russian forces?

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What You Need To Know About The Suspected Syrian Chemical Attack

President Donald Trump has in recent days raged against Syria and the regime of President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack that killed dozens on Saturday. 

Trump on Wednesday even went as far as suggesting that missiles aimed at Syria “will be coming,” though no such strike has been publicly announced.

Here’s what you need to know about the reported atrocity, and how the U.S. might respond.

What happened?

More than 40 Syrians, including men, women and children, choked to death after a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma on Saturday. Some of the victims were discovered with foam coming out of their mouths, huddled in homes that reeked of chlorine.

At least 500 others were treated for symptoms “consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals,” the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The attack took place in eastern Ghouta, one of the last remaining strongholds of anti-government rebels in the country. The Assad regime has fought for years to take the area back, and an intensified push began a few months ago. A February bombing campaign killed more than 500 people in one week

Rebels on Sunday appeared to reach a deal with the Syrian government, agreeing to cede the territory in Douma and move to another part of the country, The New York Times reported. Tens of thousands of people are expected to leave the area.

Two days later, a barrage of missiles was fired at a Syrian airbase in the Homs province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group, said 14 people were killed in that attack.

More than 40 were killed and some 500 injured by the suspected chemical attack, according to the White Helmets. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)More than 40 were killed and some 500 injured by the suspected chemical attack, according to the White Helmets. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Who is responsible?

Chemical weapons inspectors are preparing to head to Syria to find out, though their schedule is still unknown.

Aid groups have blamed the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran. Trump himself appeared to place blame on the Assad regime, tweeting shortly after the attack that the Syrian president was behind “another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever.” He also gave the Syrian leader a new nickname: “Animal Assad.”

The Syrian government strongly denied involvement, and Russia issued a stark warning in an attempt to halt retaliation. 

“A military intervention under far-fetched and fabricated pretexts in Syria, where there are Russian soldiers at the request of the legitimate Syrian government, is absolutely unacceptable and could have the most dire consequences,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement obtained by Agence France-Presse.

The perpetrators of Monday’s attack on the airbase are also unknown, but the Russian Defense Ministry and Syria have accused Israel of carrying out the bombings. Israel has not responded to the accusations, though The Associated Press notes it typically refrains from commenting on strikes.

What happened last time?

Trump ordered a missile strike against Syria in April 2017 after a separate chemical attack killed more than 80 people. Some 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired at an airfield that was a base for Syrian fighter jets, radar equipment and air defense systems.

The move was meant to send a firm message to Assad, and at the time, Trump said it was in the “vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

“The more we fail to respond to the use of these weapons, the more we begin to normalize their use,” then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said

Russia retaliated with a war of words. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said the strike dealt a “significant blow to relations between Russia and America, which are already in a poor state.”

Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield.  (Handout . / Reuters)Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield.  (Handout . / Reuters)

What could happen next?

Trump is reportedly considering options, including the “missiles” he hinted at on Wednesday.

The New York Times noted that the White House is mulling a more “robust” strategy that may include an escalation of force. Officials worried that a strike similar to the one a year ago may not be strong enough, and Trump may choose multiple targets or carry out a longer, multi-day campaign, the paper reported.

Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday about a possible coordinated response.

The Syrian military has been put on alert and has moved to protect airports and bases against a possible strike, according to The Washington Post.

“As we’ve said, all options are on the table,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. “But I’m not going to get ahead of anything the president or may not do in response to what’s taken place in Syria.”

Trump canceled his trip to Latin America to deal with the situation, but whatever happens is likely to upend in his plans to withdraw American troops from Syria in the coming months.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Dozens killed in Syria in suspected chemical attack

The suspected poison-gas attack took place in Douma, one of the last towns in the area still under rebel control.

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How They Do It–Suspected gas attack near Syrian capital kills at least 40

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Pilot suspected of shooting down MH17 commits suicide

Vladislav Voloshin


Ukrainian pilot Vladislav Voloshin, whom his colleague Yevgeny Agapov accused of involvement in the shooting down of Boeing 777 flight MH17, has committed suicide in Nikolaev.

Please note that Western mainstream media are specifically running the story as “Pilot, who was accused by Russia…” The allegations came from his colleague, who then was forced to leave Ukraine for Russia.

As reported by Ukrainian media, Voloshin shot himself from a Makarov pistol. Doctors tried to save the pilot, but he died in hospital.

According to the relatives of the deceased, in recent days Voloshin was in a depressed state, spoke about troubles at work and expressed disturbing thoughts. A criminal case was instituted in accordance with Part 1 of Art. 115 Criminal Code “Intentional homicide” – this article was chosen because of the peculiarities of the investigation procedure.

Since January 2018, Voloshin has headed the Mykolaiv International Airport. The previous director was detained while trying to bribe a governor, but the Ukrainian media repeatedly reported that he refused to sign illegal documentation. Voloshin signed these papers immediately after his appointment to the post of acting director.

