Tag Archives: Donetsk

Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash – Moscow

The Russian military detected a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet gaining height towards the MH17 Boeing on the day of the catastrophe. Kiev must explain why the military jet was tracking the passenger airplane, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“A Ukraine Air Force military jet was detected gaining height, it’s distance from the Malaysian Boeing was 3 to 5km,” said the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov speaking at a media conference in Moscow on Monday.

“[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,” he stated.

“The SU-25 fighter jet can gain an altitude of 10km, according to its specification,” he added. “It’s equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km, up to 5km for sure.”

The presence of the Ukrainian military jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.

At the moment of the MH17 crash an American satellite was flying over the area of eastern Ukraine, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. It urged the US to publish the space photos and data captured by it.

‘Ukrainian Buk missile system transported to militia-held area’

In addition, MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air ‘Buk’ missile systems, the Russian general said.

“We have space images of certain places where the Ukraine’s air defense was located in the southeast of the country,” Kartapolov noted.

The first three shots that were shown by the general are dated July 14. The images show Buk missile launch systems in about 8km northwest of the city of Lugansk – a TELAR and two TELs, according to the military official.

Another image shows a radar station near Donetsk.

While the third picture shows the location of the air defense systems near Donetsk, he explained. In particular, one can clearly see a TELAR launcher and about 60 military and auxiliary vehicles, tents for vehicles and other structures, he elaborated.

“Images from this area were also made on July 17. One should notice that the missile launcher is absent [from the scene]. Image number five shows the Buk missile system in the morning of the same day in the area of settlement Zaroschinskoe – 50km south of Donetsk and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk,” the Kartapolov said

The question that has to be answered is why the missile system appeared in the area controlled by the local militia forces shortly before the catastrophe, he stated.

Images taken on July 18 show that the missile systems left the area of the MH17 crash, the military official said.

Kartapolov also pointed to the fact that on the day of the plane crash Ukraine’s military increased activity on the part of Ukraine’s Kupol-M1 9S18 radars, which are part of the Buk system.

..there were 7 radars operating on July 15, 8 radars operating on July 16, and 9 radars operating on July 17 in the area. Then, starting with July 18, the intensity of radar activities radically decreased, and now there are no more than two or three radars operating a day. The reason behind this is yet to be found.”

In response to Moscow’s evidence, Kiev said on Monday it had proof the missile that brought down a Malaysian airliner last week came from Russia.

There is evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council Andrey Lysenko told a news conference. “To disown this tragedy, [Russia] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that Kiev has “strong evidence” of the causes of the MH17 crash.

We know exactly the place [the surface-to-air missile was] launched, we know exactly the place where it hit the civilian plane and the place where the plane crashed.

Kiev is ready to hand the information to the international investigation commission, according to the presidential press-service.

Militia down chopper near Slavyansk, 9 feared dead – military spokesman

Nine people are feared dead after self-defense forces in the Donetsk region shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter, which was used for transporting military cargo, a Kiev spokesman said.

The Mi-8 helicopter was downed “at about 5 pm local time at Karachun Mountain near Slavyansk by a rocket fired from a portable air defense system,” eastern Ukraine military operation spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, wrote on his Facebook page.

“There were nine people aboard the helicopter. According to preliminary information, all those aboard died in the crash,”
he said, adding that the helicopter was returning to a Ukrainian checkpoint after a cargo delivery mission.

The self-defense troops, who fired the missile, escaped to the nearby village of Bylbasovka, Seleznyov wrote.

The Ukraine’s National Guard fighters told the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper that the Mi-8 helicopter was downed during takeoff from Karachun Mountain (a strategic high point near Slavyansk where the Ukrainian army’s artillery is deployed).

The place where the shot came from has been established, with troops currently being deployed there, the source in the National Guard added.

The Ukrainian forces continued shelling the village of Semyonovka on the outskirts of Slavyansk on Tuesday night and during the day, the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk told ITAR-TASS news agency earlier.

The heavy artillery fire has prevented the self-defense forces from recovering the bodies of two of its troops killed the previous day, they said.

“There’s no living thing left in the village. Everything is devastated, including factories and railway crossings,” the self-defense forces stressed. “The houses are abandoned. Nobody is harvesting crops from their gardens.”

Meanwhile, the town of Slavyansk remains without a water supply, with the majority of shops and pharmacies staying closed.

Also on Tuesday, a crew from Russia’s Channel One was caught in the shelling outside Slavyansk; the journalists luckily avoided injury.

