Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
9 June 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday, battles with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place at Lomakine and Shyrokyne (near Mariupol), where Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. Towards Donetsk, battles with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place in the northwestern outskirts of Horlivka. Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions west of Donetsk along the Avdiyivka-Maryinka line, and fired on Ukrainian positions with tanks near Vodyane and Opytne. Towards Luhansk, battles with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place along the Zolote-Stanytsia Luhanksa line. At Krymske, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, eight Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five were wounded.
- Emergency crews battle fire at fuel depot outside Kyiv
The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that as of 12PM Kyiv time, emergency crews are fighting a fire at a fuel depot in Vasylkiv, 30 km southwest of Kyiv. A military base is located near the fuel depot. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council O. Turchynov stated that there is no danger of the fire spreading to the base. Z. Shkiryak, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs stated that several reasons for the fire are being investigated – violations in safe storage of fuel; technical errors, or arson. Minister of Internal Affairs A. Avakov stated at 5:30 PM Kyiv time that specialists estimated that it would take 12 hours to extinguish the fire, and that one person has been killed, three are missing and eight are injured as a result of the fire.
- US President: Russian forces continue to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity
Speaking following the G7 Summit on 8 June, US President B. Obama stated, “As we’ve seen again in recent days, Russian forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. […] There is strong consensus that we need to keep pushing Russia to abide by the terms of the Minsk agreement. […] There was discussion about additional steps that we might need to take if Russia, working through separatists, doubled down on aggression inside of Ukraine. Those discussions are taking place at a technical level, not yet at a political level — because I think the first goal here going into a European Council meeting that’s coming up is just rolling over the existing sanctions. But I think at a technical level, we want to be prepared. Our hope is, is that we don’t have to take additional steps because the Minsk agreement is met. […] Ultimately, this is going to be an issue for Mr. Putin. He’s got to make a decision: Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to re-create the glories of the Soviet empire? Or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?”
- Archbishop of Crimea appeals to international community to defend rights of Ukrainians in Crimea
Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea (Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate) Clement made an appeal “on behalf of the Church and all Crimean Ukrainians to the international community to defend the national, cultural and religious rights of all Ukrainian nationals in Crimea,” the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported. Clement spoke of pressure on the Church, including illegal seizures of churches; threats to businesspeople supporting the Kyiv Patriarchate; the auctioning of premises on lease to the Kyiv Patriarchate. “The Archbishop also condemns as unacceptable the closure of classes taught in Ukrainian; the destruction of the Ukrainian lyceum in Simferopol and effective destruction of seven other Ukrainian language schools. The Ukrainian-language newspaper Krymska Svitlytsa has effectively been silenced after the local authorities took away the newspaper’s premises. This is combined with the unacceptable reduction in the amount of TV and radio programmes in Ukrainian. He points also to the harassment and even prosecution of Ukrainians for their Ukrainian flag or Ukrainian embroidered shirts. The Archbishop addresses his appeal to the UN and OSCE; to the ‘state guarantors of Ukraine’s territorial integrity’ who signed the 1994 Budapest Memorandum; and to all EU countries, asking them to take decisive measures for the defence of fundamental rights and freedoms in Crimea,” KHPG stated.
- Ukraine PM: “Europe whole and free” is under direct attack from Russian imperialism
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk, who is on a working visit to the US from 8-10 June, wrote, “We know that the only way to regain control over our future is to create a modern Western society based on accountable government, a free-market economy and rule of law. Instead of slowing the pace of political and economic change, we are accelerating it. […] Responsibility for seeing these reforms through lies with Ukraine alone. But we need the support of our partners to help us stabilize our economy and deter further Russian aggression while we carry them out. […] No one should have any doubt what is at stake. The great achievement of a ‘Europe whole and free’ that marked the end of the Cold War is under direct attack from resurgent Russian authoritarianism and imperialism. Ukraine is bearing the brunt of that attack, but the consequences of allowing our independence to be crushed would not be contained within Ukraine. It would give rise to new threats and crises that would be even more difficult and costly to resolve.” The op-ed is available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-is-at-stake-in-ukraine/2015/06/08/5915362e-0d20-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.html