Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 18, 2018, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 60 times in total, including at least 12 times with heavy weapons – mortars and artillery.
2. Russian terrorist forces shell civilians with artillery – killing two civilians and injuring three
Damage in Troitske caused by shelling by Russian-terrorist forces
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported that on May 18 at 2 am Kyiv time, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Troitske with 122-mm artillery. Two civilians were killed and three civilians were injured as a result of the shelling by Russian-terrorist forces. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported that one of the civilians killed was a 13-year old boy.
On May 17, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Mykolaivka Druha and Svitlodarsk with artillery, damaging a school and several residential buildings. No civilians were injured as a result of the shelling on May 17 by Russian-terrorist forces.
3. Ukraine Commemorates Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “Ukraine commemorated the victims of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland in 1944, and authorities on the Russian-controlled peninsula briefly detained dozens of people there. A minute of silence was observed at noon on May 18 across the country — except in Crimea, which Russia seized in March 2014. […]
An RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Crimean capital, Simferopol, that the Russian-imposed police briefly detained dozens of Crimean Tatars who tried to commemorate victims of the deportation early in the morning.
Later in the day, several dozen Crimean Tatars held another commemoration event next to a stone erected in a park in Simferopol to honor the deportation victims. Dozens of riot police officers monitored the event.
In Kyiv, by contrast, bells at Orthodox Christian churches tolled for a minute to pay tribute to the victims of the deportation.
‘The pain of the Crimean Tatar people is our common pain. It is the pain of tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars who never made it back to their native Crimea,’ President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.
‘We will never forget the cynical crime of the Soviet regime, the crime against an entire ethnic group, against humanity,’ he wrote. ‘I am confident that these days’ criminals will also face punishment for occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, and the Ukrainian Crimea will be free again.’
The Crimean Tatars were deported en masse from the Black Sea peninsula in May 1944. […] Starting on May 18, 1944, some 250,000 people were put on trains — most of them in the space of two days — and sent to Central Asia. Tens of thousands died during the journey or after they were left on the barren steppe with few resources. Crimean Tatars were not allowed to return to Crimea until the late 1980s. […]
In November 2015, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law declaring May 18 the Day of Commemoration of Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatars.”
4. Statement by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on anniversary of deportation of Crimean Tatars
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland stated, “Today marks the 74th anniversary of the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet authorities in 1944. On this day, we remember the tragic loss of life and tremendous suffering endured by the hundreds of thousands of children, women and men who were displaced from their ancestral homeland. Canada will never forget the tragedies of the past and will continue to speak out in defence of human rights and a rules-based order in Crimea and elsewhere.
In December 2017, I attended the 24th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienne, Austria, where I met with Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, deputy chairmen of the Mejlis – the governing body of the Crimean Tatars – to discuss what Canada can do to better support their community. They conveyed the heartbreaking stories – but also the remarkable courage and resilience – of the Crimean Tatar people who continue to speak out in support of a free and democratic Ukraine.
We are unreserved in our condemnation of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and are concerned by the deteriorating human rights in the Crimean peninsula under continued Russian occupation. Canada denounces the banning of the Mejlis, and expects Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.
Canada will continue to work closely with the Crimean Tatar community to find concrete ways to support and protect their human rights, and to address all ongoing human rights issues in Crimea.”
5. Canada, Ukraine sign Technical Agreement on military training
photo – Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that Canada and Ukraine have signed a Technical Agreement on military training. The Ministry of Internal Affairs stated, “The Technical Agreement between the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and Canada’s Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces is intended to improve military cooperation, in particular personnel training, explosive and medical training, logistics modernization, professional development and education of officers, as well as language courses and cooperation in the field of strategic communication. […]
The Agreement was signed by the Commander of the National Guard of Ukraine Col.Gen. Yuriy Allerov and Deputy Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. William Seymour.”
6. Poland stops Russian “hybrid war groups”
The BBC reported on May 17, “Poland has arrested a Russian woman suspected of working with accomplices to foment tension with neighbouring Ukraine, Polish security officials say. Poland’s internal security agency, the ABW, said ‘Yekaterina C’ would be expelled soon. Four other people are now barred from entering Poland.
ABW spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn said the agency had ‘neutralised’ two ‘Russian hybrid war networks’ targeting Poland. ‘Hybrid’ war includes spreading fake news to change public attitudes.
Poland has been on high alert for Kremlin attempts to influence Polish opinion since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014. Poland – a member of the EU and Nato – is one of the strongest critics of Russian foreign policy, especially Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. […]
Mr Zaryn, quoted by Radio Poland, said the ABW had information that Russia was ‘not only inspiring Polish citizens to take specific actions against Poland and in the interests of Russia, but also financing their activities.’
He did not give details of the alleged networks’ activities. He said they were engaged in ‘fuelling Polish-Ukrainian animosity in the social and political sphere and undermining the interpretation of Polish history, replacing it with a Russian narrative.’
Western governments accuse Russia of spreading fake news about the Ukraine conflict and other sensitive issues, in order to weaken public support for EU and Nato policies.”