Also, fighting is currently underway in the suburbs of the city of Donetsk, said Aleksandr Boroday, prime minister of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

“Artillery and armored vehicles are being used,” he told RIA-Novosti news agency, adding people have already been killed and injured in the fighting.

President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the resumption of hostilities in Slavyansk and urged Kiev to strive to bring about an end to the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, now I have relevant information that in one of the most troubled areas – near the city of Slavyansk – the fighting is currently underway; [Kiev’s] paratroopers have landed there and there are already victims. It’s sad,” Putin said during a press-conference in Vienna, Austria.

Read more: Putin: Weeklong cease-fire in Ukraine should be extended, accompanied by talks

The fighting in the Donetsk region is continuing despite the seven-day ceasefire announced by Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, on June 20, which was agreed to by the self-defense forces on Monday.

Putin stressed that “the declarations should be backed by real actions, otherwise none of the problems will be solved.”

“Simply declaring a ceasefire isn’t enough,” the Russian president said, calling on the sides to begin “substantive negotiations” on the matter as soon as possible.

“Seven days of ceasefire is insufficient,” he added.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has not excluded the possibility of a premature cancellation of the ceasefire in the country’s southeast, the president’s press service said.

During a meeting with the heads of the country’s security agencies, he touched upon the issue of the downed helicopter, saying that the self-defense forces have no respect for the truce.

According to the president, Kiev’s forces have come under fire 35 times since he announced his peace plan last week.

Poroshenko gave the security agencies “an order to open fire without hesitation” on the self-defense forces,” the president’s press service said.

But the authorities of the People’s Republic of Donetsk said the “so-called ceasefire,” which Porosheko now wants to cancel, “was never in place.”

“The Ukrainian security forces began shelling Semyonovka and Slavyansk in the morning,” Miroslav Rudenko, one of the Donbas self-defense leaders, told Interfax news agency, adding that the artillery fire was less intense than in previous days, but still steady.

“It was only a declaration [of truce]. On the ground, hostilities didn’t stop even for an hour,”
he added.

Breaking news – Military jet downed by anti-Kiev forces in Lugansk – Ukraine’s defense ministry

Anti-Kiev forces took down a Ukrainian military Il-76 jet as it was landing in Lugansk, the country’s Defense Ministry said. It did not provide details on casualties.

TSN.ua news website earlier reported that around 30 paratroopers were killed as self-defense forces hit the jet with a rocket.

The plane was transporting rotating military personnel and had “troops, machinery, equipment and food,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Il-76 is a heavy military transport aircraft that usually has a crew of seven and can transport up to 167 soldiers with weapons.

Meanwhile, shooting has resumed in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region as the Ukrainian military continues its crackdown on self-defense forces in the country’s east, a self-defense representative said.

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Self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic elects head, passes constitution

“People’s Governor” of the Lugansk Region Valery Bolotov (center) read an address to the residents of Lugansk at the rally devoted to the results of the referendum on the status of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) on May 12, 2014

The self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) elected its head and passed its own constitution on Sunday. This comes after the region held a referendum on May 11 and proclaimed itself independent from Kiev.

LNR’s state council – which acts as a temporary legislative body – has chosen Valery Bolotov as the head of the republic. The council also elected its speaker, Aleksey Karyakin, and Prime Minister – Vasily Nikitin.

Bolotov was born in Russia’s southern port city of Taganrog in 1974. He has two university degrees. He also worked his way up from a manager to the director at a meat factory. Before being elected as the head of the self-proclaimed republic, he was serving as the “people’s governor” of Lugansk region.

Deputies of the council who where elected earlier on Sunday on also adopted a temporary constitution of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

The newly elected prime minister already identified what his first steps in the office will be. “As the prime minister I will form a new government. I will announce the specific candidates later. The members of the new cabinet will be determined in the second part of the day [tomorrow],” Itar-Tass quoted Nikitin as saying.

Last weekend, Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums in which the majority of voters supported self-rule.

In Lugansk region 96.2 percent of voters supported the region’s self-rule, according to final figures announced by the local election commission. Almost 90 percent of voters in Donetsk region have endorsed political independence from Kiev.

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Explosions heard in Slavyansk, reports of fighting

Ukrainian soldiers and police take position at a checkpoint near the eastern Ukranian city of Slavyansk

Military action has reportedly resumed in the town of Slavyansk in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, with local residents reporting on social media loud explosions and a large number of signal bombs in the sky.

