Ukraine: Daily Briefing – May 2, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

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Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 2, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
 
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Svitlodarsk and Avdiivka with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Zaytseve and Verkhnotroitske. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Pavlopil, Hnutove and several other locations on the Mariupol sector of the front. At Maryinka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske with mortars. At Stanytsia Luhanska and Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions.
 
2. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General addresses nation ahead of start of Yanukovych trial
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko addressed the Ukrainian people on May 1 regarding the upcoming trial of Ukraine’s former President Yanukovych. Lutsenko stated, “On May 4, a trial, unprecedented for Ukraine will begin. The General Procuracy of Ukraine, in the name of the Ukrainian State, will accuse a former president of state treason. This process is not only about the citizen Yanukovych. It is also about his Kremlin masters, who used a document signed by Yanukovych in order to occupy Ukraine’s Crimea; cover Ukraine’s Donbas in blood, and to try to bring our state to its knees. This trial will be fundamentally different from the political trials of the time of Yanukovych, through which I had to pass. I am certain that during this process the rights of the defendant, guaranteed by Ukrainian legislation, will be guaranteed. […] Ukrainian prosecutors in this trial will be representing not only the Ukrainian State. They will be speaking in the name of the thousands of dead, tens of thousands of wounded, and millions displaced from Ukraine’s Crimea and Donbas. This will not be trial of revenge. We need justice and rule of law.”
3. Atlantic Council on Russian disinformation: It’s time we fight to win
Jeffrey Gedmin, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, wrote, “RT aims to discredit the United States in a straightforward way. The Kremlin-funded television network-established in 2005, operating in English, Arabic, and Spanish-doesn’t report on America and the West warts and all, but rather focuses single-mindedly on warts alone. […] In a post-fact, post-truth world, Vladimir Putin’s Russia revels in exploiting western vulnerability. […] It’s time to push back-with full force. And to get this right, the context must be clear. First, we must recognize that Putin’s only real strength is our weakness. The West’s structural problems-from declining social mobility and extreme income inequality in the United States to issues of employment, migration, and identity across Europe-create immense possibilities for a Russian regime bent on doing us harm. Democracy has shown itself capable of self-correction and renewal. We’ll get through our current malaise. In the meantime, we mustn’t waiver in defense of liberal democracy. It’s a central fact: the opportunity seekers, the homeless, and displaced still want to come to America and the West. No one dreams of living in Putin’s mafia state. Let’s never fail to remind that the democratic West, with all its ailments, remains by miles morally and economically superior to the dark and corrupt ways of Putinism. Second, let’s be clear; this is war and Putin is determined to win. At first it seemed his regime might be content with a continent divided into spheres of influence. Over time, though, Putin’s gaze shifted to a bigger prize: an EU rendered weak and dependent, a NATO emasculated, the transatlantic link perhaps even severed. Putin is fond of America First nationalism because he believes it will make Russia great again, by pushing America to the side. He has his vision. We must reestablish ours. We need a well-resourced, strategically-minded foreign policy aimed at putting Putin back on his heels. Only when this is in place will our own information warfare have a chance to succeed. Finally, we must respond to the growing range of Russian efforts to divide and conquer. But playing defense alone creates a whack a mole problem. Putin’s cyber armies and proxies spew out as much as conceivably possible to see what sticks. […]We urgently need a robust offensive. This doesn’t mean emulating Kremlin techniques of disinformation. Nor can any of this become the business of slick ‘messaging’ and clever ‘counter-narratives.’ If the West is to rebound, we must never stray from facts. Therefore, let’s flood Russia with accurate, reliable information and serious investigative reporting on Putin’s kleptocracy, a self-dealing system that loots a magnificent Russian civilization-financially, intellectually, spiritually, and culturally. […] Americans and Europeans allow the likes of RT into our markets-we actually do cherish freedom of speech. It’s time we demand full reciprocity, as our media remain subject to draconian regulations and restrictions in Russia. We must be allowed access to television licenses. Intimidating and harassment of affiliates-through politically motivated use of tax auditors and anticorruption police, for example-must end. It’s dangerous to report inside Russia in any case. Killings, poisonings, and mysterious deaths come with the territory. Let RT editor Simonyan, in the name of free speech, persuade her bosses in the Kremlin to take a first small step: open the Russian market and level the playing field. Allow us the same rights as we afford RT. If Moscow refuses, boot from the US Kremlin pawns masquerading as journalists. This is the new kind of war. It’s time we fight to win.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/does-rt-really-believe-in-free-speech-prove-it

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