Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
19 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist force shelled Ukrainian positions at Zolote with mortars. At Novozvanivka and Kalynove, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. At Popasne and Novoleksandrivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers and small arms. At Stanytsia Luhanska, a school was damaged as a result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Luhanske village and Semyhirya with mortars and artillery. Russian-terrorist forces fired 136 artillery shells at Ukrainian positions in this area. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Avdiyivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces attacked a Ukrainian position at Bohdanivka. Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Myrne with artillery. At Maryinka and Pavlopilya, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Washington Post: Russia is now a threat. The US should treat it like one
Writing in the Washington Post, David J. Kramer, former US Assistant Secretary of State, stated,
“The next president should recognize that Russia under Vladimir Putin is an authoritarian, kleptocratic regime that poses a serious threat to our values, interests and allies. We should contain and deter Russian aggression by reassuring our NATO allies that we will defend them, fulfilling the collective-defense guarantees of Article 5 and reaffirming our support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and aspirations of Russia’s neighbors to join NATO or the European Union. […]The problem boils down to the nature of the Putin regime. Since coming to power 17 years ago (initially as prime minister) by ordering brutal force against Russia’s region of Chechnya, Putin has demonstrated a ruthless willingness to do whatever is necessary to stay in power. Any threat – real or imagined – is dealt with decisively, whether it originates inside Russia or abroad .Since returning to the presidency in May 2012 after a four-year stint as prime minister, Putin has launched the worst crackdown on human rights in Russia in decades. […] In Ukraine, Putin couldn’t stomach the prospect of citizens demanding an end to corruption and deeper integration with the West. Were Ukraine to succeed, it might pose a threatening alternative to Putin’s corrupt authoritarianism in Russia. So he invaded Ukraine in late February 2014, starting with the annexation of Crimea. Since then, nearly 10,000 Ukrainians have been killed trying to defend their country against Putin’s aggression. The next American president should provide lethal military assistance to help Ukrainians defend themselves. […] The next U.S. administration should recognize that the nature of the Putin regime precludes real partnership between the United States and Russia and vastly limits areas of cooperation. Increasing engagement will not change that – both George W. Bush and Barack Obama tried and failed – and even risks appearing desperate, which Putin would exploit as weakness on our part. […]We should stay true to our values and restore the notion of ‘linkage’ by making clear that Putin’s mistreatment of his own people – and his neighbors – will adversely affect our bilateral ties. The next administration should implement more aggressively the Magnitsky Act for gross human rights abuses and maintain – even ramp up – sanctions against Russia for its ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.” The full article is available athttps://www.washingtonpost.
com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/08/ 18/russia-is-now-a-threat-the- u-s-should-treat-it-like-one/? utm_term=.d5975c5961d6
3. Russia’s opposition party PARNAS will not campaign in Russian-occupied Crimea
Russia’s Opposition Party PARNAS will not campaign for Russia’s upcomingparliamentary elections (September 18) in Russian-occupied Crimea, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. “PARNAS leader and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told RFE/RL in March that his party considers Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea illegal and that he would return control of the peninsula to Ukraine,” RFE/RL reported.