At least one self-defense activist was wounded as fighting resumed between Kiev forces and self-defense units, Hromadske TV reported, citing local residents.

“[There was a] very strong blast – it was heard in the center [of the town]. Windows are shaking on Artema Street,” one local said on social media.

“At 21:00 local time the battle began in Andreevka. The junta has artillery and is shelling from its positions on Mount Karachun. At the same time, Kiev troops delivered a blow from behind Semyonovka,” the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk told Politnavigator.net.

“The blast was so powerful…that I thought lightning struck a fence nearby,” one resident wrote.

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RF ambassador : NATO seeking to make maximum use of Ukrainian crisis to prove its worth

BRUSSELS, May 13. ITAR-TASS.

NATO seeks to make maximum use of the crisis in Ukraine to prove it is still in demand, Russia’s permanent representative at NATO Alexander Grushko said on Tuesday.

“These days, NATO representatives have said many words how important it is for the alliance to waken from sleep, and, judging by the enthusiasm of the rhetoric about the emergence of a new threat in Europe, NATO is seeking to make maximum use of the Ukrainian crisis to prove that it is still needed in the current security environment,” he said. “The aim of this deliberately heightened rhetoric is simple – to reanimate the bloc, to have more funds for military needs. And this requires an enemy.”

“The base of argument is being built up to prove that Russia has some expansion plans,” he noted, adding that for these ends new threats were being invented. “Thus, one of NATO’s military chief has worded a universal formula explaining any protest movements – everything gives away the hand of Moscow.”

“At the same time, they prefer not to see the contribution our country has made to do away with the heritage of the Cold War and put an end to the arms race. If truth be said, Europe should be thankful to Russia that it can spend only one to two percent of its GDP on defence. Now, amid this campaign, taxpayers will be tapped for additional money on defence,” Grushko said.

“The alliance denies the fact that the crisis in Ukraine is an internal one and, despite all the tragic instances, keeps on speaking about a foreign interference in Ukraine’s eastern regions,” the Russian ambassador said. “I hope that now that they have seen longest queues to polling stations in Donetsk and Lugansk NATO would admit that this is civil society but not mythical ‘agent provocateurs.’ If the alliance is really interested in deescalating of the situation, as its representatives are claiming, it can also make its contribution by urging the Kiev regime to stop the punitive operation, to pull back its troops and by stopping any aid to it.

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Moscow in no rush to respond to Donetsk People’s Republic plea for accession

Russia is taking its time before reacting to Donetsk People’s Republic’s plea to consider its accession into Russia while calling for dialogue between Kiev and the eastern regions.

The Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told Kommersant newspaper Russia does not yet have a response to the plea.

Earlier on Monday the Kremlin’s press service issued a statement, saying: “Moscow respects the will of the people in Donetsk and Lugansk and hopes that the practical realization of the outcome of the referendums will be carried out in a civilized manner.”

It stressed the necessity of a “dialogue between representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk.”

On Monday, Donetsk People’s Republic proclaimed itself a sovereign state and asked Moscow to consider its accession into Russia, the Republic’s council said.

Earlier in the day, the results of referendums were announced in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, showing the majority of voters support self-rule, amid an intensified military operation by Kiev which resulted in several deaths.

Experts on the issue have weighed in with their view on Russia’s response.

International legal expert Alexander Mercouris told RT that Moscow’s reaction was consistent with its previous policy on Ukraine.

“Moscow is following what has been its consistent policy right from the start, right from the moment when the coup took place in Kiev in February, which has been pressing for negotiations between Kiev and the actual true democratic representatives of the eastern regions in order to achieve constitutional change,” Mercouris told RT. “I do not think Moscow’s position has changed. But I think Moscow’s position may change in the future.”

International relations expert and senior lecturer at Moscow State University Mark Sleboda also told to RT that he does not view Moscow’s reaction as contradicting its previous stance.

“Moscow’s reaction to the referendum – they of course recommended that it be postponed, and they had a somewhat tepid reaction to it. But at the same time they did not completely disown it either,” Sleboda said.

People cast their ballots in a polling station during a so-called referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 11, 2014.

“The first statement out of Moscow this morning that it looked forward to a dialogue between Donetsk, Lugansk and Kiev to resolve the situation and implement the people’s will was a very strong indication that Russia is still really trying for dialogue with Kiev,” Sleboda added.

Professor of History and Politics in Berlin Ronald Suni noted that Russia’s slow response will indeed provide room for international dialogue, which may help the situation.

