Ukraine: Daily Briefing
December 3, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko interviewed by NBC News on Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships at the Sea of Azov. To view video, please click on image above.
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 or 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 7 times in total.
2. Russia levels sham charges of “illegal border crossing” against 24 Ukrainian sailors taken prisoner following Russian attack in Azov Sea
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “A lawyer for a Ukrainian sailor detained by Russia last month while trying to pass from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov has confirmed that all 24 Ukrainian sailors involved in the incident have been charged by Russian authorities with ‘illegal border crossing.’
The sailors were aboard three Ukrainian Navy ships that were fired upon by the Russian Coast Guard and seized by Russian special forces on November 25 when their ships attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Nikolai Polozov, a lawyer for detained Ukrainian sailor Denys Hrytsenko, said on December 3 that the detained sailors were formally charged on November 27.Dzhemil Temishev, an attorney for another of the Ukrainian sailors, said on November 29 that 21 of the detainees were being transferred from Russia-annexed Crimea to the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow. […] Western leaders — including all members of the G7 — have called on Russia to release the Ukrainian crew and return the seized navy ships to Kyiv.”
3. President: Ukraine taking measures to confront threat of full-fledged Russian invasion
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported, “Ukraine takes all available measures that may prevent a full-scale Russian invasion of its territory, President Petro Poroshenko said. One of these is the introduction of martial law in 10 regions after the open aggression of Russian soldiers against Ukrainian ships. […]
‘In order to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of our state, I introduced martial law in the 10 regions of Ukraine neighboring with the Russian Federation, as well as those located on the coast of the Black and Azov Seas,’ Petro Poroshenko noted and reminded that it will last 30 days.
The President once again stressed that this is a measure aimed primarily at protecting the Ukrainian people, it will not affect the constitutional rights of citizens.
‘Again I want to emphasize – this is a preventive step, which in no way aims at curtailing the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens. It is introduced only to expand the capabilities of the Armed Forces and the entire security sector, including the National Guard, which in these conditions we have the right to engage in order to respond quickly to rising threats,’ he said, recalling the information provided by the intelligence on the increase in the number of Russian troops along our border and in the occupied Crimea.
‘Martial law is a preventive measure for 30 days. This time will be used to strengthen our defense and our ability to protect citizens from the attack of the enemy. We will not allow to repeat February-March 2014. I hope that we will be able to confine ourselves to these measures and will not need to prolong it,’ he added.
Petro Poroshenko reminded that Russian aggression has been lasting for more than four years already. Despite this, the enemy did not break us. ‘Moreover, Ukraine has already gained a great moral victory – the enemy didn’t force us to give up our values. Whatever the difficulty is, we do not resort to curtailing human rights, rights and freedoms of citizens,’ he stressed.”
4. NATO Foreign Ministers meeting to address Russia’s destabilising behaviour
NATO Foreign Ministers will meet in Brussels on December 4-5 “to address a wide range of security challenges, including Russia’s destabilising behaviour.” NATO reported, “On Tuesday (4 December 2018), Allies will meet with two of NATO’s closest partners, Georgia and Ukraine. ‘They both face serious security challenges from Russia, and we will continue to give both countries practical and political support,’ said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In view of Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine near the Sea of Azov, NATO Allies have called on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized, and to allow freedom of navigation and unhindered access to Ukrainian ports.
NATO Foreign Ministers will also discuss the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. ‘This Treaty eliminated an entire category of weapons, but it has been put in jeopardy by Russia,’ said the Secretary General. He noted that Russia has developed, produced and deployed a new missile, which ‘could reach European cities with little or no warning.’ Mr. Stoltenberg added that the United States is in full compliance with the INF Treaty. ‘There are no new US missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian missiles,’ he said.”