Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 August 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that the situation remains tense at the contact line between Horlivka and Donetsk, Russian terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian armed forces at Novobakhmutivka with Grads (truck mounted multiple rocket launchers). “According to an intelligence report, the militants deployed their military equipment in Mineralne located between Yasynuvata and Donetsk” stated Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, the spokesperson of the Administration of the President of Ukraine on ATO-related issues. Motuzyanyk also reported that ceasefire violations took place near Svitlodarsk and Horlivka, specifically in Lozove, Travneve and near Novhorodske. An incident of heavy weapon use was reported between Avdiyivka and Maryinka and Ukrainian troops and Russian terrorist forces exchanged fire in Opytne, Pisky, Krasnokroivka and Maryinka. Meanwhile in Luhansk, fighting continued on the eastern and western sides of the region, with Russian militants firing grenade launchers in the areas of Bolotene, Stanytsia Luhanska and Shchastya. Ukrainian troops suffered losses near Orikhove and Popasna due to militants, “…planting mines and conducting subversive activities in Pervomaysk and its outskirts” according to Colonel Motuzyanyk. Four Russian terrorist attacks occurred on Ukrainian positions near Troyitske and in the Mariupol sector, Ukrainian defenses in Novotroyitske, Bohdanivka and Starohnativka were hit by Russian mortar and artillery attacks.
- Ukraine’s Security Service detains Russian nationals
Ukraine’s law enforcement detained two Donetsk region residents suspected of supporting militants. A large number of bank cards and tracking records of the cashing in of one million+ hryvnia were seized from them. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) detained a Russian national in the Luhansk region who is a native of the Rostov region in Russia and was recruited by the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR). The man confessed to supplying intelligence data on Ukrainian forces positions in Stanytsia Luhanska as well as neighbouring towns and being a military spotter for the Russian terrorist forces.
- Half of Occupied Donbas Closed to OSCE Observers
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) stated that they have no access to 46% of the Donbas territory controlled by the Russian-backed terrorists. “Militants completely block access of observers to the area of the Russia-Ukrainian border in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and 46% of the territory controlled by insurgents, are virtually closed for patrols by the OSCE SMM”, – stated by the ATO Staff after the meeting of leadership of the Ukrainian side in the Joint Center with the deputy head of the OSCE SMM A. Hug and representatives of the Donetsk and Kramatorsk SMM offices.
- Ukraine reports 50billion UAH losses due to ‘nationalisation’ of Crimea
Russia is conducting illegal ‘nationalisation’ of private and state property in the illegally annexed region of Crimea. According to acting prosecutor of Crimea N. Holodnytsky, the costs in damages caused by this illegal activity on enterprises in Crimea by self-proclaimed authorities are close to 50 billion UAH. “We have opened more than 20 proceedings….these court proceedings are related to illegal ‘nationalisation’ of enterprises that has been carried out by self-proclaimed authorities on the basis of a decision of the illegal government and the so-called State Council of the Republic of Crimea” stated Holodnytsky. “Currently, we are still assessing the approximate amount of damages [while waiting for a response from the relevant ministries and departments], but we can already say it will exceed 50 billion UAH” he added.
5.President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko announces agenda of Berlin meeting with Merkel and Hollande
President of Ukraine P Poroshenko announced that security issues and the fulfilment of the Minsk agreements are on the agenda for his meeting with French President F. Hollande and German Chancellor A. Merkel in Berlin on August 24. “Of course, issues related to security will be a top priority. Despite a considerable decline in the number of attacks [in Donbas] in the past few days, we are not satisfied that the key clauses and commitments undertaken by the Russian side [under the Minsk agreements], namely the withdrawal of large-caliber artillery systems and heavy weapons, have been fulfilled,” Poroshenko stated. “We also must ensure that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine could have full access to all areas from where attacks are mounted, so that the world could see the international community’s determination to ensure peace and order.” The Berlin meeting will also discuss the issue of creating a strong international coalition, in order to defend against the aggression from Russia. “The key task of the Ukrainian authorities is to shape a strong international community as a united coalition, which must stop the aggression. This includes coordinated action in the east of the country and coordinated steps regarding the non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea. This is especially topical after the illegal visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the territory of the annexed Crimea,” Poroshenko said. The fourth issue of the talks in Berlin with Merkel and Hollande will be the coordination of action on a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union. Poroshenko said that on August 17, the Ukrainian side submitted its report on the implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan.