Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
26 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 at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol), clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place throughout the day. Towards Donetsk, fighting continued in the area of the Donetsk airport. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Shchastya with mortars, wounding two civilians. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and three were wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 8:30 AM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, Kremlin-backed terrorists opened fire on Ukrainian positions 86 times; 50 of which were in the Donetsk area, including with mortars, artillery and grenade launchers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that another so-called “humanitarian” convoy illegally enteredUkraine from Russia on 25 June.
- Savchenko to complete review of “case file” against her by 2 July
In a letter from her Russian prison cell, where she has been illegally detained for over a year, Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko stated that she will complete the review of the fabricated criminal “case” against here by 2 July. She stated that she doesn’t believe it is necessary “to waste more of my life in prison reviewing the case.” She also stated that she fears for the life and freedom of her attorneys. Ilya Novikov, one of her attorneys, stated that beginning next week, her defense will start releasing to the public all 40 volumes of so-called “evidence” in the “case” against her. Savchenko was serving in eastern Ukraine when abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. Russia has ignored repeated calls from the international community for her immediate release.
- Canada’s Minister of Defence visits Ukraine
Canada’s Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism J. Kenney is visiting Ukraine. He met with Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko, who “thanked Canada for its comprehensive support for Ukraine, particularly for measures on the enhancement of its defense capability. […] The parties discussed the issue of expanding military-technical cooperation between the two countries. They also negotiated prospects of participation in the international military training planned by military institutions of Ukraine and Canada in 2015. The President praised the opportunity of involving Canadian instructors in military exercises in Ukraine and exchanging experience on ‘hybrid war’,” the President’s press service stated. Kenney also met with Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk and Minister of Defence S. Poltorak.
- Ukraine’s Minister of Finance: Government prepared to suspend payments if international commercial creditors unwilling to share burden
In an address to the Ukrainian people, Finance Minister N. Jaresko stated that while the IMF and official lenders have contributed to financial stabilization efforts, “Ukraine’s international sovereign creditors, represented by the Ad Hoc Committee, is the only one of the three groups which has so far refused to contribute to Ukraine’s recovery. For three months, despite the urgency of our situation, they have refused to engage in substantive negotiations on the terms of a debt operation meeting the three targets established in the IMF program. […] It is against this backdrop that the government is seeking to intensify negotiations with the Ad Hoc Committee. The government is committed to finding a collaborative solution that will ensure a successful debt operation to reduce the unsustainable debt burden and create the conditions for economic recovery. The government recognizes that the creditors may not be prepared to agree, and may continue to block progress toward a solution. In this case the government is prepared to use its existing legal power to suspend payments to international commercial bondholders in order to consolidate Ukraine’s economy and preserve Ukraine’s financial resources until an acceptable deal is agreed. Ukraine government’s policies enjoy the support of the IMF and the G7 who both agree that the international commercial creditors must share the burden and make an equal effort. Ultimately, the goal of the government is to protect the Ukrainian people and we are ready to take any step to ensure that the interests of Ukraine are fully defended.”
- US President: Russia must fulfill its Minsk commitments
Russian President V. Putin called US President B. Obama on 25 June. “President Obama reiterated the need for Russia to fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements, including the removal of all Russian troops and equipment from Ukrainian territory,” the White House stated.
- Calls for UN tribunal on MH-17
The five countries investigating the shoot-down last year of MH-17 over eastern Ukraine are calling for an international tribunal established by the UN to prosecute those responsible, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.“Last week, legal experts presented the Security Council with a draft statute to establish a tribunal along with a draft UN resolution that would authorize it, diplomats said. Malaysia, home to the airline whose plane was shot down, and The Netherlands, where most of the 298 travelers who were killed resided, originally espoused the idea, and the rest of the countries — Australia, Ukraine, and Belgium — gave their endorsement this week. […] Dutch prosecutors, who are leading the investigation, have narrowed their focus to the theory that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile fired from an area held by pro-Russian forces. They believe the missile was transported from Russian territory shortly before the incident. That raises the possibility that Russian nationals could be named in their indictment. […]The countries representing victims acknowledge that Russia might wield its veto power over Security Council decisions to kill the idea,” RFE/RL stated.
- US State Department releases 2014 country human rights reports
The US State Department released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014. The report on Russia stated, “In February the armed forces unlawfully entered Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and then occupied and attempted to ‘annex’ the Crimean peninsula in March. The international community denounced the occupation and refused to recognize the country’s purported annexation of Crimea. The government also trained, equipped, and supplied pro-Russia “separatist” forces in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of eastern Ukraine, who were joined by numerous fighters from Russia. International monitors and human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) attributed thousands of civilian deaths and injuries, as well as widespread human rights abuses, to Russia-backed separatists in the Donbas region and the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea […] The government increasingly instituted a range of measures to suppress dissent. The government passed new repressive laws and selectively employed existing ones systematically to harass, discredit, prosecute, imprison, detain, and fine individuals and entities that engaged in activities critical of the government, including NGOs, independent media outlets, bloggers, and the political opposition. Individuals and organizations that professed support for the government of Ukraine or opposed the Russian government’s activities in Ukraine were especially targeted. […]The government continued to discriminate against and politically prosecute lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; some religious and ethnic minorities; and migrant workers. The government stoked societal xenophobia and utilized the pretext of ‘conservative’ moral values and Russian nationalism, coinciding with a high level of violent attacks against minorities.”