Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 4 June, 2014, 4:00 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

4 June, 2014, 4:00 PM Kyiv time

 

1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. Acting president O. Turchynov stated that northern Donetsk oblast has been freed of armed Kremlin-backed extremists, whose camps in the region have been destroyed. The Ministry of Defense reports that in battles near Chervonyi Lyman and Slovyansk, Donetsk oblast, some 300 Kremlin-backed armed extremists have been killed and almost 500 wounded in the last 24 hours. There are no reliable estimates of casualties of civilians or of casualties on the side of the Ukrainian armed forces. According to V. Selezniov, оfficial spokesperson of thе АТО, Kremlin-backed armed extremists are using places where civilians are located for cover, which is complicating the ATO, as ATO forces will not fire into areas (apartment buildings, etc) where civilians could be located. The State Security Service (SBU) reports that they have detained an organizer and coordinator of delivery of weapons and ammunition from the Russian Federation to armed extremists in Donetsk and Luhansk oblast, who was “acting in coordination with representatives of the Intelligence service of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, Russian border guards…” who organized the delivery of 7 trucks of weapons and ammunition from Russia to Ukraine. The National Guard base in Luhansk city was evacuated after a 10-hour battle with Kremlin-backed armed extremists, who used heavy weapons and snipers. 6 armed extremists were killed and some 20 wounded. 3 National Guard personnel were wounded. The personnel of the Luhansk border headquarters, which has been under attack of heavily armed Kremlin-backed extremists since 2 June, has been evacuated to safer positions.

2. O. Koval: Ukrainian military aircraft from occupied Crimea could be used in provocations

Ukraine’s acting Minister of Defense stated on 3 June that the Ministry has received information that 8 MiG aircraft, left behind in Russian-occupied Crimea are being prepared to be used provocations in eastern Ukraine – “with the goal of showing that Ukrainian armed forces are using weapons against the peaceful population.”

3. United States Security Assistance to Ukraine; NATO to finalize support package in coming weeks

US President B. Obama met with Ukraine’s President-elect P. Poroshenko in Warsaw, where Obama pledged new US support for Ukraine’s new government; $5 million in additional funding for provision of body armor, night vision goggles, and communications equipment. The White House also stated that “in early June, US European Command will hold a general/flag officer steering group meeting with Ukrainian counterparts in Kyiv to set the strategic direction for future military-to-military cooperation.” After a meeting of NATO defense ministers on 3 June with Ukraine’s acting Minister of Defense O. Koval, NATO stated that “a comprehensive package of measures aimed to increase the capacity and strength of the Ukrainian armed force will be finalised in the coming weeks.”

4. EU: Ukraine will top the agenda at G7 summit

The G7 Summit is being held on 4-5 June in Brussels. The European Union, which is hosting the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, is represented at the summit by European Council President H. van Rompey and European Commission President J.M. Barroso. Van Rompey stated that “Ukraine will top the agenda. It will be an important moment to take stock of the latest developments in and around Ukraine and to continue to work together to meet this and other challenges of our times.” The G7 cancelled preparations for the planned G8 summit in Sochi “due to the Russian Federation’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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