Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
9 March 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on 8 March, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 40 times. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 4 were wounded. At 4:50 PM Kyiv time, the Ministry of Defense reported that Kremlin-backed terrorists attacked Ukrainian positions at Shyrokine (near Mariupol). Using 120-mm mortars, tanks and infantry, Kremlin-backed terrorists attempted to push Ukrainian forces out of Shyrokine. Ukrainian forces are holding their positions. At 7:45 PM Kyiv time, the Ministry of Defense reported that Ukrainian forces repelled the attack.
2. NATO Europe Commander: We see artillery moving on east side of contact line, but don’t know if they’re returning or repositioning for next engagement
Gen. P. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, stated in an interview released on 8 March, “This portion of the border in the southeastern part of Ukraine is wide open. Forces move back and forth at will across this border. Supplies, ammunition, men, money all move back and forth quickly across this border to supply and enable those Russian troops that are inside of Ukraine and those Russian-backed troops that are inside of Ukraine. […] The numbers are constantly changing and this is I think a part of exactly what Russia wants to have happen, and that is, it is hard for us to keep up with which ones are going, which ones are in, which ones are out, and how they’re positioned. […] Right now we can’t confirm withdrawal. We do see heavy artillery being moved on both sides of the line of contact. But we do not know what’s happening to the artillery on the east side of the line of contact because the OSCE observers have not been allowed to go and observe […] that they’re moving and where they’re moving to. So we see them moving, some of them moving, but we don’t know if they’re returning or just simply repositioning for the next engagement.” The full interview is available athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?
3. European Council President: I am afraid that Russia wants to rebuild control over the whole of Ukraine
In an 8 March interview, European Council President D. Tusk stated, “‘Some politicians in Europe are ready to believe that there is a chance of good will’ from Mr. Putin and from Russia, Mr. Tusk said, adding: ‘I am more skeptical.’ There needs to be ‘a permanent effort’ to guard against attempts by Russia to divide European leaders, he warned. ‘Either by military or economic or other tools, I am afraid that Russia wants to rebuild control over the whole of Ukraine,’ Mr. Tusk said,” the New York Times reported. Tusk is in Washington today meeting with US President B. Obama.
4. UK Foreign Minister: Russia sees us as competitors or even adversaries
In an interview with the BBC on 8 March, UK Foreign Minister P. Hammond stated, “We are clear that Russia has decided, it has made the decision that it wants to be in a strategic competition with the West, with Europe. It doesn’t any longer see us as partners, it sees us as competitors or even adversaries, and that means we’re going to have a difficult, prickly relationship with Russia, probably for some time to come.”