Vladimir Putin and his advisors decided a few days ago that we’ve got to pull back, that we’ve got to slow things down. That all these people acting in their own interest, out of their own emotions and passions could lead to some very dangerous situations – civil war or international war,” Suni told RT.

“So, why not postpone the referendum, which of course the locals did not want to do, recognize the May 25 elections, which part of Ukraine probably won’t do, and pull troops back from the frontier, which Putin did. Even so, these actions have not led to a response, on both sides it would allow for some kind of international negotiation,” he added.

Mercouris also explained the referendum results are valid statement of opinion. “Yes, they were organized in great haste, in civil war, revolutionary conditions, but even people who are present, who are hostile to these referendums, from the Western media now accept that these are in fact representative of the powerful mass movement,” he said.

Sleboda stated that when examining Donetsk and Lugansk referendums, one must pay attention to three things. “One, the extremely large turnout, which is nearly impossible to deny. The overwhelming landslide victory – since the vote was essentially public with the glass ballot boxes and the Western journalists who served in place of international monitors, we could say, who clearly informally polled on the ground the strength of support for the independence vote.”

“And three, we have to remember that this did indeed happen under the barrel of a gun – but not the barrel of the gun of the self-defense forces, but under the barrel of the gun of this Kiev regime who was actually killing voters as they tried to vote against it on the referendum day,” he argued.

via Moscow in no rush to respond to Donetsk People’s Republic plea for accession — RT Op-Edge.

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OSCE observers released in Slavyansk arrive in Berlin

OSCE observer Axel Schneider leaves the plane in Berlin’s Tegel airport, May 3, 2014.

Military OSCE observers captured by anti-Kiev activists in Slavyansk on April 25 have been released and delivered to Donetsk. Most of them have flown to Berlin.

A German government plane carrying seven of the freed OSCE observers, four of whom are German, landed at Berlin’s Tegel Airport at around 9 p.m. local time, Bild reports. They were welcomed by Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Earlier on Saturday the Russian president’s representative Vladmir Lukin said that “All 12 people I have on the list were freed.”

Last week, the military observers were captured by anti-Kiev protesters who accused them of espionage. Earlier one of the detained – a Swedish officer suffering from diabetes – was released.

Lukin stressed the release of the observers wasn’t a bargain. “It was a voluntary humanitarian act, and we’re very grateful for it to those controlling the city,” he said.

Lukin has delivered the OSCE observers to Donetsk and they have met with representatives of the Council of Europe, according to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OSCE.

“As soon as they are transferred to the representatives of the Council of Europe, we’ll be able to say that the mission is over,” Lukin said earlier.

On the way to Donetsk their car came under fire, but all of them are fine, one of Lukin’s colleagues, who was with the observers in Slavyansk, Evgeny Kozhokin, told RIA Novosti.

The OSCE observers were treated well in captivity, Col. Igor Turansky, head of the Ukrainian military mission to the OSCE, said after arriving at Kiev airport from Donetsk.

“There are no injuries, all was well. [We were] given food, water, sleep, treated well,” he said, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) welcomes OSCE observers John Christensen (C) from Denmark Germany’s Axel Schneider (2nd L) and unidentified observers in Berlin’s Tegel airport, May 3, 2014.

He noted that the self-defense forces said they detained the observers because they “did not coordinate their actions with the representatives of the locals.” Turansky added that the self-defense troops wanted to know the purpose of the observers’ visit. According to him, the detained Ukrainian officers were treated the same as the OSCE observers.

Kiev authorities jeopardized the lives of the OSCE observers who were in Slavyansk, said Maria Zaharova, head of the press department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“More or less prepared analysts did not doubt the fact that these military observers were deployed to Slavyansk by the Ukrainian side and their known sponsors to create a new source of tension to escalate the crisis and to directly involve the European countries in the domestic conflict,” Zaharova told RIA Novosti.

“The Kiev junta did not only think about the observers’ security, but put their lives at direct risk by starting the punitive operation against the civilians in Slavyansk,” she added.

The conflict resolution carried out by the self-defense forces during the operation saved the lives of the foreigners, she added.

The interim Ukrainian government was supporting the mission carried out by Vladimir Lukin, including aid in establishing contacts and coordinating activities at a central administration level, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry stated, as quoted by Interfax news agency.

“Vladimir Lukin was advised of a safe way from Donetsk to Slavyansk, with transportation. The Ukrainian security forces insist on this, being responsible for the lives of both the observers and the negotiators,” the statement said.

