Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 11 July, 2014, 7 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

11 July, 2014, 7 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 Ministry of Defense reports that at 4:30 AM Kyiv on 11 July, near Zelenopillya, Luhansk oblast, tactical group of a mechanized brigade of the armed forces that was defending the Ukrainian border was fired upon from a BM-21 ‘Grad’ truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher by Kremlin-backed armed extremists. As a result 19 soldiers were killed and 93 wounded. An airstrike on the position of the BM-21 was called in; it is as yet unknown whether the system was destroyed. The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported that on 10 July, Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Siversk, Donetsk oblast. Kremlin-backed extremists fired upon 15 checkpoints and positions held by Ukrainian forces in the last 24 hours. Kremlin-backed extremists also fired on the Donetsk airport, held by ATO forces with ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft installations, and fired upon the Luhansk airport with mortars; the extremists’ positions were destroyed. Conflicts among groups Kremlin-backed armed extremists continue to emerge; the RNBO reports that near the Luhansk airport there was a firefight between the “terrorist battalion ‘Zarya’ and Russian mercenaries moving in from Donetsk. As a result 7 militants were killed.” In Chervonopartysansk, as a result of Kremlin-backed armed extremist fire, a school and 4 buildings were destroyed; one of the shells fired by Kremlin-backed armed extremists struck a bus, killing 5 people and wounding 10. The RNBO reports that ATO air forces carried out air strikes on positions held by Kremlin-backed armed extremists near the Luhansk airport, near Rovenky, and Savur Mohyla, as well as a roadblock near Karlivka. As a result of the air strike, over 50 Kremlin-backed armed extremists were killed. At 7:50 PM Kyiv time on 10 July, Kremlin-backed armed extremists detonated a railroad bridge near Horlivka, Donetsk oblast. The State Border Service reports that Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired mortars on the border crossing at Dovzhanske, Luhansk oblast. The number of casualties is not known. The Border Service also reports that “during attacks on border points, with the goal of provoking the Russian Federation into direct military aggression against Ukraine and to give Russian media reason to make baseless accusations, the terrorists periodically fire into Russian territory.”

2. Poroshenko: “Militants will pay hundreds of their lives for each life of our servicemen”

After the Russian-produced BM-21 ‘Grad’ truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher attack on Ukrainian armed forces by Kremlin-backed armed extremists, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko stated that those who carried out the attack would be found and eliminated. “Militants will pay hundreds of their lives for each life of our servicemen. Not a single terrorist will avoid responsibility, each of them will be punished.”

3. OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Statement

The OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, A. Thors, issued a statement on 10 July to the 1007th Plenary Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. Regarding Crimea, Thors stated, “I remain deeply concerned about the precarious position of both the Crimean Tatar and the Ukrainian-speaking communities on the Crimean peninsula. Members of groups that openly supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity face stark choices, individually and collectively, on whether or not to adjust to the political changes. Those who do not are at risk of reprisals and face exclusion from political and socio-economic life…I have been receiving persistent and credible reports about detentions and disappearances, about pressures to renounce Ukrainian citizenship, and about violations of the rights to freedom of religion and education rights of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian speakers in Crimea.”

4. Poroshenko, Biden phone call

On 10 July, Ukraine President P. Poroshenko held a phone call with US Vice President J. Biden on the situation in Eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko stated that the “restoration of peaceful life in the Donbas was a priority for Ukraine given the horrors the residents of the East had to live through in the course of the terrorist attacks.” Biden stated that the US “is ready to consider the possibility of funding the projects on the restoration of the infrastructure in the Donbas…”

CALL TO ACTION!!! March against Putin to be held in Toronto on 13 July

A Mega-March to “Stop the Funders of Putin’s Terrorism” in Ukraine will be held on Sunday, 13 July in Toronto. The march will begin at 12 PM Toronto time at 10 Scrivener Square (Yonge and Summerhill).

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