Two days after the MH17 disaster, Voloshin was awarded the Order of Courage of the Ukrainian air force. According to the testimony of Evgeny Agapov, who escaped to Russia, the Boeing 777 aircraft was allegedly shot down by an Su-25 of the Ukrainian Air Force, piloted by the aforementioned pilot: “A combat mission was carried out from an airfield in the city of Dnipropetrovsk.” According to his testimony, he personally saw how Voloshin’s aircraft was equipped with air-to-air missiles of the R-60 type before departure, which the Su-25 is not normally equipped with.

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Suspected shooter and three women dead after standoff at veterans home

The community in Yountville, California are remembering the victims of the standoff: three staff members at the nation’s largest veterans home, one of whom was seven months pregnant.

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Foreigners suspected of aiding terrorists set to be barred from entering Russia

The draft amends the existing Russian law on entering and exiting the country that lists five reasons that could lead to an entry ban for a foreigner. These are: violation of border crossing rules, knowingly providing false information about oneself, repeated civil offenses, exceeding the allowed term of stay on Russian territory, and participation in a foreign or international NGO that is recognized as undesirable in Russia.

Once passed into law, the ban would apply to foreign citizens whose bank accounts have been frozen over suspicion of participation in money laundering or any activities of foreign and international terrorist and extremist organizations.

It also allows for further extension of the list on the basis of data provided by the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Investigation Committee – Russia’s federal agency for dealing with serious crime. 

The bill has already been approved by the government commission for legislative work, Izvestia daily reported on Tuesday. However, cabinet experts recommended that some changes be made to the draft. In particular, they want to ban people who are known participants of any terrorist and extremist groups and who are on the list made by the Russian Financial Monitoring Agency and approved by the Inter-Department Commission for Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

This allows Russian border guards to prevent foreigners from entering the country even before a court orders a freeze on their bank accounts.

In late 2014, a group of MPs representing United Russia drafted a bill that would allow parliament to ban foreigners from entering the country if they are deemed a threat to Russia’s security or its values. The formula used in the draft allows either chamber of the Russian parliament to issue entry bans for foreign citizens who either threaten national interests or “infringe upon the interests of a person, society or state as well as the national, historic, spiritual culture or any other values that are commonly recognized in Russia.”

This bill was approved by the lower house Committee for Legislative Work about a year ago but has not been passed yet.

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Suspected Drug Dealer Goes 34 Days Without Taking A Poo

Can you imagine going a whole month without taking a dump? One suspected drug dealer in Harlow, England has gone a record-breaking 34 days without passing stools for fear of providing police with evidence after allegedly swallowing drugs right before his arrest last month.

24-year-old Lamarr Chambers was arrested on January 17, after failing to stop his car when police put their lights on. Officers claim that during the chase, the suspect was “moving his head towards his hand and his hand towards his head as if he was eating something”, but when he finally pulled over, Chambers casually told them that he had been eating fried chicken. Police have reason to believe that he actually swallowed crack cocaine and heroin that he intended to sell around Harlow, so they have been holding him in custody and waiting for him to take a number two. But he simply refuses to do it.

Prosecutor Kathy Wilson claims that the detained suspect has been deliberately limiting his food intake to prevent bowel movement, but recent updates suggest that he has been eating up to eight cereal bars per day, which he later swapped for fruits and vegetables, and even some fish made by his mother. But after over a month in police custody, nature still hasn’t taken its course.

“Mr Chambers has not properly been to the toilet for some 33 days,” prosecutor Kathy Wilson told reporters yesterday.

Details from Chambers’ most recent appearance before the Chelmsford Magistrates Court suggested that he may have passed stools in the hospital, but Wilson clarified that no ‘faecal matter’ had been collected and that plice are still on #PooWatch.

“He did wipe his bottom and there was a stain on the toilet paper,” she told “Had any amount of faecal matter been passed, we would not be in this position today.”

In the beginning of this bizarre case, Harlow Police used the #PooWatch hashtag to keep reporters informed about any developments, but 24 days into the suspect’s toilet strike, they just stopped providing updates, informing media outlets that they will be making a final announcement “when he does what he needs to do”.

Thanks to his capacity to prevent bowel movement, Lamarr Chambers smashed through Britain’s old record for most days spent in police custody, which stood at 23 days.


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Florida Shooting: Suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz was 'investigated for cutting himself'

The man accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school had reportedly been investigated for self-harm and saying he wanted to buy a gun.

Suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz spurred investigations by law enforcement and welfare officials after cutting his arms and professing a desire to purchase firearms on social media, according to records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The information bolsters an emerging portrait of a disturbed young man who had repeatedly shown warning signs of wanting to unleash violence.

The FBI has acknowledged that it failed to investigate a tip last month that Mr Cruz owned guns and had the “desire to kill”, leading Florida governor Rick Scott to demand the resignation of FBI director Christopher Wray.

Another tip, passed along to the FBI last year, spotlighted an online comment posted by a “Nikolas Cruz” saying “Im going to be a professional school shooter”. The agent in charge of the bureau’s Miami field office said officials could not at the time confirm the commenter’s identity.

People who knew Mr Cruz have described the student as troubled. He was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for bad behaviour before last week’s massacre.

His defence attorney described him as a “a broken human being”.

“He’s a broken child,” attorney Melisa McNeill said after Mr Cruz’s initial court appearance. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

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