Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 15 July, 2014, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

15 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 Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that on 14 July “with the goal of discrediting units of the armed forces of Ukraine and other security forces taking part in the ATO, militants again fired on residential districts (districts Myrniy, Stepnyi, and Olkhovsky) of Luhansk with a BM-21 ‘Grad’[truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher]. There are casualties among city residents. After the attacks, Russian TV crews quickly arrive on the scene and film provocative videos, that [these attacks] were supposedly carried out by Ukrainian soldiers.” The Ministry reports that Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired on 16 checkpoints and positions held by Ukrainian armed forces. The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reports that at about 7 am Kyiv time on 15 July, an unknown aircraft bombarded Snizhne city, Donetsk oblast. The bombs fell on the central street of the city, and there is information about casualties among residents of the city. The RNBO stated that “from yesterday, airplanes of the armed forces of Ukraine, from the beginning of the search and rescue operation to find the Ukrainian personnel of the downed AN-26, have not made a single flight. Thus, the morning raid on Snizhne is qualified as a cynical and bloody provocation, calculated to discredit Ukrainian soldiers. A special investigation on this incident has been opened.” The RNBO reports that Kremlin-backed armed extremists are setting up positions in residential areas of cities. At 5 PM Kyiv time the RNBO stated that 4 of the 8 Ukrainian personnel of the AN-26 aircraft downed yesterday were rescued, 2 have been taken prisoner by militants, and the fate of the 2 others is unknown. The search and rescue operation continues.

2. Donetsk Oblast Governor: 150 children threatened with deportation to Russia by “DPR”

The head of the Donetsk Oblast State Administration (Governor) S. Taruta issued a statement on 14 July, in which he said that “Now in Donetsk, about 150 children, citizens of Ukraine, are threatened with forced deportation to Russia. These are orphans from the Maryinka and Donetsk orphanages” which are being held by so-called Donetsk “Peoples’ Republic.” Taruta stated that this is not the first attempt to illegally deport children by the so-called Donetsk “Peoples’ Republic,” who previously removed children from an orphanage in Snizhne and took them to Russia, who were later returned. Taruta stated that “now the scenario is being repeated – terrorists are once again threatening to take Ukrainian children to Russia, violating not only the rule of law, but also the basic fundamentals of ethics and morality.”

3. Ukraine presents evidence of Russia’s support for militants to diplomatic missions

On 14 July the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, P. Klimkin, and the deputy head of the Presidential Administration V. Chaliy, met with heads of diplomatic missions in Ukraine, and presented photo and video evidence of support for militants provided by the Russian Federation in the form of weaponry and heavy equipment. V. Chaliy stated that Ukraine is under attack from outside forces – “this is not only a question of Ukraine, but of the security of Europe, and the entire world…Ukraine has the right to defend itself, and the international community must finally move towards more decisive actions.”

4. US State Department – “Russia’s Continuing Support for Armed Separatists in Ukraine and Ukraine’s Efforts Toward Peace, Unity, and Stability”

On 14 July the US State Department issued a Fact Sheet, “Russia’s Continuing Support for Armed Separatists in Ukraine and Ukraine’s Efforts Toward Peace, Unity, and Stability,” in which the State Department stated, “While Russia says it seeks peace, its actions do not match its rhetoric. We have no evidence that Russia’s support for the separatists has ceased. In fact, we assess that Russia continues to provide them with heavy weapons, other military equipment and financing, and continues to allow militants to enter Ukraine freely. Russia denies this, just as it denied its forces were involved in Crimea — until after the fact. Russia has refused to call for the separatists to lay down their arms, and continues to mass its troops along the Ukrainian border. Many self-proclaimed “leaders” of the separatists hail from Russia and have ties to the Russian government. This all paints a telling picture of Russia’s continued policy of destabilization in eastern Ukraine.” The full Fact Sheet can be found at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/07/229270.htm

5. Poroshenko phone call with Merkel

On 14 July Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko spoke with German Chancellor A. Merkel. According to a release issued by the Ukrainian president’s press service, they discussed the organization of the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group, “and expressed confidence that the given measure would be organized the following day. In this regard, the Chancellor emphasized wrong interpretation of the Federal Government Spokesperson’s expression on direct negotiations with separatists and expressed devotion to the idea of consultations of Trilateral contact group.”


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