Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
21 January 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Troitske, Luhankse and Zaytseve. Near the Donetsk airport, intense firefights between Russian-terrorist forces and Ukrainian forces took place at Pisky. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Krasnohorivka and Starohnativka. At Talakivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The Ukrainian military intelligence department reported that Russian military officers have begun training Russian-terrorist forces at Torez in offensive operations. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six were wounded in action.
- UK Inquiry into death of Alexander Litvinenko: FSB operation probably “approved by Putin”
The UK Inquiry into the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006, headed by Sir Robert Owen, published its report. The Inquiry found that, “When Mr. Lugovoy poisoned Mr. Litvinenko (as I have found that he did), it is probable that he did so under the direction of the FSB. I would add that I regard that as a strong probability. I have found that Mr. Kovtun also took part in the poisoning; I conclude therefore that he was also acting under FSB direction […] I find that the FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr. Patrushev and also by President Putin.” The full report is available at https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/Litvinenko-Inquiry-Report-web-version.pdf In response to the report,UK Home Secretary Theresa May stated, “The Inquiry has also found that Lugovoy and Kovtun were acting on behalf of others when they poisoned Mr Litvinenko. There is a strong probability that they were acting under the direction of the Russian domestic security service – the Federal Security Service or FSB. And the Inquiry has found that the FSB operation to kill Mr. Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr. Patrushev, the then head of the FSB, and by President Putin. […] In particular, the conclusion that the Russian state was probably involved in the murder of Mr Litvinenko is deeply disturbing. It goes without saying that this was a blatant and unacceptable breach of the most fundamental tenets of international law and of civilised behaviour. But we have to accept this does not come as a surprise. […]Since the publication of the previous [National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review] in 2010, Russia has become more authoritarian, aggressive, and nationalist. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its destabilising actions in Ukraine have directly challenged security in the region. These actions have also served as a sobering demonstration of Russia’s intent to try to undermine European Security, and the rules-based international order.”
- Ukraine’s President holds series of bilateral meetings at World Economic Forum
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko met with Turkish PM A. Davutoglu on 20 January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Poroshenko’s press service reported that the parties “discussed the issues related to the economic aggression of Russia against Ukraine and Turkey. The interlocutors believe that groundless restrictions imposed by Russia contradict international law and Russian commitments under the WTO rules. […] The Prime Minister of Turkey confirmed Turkey’s constant support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders. The parties agreed that the return of Crimea to Ukraine would not only restore the legal status of the peninsula, but also terminate human rights violation by the occupation authorities and dangerous militarization of the peninsula.” Today, Poroshenko met with US VP J. Biden. Following the meeting, Poroshenko stated, “We reached a conclusion that there is no alternative to the Minsk process. We enjoy full support from the United States regarding the implementation of the Minsk process.” Poroshenko also met with IMF Managing Director C. Lagarde. Poroshenko stated, “We have reached an agreement and I believe the ambitious program of reforms will help Ukraine in 2016,” and that the next tranche of IMF funding is expected in February.
- Court in Russian-occupied Crimea issues arrest warrant for Crimean Tatar leader
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Almost two years after Russia banned world-renowned Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev from his native Crimea, a court in Simferopol has ordered his arrest. In applying for the detention order, the prosecutor argued not only that there were three charges against the Ukrainian national under Russia’s Criminal Code, but that Mustafa Dzhemiliev ‘is hiding from the investigators and the court.’ […]Mustafa Dzhemiliev was just 6 months old when the entire Crimean Tatar people were deported from their native Crimea. He devoted decades of his life to the peaceful struggle for his people’s right to return to their homeland. He spent 15 years in Soviet labour camps. There and later he gained world renown for his unwavering commitment to his people and to peaceful methods of defending fundamental rights. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at least twice, and has received countless honours throughout the world. It was just months before the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation that Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. When attempts to convince Crimean Tatar leaders that this was not a catastrophe failed, Russia banned first Mustafa Dzhemiliev, and then Refat Chubarov from Crimea. There have since been systematic attempts to crush the Mejlis and intimidate Crimean Tatars, and the highest-ranking Mejlis leader remaining in Crimea, Akthem Chiygoz has been in detention for a year on absurd charges.”
- European Parliament calls on EU member states not to build Nord Stream II pipeline
The European Parliament adopted a resolution that calls on EU member states “to avoid the building of new pipelines bypassing Ukraine, in particular the development of the Nord Stream II project for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe, which could prove detrimental to the EU’s strategy for the diversification of energy sources and to EU law; supports the EU’s intention to enhance full energy market integration with Ukraine through the Energy Community.”
- EU Neighborhood Policy Commissioner: Commission will present legislative proposal on visa-free travel to EU for Ukraine soon
Speaking at the European Parliament on 20 January, EU Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Commissioner J. Hahn stated, “Shortly before Christmas, we published our final report on Ukraine’s implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, which concluded that, since necessary progress had been made and a number of additional commitments undertaken by the Ukrainian leadership, a positive recommendation for visa-free travel could be made. We aim to present a legislative proposal to pave the way for visa liberalisation with Ukraine soon.”