Vladimir Lukin is Russia’s official envoy to Ukraine. He initially had difficulties in entering Slavyansk as the Ukrainian army and the Right Sector militants refused him access to the city.

The Kiev government was initially reluctant to support the mission.

“We get the impression that the Kiev administration views the mission as something handicapping their plans to start the attack on Slavyansk in the coming hours,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

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In Lugansk, federalization supporters proclaim creation of a “people’s republic”

They demand “an amnesty for all participants in the protest movent in Ukraine’s east, recognition of the Russian language as a state one, and the holding of a referendum on matters concerning self-determination of the region”

DONETSK, April 28. ITAR-TASS.

In Lugansk, federalization supporters at a meeting on Sunday proclaimed the establishment of a “Lugansk People’s Republic”, Ukraine’s radio “Freedom” reports.

In that city, where a joint headquarters of the country’s South-East was established several days ago to coordinate the work of other headquarters in other districts, federalism supporters delivered an ultimatum to the Kiev authorities on Sunday.

In particular, the protesters demand “an amnesty for all participants in the protest movent in Ukraine’s east, recognition of the Russian language as a state one, and the holding of a referendum on matters concerning self-determination of the region”.

If their demands are not met by April 29, they promise “to move on to energetic actions”.

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Anti-govt protesters seize TV station in eastern Ukraine, call for own channel

Activists stand guard outside a regional television station after it was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

Pro-Russian protesters have seized a local state TV station in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, demanding that Russian TV channels be broadcast there. They also want to launch a “Donetsk People’s Republic” TV channel.

According to media reports, technical work is currently being done at the TV station to restart the transmission of Russian channels. Itar-Tass reports that some Russian TV channels have resumed work in Donetsk.

“Their experts are now setting up equipment on our frequency to broadcast Russian TV channels,” TV station CEO Oleg Dzholos told Ukraine’s Channel 5, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

One of the protesters has told the news agency that “Russia 24” channel is already broadcasting instead of local “Channel 27”.

Protesters have left the building, but still left their security there.

“Nobody freed the TV station – protesters left, but there is our security there as well as our technicians and the station’s crew,” an unnamed man told Interfax-Ukraine.

Masked activists march to seize a regional television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, home of the local telecommunication antennas and studios of the regional TV station Channel 27, on April 27, 2014.

It has also been reported that pro-Russian protesters held talks with the TV center’s executives to begin broadcasting the “Donetsk People’s Republic” television channel.

“There were many demands. First – switch off Ukrainian channels. I explained that we are Donetsk state TV and radio station and from our central control room, there is only our signal. There were experts and they understood me. The following demand was – not a demand, an ultimatum – to switch on, if I am not mistaken, Russia-24 TV channel,” Dzholos said.

So far, all Ukrainian TV channels continue their broadcast.

Protesters entered the TV station late Sunday afternoon, saying they were unsatisfied with the way the situation in the region was covered in local news and shows. Protesters demanded that Ukrainian channels be blocked.

They have taken down the Ukrainian flag from the TV station’s office and hoisted the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. It was also taken down later.

Pro-Russian activists seize a regional television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

Protesters brought satellite antennas and other equipment and placed guards at the entrance to the television center, Itar-Tass reported.

Prior to taking control of the TV station, over 3,000 people gathered at Donetsk’s central Lenin Square. Protesters started the rally with one minute’s silence to commemorate Berkut Special Forces officers killed in clashes with radicals in Kiev’s Independence Square, and activists killed by Right Sector radicals at a checkpoint in Slavyansk on Easter Sunday.

Russian TV channels have been blocked across Ukraine since the beginning of March, after the Ukrainian media watchdog claimed that shutting down Russian TV stations ensured the country’s “national security and sovereignty.”

Pro-Russian activists hold Russian flags and shout slogans during a rally outside a regional television station which was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

At least five major Russian channels, including Vesti, Russia-24, Channel One’s international broadcasts, RTR ‘Planeta’ and NTV World were immediately excluded from the list of options by providers throughout Ukraine.

The move was strongly condemned by the OSCE, which called the move “repressive” and “a form of censorship.”

A Ukrainian police officer looks at activists standing guard outside a regional television station after it was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

Since then, the situation in Donetsk has deteriorated, with people demanding a referendum on the region’s autonomy from Kiev. Amid massive protests, when a number of government building were stormed and seized by anti-government activists, Kiev launched an “anti-terrorist” military operation targeting rallying civilians.

Masked activists stand guard a regional television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on April 27, 2014.

 RT News.

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