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Donetsk Militia Commander Murdered: Prelude to Resumption of War?

Oct. 17, 2016 (EIRNS)—The dominant news item coming out of the breakaway regions of southeastern Ukraine, is the murder of Arseni Pavlov, better known as "Motorola," a prominent militia leader in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). He was reportedly killed by a bomb that went off in or near the elevator in the building where he lived. Denis Pushilin, DPR negotiator and Speaker of the Parliament, denounced the murder as a "terrorist act" attributed to the Kiev regime.

"With this murder [the] Ukrainian side hopes to undermine the situation in the Republic," he said. Pushilin added that Kiev still aims to resolve the conflict in Ukraine "by force," but due to its inability to achieve military victory, resorts to "terrorist methods."

DPR leader Aleksander Zakharchenko considers the murder an act of war by Ukrainian President Poroshenko himself. "As I understand, Petro Poroshenko violated the ceasefire and declared war on us," Zakharchenko said.

The regime in Kiev is evidently quite happy about Motorola’s death. An article in Ukraine Today portrays him as a Russian terrorist who once allegedly admitted killing 15 prisoners of war. An "expert" by the name of Oleh Zhdanov is quoted in Unian claiming that in the aftermath of Motorola’s death, "it is even possible to expect terrorist attacks by Russia."

There had been ongoing talk about creating the conditions for another Normandy Four summit, perhaps on Oct. 19 in Berlin; but also, allegations were made by the self-declared republics that the Kiev regime is resuming offensive operations in the Donbass. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, last week, as far as the Oct. 19 date was concerned, "We are keeping this open, but we haven’t reached a decision yet."

When asked about it on Friday, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, would only say that such a meeting was in preparation, but "there are no final agreements on that matter," including the Oct. 19 date. Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov had said a day earlier that "implementation depends on the extent to which the parties will manage to agree by the summit on concrete progress in the settlement [in Ukraine]." Putin confirmed this view this morning. He noted that the German and French leaders share the position that a Berlin meeting would be expedient only if their aides, who had met on Saturday and Sunday in Minsk, would promote dialogue to be able to clinch the agreements. If not, the meeting between the Normandy Four leaders would be too early, Putin said.

On the ground, DPR officials have repeatedly charged the Kiev regime with continuing the shelling of inhabited areas in and around Donetsk city, and at one point, last week, claimed to have beaten back an assault by the Ukrainian army in the town of Leninskoye, in the southern part of the breakaway republic, killing 5 to 15 Ukrainian soldiers in the process.

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