Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 16 May 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
16 May 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Shchastya. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces increased attacks along the entire front. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve, Avdiyivka and Opytne with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one was wounded in action. The RNBO reported that on 13-14 May, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine were wounded in action.

2. Ukraine’s Jamala wins Eurovision Song Contest
Jamala, a 32-year-old singer from Ukraine, won the Eurovision Song Contest with a song, “1944,” about the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars during WWII by the Soviet Union. Eurovision is Europe’s largest television event. Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) reported, “Jamala was declared the winner early on May 15 after she received 534 points at the grand final held in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, in a vote from juries and television viewers. […]She had dedicated her song to her great-grandmother, who was deported to Central Asia in 1944 along with the entire Crimean Tatar people — the peninsula’s indigenous, predominantly Muslim population. Many of the 250,000 deported died during the journey or perished from hunger and disease following their arrival. Crimean Tatars were not allowed to return to Crimea until the late 1980s. […]Australia’s Dami Im finished second with 511 points, and Sergei Lazarev of Russia was third with 491 points.”

3. Ukraine’s President, PM meet with G7 Ambassadors
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko and Prime Minister V. Groysman met with the Ambassadors of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US) and the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, ahead of the G7 Summit in Japan that will take place 26-27 May. Poroshenko “put a special emphasis on the necessity of prolongation of sanctions against Russia for the non-fulfillment of the Minsk agreements by the country-aggressor. […]The President […] particularly highlighted the importance of deploying the OSCE armed police mission in Donbas, which is vital for the political settlement of the situation. He urged the G7 countries to endorse this initiative. […] [Poroshenko] addressed the G7 Ambassadors with a request to increase pressure on Russia regarding the immediate liberation of Nadiya Savchenko and other prisoners illegally retained in this country, as well as the imposition of personal sanctions against everyone involved in trumping up cases against Ukrainians illegally imprisoned in Russia,” Poroshenko’s press service reported.

4. Atlantic Council: Russia’s Hybrid Warfare is Hurting Germany
R. Forsyth, member of the Atlantic Councils Transatlantic Security Initiative, wrote on 12 May, “Among the multiple crises currently taking place on the European continent, another serious threat has been unfolding. Russia is actively seeking to harm and destabilize Germany. Taken together, Russian actions against Germany represent another example of hybrid warfare targeting the legitimacy of a European government. This is all the more dangerous because Russia has targeted its campaign against Germany: a key leader of the EU and a government currently struggling to keep Europe united in the face of numerous security threats, both internal and external. Throughout the Ukraine crisis, Russia has increased its espionage activity in Germany and other European states. […]Russia’s attempts to destabilize Germany include efforts to incite unrest where none may have previously existed, but particularly by exploiting pre-existing discontent. […] Russia is also exploiting the refugee crisis to try to deepen dissatisfaction and divisions within German society. […] There is also a cyber component in Russia’s hybrid warfare against Germany. German authorities attributed a major cyberattack on the German Bundestag in April 2015 to a “Russian military intelligence agency.”

[…]By downplaying Russia’s deliberately harmful actions, by apologizing for belligerent Russian rhetoric, and by emphasizing compromises despite Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine, Germany is ignoring a major threat to its own security. As the de-facto leader of Europe, Germany has a responsibility to respond appropriately to Russia’s harmful actions. By not clearly recognizing the threat for what it is, Germany is also sending exactly the wrong message not only to Russia, but to the rest of Europe and its allies. […] Russia’s poisonous campaign requires a direct and visible response from Germany’s top leadership. For example, Chancellor Merkel should address the German public and explain the threat that Russian activities represent to the security and stability of Germany.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/russia-s-hybrid-warfare-is-harming-germany

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