Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
25 June 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time Kremlin-backed terrorists heavily shelled Ukrainian positions east of Mariupol with artillery for nearly four hours last night. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions along the Maryinka-Advyivka line with mortars. Clashes took place north and west of Horlivka. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions near Shchastya and Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded. The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported that today in the morning, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on a Red Cross humanitarian convoy near a Ukrainian checkpoint near Volnovakha, Donetsk oblast, with grenade launchers and small arms. The SBU stated that nobody was injured.
- NATO Defense Ministers reaffirm commitment to Ukraine, establish new trust fund
Following meetings in Brussels on 24-25 June, NATO Defense Ministers stated, “Russia is challenging Euro-Atlantic security through military action, coercion and intimidation of its neighbours. We continue to be concerned about Russia’s aggressive actions which we discussed also in a meeting with our Ukrainian colleague, Minister Poltorak, where we reaffirmed our strong commitment to an independent, peaceful and prosperous Ukraine and our firm support to its territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.” On 25 June following a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated that the Alliance had agreed in principle to establish a new trust fund for Ukraine, on demining and countering improvised explosive devices. 5 other NATO trust funds – military career management; cyber defence; logistics; command and control and communications; rehabilitation of injured military personnel – are operational. Stoltenberg stated, “The people of Ukraine deserve our support and we are committed to our partnership with Ukraine.”
- NATO Supreme Commander Europe: Putin not done in eastern Ukraine
NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen P. Breedlove stated in Brussels, “Mr. Putin is very clear that he does not want Kyiv leaning to the West and that he will use the appropriate force necessary to keep Kyiv from leaning to the West[…]. And so, I don’t think Mr. Putin is done in eastern Ukraine. […]The Russians command, lead and enable a very capable force inside the Donbass that is also extremely well supplied,” the Associated Press reported.
- Venice Commission: Constitutional amendments on decentralization “well drafted and deserve support”
The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe published its Preliminary Opinion on Constitutional Amendments regarding the Territorial Structure and Local Administration of Ukraine, concluding: “The draft amendments introduce a form of decentralisation in the exercise of state power which is largely compatible with the European Charter of Local Self-government. Overall, the amendments are well drafted and deserve support. […] In the opinion of the Venice Commission, however, two main changes are required: – The power to dismiss the prefects should be given to the President upon recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers; – a provision to the effect that some categories of administrative/territorial units or special arrangements for or within administrative/territorial units may (only) be created by law should be added.” The full opinion can be accessed at: http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-PI(2015)008-e
- Parliamentary speaker hopes amendments to Constitution will be voted on in fall session of Parliament
The speaker of Ukraine’s Parliament V. Groysman stated that the draft law on introducing decentralization amendments to the Constitution will be presented at a meeting Ukraine’s Constitutional Commission on 26 June. Groysman stated that the Constitutional Commission will continue to work closely with the Venice Commission on amendments regarding judicial reform, human rights and other questions. He stated that he expects that the procedure of amending the Constitution will be completed during the fall session of Parliament.
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