Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 July 2016, 6 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 shelled Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars and grenade launchers. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Avdiyivka with mortars and grenade launchers. As a result of shelling of residential areas of Avdiyivka by Russian-terrorist forces a 19-year old civilian man was killed. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport with mortars and grenade launchers. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Zaytseve and Mayorsk. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Hnutove, Talakivka, Krasnhorivka and Vodyane with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with artillery and mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka and several other locations along the Mariupol sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.
2. Prominent Journalist Pavel Sheremet murdered in Kyiv
Pavel Sheremet, a prominent journalist with Ukrainska Pravda, was murdered in a car explosion in Kyiv on the morning of 20 July. The Chief of the National Police Khatia Dekanoidze stated that the investigation considered his death a homicide in the course of which an explosive device was used. Sheremet was born in Belarus, and had been working in Ukraine for five years. He was 45 years old.
3. Ukraine’s President instructs security forces to involve FBI and EU experts in investigation into Sheremet’s murder
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko was briefed on the investigation into Sheremet’s murder by the Chief of National Police K. Dekanoidze, Head of the State Security Service of Ukraine V. Hrytsak and Prosecutor General V. Lutsenko. President Poroshenko ordered the establishment of a task force led by Dekanoidze. Poroshenko has asked “international partners for help and discussed the involvement of FBI experts having unique methods of examination of explosives with the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. The Head of State stressed that the investigation must be fully transparent. The President also instructed the Foreign Ministry to get in touch with the EU partners and invite their experts to join the investigation,” the President’s press service reported.
4. US Embassy in Ukraine Statement on the death of Pavel Sheremet
The US Embassy in Ukraine stated, “We are shocked and saddened at the news of the death of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed in an unprecedented car explosion in Kyiv this morning. Pavel led a life of purpose and integrity in multiple countries. We respect him as a fearless practitioner and supporter of freedom of speech, the Revolution of Dignity, and a brighter future for Ukraine. We welcome the statements by the police and prosecutor general that the circumstances surrounding his murder will be fully investigated and any perpetrators brought to justice. We extend our sympathies to his partner Olena Prytula, his family, his colleagues at Ukrainska Pravda, and his many friends and defenders of freedom of media and speech in Ukraine.”