Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 22 July, 2014, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

22 July, 2014, 6 PM Kyiv time

1. Malaysian Aircraft shot down over eastern Ukraine

According to the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO), search operations at the crash site of Flight MH-17, which was shot down by Kremlin-backed terrorists on 17 July, have been completed. As of 12 PM Kyiv time on 22 July, international experts are working at the site. The bodies of the victims of the terrorist attack were delivered by special train to Kharkiv, which arrived at 11:20 am Kyiv time. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister V. Hroysman stated at 4:50 PM Kyiv time that over 90 experts, as well as nearly 30 representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations are working on preparing the bodies of the victims for further transportation to the Netherlands, where identification and forensic investigation will take place. Prime Minister of the Netherlands M. Rutte stated that he expects the first plane carrying the bodies of the victims will arrive in the Netherlands on Wednesday, 23 July. PM Rutte stated that the black boxes from the airplane were in the train that arrived in Kharkiv today. The Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, OSCE, Russia) met on 22 July and held “another round of video consultations with representatives of separatists operating in eastern Ukraine.” According to the Contact Group, the airplane’s black boxes have been handed over to international experts. Grave concerns have been expressed that evidence at the crash site has been tampered with.  Australian PM T. Abbott stated on July 22, “After the crime, comes the cover-up.  What we have seen is evidence tampering on an industrial scale and obviously that has to stop.”

2. Russia’s proxy war against Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts

The active phase of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported that Dzerzhinsk and Solidar in Donetsk oblast, and Rubizhne and Yuveliyne in Luhansk oblast were liberated by ATO forces from Kremlin-backed terrorists in the last 24 hours. Just before 2 PM Kyiv time on 22 July the RNBO reported that Severodonetsk, Luhansk oblast, has been liberated from Kremlin-backed terrorists. 4 hostages, held for almost a month by Kremlin-backed terrorists, were freed. Ukrainian forces discovered two bodies of citizens who were shot by Kremlin-backed terrorists as they tried to leave the city. At 5 PM Kyiv time, the RNBO stated that a battle to liberate Lysychansk, Luhansk oblast is ongoing. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that there is continued fire on Ukrainian positions from the territory of the Russian Federation – on 21 July, from 11:50PM to 22 July, 12:30AM nearly 40 mortar rounds were fired from Russian territory onto Ukrainian positions near Stanychno-Luhanske, Luhansk oblast.

3. Parliament confirms President’s order for partial mobilization

Ukraine’s parliament, with 232 votes for, confirmed President Poroshenko’s order to carry out partial mobilization in the next 45 days, “in connection with the increase of terrorism on the territory of Ukraine…the concentration of armies (forces) with a high offensive potential on the territory of the Russian Federation near the state border with Ukraine, the threat of attack, the danger to the state independence of Ukraine, with the goal of ensuring the defense of the state…”

4. UK Prime Minister: This is a defining moment for Russia

Speaking on 21 July, UK PM D. Cameron stated that “we expect Russia to end its support for the separatists and their attempts to further destabilise Ukraine. No one is saying that President Putin intended flight MH17 to be shot down—it is unlikely that even the separatists wanted this to happen—but we should be absolutely clear about what caused this terrible tragedy to happen. The context for this tragedy is Russia’s attempt to destabilise a sovereign state, violate its territorial integrity, and arm and train thuggish militias…this is a defining moment for Russia. The world is watching, and President Putin faces a clear choice in how he decides to respond to this appalling tragedy. I hope that he will use this moment to find a path out of this festering and dangerous crisis by ending Russia’s support for the separatists, but if he does not change his approach to Ukraine in that way, Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia. Those of us in Europe should not need to be reminded of the consequences of turning a blind eye when big countries bully smaller countries. We should not shrink from standing up for the principles that govern conduct between independent nations in Europe, and that ultimately keep the peace on our continent. For too long there has been a reluctance on the part of too many European countries to face up to the implications of what is happening in eastern Ukraine. It is time to make our power, influence and resources felt.”

5. Council of the European Union: Conclusions on Ukraine

The Council of the European Union Foreign Affairs meeting issued the following statement after meetings in Brussels on 22 July: “The Council urges the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups in order to achieve full, immediate, safe and secure access to the site, full cooperation with the work on recovering remains and possessions and full cooperation with the independent investigation, including unhindered access to the site of the downing for as long as needed for the investigation and possible follow up investigations….The Council urges Russia to stop the increasing flow of weapons, equipment and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation. The Council further urges Russia to withdraw its additional troops from the border area… The Council recalls the previous commitments by the European Council and remains ready to introduce without delay a package of further significant restrictive measures, if full and immediate cooperation on above mentioned demands fails to materialise. To this end, the Council requests the Commission and the EEAS to finalise their preparatory work on possible targeted measures and to present proposals for taking action, including on access to capital markets,

defence, dual use goods, and sensitive technologies, including in the energy sector. The results of this work will be presented on Thursday, 24th July.”

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