Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
30 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces increased their use of heavy weapons against Ukrainian positions. Russian-terrorist forces fired over 690 mortar rounds and over 250 artillery rounds throughout the day yesterday. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Popasne, Zolote, Krymske and several other locations. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Opytne-Pisky line, near the Donetsk airport and near Avdiyivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Kransohorivka with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Maryinka-Krasnohorivka line, Shyrokyne, and Pavlopil. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and nine Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. NATO Deputy Secretary General: “There is a wide gulf between NATO and Russia in the way we view the world”
Speaking in Bucharest on 29 August, NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow stated, “We face two very different but significant, long-term challenges – from Russia, and from terrorism and violent extremism – challenges that have re-shaped our view of our own security, and that will be with us for many years to come. Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea in 2014 – its use of military force to take the sovereign territory of another country, the first time this has happened in Europe since World War Two – brought years of more positive relations between NATO and Russia to an end. But this is not only about Crimea. In the time since the annexation, Russia has continued to support separatists in Eastern Ukraine, acts in an aggressive and bullying manner towards its other neighbours, and has tried to divide and intimidate NATO Allies. […] As it stands, there is a wide gulf between NATO and Russia in the way we view the world. We see a world of free, sovereign, independent nation states, abiding by the Helsinki Final Act, with respect for borders and for the right of every state to choose its security arrangements. Russia looks to a new version of the 1945 Yalta agreement, in which the major powers agree to divide Europe into spheres of influence and dominion, and where the big powers dictate the fate of their neighbours. These worldviews are, clearly, incompatible. As long as Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine and attempts to intimidate NATO Allies and partners, we will do everything in our power to maintain a strong deterrence and defence.”
3. US State Department calls on Russia to immediately release Crimean Tatar leader
US State Department spokesperson J. Kirby stated on 29 August, “We are extremely concerned by the detention of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov. We understand that his health condition is now critical and that he remains in a forced psychiatric detention. This tactic of detaining dissidents in psychiatric wards is deeply troubling. We join the international community in calling on the Russian Government to release him now.”