Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 4 July, 2014, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

4 July, 2014, 6 PM Kyiv time

1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts continues. The National Security and Defense Council stated that the activity of Kremlin-backed armed extremist gangs has noticeably diminished. 23 of 36 districts in the regions (13 of 18 in Donetsk oblast and 10 of 18 in Luhansk oblast) are under control of Ukrainian authorities. On 3 July, ATO forces successfully completed the blockade of extremist-controlled Mykolaivka near Slovyansk. At least 150 Kremlin-backed armed extremists were killed and 6 defensive positions of Kremlin-backed armed extremists were destroyed, as were munitions depots in Mykolaivka and Semenivka. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and 4 wounded. Kremlin-backed armed extremists opened mortar fire on the Luhansk and Kramatorsk airports; their positions were destroyed by ATO forces. On 3 July, ATO forces destroyed an extremist-held position on Saur-Mohyla, Donetsk oblast, taking out an anti-aircraft installation and heavy machine gun. The State Border Service stated that battles continue over control of border points, and that these are taking place “in conditions of constant presence and continued movement of military equipment and units of the Russian armed forces near the Ukrainian border.” The National Security and Defense Council stated that Kremlin-backed armed extremists have repeatedly carried out attacks against residential areas, particularly in Stanytsia Luhanksa, Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, resulting in civilian casualties.

2. State Security Service: One of main suppliers of weapons to extremists identified

The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) stated that their counterintelligence unit identified one of the main coordinators of the supply of weaponry to Kremlin-backed armed extremists in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – V.Y. Travkin, a representative of the Main Intelligence Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Apart from coordinating the supply of heavy weapons, the SBU stated that Travkin was “one of the organizers of a coordination meeting of leaders of terrorist gangs of the “DNR” and “LNR” [the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics”], which took place on 24 June in Rostov-on-Don [Russia]. At this meeting the Russian side called for the full subordination of terrorists, militants and mercenaries in eastern Ukraine, directly to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.”

3. IMF extends mission in Ukraine

On 3 July, the International Monetary Fund stated that their mission for the first review under a Stand-By Arrangement, which has been working in Kyiv since 24 June, will be extended until 9 July, “in view of quickly evolving developments and numerous issues for the discussions with the authorities.” The IMF stated that the mission “has been holding productive discussions with the authorities regarding their comprehensive economic reform program supported by the SBA.” On 30 April, the Executive Board of the IMF approved a $17.01 billion/two year SBA for Ukraine.

4. US President, German Chancellor speak on Ukraine

US President B. Obama and German Chancellor A. Merkel spoke on 3 July about the situation in eastern Ukraine. “The leaders expressed their support for diplomatic efforts to pursue a sustainable ceasefire that would be respected by the separatists and fully supported by Russia.  They stressed that Russia must take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.  The President and the Chancellor agreed that the United States and Europe should take further coordinated measures to impose costs on Russia if it does not take steps toward de-escalation in short order.” 

5. Ukraine President, German Chancellor, French President speak

Ukraine President P. Poroshenko spoke with German Chancellor A. Merkel and French President F. Hollande spoke about the situation in eastern Ukraine on 4 July. The sides underlined the progress that took place during the meetings of the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia that took place in Berlin, particularly the agreement to resume Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, OSCE, Russia) talks no later than 5 July.

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