Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
10 March 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported that yesterday towards Donetsk Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions and residential areas of Avdiyivka with artillery and mortars. At Luhanske village, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Hranitne and Hnutove. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions a total of 49 times. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one was wounded in action.10
2. Savchenko agrees to take water but will continue hunger strike
Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned in Russia since June 2014, has agreed to take water but will continue a hunger strike, the Associated Press reported. Yesterday the Russian court where Savchenko is being illegally tried postponed the verdict in the case to 21 March. 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.
3. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on international community to strengthen pressure on Russia to release Savchenko
On 9 March, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “its resolute protest over the dilatory tactics of trumped-up trial of the Ukrainian citizen Nadiya Savchenko and deliberate creating the life-threatening circumstances for her. The postponement of the Court decision on Nadiya Savchenko until March 21 and denying her the right to be attended by the Ukrainian Consuls, physicians and family who came to Russia, we perceive as intentional and cynical reprisal against Ms. Savchenko, whose unbreakable will and strength of the spirit have become the symbols of countering Russian aggression against Ukraine. The unprecedented ignoring [of] the diplomatic immunity Nadiya Savchenko enjoys as a PACE Member as well as neglecting her status of a Member of Ukraine’s Parliament raise our deep concern. We once again call upon the international community to strengthen political and diplomatic pressure upon the Russian Federation for saving Nadiya Savchenko’s life and her immediate release and return to Ukraine.”
4. EU extends sanctions over Russian occupation of Crimea
The European Council extended sanctions against 146 individuals and 37 companies “in view of the continuing undermining or threatening of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.” The sanctions were extended for six months. The EU’s main economic sanctions against Russia’s energy and bank sectors are up for renewal at the end of July 2016.
5. Ukraine’s Finance Minister – delay in IMF aid is worrying
According to a Reuters report, Ukraine’s Finance Minister N. Jaresko stated today that “the ongoing delay in securing a new tranche of financial aid from the International Monetary Fund was hitting confidence in the economy. Ukraine was ready to submit a new memorandum needed to secure the money in February, but the resignation of the economy minister over corruption allegations derailed the process, she said. Even if Ukraine submits the memorandum in March, it will have to wait until the IMF board meets in April to secure the money, she added.”