Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 March 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka, with mortars, tanks and artillery. Following the artillery shelling, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve with small arms and grenade launchers and shelled Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Pavlopil with mortars. At Hranitne, Novotroitske and Shyrokyne, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and ten were wounded in action.
2. United States condemns unjust conviction of Nadiya Savchenko
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with US Vice President J. Biden on 22 March. The White House stated, “The Vice President condemned the unjust conviction and sentencing of Ukrainian pilot and member of parliament Nadiya Savchenko and underlined Russia’s obligation under the Minsk Agreements to release her.” US State Department spokesperson J. Kirby stated, “The conviction and sentencing of Nadiya Savchenko to 22 years imprisonment show a blatant disregard for the principles of justice and contravene Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements. For nearly two years, Russia has unjustly detained Savchenko on charges that have no basis in fact and has denied her the basic protections of the rule of law. […] We reiterate our call on Russia to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko and other unlawfully detained persons.”
3. Savchenko prohibits lawyers from filing appeal or asking for a pardon
Ukrainian pilot and PM Nadiya Savchenko, convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison yesterday in Russia’s illegal trial, stated in letter released by her attorney, “I prohibit you from filing an appeal, or asking for a pardon,” Radio Svoboda reported. Savchenko thanked “Ukrainian MPs and all the people of Ukraine and Russia who came to support me on the day of the verdict. […] We showed everyone that a trial is Russia is not law, but a circus.”
4. Ukraine to implement sanctions against persons involved in abduction and imprisonment of Nadiya Savchenko
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated that a list of persons involved in the abduction and imprisonment of Nadiya Savchenko has been formed, and instructed the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) to convene a session in order to submit a proposal to the Government on the introduction of Ukrainian sanctions against those persons. “We urged our partners to impose sanctions in order to prevent the abuse of law and abuse of Ukrainian citizens in the future,” Poroshenko stated.
5. Canada’s 2016 budget reaffirms Canada’s contribution to support Ukrainian forces
Canada’s 2016 budget, tabled yesterday in the House of Commons, “reaffirms Canada’s contribution to support Ukrainian forces through military training and capacity-building in 2016-17, in coordination with other countries providing similar training assistance.”
6. Ukraine’s Finance Minister signals readiness to become PM
Ukraine’s Finance Minister N. Jaresko stated yesterday that she would be ready to head a technocratic government, Bloomberg reported. Jaresko stated that any new Cabinet “renew citizens’ trust and ensure economic growth. […]Only a technocratic government can fulfill those tasks in such a political situation. I’m ready to gather a team that’s able right now to work for the benefit of the whole country, all citizens, and not just certain political or business groups.”
7. Ukraine’s President will support any candidate for PM submitted by parliamentary coalition
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated that he is ready to support any candidate for Prime Minister submitted by the parliamentary coalition. Poroshenko urged parliamentary faction leaders to “conduct a meeting of the Coalition Council this week in order to determine the candidate for Prime Minister,” the President’s press service reported.