Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
1 February 2016, 8PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Horlivka with mortars. Near Novhorodske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Near the Donetsk airport, Troitske and Luhanske village, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka and Starohnativka with mortars. At Maryinka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. The RNBO reported that on 29-30 January, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and five were wounded in action.
2. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs underscores Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine during visit to Kyiv
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs S. Dion visited Ukraine on 31 January-1 February. He met with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs P. Klimkin and Ukraine’s PM A. Yatsenyuk, as well as representatives of civil society, parliamentarians, and government officials. Canada’s Department of Global Affairs stated, “Minister Dion reiterated the need for the full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and underlined the importance of full implementation of the Minsk agreements, particularly by Russia, to ensure a durable peace in Ukraine. Minister Dion also made it clear that the Canadian government intends to speak clearly, bluntly and directly to Russia about its unacceptable actions in Ukraine. Minister Dion expressed Canada’s strong desire to see Ukraine persevere in its democratic transformation and flourish as a strong and prosperous partner of Canada’s.” Minister Dion stated, “I am moved by the resilience and resolve of the Ukrainian people. Canada stands firmly with Ukraine and will continue to support the country’s enduring right to sovereignty, freedom and democracy.”
3. Merkel, Poroshenko: sanctions must stay in place until Russia fully implements Minsk
Reuters reported that at a joint press conference with German Chancellor A. Merkel, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated, “Sanctions against Russia must stay in place until Russia fully implements the Minsk agreement.” Poroshenko’s “comments were echoed by Merkel who said given the lack of sustainable peace, the European Union must renew sanctions against Russia over its role in the conflict. Merkel also said she would discuss with Poroshenko extending new financial aid to Ukraine in 2016,” Reuters reported.
4. Savchenko identifies Surkov’s aide as one of her abductors
Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned in Russia for over a year, testified in court today. Radio Svoboda reported that she identified Pavel Karpov as one of the men who abducted her. Karpov is an aide to Vladislav Surkov, advisor to Russian president V. Putin, Radio Svoboda reported. According to Savchenko’s lawyers, in 2014 Karpov took part in combat in the Donbas and called himself “a curator from the president” of Russia, Radio Svoboda 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.
5. Ukraine’s President signs law on new mayoral elections in Kryvyi Rih
On 30 January, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko signed the law on new mayoral elections in Kryvyi Rih, which was passed by Parliament in December. The new elections are scheduled for 27 March 2016. Opposition bloc candidate Yuri Vilkul was declared the winner over Samopomich candidate Yuri Miloboh in the November 2015 election by 752 votes amid widespread accusations of vote-rigging. On 7 December a Parliamentary commission set up to investigate the accusations found that establishing results in the election was impossible and recommended re-elections.