Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
3 May 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 shelled Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian near Horlivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Maryinka. 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.
2. US Secretary of Defense: Russia has appeared intent to erode the international order
Speaking at the US European Command’s change-of-command ceremony, where Gen. C. Scaparrotti assumed command from Gen. P. Breedlove, US Secretary of Defense A. Carter stated, “Despite the progress we have made together since the end of the Cold War, Russia has in recent years appeared intent to erode the principled international order that has served us, our friends and allies, the international community, and Russia itself, so well for so long. Russia continues to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and actively seeks to intimidate its Baltic neighbors. […] Most disturbing, Moscow’s nuclear sabre-rattling raises troubling questions about Russia’s leaders’ commitments to strategic stability. […] In response, the United States is taking a strong and balanced approach to address Russia’s aggression. We’re strengthening our capabilities, our posture, our investments, our plans and our allies and partners, all without closing the door to working with Russia where our interests align. And we will continue to make clear that Russia’s aggressive actions only serve to further its isolation and unite our alliance.”
3. Atlantic Council: What the Banning of Crimean Tatars’ Mejlis Means
Writing for the Atlantic Council, E. Knott stated, “In the two years since Russia illegally annexed Crimea, Crimean Tatars have faced the brunt of the de facto authorities’ brutality. On April 15, Crimea’s so-called prosecutor, Natalia Poklonskaya, banned the Mejlis, Crimean Tatars’ representative body in Crimea, labelling it “an extremist organization.” Following the prosecutor’s move, Crimea’s Supreme Court banned the Mejlis on April 26. These latest moves by Crimea’s authorities are a concerning deterioration for the peninsula’s indigenous minority. […] One fear is that the banning of the Mejlis under the auspices of “extremism” will be used as a reason to continue, if not deepen, the repression of Crimean Tatars. […] Following annexation, Crimea’s de facto authorities moved swiftly to punish Crimean Tatars for their opposition to annexation and to limit their future ability to mobilize. […] Crimean Tatars have also faced indiscriminate brutality since annexation. [Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev] described the annexing regime as worse than Soviet authorities, because at least when Soviet dissidents were imprisoned ‘there was a clear procedure.’ Since 2014, dissidents ‘just vanish,’ and local authorities have shown little willingness to investigate Crimean Tatars’ kidnappings, beatings, and disappearances. […] But Crimean Tatars continue to show resilience to oppression. After all, the Mejlis is not only a political organization; it is also an idea and symbol against Russian oppression. Still, within Crimea, the space for Crimean Tatars to resist annexation is decreasing, while the regime’s capacity to act indiscriminately against the Crimean Tatars is increasing. Those Crimean Tatars who choose to remain in Crimea-around 20,000 have officially left since 2014 – face an increasingly precarious future. Not least because the banning of the Mejlis has substantially limited Crimean Tatars’ main opportunity for recourse against Crimea’s de facto authorities and the Russian regime.”