In the Trenches with the DNR: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 97)

On February 15, 2015, a ceasefire took effect in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russia separatists fighting for the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and forces loyal to the government in Kiev. Under the agreement, both sides would be ordered to pull back heavy weaponry from their front lines, and to respect a buffer zone between each other’s territory. In the following days, however, there were still reports of shelling and sporadic fighting.

With DNR troops holding a position on the outskirts of the Ukrainian-held port of Mariupol, many now fear the city may be the target of a new rebel offensive.

VICE News traveled to a rebel-held front line outside the village of Shirokino, 20 miles from Mariupol, to speak with DNR troops about what may lie in store for the city, and to find out whether the ceasefire would hold.

Watch “Civilians Return to Debaltseve: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 96)” – http://bit.ly/1FNSCuz

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine (Part 1)” – http://bit.ly/1ACEWOC

Read “‘It Is a Government Crime’: The Coffins of Russia’s Ghost Soldiers in Ukraine Are Coming Home” – http://bit.ly/1aIUxax

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Killed in “Unknown Circumstances”: Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine (Part 1)

EXCLUSIVE: VICE News Meets Barack Obama: http://bit.ly/1wT03Bi
The bitter conflict in Ukraine has cost thousands of lives, but the Russian government has continuously denied sending its soldiers to the frontlines, despite accusations to the contrary from NATO and Western officials.

VICE News travels to Russia to investigate the mysterious deaths of dozens — possibly hundreds — of active-duty Russian servicemen who are believed to have been killed in Ukraine. Accounts gathered from soldiers’ families, human rights workers, and government officials cast doubt on the Kremlin narrative, revealing the unacknowledged sacrifices borne by Russia’s ghost army.

In part one of a three part series, VICE News travels to Russia to investigate the small but steady stream of coffins arriving in villages across the country, containing maimed bodies of soldiers killed in “unknown circumstances.”

Watch Part Two – http://bit.ly/1wRYuhI
Watch Part Three – http://bit.ly/1NkNDav

Watch “Civilians Return to Debaltseve: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 96)” – http://bit.ly/1FNSCuz

Watch “The Ruins of Donetsk Airport: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 95)” – http://bit.ly/1FFP4KN

Read “‘It Is a Government Crime’: The Coffins of Russia’s Ghost Soldiers in Ukraine Are Coming Home” – http://bit.ly/1aIUxax

Read “Russian Newspaper to Release Document That Allegedly Links Kremlin to Ukraine Invasion” – http://bit.ly/1DikIeW

Read “Thousands Mourn Boris Nemtsov at Somber March in Moscow” – http://bit.ly/1Ax5BMS

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Thousands Attend Pro-Putin Rally in Moscow

Bikers, teachers, teenagers, veterans, and pro-Vladimir Putin political organizations from all over Russia gathered February 21 in downtown Moscow to mark the one-year anniversary of what they see as a bloody coup of the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine.

The rally, which referenced the iconic Euromaidan protests last year in Kiev, were partly organized by Alexander Zaldostanov, the leader of Russia’s Night Wolves biker gang and public ally of Putin.

VICE News was in Moscow to witness tens of thousands of Russians protesting in support of a unified Russian Federation and against any possible Orange Revolution in their country.

Watch “Civilians Return to Debaltseve: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 96)” – http://bit.ly/1FNSCuz

Read “Russia Says Security Cameras Weren’t Pointing at Nemtsov Shooting — But Blogger’s Photo Suggests They Were” – http://bit.ly/1B1OQNu

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Civilians Return to Debaltseve: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 96)

After a month of heavy fighting, the pro-Russia separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) finally took the strategically important rail hub town of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.

In early January, the DNR had launched a winter offensive on Ukrainian positions, seizing the Donetsk airport and attacking Ukrainian checkpoints across the line of control separating the two sides. Once the airport had fallen, the DNR focused its attention on Debaltseve, surrounding the town on three sides and pounding it with artillery for four straight weeks. The attack killed dozens and forced thousands of residents to flee.

VICE News traveled to Debaltseve a few days after it fell to the DNR to speak to some of the civilians who were slowly returning to their town, which now lies in ruins.

Watch “The Ruins of Donetsk Airport: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 95)” – http://bit.ly/1FFP4KN

Read “Russian Newspaper to Release Document That Allegedly Links Kremlin to Ukraine Invasion” – http://bit.ly/1DikIeW

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