Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
2 June 2016, 7 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 at Avdiyivka and Krasnohorivka with mortars, firing over 60 shells. At Troitske, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces. Towards Mariupol, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces at Maryinka. At Krasnohorivka, Vodyane and Shyrokyne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. 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 two were wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s Parliament passes judicial reform
Ukraine’s Parliament passed constitutional amendments relating to the reform of the judiciary. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “The changes aim to curb influence on the appointment of judges and limit their immunity in case of malpractice. […] One of the more important changes involves the establishment of an independent anticorruption and intellectual-property body within the next 12 months. The new system also sets up an independent panel for selecting judges based on their professional merits instead of their political or business ties.” 335 MPs supported the Constitutional changes.
3. EU: Amendments adopted today are crucial step to strengthening judiciary
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations J. Hahn stated, “The adoption in the final reading of constitutional amendments related to the judiciary by the Verkhovna Rada in Ukraine is a crucial step towards strengthening the judiciary, improving its efficiency, safeguarding its independence and impartiality, and combating corruption. We look forward to the implementation of a comprehensive reform of the judiciary enabled by today’s vote. In this context, the EU remains committed to support the Ukrainian authorities in delivering concrete results swiftly.”
4. Russian Supreme Court rejects appeal against Ukrainian filmmaker Sentsov’s 20-year sentence
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Russia’s Supreme Court has refused to even consider the cassation appeal lodged against the sentences passed on world-renowned filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. The move was predictable, yet still profoundly disturbing given the lack of any grounds for the charges and ‘Stalinist’ nature of the trial. […] This was a cassation level appeal, since the sentences passed on August 25, 2015 had already been upheld by a Supreme Court military panel on Nov 24. […]This time the appeal was not even heard, although the defence had presented compelling grounds for disputing the verdict. Vladimir Samokhin, who is also representing Sentsov, explained in detail how the court had convicted Sentsov of creating a terrorist organization without seeing any evidence that such an organization had existed, let alone that Sentsov had been a member of it. The indictment against the men did not contain any elements of the ‘terrorism’ they were charged with. […]There was no evidence of ‘terrorism’ against any of the four Ukrainians; There are serious grounds for believing that all were subjected to torture;There was almost total secrecy about the case before the trial, with the men’s lawyers prohibited from saying anything about it;There were constant attempts to deny that the men were Ukrainians and to foist Russian citizenship on them.” The full report from KHPG is available athttp://khpg.org.ua/en/index.