Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
9 July 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 towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Bakhchovyk with artillery. A firefight took place with Russian-terrorist forces at Shyrokyne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Pisky with mortars. Towards Luhansk, firefights took place at Stanytsia Luhanska and Krymske, where Russian-terrorist forces heavily shelled residential areas of the town. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 9 AM Kyiv time that Russian-terrorist forces shelled Hranitne (near Mariupol) with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket-launchers). The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded.
- Trial of illegally imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko begins in Russia
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) stated that the preliminary hearing in the trial of Ukrainian film director O. Sentsov and civic activist O. Kolchenko is scheduled for today. KHPG stated, “The hearing on Thursday by a military court in Rostov will be behind closed doors with only the prosecution and defence admitted. The fact that even the Ukrainian Consul will not be allowed to attend has been condemned by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry as the latest breach in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. They have been refused permission to see the two Ukrainians for almost 14 months now. As reported, Russia has illegally claimed that the two men are Russian nationals more or less ‘by default’ because Russia annexed their native Crimea.” Sentsov and Kalchenko were arrested in May 2014, taken by force to Moscow, where on 30 May 2014, the Russian FSB fabricated charges of their participation in a terrorist plot. At its Annual Session, (July 5-9, 2015) the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted resolutions that strongly condemned “the abduction of Ukrainian citizens from the territory of Ukraine, including Member of Parliament Nadiya Savchenko, filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and others, their illegal transfer across the Ukrainian-Russian state border and further detention in the Russian Federation” and called on the Russian Federation “to immediately release and return to Ukraine detained pilot and member of the Verkhovna Rada, Nadiya Savchenko, filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, Oleksander Kolchenko and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.”
- US, Ukraine planning to expand military training
American and Ukrainian officials are planning to expand the training of Ukrainian armed forces personnel, the Wall Street Journal reported. US airborne troops are currently training Ukrainian National Guard personnel. “Ukrainian military officials said Wednesday they want to bring their conventional army troops and special-operations forces to the training center [Yavoriv, Lviv Oblast] to run through the course taught by U.S. soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade […] The Ukrainians have selected mechanized and airborne units that would be part of an expanded training program. U.S. officials have also begun planning for a potential expansion of the training, lining up funding and beginning planning for the expansion. But officials said a final decision on increasing the training is up to the White House,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
- Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs calls for release of Nadiya Savchenko
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, R. Nicholson, stated, “One year ago today, the Kremlin announced the detention of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko. Since then, she has languished in prison, awaiting trial on trumped-up charges. Her pre-trial detention has been extended repeatedly, and she has been subjected to solitary confinement and involuntary psychiatric testing. To protest her detention, she has undertaken three hunger strikes, totaling over 100 days. These have compromised her health. It is time for the Kremlin to end this intolerable situation. On this shameful anniversary, we call on Putin to release Nadiya Savchenko immediately and to free all Ukrainians illegally detained by him or his proxies in eastern Ukraine.”
- Ukrainian World Congress condemns creation of Russian “patriotic stop list” aimed at banning foreign NGOs
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) condemned the creation of a “patriotic stop list” aiming to ban “unwelcome” foreign NGOs from Russia, including the UWC. “The UWC will, nevertheless, continue to work with the international community to ensure that Russia stops violating Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, ceases its illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine) and releases all illegally detained prisoners. The UWC will also continue to counter Russian disinformation,” the UWC stated. UWC President E. Czolij stated, “The Ukrainian World Congress is greatly concerned by the preparation of a ‘patriotic stop list’ because it demonstrates a further deterioration in the Russian Federation of human rights, including freedom of speech. We urge the international community to react to this unacceptable course of action by the Russian authorities which indicates their will to return to the totalitarian era of the Soviet Union.”
- Malaysian draft UN resolution establishing international tribunal on downing of Flight MH-17
On 8 July, Malaysia circulated a draft UN resolution establishing an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the shoot-down of Flight MH-17, Radio Free-Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. The Associated Press reported that Russia’s deputy UN Ambassador stated that Russia is opposed to the resolution.