Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 3, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
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 four 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 28 times in total. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 2 and wounded 1 enemy combatants.
2. Bipartisan group of US Senators introduce hard-hitting Russia sanctions package
U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018, “comprehensive legislation that will increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s continued interference in our elections, malign influence in Syria, aggression in Crimea, and other activities,” Senator Graham’s office stated.
Among the key provisions of the legislation are:
- The establishment of an Office of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy within the Department of State. This office will lead diplomatic efforts relating to international cybersecurity, Internet access, Internet freedom, the digital economy, cybercrime, deterrence and responses to cyber threats. […]
- New sanctions on political figures, oligarchs, and family members and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Vladimir Putin
- Sanction on transactions related to investment in energy projects supported by Russia state-owned or parastatal entities
- A prohibition on and sanctions with respect to transactions relating to new sovereign debt of the Russian Federation
- Sectoral sanctions on any person in the Russian Federation that has the capacity or ability to support or facilitate malicious cyber activities
- A requirement for the Secretary of State to submit a determination of whether the Russian Federation meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
- A prohibition on licenses for United States persons to engage in activities relating to certain projects to produce oil in the Russian Federation.
Senator Graham stated, “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyber-attacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria. The sanctions and other measures contained in this bill are the most hard-hitting ever imposed.”
For the full news release on the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018 please see here
3. Russia denies Amnesty International access to Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov
On August 2, Amnesty International reported that they were denied access to Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov, currently on the 82nd day of a hunger strike. Sentsov is jailed in a penal colony in the Russian Arctic. He began his hunger strike demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners jailed by Russia.
Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International’s Ukraine Director, stated, “Denying us the right to visit Oleg Sentsov is indefensible. After almost 3 months on hunger strike, there are grave concerns for his health. We were planning to visit Oleg accompanied by an independent medical expert who would be able to evaluate his health. In order to dispel all doubts about Oleg’s health condition and the adequacy of medical assistance provided to him, such a visit is imperative.
Amnesty International calls for Sentsov’s immediate release and demands that, while detained, he has access to qualified health professionals, providing healthcare in line with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent. In addition the Russian authorities must grant access to Sentsov for Ukrainian consular staff.”