Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
13 August 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PMKyiv time that the situation at the front is deteriorating. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions over 150 times in the last 24 hours. Ukrainian forces are successfully defending their positions. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska, Shchastya, Zolote and Troitske. Towards Donetsk, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces near Svitlodarsk. Near Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Mayorsk, Zaitseve, Leninske and Kirove. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Dzerzhinsk. Two civilians were injured. Near Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Opytne, Pisky and Vodyane with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers), artillery and tanks. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiyivka with howitzers. Clashes with Russian-terrorist forces took place near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novobakhmutivka with artillery. Intense battles are taking place towards Mariupol. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Dokuchayevsk, Komsomolske and Telmanove with tanks, artillery and self-propelled artillery. At Hranitne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with tanks. At Talakivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with Grads. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten were wounded.
2. RNBO Secretary: Enemy is preparing for offensive actions and assaults
O. Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO), stated that data on the redeployment and concentration of artillery, armored vehicles and troops of Russian-terrorist forces “indicates the enemy’s preparation of offensive actions and assaults. […] Our military is ready not only to protect the defensive lines, but in case of the enemy’s attempt to break through the lines and attack, [our military is ready] to effectively counterattack the enemy.”
3. KHPG: No illusions about acquittal of Sentsov and Kolchenko
The illegal trial of Ukrainian citizens O. Sentsov and O. Kolchenko on fabricated charges of terrorism continues in a Russian military court. The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “All evidence has now been presented [in] Russia’s trial of renowned Crimean film director Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. There is nothing against the defendants, plenty that incriminates the FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service] and its methods, yet an acquittal is not expected. Kolchenko’s lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina told Radio Svoboda that she has no illusions regarding an acquittal, which she calls the exception to the rule in Russia. She expects that the court will convict the two men, without any modification in the charges, although all the evidence gathered indicates that the men are innocent of the terrorism charges. Dmitry Dinze, who is representing Sentsov, agrees with respect to the evidence and clearly shares the same expectations from the Russian court. […] All ‘evidence’ against Sentsov and any involving ‘terrorism’ against Kolchenko are based on the testimony of other people, chiefly the other two opponents of Russia’s annexation who were also arrested in May 2014. Oleksy Chirniy refused to testify in court, but stood by his earlier testimony given as part of a deal which got him a minimum 7-year sentence. On July 31, Gennady Afanasyev, who is serving the same 7 year sentence after ‘cooperating’ with the investigators, refused to testify and stated that he was retracting his earlier testimony which he had given under duress. He later told his lawyer about the torture he had been subjected to for his first ‘confession’, and then the pressure and threats he received both before and after appearance in court.” Russia has ignored repeated calls by the international community for the immediate release of Sentsov, Kolchenko, Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, and other Ukrainian citizens illegally imprisoned by the Russian Federation.
4. Soros: Ukraine Deserves Debt Relief
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC and the Open Society Foundations, wrote, “Ukraine is struggling to negotiate a deal with its creditors, which the International Monetary Fund demands as a condition for further financial support. Russian aggression has taken a terrible toll on the economy of the new Ukraine, making its $19 billion in foreign debt unsustainable. Talks to renegotiate the country’s debt are currently under way in San Francisco. […] The Ukrainian government is fighting heroically for the kinds of structural reforms that the Brady Plan called for in 1989: rooting out corruption, reforming the judicial system, weaning the country from Russian gas, integrating the economy into the European Union, boosting agriculture, cleaning up the banking system, and more. If debt relief can be a fillip to these reforms, then investors ought to demand it (as the IMF is doing) and ignore the argument that writing off debt spells doom. If going into default is the only way to get debt relief, then investors will applaud, not condemn, Ukraine for doing it.” The full article is available athttp://www.wsj.com/articles/
5. Outgoing US Army Chief of Staff: Russia is “most dangerous” threat facing US today
Outgoing US Army Chief of Staff Gen. R. Odierno stated on 12 August that Russia posed the “most dangerous” threat facing the US today, because of its “sophisticated” operations in Ukraine, CNN reported. Odierno stated, “They are more mature than some other of our potential adversaries, and I think they have some stated intents that concern me in terms of how the Cold War ended. They have shown some significant capability in Ukraine to do operations that are fairly sophisticated, and so, for me, I think we should pay a lot of attention,” CNN reported.
6. US to assist in reforms of General Prosecutors’ Office
The US signed a Joint Action Plan with Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine D. Sakvarelidze to provide $2 million in US assistance to support reform, anti-corruption and capacity building at the Office of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine. US Charge d’Affaires B. Donahue stated, “It is critical that these reforms be undertaken in an open and transparent manner – consistent with the Procuracy Reform Law, international standards, and in coordination with national and international stakeholders – so that the Ukrainian people can have full faith and confidence in their laws and in those who have sworn to enforce them. We stand firmly with those working to realize these reforms, which will bring Ukraine closer to the modern, democratic, European future the Ukrainian people want and deserve.”