Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
8 February 2016, 6 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 near Horlivka and the Donetsk airport, using heavy weapons several times. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka with mortars and fired on Ukrainian positions near Starohnativka and Hranitne. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 61 times in total. The RNBO reported that on 5-6 February, Russian-terrorist fired on Ukrainian positions over 130 times in total. On February 5-6 no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and twelve were wounded in action.
- Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine testifies at National Anti-Corruption Bureau
Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade A. Abromavicius, who resigned on 3 February citing high-level interference in the reforms progress and accusing Petro Poroshenko Bloc parliamentary faction deputy head I. Kononenko of attempting to influence key appointments in the Ministry, is testifying today at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Radio Svoboda reported. Before testifying, Abromavicius stated, “There is testimony that certain politicians are applying pressure for appointments to key positions, both in state companies, and as deputy ministers in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. […] We’ve brought with us everything we have, screenshots and other things.” Radio Svoboda reported.
- Ukrainian prisoners illegally held by Russia sent to Siberian prison
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko have been moved from Rostov, [..]. The two Ukrainian nationals, whose release is demanded under the Minsk Agreement, are being sent very far from their native Crimea and their lawyers – Sentsov to the Irkutsk oblast in Siberia, Kolchenko – to the Chelyabinsk oblast east of the Urals. The journey itself is grueling, lasting several days or longer. […] Everything about the imprisonment and trial of Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko is reminiscent of Soviet terror, not a modern democratic country […] Sentsov, Kolchenko and two other Crimeans who opposed Russia’s invasion and annexation of their homeland – Gennady Afanasyev and Oleksiy Chirniy – were arrested in May 2014, and held incommunicado for weeks before being taken to Russia. […] There are serious grounds for believing that all were subjected to torture; There was almost total secrecy about the case before the trial, with the men’s lawyers prohibited from saying anything about it; All are Ukrainians and were illegally taken from Crimea to Russia with the latter claiming that they have ‘automatically’ become Russian nationals.”The full report is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1454789873
- Atlantic Council: Putin corners himself in Ukraine
Atlantic Council Senior Fellow D. Francis wrote, “The recent backroom bilateral talks between the United States and Russia about Ukraine have caused anxiety in the region, raised hopes that sanctions could be lifted, and elevated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s status to super power level. All are counterproductive. Since the bilateral talks and optimistic statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry about possible peace in Ukraine, Russian proxies in Ukraine responded by moving people and weapons westward from Donetsk and re-escalating violence near Mariupol. […] Clearly, offering an olive branch doesn’t work. Only tightening the noose will. […] Future talks involving Ukraine should involve Ukraine. Europe’s largest and besieged nation should not become a pawn in some two-way geopolitical chess game concocted by Putin. […] The West must not waver when it comes to sanctions. They are working and undermining Putin’s support at home. His cronies and corporations are denied access to credit. The ruble has cratered, along with oil prices, making imports and travel unaffordable for Russians. […] With Russia on the ropes, Ukraine and the West are well advised to simply play a waiting game, and reinforce Ukraine’s military capability. Kyiv must be able to better defend itself against an escalation, or, alternatively, to start to claw back territory from a weakened adversary. Clearly, now is not the time to placate Putin especially since it appears that he has, at last, begun to corner himself.” The full article is available athttp://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/putin-corners-himself-in-ukraine-we-would-be-crazy-to-placate-him-now?utm_content=buffer0e7e3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer