Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
12 January 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Krymske with mortars and grenade launchers. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Troitske with mortars. South of Luhanske village, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers and small arms. Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces north of Horlivka. Near the Donetsk airport, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Novhorodske and Opytne. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Vodyane with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.
- Nadiya Savchenko Hunger Strike enters 27th Day
Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned in the Russian Federation since June 14, has lost 15 kg since she began a hunger strike on 17 December, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. Her lawyer N. Polozov described her health as worrisome and stated that she (Nadiya) feels pains in her stomach, and heavy nausea. 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.
- US Air Force Commander: “Very serious” concern over Russian missile systems buildup
The commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, and Commander of Allied Air Command Gen. Frank Gorenc, expressed “very serious” concern over the buildup of Russian missile defenses “that increasingly threaten NATO military access to air space in parts of Europe, including one-third of the skies in Poland. He also said Russia had started to engage in similar missile buildups in the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed nearly two years ago from Ukraine, and in war-ravaged Syria,” the NY Times reported. Gorenc stated, “It’s clear that they’re desiring to show what ability they have to affect not just regional events but worldwide events. […] They’ve increased capacity, they’ve increased capability, and, by the way, have demonstrated a willingness to use it,” the NY Times reported.
- IRI poll: Overwhelming majority of Donetsk, Luhansk oblast residents want Donbas to remain part of Ukraine
A poll released today by the International Republican Institute Center for Insights and Survey Research found that “despite the war and Russia’s propaganda, an overwhelming majority of Donbas residents in these areas want to remain part of Ukraine.” According to the poll, 75 percent of Donbas residents in the areas governed by national authorities believed that Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts should remain within Ukraine. S. Nix, director of Eurasia programs at IRI, stated, “Despite Russia’s continued efforts to drive a wedge between the Donbas and the rest of Ukraine and its continued violations of the Minsk Agreement, as confirmed by President Putin himself, the people of Ukraine, including those living in the Ukrainian-controlled areas of the Donbas, want to preserve the territorial integrity of their country. There is no doubt that Ukrainians long for the unity and sovereignty of their country, and it is critical that the United States and Europe support Ukraine to ensure that Russia’s occupation does not become permanent.” The poll is available at http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/2015_11_national_oversample_en_combined_natl_and_donbas_v3.pdf