Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
13 May 2016, 7 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 at Krymske and Popanse. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian position at Novotroitske and Shyrokyne with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded in a landmine explosion.
2. Crimean Tatar Mejlis leader, four others arrested in Russian-occupied Crimea
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reported, “Ilmi Umerov, the Deputy Head of the Mejlis, or Crimean Tatar representative assembly, was detained on May 12 in Russian-occupied Crimea on charges of ‘making public calls encroaching upon Russia’s territorial integrity’. The criminal proceedings come just over two weeks after the Mejlis, which is the self-governing body of the largest indigenous people of Crimea, was banned as ‘extremist’. […] Umerov is accused of ‘openly calling for the return of Crimea to Ukraine.’ Since there is no suggestion, nor could there be, that Umerov had proposed to use violent means to achieve such a return, this is a charge that can be laid against any member of the Mejlis, most Crimean Tatars and many other Crimeans as well. Or, of course, against the leaders of all democratic countries, European and international bodies. […] 58-year-old Umerov is in ill-health, and later on Thursday evening he was released on a signed undertaking not to leave the city. […] In Russian-occupied Crimea the plan appears to be to force those who consider, as does the UN, EU and all democratic countries that Crimea is Ukrainian and illegally occupied by Russia into exile or forced silence. The Mejlis leaders are in their homeland and have no intention of leaving it. One of the most cynical methods that Russia is now resorting to must surely be to imprison and / or prosecute Crimean Tatars living on their own Ukrainian Crimean land on charges of ‘encroaching on Russia’s territory’.” The KHPG also reported on the arrest of four other Crimean Tatars, which took place in Russian-occupied Crimea on 12 May. The report is available here: http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
3. Ukraine’s President and US Vice President agree on provision of third tranche of loan guarantees
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with US Vice President J. Biden. Poroshenko’s press service reported, “The parties agreed to sign the bilateral agreement on the provision of the third tranche of loan guarantees in the amount of USD 1 billion to Ukraine shortly. The interlocutors discussed the situation in Donbas and the results of ministerial negotiations in the Normandy format. Petro Poroshenko emphasized the priority of creating security preconditions for the further political settlement of the situation in Donbas caused by Russian aggression. In this context, the parties noted the importance of deploying the OSCE armed police mission in the occupied territories. Petro Poroshenko and Joseph Biden also coordinated further consolidated international sanction pressure on Russia during the G7 Summit in Japan on May 26-27 aimed at achieving real de-escalation of the situation in Donbas.”
4. US Mission to OSCE on Russia’s ongoing violations in Ukraine
Speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, US Permanent Representative D. Baer stated, “Russia and the separatists have consistently followed each ceasefire in eastern Ukraine with renewed attacks on government forces. […] We call upon combined Russian-separatist forces to end their provocations and fully respect the ceasefire. […] Given its obvious influence with the separatists and the fact that it arms, trains, and fights alongside them in Ukraine, Russia clearly has the ability to ensure that the separatists withdraw proscribed heavy weapons. We underscore once again that local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk cannot be held at gunpoint. […]Russia’s ongoing abuses and defiance of OSCE principles and commitments occur not just in the Donbas but in Russian-occupied Crimea. […] U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation related to its occupation of Crimea will remain in place until the occupation ends and Russia returns control of Crimea to Ukraine. Sanctions imposed upon the Russian Federation for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will also remain in place until Russia fully implements its commitments in the Minsk agreements.”