Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
24 May 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that in the last 24 hours, seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine were wounded in action, the highest daily number of casualties Ukraine has suffered in the last year. O. Turchynov, Secretary of the RNBO stated, “The responsibility for these bloody provocations lies with the military-political leadership of Russia, which systematically and consistently torpedoes the peaceful path to resolving the conflict.” The RNBO reported that towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions in four locations along the front. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out intensive shelling of Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Horlivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Berezove, Pavlopil and Hnutove.
2. Ukraine’s President speaks with leaders of Germany, France, Russia
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko had a phone conversation with the leaders of Germany France and Russia. The President’s press service reported, “Poroshenko drew attention to the deterioration of the security situation, particularly to the shelling near Avdiivka, which is a real obstacle for the achievement of progress in peaceful settlement. The parties agreed that in order to continue political dialogue, a decisive de-escalation and full ceasefire must be achieved. The President emphasized that Russia must withdraw troops from the occupied territory of Ukraine and terminate the supply of weapons and mercenaries. The Head of State also drew attention to the necessity of restoration of control over the Ukrainian-Russian border. Leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia supported the deployment of the OSCE police mission in Donbas and the beginning of consultations on that issue. […] Petro Poroshenko urged Russia to liberate all Ukrainian hostages, including Nadiya Savchenko, Hennadiy Afanasyev and Yuri Soloshenko.”
3. NATO Deputy Secretary General: System of European Security being challenged by revisionist, revanchist Russia
Speaking at the Henry Jackson Society at the UK Houses of Parliament on 23 May, NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow stated, “our whole system of European security, built up since the Second World War, is under threat. […] It is now being challenged by a revisionist, revanchist Russia. […] Russia illegally annexed Crimea by force. Today, in Eastern Ukraine, Russia continues to support the so-called separatists with men, with arms – including heavy weaponry – and it provides effective command and control over the illegal insurgency. So far, that war has cost over 10,000 lives. Crimea was the first time since World War II that one European country had taken part of another by force. However, it was not the first time that Russia had used its armed forces to further its interests. Its forces have long controlled territory in Georgia and in Moldova, exploiting separatist movements that appeared in the immediate aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and it waged war against Georgia in 2008. This is part of the new strategic reality that NATO must address. […] Last month, we held a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, the first in two years. As expected, we disagreed on pretty much everything. Allies made clear there can be no business as usual as long as Russia is flouting international law through its ongoing aggression against Ukraine. But the fact that we are talking, and making clear our expectations and our intentions, is positive. As we move forward, we need to be patient. We need to be resolute. We need to uphold our values. And we need to recognise that history is on our side.” The full speech is available athttp://nato.int/cps/en/natohq/