Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
18 April 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the Stanytsia Luhanska-Popasne line. Toward Doentsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars and other heavy weapons along the entire Donetsk sector of the front – the heaviest shelling by Russian-terrorist forces was at Avdiyivka, north of Horlivka and near the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, and Shyrokyne with mortars and artillery. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions at total of 79 times. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action.
2. Lithuanian Foreign Minister calls on EU colleagues to adopt sanctions against individuals responsible for Savchenko’s imprisonment
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister L. Linkevicius, speaking before a meeting of the EU Foreign Council, stated, “Our behavior is also very important to have an influence on the fate of Nadiya Savchenko […] her health condition deteriorated rapidly lately, and it seems that our statements and calls […] makes no difference. We have to do something more. I believe we really have to address this issue by issuing some measures against individuals who took part in this false case – what we did nationally, issued a list of 46 persons – a national blacklist, so to say, inviting colleagues also to think about similar measures as well.”
3. PACE President calls for release of Nadiya Savchenko
P. Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, stated today, “I have to reiterate once again my serious concerns about the situation of our member, Nadiya Savchenko, who remains in detention in the Russian Federation. I deplore her continued detention and call once again for her release, including in line with the provisions of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe, and Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements. This is especially important in the light of reports about her continuing hunger strike and her deteriorating health condition.”
4. Ukraine court finds Russian army servicemen guilty of waging aggressive war, terrorism
A Kyiv court found A. Alexandrov and Y. Yerofeyev, of the 3rd Brigade, Special Forces, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, guilty of waging aggressive war and assisting a terrorist organization in carrying out a terrorist act, Radio Svoboda reported. They were sentenced to 14 years in prison. The two Russian soldiers were wounded in a battle in Luhansk oblast in May 2015 and captured.
5. Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade to take part in Exercise Anakonda-16
The Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG) will take part in the Anakonda-16 multinational exercise, which will be conducted in June of this year. Anakonda-16, “involves more than 25,000 service members and military staff, and is a premier training event for U.S. Army Europe and partner nations,” the US Army stated. Over 20 nations are participating in the exercise, including Canada, the USA, UK, and Turkey. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported, “According to Major Adam Pańczyk, LITPOLUKRBRIG Chief S-3 section, taking part in ANAKONDA-16 will ensure interoperability of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade with current, and potential partners. Together the participants will work out possible mission command issues including computer network and communications interoperability.”