Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
26 February 2015, 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 throughout the night, there was no shelling of Ukrainian positions. Near Pisky, Kremlin-backed terrorists attacked a Ukrainian checkpoint. The attack was repelled. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and 4 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that Ukrainian forces have begun the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line, as agreed to in Minsk on 12 February.
2. NATO Secretary General: Russia has in recent months transferred over 1000 pieces of equipment, tanks and air defense systems
At a press conference, NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated, “Russia has transferred in recent months over one thousand pieces of equipment, tanks, artillery and air defense systems. They have to withdraw this equipment and stop supporting the separatists. Any attempts to expand further the territory held by separatists would be a clear violation of the ceasefire. And it would be unacceptable to the international community.”
3. Canada, US, EU call for release of Nadiya Savchenko from illegal imprisonment by Russia
On 25 February, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs R. Nicholson stated, “Today marks the 75th day of Nadiya Savchenko’s hunger strike to protest her unlawful detention by the Russian authorities. Canada unequivocally condemns Ms. Savchenko’s illegal incarceration and is concerned by reports of her declining health. We call on Russia to immediately end her detention and return her to Ukraine. Russia and the separatists in eastern Ukraine must abide by the commitments made in Minsk on February 12 and proceed with the release and exchange of all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.” On 25 February, the US State Department said, “The United States deplores her continued ill-treatment and is deeply concerned by reports of her deteriorating health. By any standard, Russia’s detention and treatment of Ms. Savchenko is unacceptable. We call on Russia to honor its commitments under the September 2014 Minsk agreements and the February 15 implementation plan by immediately releasing Nadiya Savchenko and all other Ukrainian hostages.” An EU statement said, “Russia bears a responsibility for her very fragile health. The EU calls on the Russian authorities to urgently release Ms Savchenko on humanitarian grounds.” Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in mid-June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. She was elected to Ukraine’s parliament in October.
4. RNBO Secretary: 5 more suspects in Kharkiv terrorist attack detained
O. Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) stated that 5 suspects in Kharkiv were detained on suspicion of participating in the terrorist attack that took place in Kharkiv on 22 February, in which four people were killed. Turchynov stated that both the organizer and the executors of the terrorist attack were detained. They were found with weapons, ammunition, plastic explosives, detonators and grenades. Turchynov also stated that 2 suspects connected to this terrorist group were detained in Mariupol, where they were preparing a terrorist attack, in possession of 10 kg of TNT.
5. Ukrainian government releases “Kremlin’s black book” – of Russia’s war against Ukraine
The Ukrainian government has released a report on the costs of Russia’s war against Ukraine in human lives and damage to Ukrainian infrastructure and economy. The “Kremlin’s black book” is available at http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/