Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 18 June, 2014, 8PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

18 June, 2014, 8PM Kyiv time

 

1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. ATO press representative V. Seleznyov stated that ATO forces continue to contract the ring around areas controlled by Kremlin-backed armed extremists, and that in Shchastya, Luhansk oblast, some 30 Kremlin-backed armed extremists were killed in a battle that lasted several hours. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that on 17 June the situation at the border was “characterized by fighting to renew the defense of the state border and the destruction of terrorists in controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.” Several media sources quoted the representative of the so-called “Minister of Defense” of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” complaining about a catastrophic lack of “recruits” for Kremlin-backed extremist forces. The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reports that 2 of the Kremlin-backed armed extremists who were detained near Dyakovo, Luhansk oblast on 14 June, stated during interrogation that they(ie. Kremlin backed armed extremists) were recruited to participate in the armed conflict by leaders of the local branch of the Communist Party of Ukraine, and that representatives of the Communist Party who also organized the supply of small arms to the extremists. 

2. President of Ukraine’s plan for peace

Ukraine President P. Poroshenko spoke about his plan for peace in eastern Ukraine, which consists of 14 points, at the National military academy of Ukraine. The key elements of the plan are the closure of the border with the Russian Federation and changes to the Constitution, which will decentralize power. He stated that the “plan begins with my order on a unilateral ceasefire…I can say that the timeframe of the ceasefire will be quite short.” The President stated that militants who turn in their weapons during the ceasefire, who have not committed capital offenses, will be given an amnesty and that a corridor will be created for disarmed militants to leave the territory of Ukraine.

3. National Security and Defense Council: Russia massing troops near Ukrainian border

The National Security and Defense Council stated that the Russian Federation is continuing to mass troops and materiel in regions near the Ukraine-Russia border; according to the Council 4 battalions – from airborne divisions and motorized rifle brigades have been moved to border areas. The Council also stated that Kremlin-backed armed extremists moved 2 Russian T-72 tanks to Donetsk; “we emphasize that this type of tank is not in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” In addition, the Council stated, “there is a significant buildup of heavy military armor, military tactical systems and military infrastructure in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” (which continues to be illegally occupied by the Russian Federation). A significant amount of hardware, including tanks, is being ferried through the Kerch Strait from southern Russia to Crimea.

4. Ukraine President relieves acting General Prosecutor; acting Minister of Foreign Affairs

P. Poroshenko relieved O. Makhnitsky of his duties as acting General Prosecutor. He asked Parliament to confirm Vitaliy Yarema as General Prosecutor. Poroshenko also relieved A. Deshchytsia as acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, and asked Parliament to confirm Pavlo Klimkin as his successor. S. Kubiv resigned as Head of the National Bank. Poroshenko asked Parliament to confirm Valeriya Hontarieyva as Head of the National Bank.

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