Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 15 July 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

15 July 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time

  1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Russian-terrorist forces have substantially increased shelling at several areas of the front.  The most serious situation is towards Donetsk, where Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery at Vuhlehirsk throughout the day. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Mayorsk, Mykolaivka druha, and Leninske with artillery and mortars. Near Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery and tanks. Near the Donetsk airport, intense fighting with Russian-terrorist forces took place throughout the day. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novotoshkivske with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) and fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms and grenade launchers at several locations towards Luhansk. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms and Shyrokyne and two other locations. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, eight Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 16 were wounded. Five of the soldiers were killed by a mine near Stanytsia Luhanska.

  1. RNBO: The last day has seen some of most intense shelling of Ukrainian territory since Minsk agreements signed

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) stated, “In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist groups, flagrantly violating the ceasefire agreements and agreements on withdrawal of heavy weaponry, have carried out one of the most intense days of shelling since the signing of the Minsk agreements. […] Recently there has been an increase in attempts to infiltrate Ukrainian territory with terrorist and diversionist-intelligence groups, the enemy has activated its network of agents and agents of influence with the goal of undermining socio-political stability […] These actions speak to yet another attempt by Russia and its puppets to completely destroy the Minsk agreements and renew active hostilities, beginning offensives in, at a minimum, three important areas along the contact line.”

  1. Trial date of Nadiya Savchenko to be set within two weeks

Radio Svoboda reported that the date of the trial of Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian MP and air force pilot who is illegally imprisoned in Russia on fabricated charges, is to be set within the next two weeks. The trial is to be held in Rostov oblast, Russia. Savchenko was serving in eastern Ukraine, when abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. On 7July 2015, Russia added additional fabricated charges against Savchenko, which potentially carry a life sentence. Russia has ignored repeated calls from the international community for her immediate release.

  1. President appoints new governor of Zakarpattya

Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko appointed Hennadiy Moskal head of the Zakarpattya oblast State Administration (governor). Moskal previously served as governor of Luhansk oblast from September 2014. Moskal was head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department in Zakarpattya from 1995 to 97 and governor of Zakarpattya (2001-2002). The heads of the Departments of the State Security Service (SBU) and Ministry of Internal Affairs in Zakarpattya oblast were also replaced, as were the directors of two border detachments (Mukachevo and Chop) in the oblast. Poroshenko appointed Y. Klymenko acting governor of Luhansk oblast. Klymenko previously served as deputy governor of Luhansk, responsible for civilian security and order.

  1. Russia’s Constitutional Court rules that judgments of European Court of Human Rights can be ignored

Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that judgments by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) can be ignored if they are found to contravene the Russian Constitution, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. “Russia has lost a number of high-profile cases in Strasbourg and been ordered to pay out hefty compensation in scores of politically embarrassing cases surrounding the former Yukos oil and gas empire, for instance, as well as rights violations in the restive southern republic of Chechnya,” RFE/RL stated. Tanya Lokshina, Russian program director for Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated, “The Russian Constitution says very clearly that international law is supreme. I believe it is really quite dangerous, because it demonstrates that the Constitutional Court appears to be a willing tool in the hands of the executive branch at this point.”

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