Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
8 June 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 Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at several locations along the front with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiyivka, injuring one civilian. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novotroitske, Vodyane, Lebendysnk and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in action.
2. US Assistant Secretary of State testifies at US Senate Committee hearing on Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties and Human Rights
Testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 7 June, US Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland stated, “for more than 20 years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, across multiple Administrations led by both political parties, the United States sought to build a constructive relationship with Russia, and to support that country’s greater integration into regional and global institutions and the rules-based international order. […] By 2014, however, we had no choice but to reevaluate our assumptions following Russia’s invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory – first in Crimea, then in eastern Ukraine – which shattered any remaining illusions about this Kremlin’s willingness to abide by international law or live by the rules of the institutions that Russia joined at the end of the Cold War. […]To press Moscow to bring an end to the violence in Ukraine and fully implement its commitments under the Minsk agreements, we have worked with the EU, the G7 and other like-minded nations to impose successive rounds of tough, economic sanctions on Russia over the past two years. These sanctions, combined with low oil prices and Russia’s continued structural weaknesses, have imposed significant costs. While Moscow has not yet changed its approach to Ukraine, our readiness to toughen sanctions even further has likely played a role in deterring further Russian efforts to grab Ukrainian territory. We are now working intensively with Europe to ensure EU sanctions are rolled over at the end of this month, and to support France and Germany in their lead diplomatic role to push for full implementation of the Minsk agreements.” The full testimony is available at http://www.state.gov/p/eur/
3. Lawyers defending Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia facing reprisals
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Russia’s contempt for the law demonstrated in the trial of two Ukrainians illegally imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to over 20 years on trumped-up charges has now extended to the lawyers defending them. The judge in the trial of Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh has issued a ‘private ruling’ accusing Karpyuk’s lawyer Dokka Itslayev and Klykh’s – Marina Dubrovina of all kinds of unspecified ‘infringements’. […] There are a lot of words in the accusations, but not one specific case or date and time. The lawyers have appealed against this extraordinary document to the Supreme Court. […]Everything about this case, based solely on confessions tortured out of two men who were held incommunicado and not provided with lawyers, in Karpyuk’s case until the very eve of the ‘trial’, has been chilling, and there is no let-up now. Russia claims that Klykh and 53-year-old Karpyuk took part in fighting in Chechnya 20 years ago and that during battles in Dec 1994 and Jan 1995 they killed a number of Russian soldiers. […]There was ample evidence that neither man had set foot in Chechnya before being seized in 2014. […] [Klykh and Karpyuk’s] allegations of torture, with considerable detail, are now parts of applications already lodged with the European Court of Human Rights. […] In February 2016 Memorial declared both men political prisoners. Despite the alibis, the evidence from Memorial and nothing at all to substantiate the prosecution’s case, a jury found the men guilty. Karpyuk was sentenced on May 26 to 22.5 years, Klykh to 20 years. The two lawyers who are now facing reprisals themselves are currently preparing the appeal.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org/en/index.php?