Ukraine: Daily Briefing – August 17, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 17, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian army artillery training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
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, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Doentsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiivka with mortars. Near Svilodarsk and several other locations, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Starohnativka with Grad rockets, artillery and mortars. At Pavlopil and Chermalyk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrianian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska, Krymske and Novozvanivka. At Novooleksandrivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars.
2. Statement by Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Russia’s political repressions against citizens of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its categorical protest and outrage over yet another wave of political repressions and human rights violations by the Kremlin regarding the citizens of Ukraine.
           The Russian occupation authorities continue the discrimination on national and religious grounds in the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, persecuting ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars.
           At least five politically motivated sentences of imprisonment were announced, seven people were arrested or fined in Crimea over the past month. Also, at least three searches in the houses of the Crimean Tatars were conducted over the past week.
           The cynical mass searches, a time-tested NKVD practice, as well as a series of arrests of those supported the 76-year-old Server Karametov who was arrested for the picket, are evidence of the continuation of the Kremlin regime’s bold attack against everyone who disagree with the occupation.
           Despite numerous appeals by Ukraine and the international community demanding the immediate release of all illegally detained and sentenced Ukrainians, the Russian leadership continues a shameful practice of using Ukrainian citizens as the hostages of its aggressive policy against our state, making false accusations.
           We express grave concern regarding the deteriorated health of the Ukrainian citizen Ruslan Zeitullayev, illegally sentenced on the territory of Russia, who on July 27, 2017, began another hunger strike to protest against Russian legal arbitrariness due to his unjustified sentencing to 15 years of deprivation of liberty. We demand that Russian side immediately allow Ruslan Zeitullayev to be examined by Ukrainian doctors.
           Ukraine is demanding that the Russian Federation release all illegally detained citizens of Ukraine immediately and without any further preconditions, and cease the practice of political persecutions and repressions against our compatriots.”
3. Yanukovych treason trial adjourned until September as state-appointed lawyer quits
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “The state-appointed lawyer defending former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in his in-absentia treason trial has quit.
          Vitaliy Meshechek told the judge at a hearing on August 17 that he was withdrawing, citing the ‘particular difficulty’ of the case and saying he could not handle it properly without assistants.
           Judge Vladyslav Devyatko accepted Meshechek’s decision and said a new lawyer would be appointed to represent Yanukovych […]
          Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for Yanukovych, who is accused of treason, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and abetting Russian aggression. […]
          At the hearing on August 17, the judge said that Yanukovych will be invited to participate in the trial again by means of an announcement in the media, the court’s website, and letters to be sent to all known addresses for Yanukovych, including those in Russia.
         Devyatko reiterated a previous ruling saying that Yanukovych can take part in the trial via video-link. Yanukovych’s lawyers have insisted that the court must formally ask Russia, where Yanukovych has been residing since February 2014, for assistance to set up a video-link for their client.
          The court has rejected the request, saying that Yanukovych can take part via any video-link available on the Internet — meaning that a formal request is not needed.
          Devyatko adjourned the trial until September 6 and announced the dates of 12 more hearings for the period from September 7 to October 26.”

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