Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 15, 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, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and three 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 46 times in total, including at least 10 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 3 and wounded 7 enemy combatants.
2. Kremlin uses blatant lies as excuse not to free Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “The Kremlin has rejected the plea from Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov’s mother that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘pardon’ her son. It claims that the request must come from Sentsov although this was not the case when Putin issued decrees ‘pardoning’ three other Ukrainian political prisoners. It also claims, equally falsely, that Sentsov is a Russian citizen.
The letter from the relevant department within the President’s Administration is dated 3 August, but has only now been published by Hromadske. It asserts that according to Russian legislation, the application for a pardon must come from the person himself, and gives details about the procedure. […]
Of nearly 80 Ukrainians whom Russia has imprisoned illegally since its invasion of Crimea, five have received such ‘pardons’, although three had consistently denied the politically-motivated charges and refused to make any submission to the Kremlin. […]
Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov were also exchanged, not simply released, however here the Kremlin is illegally hiding the details, and not, it must be said, without cause. […]
Both men were suddenly released on 25 October 2017, and put on a plane to Turkey, from where they returned to Ukraine, though not to Crimea while under Russian occupation. […]
Russia has, since soon after the arrest of Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and two other opponents of annexation, been claiming that Sentsov and Kolchenko ‘automatically became Russian citizens’, because they did not use the month provided soon after annexation at just four offices for the whole of Crimea to come in person to formally reject any but Ukrainian citizenship.
The hypocrisy is overwhelming. Russia has deported a very large number of Ukrainians from their home in Crimea which it is illegally occupying. In these cases, there has been no suggestion of them ‘automatically’ taking on Russian citizenship, quite the contrary, with the lack of Russian citizenship being used as a pretext to drive them from their homes. In the case of Sentsov and Kolchenko, Russia is using the myth about their Russian citizenship as an excuse to deny the men their rights under Ukrainian and international law.
Neither man has signed any document and has no Russian passport. It is of major importance that there are official Russian documents stating clearly that Sentsov was ‘convicted’ by a Russian court as a citizen of Ukraine.”
3. Ukraine’s economy grows by 3.6% in Q2 2018
Ukraine Business News reported, “Ukraine’s economy grew by 3.6% in the second quarter, beating forecasts as the recovery gathers steam, the State Statistics Service reports. ‘The economy of Ukraine has been growing for 10 consecutive quarters,’ the Statistics Service says in a release. ‘Growth of commodity exports has become one of the factors of growth. For the first half of the year, the growth of this indicator was 12.7% compared to the same indicator of the last year.'”
4. US National Security Advisor to visit Ukraine next week
US National Security Advisor John Bolton will visit Ukraine next week, the White House reported on August 14. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated, “Looking ahead to next week, Ambassador Bolton will meet with officials in Israel and Ukraine, as well as with his Russian counterpart in Geneva as a follow-up to the Helsinki Summit to discuss a range of important national security issues.”