Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 13, 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 two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk and Luhansk sectors of the front 57 times in total, including at least 12 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian soldiers killed one and wounded 6 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. Mothers helpless as Russia risks the life of three Ukrainian political prisoners on hunger strike
|(l to r) Sentsov, Balukh and Shumkov. Image – KHPG|
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Three Ukrainian mothers are watching, totally powerless, as their sons, imprisoned illegally in Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea, become dangerously weak on hunger strike. The world knows mainly of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, however the danger to the life of 47-year-old Volodymyr Balukh, after almost 150 days of total or near total hunger strike makes intervention critical. 28-year-old Oleksandr Shumkov has been on hunger strike in solidarity with Sentsov since 24 May, and is very evidently weakened.
A day after Sentsov’s cousin Natalya Kaplan and his lawyer Dmitry Dinze warned that the situation was ‘catastrophically bad,’ Russia produced photos of Oleg Sentsov, claiming them to be very recent. Since it has systematically lied about Sentsov’s state of health, his citizenship and the charges against him, it seems much safer to believe Dinze who saw Sentsov very recently . […]
78-year-old Natalya Balukh saw her son for the first time in eight months on 9 August. She told the Crimean Human Rights Group of the shock of seeing him so desperately thin. He’s just a skeleton, she said, adding that 47-year-old Balukh looks like an old man. She stressed that Volodymyr himself does not say anything about his health so as not to worry her, however his very appearance cannot fail to frighten her. She too fears that she will not live to see her son released. […] Russia has already imprisoned Balukh for the Ukrainian flag he refused to remove from his home, and his unwavering loyalty to Ukraine. It is now risking his life.
Oleksandr Shumkov – The 28-year-old from Kherson is currently on ‘trial’ in Russia, charged in all seriousness with alleged involvement, while in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian Right Sector party and specifically in protests against Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Shumkov has been on hunger strike since 24 May and is looking very thin. He mother, Lyudmila, says that he is feeling very weak and cannot cope when there are three or four hearings in his ‘trial’ in a week. He pleads for a break, although his request is only sometimes heeded.
Oleg Sentsov; Volodymyr Balukh and Oleksandr Shumkov have all been recognized as political prisoners by the authoritative Memorial Human Rights Centre.”
3. Ukraine files lawsuit against Russia over Ukrainian political prisoners illegally jailed by Russia
Ukrinform reported, “The sixth interstate lawsuit with the ECHR over Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia gives Ukraine’s international partners a reason for imposing additional personal sanctions against the Russian officials.
‘The Ukrainian government for the first time files a legal document against the Russian Federation, describing massive human rights violations towards Ukrainian political prisoners held on the territory of the Russian Federation, with specific names of Russian officials involved, including high-ranking officials. Thus, our international partners are given a reason for introducing additional personal sanctions against the leadership of the Russian Federation and the officials involved in the politically motivated persecutions,’ Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said during a press conference at Ukrinform news agency.
It is the sixth interstate lawsuit of Ukraine filed with the ECHR, the minister noted. The Justice Ministry expects prompt consideration of the lawsuit.
‘Moreover, we will appeal to our international partners with a proposal to form a separate sanction list, like the Magnitsky list, to indicate the persons involved in kidnapping, imprisoning and torturing Ukrainian citizens who are now held as political prisoners on the territory of Russia,’ the Ukrainian justice minister said. As reported, the lawsuit describes human rights violations with regard to 71 political prisoners.”