Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 9 July, 2014, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

9 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.  Kremlin-backed armed extremists continue to destroy infrastructure – on the morning of 9 July, the railroad track between Roty and Svitlohrad, Donetsk, was detonated. Over 10 people were abducted by Kremlin-backed armed extremists in the last 24 hours. The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reports that over the last 24 hours, Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired upon six Ukrainian armed forces checkpoints and positions in the areas of Luhansk, Dyakovo, Vesela Hora, Lysychye, Marynivka and Shchastya. The Ministry of Defense reports that the situation remains tense in Donetsk, Horlivka, Luhansk, Snizhne, Atratsyt, Krasnodon, and Metalist. The RNBO stated that in the last 24 hours, 3 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 4 wounded in battles with Kremlin-backed armed extremists. The RNBO stated that there are cases where Kremlin-backed armed extremists are posing as members of the National Guard and using artillery “Grad” system to fire upon populated areas. The command of the National Guard officially stated that National Guard units are not “Grad” artillery, and that the National Guard does not fire upon civilians. The RNBO stated that the “terrorists have publicly declared that they are willing to pay 20,000 Russian rubles a month to those who are ready to join their gangs. This confirms that Ukrainian security forces are fighting mercenaries. The number of volunteer supporters of the terrorist organizations is constantly decreasing.” The State Border Service stated that Kremlin-backed armed extremists opened mortar fire on a checkpoint near the Uspenka border crossing, in Donetsk oblast.

2. Presidential Administration – there will be no negotiations with terrorists

V. Chaliy, deputy head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, stated that the next meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, OSCE, Russia) on regulating the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts depends on the willingness to dialogue of all interested parties, and that the Contact Group is ready for further consultations. Chaliy stated “There is not talk of any official negotiations with terrorists – this is unacceptable. Terrorists should surrender their weapons, after this they can be talked with.”

3. Russian Federation detaining Ukrainian pilot previously abducted by Kremlin-backed extremists

Nadia Savchenko, a pilot of the Ukrainian armed forces who was abducted by Kremlin-backed armed extremists, has been taken to the Russian Federation and is being held in custody in a prison in Voronezh, Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated its categorical protest on her illegal transport to Russia, stating “This is another confirmation that terrorists are planning and carrying out their crimes on the territory of Ukraine in close conjunction with the special services of the Russian Federation…Ukraine demands that the Russian side immediately provide to official Ukrainian representatives full and complete information about the circumstances of Nadia Savchenko’s illegal transport to Russia, an objective investigation of this fact and punishment for those responsible, the immediate access to [Savchenko] for Ukraine’s General Consul, and the provision of legal assistance…We expect the Russian side to take steps to unconditionally release Nadia Savchenko and return her immediately to her homeland.” The Ministry called on the international community to condemn Russia’s illegal actions and strengthen the pressure on the Russian authorities. According to reports Savchenko has been charged in Russia as an accessory in the death of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.

4. Poroshenko speaks with Merkel and Hollande

Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko spoke with German Chancellor A. Merkel and French President F. Hollande on the situation in eastern Ukraine. “The sides noted the lack of progress from the side of Russia on implementing the agreements reached earlier.”  

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