Ukraine: Daily Briefing – September 13, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
September 13, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian soldiers participate in training exercises,Yavoriv, part of Exercise Rapid Trident 17. Photo – US Army Europe

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 two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Kamyanka, Pisky and Avdiivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with mortars. At Bohdanivka and Hnutove, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krymske.
2. Exercise Rapid Trident 2017 begins in Ukraine
US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch speaks at Exercise Rapid Trident 17 opening ceremony. Photo US Army Europe

Exercise Rapid Trident 2017, which involves approximately 1800 military personnel from 14 nations, including Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Italy, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States, began in Yavoriv, Ukraine. Rapid Trident supports joint combined interoperability among Ukraine, NATO and partner nations.
           Speaking at the opening ceremony on September 11, US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch stated, “This is an important occasion for Ukraine, but also Ukraine’s partners. Military forces spanning continents and oceans, stand in solidarity with Ukraine, for Ukrainian security, Ukrainian sovereignty and for Ukrainian territorial integrity.”
           US Army Europe stated that the training opportunities during Rapid Trident 17 “greatly enhance professional relationships, contribute to the security of the Black Sea region and Europe as a whole and highlight the commitment to deter any real or potential aggression. Developing combined standard operating procedures on a variety of different platforms helps all participating Armies think through and mitigate problems in real-world training scenarios, and continues to improve combat readiness for each nation as a collective force.”
3. US Mission to OSCE: Russia’s aggression against Ukraine reflects a stark disregard for Helsinki Principles
Speaking at the 2017 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting on September 11, US Ambassador Michael Kozak stated, “Where respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is weak or absent – where authority rejects accountability, where government controls media and suppresses independent ideas, where repressive laws are wielded as political weapons, and where peaceful aspirations for change are treated as threats – stability is not as stable as it seems, democratic and economic progress is increasingly difficult to sustain, and international peace is at risk.
           The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine reflects a stark disregard for the Helsinki principles. The conflagration that Russia ignited and continues to fuel is far from frozen. To date, 10,000 people have been killed, 24,000 have been wounded or injured. An estimated 1.7 million Ukrainian citizens have been forced from their homes. The Russian proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk – kept in power by the forces that Russia leads, arms, trains and fights alongside – threaten and intimidate the local population. In Crimea, Russian authorities target Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians and others who oppose the occupation. Even while under attack, the Ukrainian people are unwavering in their commitment to realize a future of dignity and prosperity through greater integration with Europe.
           Meanwhile, Russia uses intimidation and coercion to try to keep Moldova and Georgia from acting on their sovereign decisions to deepen their own integration with Europe.
           Russian aggressiveness in Ukraine and Georgia, its efforts to intimidate its neighbors, and its interference in OSCE participating States’ democratic processes constitute a threat to all OSCE participating States.”

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