Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
21 April 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 Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions 10 times with mortars and 4 times with tanks yesterday. The areas of the most intense confrontation are at Shyrokyne (towards Mariupol); around the Donetsk airport; the suburbs of Horlivka; and Shchastya (towards Luhansk). The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one was wounded. The RNBO reported that according to intelligence reports, Russian authorities are offering amnesty to prisoners, on condition that they enlist in terrorist organizations of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics.” The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported that from midnight to 6 PM Kyiv time on 21 April, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 14 times.
2. Ukraine’s Parliament passes resolution on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and calls for increased support from international community
Ukraine’s Parliament adopted a resolution endorsing the Statement by Parliament “On repelling the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and overcoming its consequences.” The aim of the resolution is to establish the legal foundation for consolidated claims against the Russian Federation in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The statement demands that the Russian Federation: immediately withdraw all units of its Armed forces from Ukraine and cease any support for terrorist organizations in eastern Ukraine; immediately release all hostages, POWs and illegally detained citizens of Ukraine; return the Ukraine-Russia border to joint control; immediately return annexed Crimea and Sevastopol to Ukrainian control; fully compensate Ukraine for all damages as a result of armed aggression; prosecute and punish all those guilty of planning, preparing and implementing aggression against Ukraine and those guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the event of refusal by Russia, Ukraine asserts its right to appeal to the International Criminal Court to investigate the events from the onset of Russian aggression on 20 February 2014. The Statement reads, “In the event of refusal by the Russian Federation to stop its armed aggression against Ukraine, Ukraine’s Parliament calls upon the international community to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation as an aggressor state and accelerate the provision of financial aid and the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, based on the fact that, in opposing Russian armed aggression, Ukraine has stood in defense of united, democratic Europe and the entire free world.”
3. Ukraine President’s call with US Vice-President – US to provide additional $17.7 million in humanitarian assistance
On 20 April, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko spoke with US Vice-President J. Biden, who “informed President Poroshenko that the United States will provide the Government of Ukraine with an additional $17.7 million in humanitarian assistance for vulnerable populations, including shelter, health and sanitation support, food vouchers, and potable water.”
4. Nadiya Savchenko’s mother appeals to global community to help free her daughter
Nadiya Savchenko’s mother, Maria Savchenko, is “on a global campaign seeking support from world leaders to pressure President Vladimir Putin to free her daughter,” the Associated Press reported. She began her campaign in Germany, and will meet Tuesday in New York with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights I. Simonovic. “I’m a desperate mother who is ready to travel the globe to make everything possible that my message be heard. […]I call upon all international leaders to help me to bring my daughter back home,” Maria Savchenko stated in an interview with the Associated Press. In a phone call with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko “urged the UN Secretary-General to take measures for the liberation of Nadiya Savchenko […] The President has emphasized that all hostages in Donbas should be liberated.” Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in mid-June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time.
5. EU Commission disburses 250 million Euros in assistance to Ukraine
The European Commission disbursed a loan of 250 million euro to Ukraine. This was the last disbursement of the first Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) operation for Ukraine, which totals 610 million Euros. “The objective of the MFA programme is to address Ukraine’s urgent financing needs, while supporting Ukraine’s economic stabilisation and reform agenda. This MFA operation in Ukraine has supported in particular reforms in the areas of public finance management and anti-corruption, trade and taxation, the energy sector and the financial sector,” an EU release stated.
6. Russian PM: Costs to Russian economy from sanctions could be several times higher this year than last
In his annual report to Russian parliament on the economy, Russian PM D. Medvedev stated that Russia’s economy has lost approximately 25 billion Euros as a result of sanctions, and that the losses could be “several times” higher this year. Medvedev stated that Russia’s GDP dropped by approximately 2 % in the first quarter of 2015, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. Medvedev said, “For the first time in the history of Russia after the collapse of the U.S.S.R….our country has turned out to be under the influence of two external shocks — a sharp drop in oil prices and unprecedentedly harsh sanctions pressure […] We’ve never faced such an array of simultaneous challenges”.