Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
11 February, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) stated at 12:30 PM that Kremlin-backed terrorists continue shelling Ukrainian positions with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers, mortars and tanks. Towards Debaltseve, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions over ten times and attacked Ukrainian positions near the town twice. The attacks were repelled. The RNBO stated that in the last 24 hours 19 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 78 were wounded. In the last 24 hours, Ukrainian forces killed 87 Kremlin-backed terrorists, and destroyed 12 tanks, 14 multiple-launch rocket systems and 16 armored personnel carriers. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported at 7 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Debaltseve 14 times throughout the day. Attacks by Kremlin-backed terrorists on Ukrainian positions near Debaltseve were repelled. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that as a result of yesterday’s shelling of Kramatorsk by Kremlin-backed terrorists, 15 civilians were killed and 63 wounded. Kremlin-backed terrorists used “Smersh” rockets to shell the city. Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko stated “This is a crime against humanity – when people are dying in their homes, on the streets – where there are no soldiers, 50 km from the front, from Russian weapons.”
2. Minsk talks begin
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko, German Chancellor A. Merkel, French President F. Hollande and Russian President V. Putin are meeting in Minsk. Talks began at about 7:30 PM Kyiv time.
3. Ukrainian President: There will be no federalization of Ukraine
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko stated that Ukraine was, is and will be unitary. “Federalization is a seed that will not catch on in Ukrainian soil. […] Decentralization… will have nothing in common with federalization. Ukraine is a unitary state and it fully meets the interests of the Ukrainian people. More than 80% of population firmly stand for the unitary Ukraine.” Pоroshenko also stated that decentralization will not affect issues of defense, security and foreign policy, and that Ukrainian would remain the only official language; at the same time “the protection of regional languages that may be adopted by local councils will be ensured,” the President’s press service reported.
4. US Army Europe Commander: There is direct Russian military intervention around Debaltseve
During a visit to NATO’s Multinational Corps Northeast Headquarters in Szczecin, Poland, US Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. B. Hodges stated, “I think it’s very important to recognize these are not separatists, these are proxies for President Putin. It is very obvious from the amount of ammunition, the type of equipment, that there is direct Russian military intervention in the area around Debaltseve. […] I do worry that if they are successful in Debaltseve that then they will shift their attention to Mariupol. […] I don’t know that, but I am concerned that that is something that they might do. They certainly have a large number of Russian forces, 10 battalions, on the border of eastern Ukraine,” the Associated Press reported. Hodges also stated that the US military plans to start training Ukrainian soldiers in March – a battalion of US soldiers will train three battalions of Ukrainian soldiers from the Ministry of the Interior near Lviv. “The planned training, Hodges said, will involve Americans teaching the Ukrainians how to better defend themselves against ‘Russian and rebel artillery and rockets.’ Training will also include securing roads, bridges and other infrastructure, treating and evacuating casualties, and operating in an environment where Russians are jamming communications,” the Associated Press reported.
5. Ukrainian PM: Negotiations with IMF could be completed within 48 hours
At a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk stated that he hopes that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a financial aid package for Ukraine will be completed within 48 hours. Yatsenyuk stated that a few outstanding issues remain, particularly with regard to the energy sector.
6. Obama to Putin: if Russia continues aggressive actions in Ukraine, costs for Russia will rise
On 10 February, US President B. Obama called Russian President V. Putin. “President Obama reiterated America’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. President Obama underscored the rising human toll of the fighting and underscored the importance of President Putin seizing the opportunity presented by the ongoing discussions between Russia, France, Germany, and Ukraine to reach a peaceful resolution. The President emphasized the importance of reaching and implementing a negotiated settlement underpinned by the commitments in the Minsk agreement. However, if Russia continues its aggressive actions in Ukraine, including by sending troops, weapons, and financing to support the separatists, the costs for Russia will rise,” the Office of the White House Press Secretary stated.