Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 August 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 the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine continued yesterday. Russian-terrorist forces continue to shell Ukrainian positions and cities and towns with heavy weapons, including artillery and rocket artillery. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska. Near Shchastya, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Tryokhizbenka and Nyzhne with mortars and grenade launchers. Towards Donetsk, firefights with Russian-terrorist forces took place on the outskirts of occupied Horlivka. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions north of Horlivka (Mayorsk and Zaytseve) with high-caliber mortars, artillery and tanks. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Verkhnotoretske and Troitske 10 times with heavy weapons, including twice with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Near Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions on the Avdiyivka-Opytne-Pisky-Krasnohorivka line. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Taramchuk and Berezove with artillery and Grads. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Bohdanivka-Starohnativka-Hranitne line. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven were wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that on 16 August, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 148 times.
- Shelling by Russian-terrorist forces kills three civilians
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine reported that as a result of the heavy artillery shelling by Russian-terrorist forces of Sartana (a suburb of Mariupol) on 16 August, two civilians were killed. Six civilians, including a ten-year old girl, were injured. As a result of artillery shelling of Krasnohorivka by Russian-terrorist forces, one civilian was killed.
- Savchenko attorney: Our goal is to create enough international pressure to free Savchenko
I.Novikov, attorney for Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, who has been illegally imprisoned in Russia for over year, in an interview with Deutsche Welle published 16 August, stated, “I don’t think the trial will last longer than two weeks. If we start next week as scheduled, then it will likely be the end of August or the start of September. […] We don’t think she’ll be acquitted. We know the Russian legal system too well to expect that. In controversial cases where politics is at play, the control comes directly from above. So despite all the evidence, we are not expecting for Savchenko to walk free. But it is our goal to create enough international pressure that she may be freed after the verdict is handed down. […]The charge of murder of two journalists was amended to include illegal crossing of a state border. That’s a clear sign about how little the prosecution has to go on. It’s getting more and more absurd.” 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.
- Illegal detention of Crimean Tatar leader extended
A court in Russian-occupied Crimea remanded Aktem Chiygoz, Deputy Head of the Mejlis (Crimean Tatar representative assembly) into custody until 19 November, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported. KHPG stated, “The charges are absurd by definition, since they pertain to something that happened before annexation, and therefore under Ukrainian rule and law. This is not only nonsensical, but in breach of the Russian legislation which is supposedly in force while Crimea is under Russian occupation. […] After Russia banished the Head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov and veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev from their homeland soon after annexation, Chiygoz was the highest-ranking Crimean Tatar leader in Crimea. The so-called ‘Feb 26 case’ is widely seen as an offensive specifically against the Mejlis which has consistently demonstrated its opposition to Russian occupation and reported the ever-increasing violations of Crimean Tatar rights.” Chiygoz stated in a previous hearing, “Whether I am destined to live or to die, it will be in my homeland. I want the prosecutor, the Investigative Committee and the judge to know that I have no intention of leaving”.
- Ukraine MFA on Putin’s and Medvedev’s visit to Russian-occupied Crimea
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine issued the following statement in connection with the visit of Russian President V. Putin and Russian PM D. Medvedev to occupied Crimea. “The MFA of Ukraine voices its strong protest in connection with the visit, not agreed upon with Ukraine, of senior officials of the Russian Federation, on 17 August 2015 to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. A requisite note of protest and demand for an explanation of the demonstrative contempt for Ukrainian legislation and norms of international law by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the head of the Russian government, Dmitry Medvedev and other officials of the Russian Federation, has been sent to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. […] Crimea and Sevastopol are and remain an integral part of Ukraine for the entire civilized world, which has provided a proper assessment of the actions of the Russian side by implementing the appropriate restrictive measures.”