Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
1 October 2015, 8 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 Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Luhanske village, Zaytseve and Novotroitske with small arms and grenade launchers. There was no combat in the Luhansk or Mariupol sectors of the front. The RNBO reported that no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in a tripwire explosion.
- EBRD to provide $300 million loan to Ukraine for natural gas purchases
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on 30 September that it will provide a loan of up to $300 million to Ukraine’s state gas and oil company Naftogaz Ukrainy, to purchase natural gas on the European market for the winter heating period. The EBRD stated, “The loan will strengthen Ukraine’s energy security by supporting diversification of natural gas suppliers and delivery routes. It is closely linked to a previous Naftogaz pipeline project to upgrade and repair a key section of Ukraine’s gas transmission system, the western part of the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod pipeline, which was signed between the EBRD and Ukraine in 2014. Both projects are designed to stimulate reforms in the Ukrainian gas market that will help move the sector towards best practice in market-based principles and liberalisation. They will strengthen corporate governance at Naftogaz and introduce greater transparency and efficiency in its purchases of natural gas.”
- Ukraine’s Justice Minister responds to Russia’s Justice Ministry on illegal Savchenko trial
The Russian Justice Ministry stated that Russia could consider returning Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned in Russia for over a year, if Ukraine recognizes the “verdict” of the Russian court in her case, Radio Svoboda reported. Reacting to the statement, Ukraine’s Minister of Justice, P. Petrenko, stated “The Russian Justice Ministry has once again confirmed that the Russian court system and courts are corrupt. A statement such as this, coming before the verdict in Nadiya’s case by a Russian court is proof of one thing – the verdict has already been prepared, and it is definitely guilty. […] They should be ashamed for allowing themselves such statements before the verdict of the court,” Ukraine’s Interfax news service reported. 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.
- Ukraine’s President speaks with German, French leaders ahead of “Normandy Format” meeting in Paris
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with German Chancellor A. Merkel and French President F. Hollande. “The parties coordinated positions on the eve of the meeting in the Normandy format [Ukraine, Germany, France, Russia] that will take place on October 2 in Paris,” Poroshenko’s press service reported.
- Atlantic Council: Radars for Ukraine – Obama’s strong signal to Putin
Writing about the US decision to provide counter-artillery radars to Ukraine, the Atlantic Council’s A. Karatnycky stated, “A day after US President Barack Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the United States announced that it will ship long-range counter-battery radars to Ukraine. Obama authorized $20 million to provide the country with radars, bringing US security assistance to Ukraine up to $265 million. Obama’s message is clear: the United States will not sacrifice Ukraine in exchange for Russian cooperation against Islamic State in Syria.[…] Radars have been a key element on the wish list of Ukraine’s military. The US-manufactured Q36 system—which is mobile and can be mounted on armored personnel carriers and Humvees—allows the immediate targeting of the point of origin of missiles from a range of 18 kilometers and rockets from a distance of 24 kilometers. More importantly, it enables operators to precisely locate the enemy’s artillery and rocket launchers after just one shot. These radars could help tip the balance and reduce fatalities on the Ukrainian side. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense says that seventy-five percent of its fatalities are a result of artillery and missile attacks.”
6. NATO Commander: What is important is that Western nations continue to see what’s happening in eastern Ukraine
US General P. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, spoke at the German Marshall Fund on 28 September. According to the US Department of Defense report on the discussion, “Russian President Vladimir Putin — with troops on the ground and arms and combat equipment moving nearby — is allowing the conflict to simmer in southeastern Ukraine. The Russian president has demonstrated that he can destabilize and maintain that instability in the southeast, Breedlove said.[…]What is important, he added, ‘is that the nations of the West — more than NATO, the European Union and others — continue to see what is happening in eastern Ukraine.’ Breedlove said Russia has moved more than 1,500 armored vehicles into eastern Ukraine, along with air defenses, Russian command-and-control structures and immense stockpiles of equipment to support its forces in the east. ‘Getting all that out to re-establish the sovereign border of Ukraine will take months and months,’ the general said.