Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 January 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from the new terminal of the Donetsk airport. 16 Ukrainian soldiers were taken prisoner by Kremlin-backed terrorists. The new terminal has been completely destroyed. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 2:30 PM Kyiv time that intense battles in the area around the airport continue and that Ukrainian forces reinforced positions near Pisky. The Ministry of Defense reported that as of 3PM Kyiv time the most difficult situation is towards Debaltsevo, where Kremlin-backed terrorists continually shell Ukrainian positions. Attempts by Kremlin-backed terrorists to advance there have been repelled. Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions 6 times. Several media outlets showed video footage of Kremlin-backed terrorists forcibly parading Ukrainian soldiers in their captivity in Donetsk city. The RNBO reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, 10 Ukrainian soldiers were killed. 19 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded.
2. Kremlin-backed terrorists shell bus, killing civilians
At about 8:30 AM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed terrorists of the so-called Donetsk “Peoples’ Republic” shelled a bus stop in Lenin District of Donetsk city. The Donetsk Oblast State Administration stated that 8 civilians were killed and 7 injured in the attack. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated, “We emphasize that Ukrainian forces do not use weapons against civilians. All facts indicate that terrorists fired on the passenger transport from residential areas of the city, which are controlled by illegally armed groups.” The General Prosecutor of Ukraine stated that civilians were purposely targeted by Kremlin-backed terrorists. The General Prosecutor stated “Organs of the Prosecutor of Donetsk oblast have operational information from witnesses in Donetsk city about a cargo truck with a mortar, located in Kuibyshev district of Donetsk city, from which shells were fired towards Lenin district of the city.” The General Prosecutor has opened an investigation under Art. 3 Par. 258 of the Criminal Code – terrorist act. The Donetsk Oblast State Administration reported that as a result of shelling by Kremlin-backed terrorists of Mariynka, a nine-year old boy was killed and his grandmother was injured.
3. President holds meeting with security officials
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko is holding a meeting with security officials “the conclusions of which will establish a plan for further steps in combating the terrorists.”
4. RNBO Secretary: Reason to believe there will be significant offensive operations by enemy in near future
O. Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) stated that the continuing increase of enemy forces along the front “in particular, the deployment of units of the Russian Federation to the front, gives reason to anticipate significant offensive operations by the enemy in the nearest future.”
5. US Rep at UN Security Council: “We’ve seen this playbook before”
Speaking at a session of the UN Security Council on 21 January, US Permanent Representative to the UN S. Power stated, “Russia has so consistently broken its commitments and violated its obligations not to lop off part of another country, that some here may begin to accept Russia’s behavior as an unfortunate but inevitable reality – a new normal that would be dangerous for Ukraine and dangerous for international peace and security, because complacency would reward aggression and threaten the basic rules on which our collective security rests. […] On Thursday, President Putin issued a last-minute invitation to President Poroshenko to discuss a new Russian-conceived so-called “peace plan” – a plan that would free Russia from the commitment it made in Minsk to withdraw its fighters and return control over the international border to Ukraine. The plan would seek to legitimize territorial gains made by separatists since September, as well as Russian personnel and military equipment on the territory of Ukraine. We’ve seen peace plans like this before in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria. When President Poroshenko did not accept Putin’s offer, Russia immediately launched a diplomatic and media blitz, claiming it was proof that Ukraine is not interested in peace. Let us pull the veil away from Putin’s peace plan, and call it for what it is: a Russian occupation plan. […]There is a broader reason it would be dangerous to accept Russia’s actions as the new normal. We have seen this playbook before. Before eastern Ukraine, we saw it in Crimea. And before Crimea, we saw it in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Before Georgia, in Transnistria. The endgame in all of these Moscow-manufactured crises has been identical: to gobble up parts of neighboring countries and to create frozen conflicts. […]If Russia succeeds in achieving its aims, if we allow this behavior to become the new normal, this will not be the last time Russia uses this well-worn playbook.”
6. Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Germany, France, Russia meet in Berlin
The Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia met in Berlin on 21 January. In a statement issued after the meeting the “Ministers reiterate that