Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
2 February, 8 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 Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to shell Ukrainian positions and attack Ukrainian positions towards Debaltsevo, Donetsk oblast, – Vuhlehirsk, Sanzharivky, and Nyzhne Lozove – with the goal of pushing back Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian forces are repelling the attacks. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, 5 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 28 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. On 1 February, 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 20 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that throughout 1 February, 180 Kremlin-backed terrorists were killed, and over 240 Kremlin-backed terrorists were wounded.
2. Canadian non-lethal military aid delivered to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
In Odesa, non-lethal military aid from Canada was delivered to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. S. Poltorak, Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, presented Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine, R. Waschuk, a letter of gratitude. The aid delivered today is part of an assistance package announced on 26 November, 2014, which totals $11 million.
3. Report: Ukraine needs significant military assistance to deter further Kremlin aggression
A joint report by the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do, released today argues that “The United States and NATO should seek to create a situation in which the Kremlin considers the option of further military action in or against Ukraine too costly to pursue. […] The administration should request, and Congress should immediately authorize and appropriate $1 billion in assistance to bolster Kyiv’s defense and deterrence capabilities as rapidly as possible in 2015, with additional tranches of $1 billion to be provided in FY 2016 and FY 2017. […] [T]he US government should immediately change its policy from prohibiting lethal assistance to allowing provisions of defensive military assistance, which may include lethal assistance, most importantly, light anti-tank armor missiles.” The full report is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.
4. NATO Deputy Secretary General: Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a game-changer in European security
In his keynote address at the Leangkollen Conference in Oslo, Norway, NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador A. Vershbow stated, “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not an isolated incident, but a game-changer in European security. […] Russia has used force to alter legally recognized borders and to actively subvert the government of a neighboring state. Although it claims to want de-escalation and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, its actions tell a different story. […]Putin’s regime is firmly entrenched, assisted by a powerful propaganda machine that feeds paranoia and xenophobia, and by the suppression of dissent. […] In 2015 we can expect more Russian pressure against its neighbors and a continued hostile stance against NATO. As far as NATO is concerned, we have no option but to respond, and to protect ourselves. […] But in addition to ensuring our collective defense, we must also look beyond our borders. Another priority at the Wales summit was to increase our support to our eastern neighbors, especially Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, who are the main targets of Russian pressure and interference. […] They are independent countries with internationally recognized borders, who are entitled to pursue their own path. […]The more stable they are, the more secure we are. So helping Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – to strengthen their military forces, reform their institutions and modernize their economies – is not an act of generosity; it is in our fundamental strategic interest.” The full address is available at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/