Ukraine: Daily Briefing – September 21, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
September 21, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Canadian Army personnel deployed on  #OpUNIFIER mentoring Ukrainian partners during Exercise Rapid Trident 17. Photo – Canadian Armed Forces

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 one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Horlivka, Avdiivka and the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions on the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front.
2. Ukraine’s President at UN General Assembly: Russia is not contributor to international security, but its biggest threat
To view President Poroshenko's speech at the UN General Assembly, please click on image above
To view President Poroshenko’s speech at the UN General Assembly, please click on image above
On September 20, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko addressed the UN General Assembly. Poroshenko stated, “Let me take this chance to state clearly that we in Ukraine cannot agree more with the call for the sovereignty to be universally respected and guaranteed. […]This is the principle which is to be back on track upon whatever means and tools we have at hand.
           And Ukraine is a right place to invest into this noble endeavor, in the name of sustainable peace and security. That is what millions of Ukrainians have struggled for since the beginning of the Russian aggression in 2014 in Donbas and Crimea.
A three-year-long war with Russia has resulted in 10 thousand people killed, 7% of Ukrainian territory occupied, 20% of Ukrainian economy and industrial output is seized, destroyed or simply stolen.
           However, the most horrific thing in this situation is that the Kremlin has consciously chosen the tactics of increasing human sufferings. The occupied Crimean peninsula, according to the human rights activists, has turned into a territory of repressions. Anyone disagreeing with Kremlin risk their freedom and even life. […]
          Such disregard of Russia’s international obligations must receive proper response of the international community. The international community has to keep a close eye on Crimea to prevent a new genocide inspired by modern proponents of Stalin’s totalitarian ideology against the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. […]
           In breach of the Minsk agreements, Russia keeps its regular military and continues to supply heavy weapons and ammunition to the occupation troops in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. […]
           Stealing other nations’ land… kidnapping people… conducting a hidden war…downing a civilian aircraft… spreading lies globally – is this the kind of behavior we expect from a permanent Security Council member?
           Russia is not a contributor to international security, but its biggest threat. […]
The key problem in Donbas is that Ukraine and Russia strive for completely different things.
           Ukraine wants peace and restoration of sovereignty over its territory. Russia wants control over Ukraine and undermines every effort to restore our sovereign control within Ukraine’s borders.
           So, Russia tries to exchange peace in Ukraine for Ukraine’s freedom. Ukraine will never accept that kind of a deal, nor will the international community. […]
           The world is divided again – between those who believe that freedom is indispensable and those who believe freedom is expendable. One group wants to reach a better future.
           The other one drags us into the past. It’s time for those who believe in freedom to come together.”
3. Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov delivers powerful final statement in illegal trial in Russian-occupied Crimea
Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov. photo – RFE_RL

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported on the illegal trial in Russian-occupied Crimea of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov. Umerov delivered his final address to the “court” on September 20. He stated, “I do not consider myself guilty before Russia of anything.  It is Russia that is guilty before me. It is Russia who committed an act of aggression against Ukraine, having occupied and annexed my native land – Crimea.
           I am on trial in a fabricated case.  It is of course not over my utterances or a particular TV program, but for my political views and convictions which I do not conceal.
           While not recognizing Russia’s jurisdiction in Crimea, I consider Crimea’s return possible only through non-violent means. I think that effective strengthening of sanctions would lead to Russia itself taking the decision to return Crimea to Ukraine’s jurisdiction. […]
            I would like to stress once against that there are borders between Ukraine and Russia which have been recognized, both by the two countries, and by the entire world.  I am rather speaking out in favour of the restoration of both Russian and Ukrainian territorial integrity within their internationally recognized borders, fixed with the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The changes in 2014 are the result of Russian aggression, the annexation of Crimea and establishment of de facto Russian rule. These changes cannot be considered legitimate. […]
            During the events of February – March 2014, the Crimean Tatar people demonstrated their firm civic position of commitment to Ukraine’s [territorial] integrity and in the vast majority of cases has not changed this. It is for this position that the Crimean Tatar people have found themselves under the repression machine of the Russian occupation regime. […]
           We can accept only an acquittal.  Any other ruling will be appealed at the next court stage, then in the international courts. We are not, however, labouring under any illusions, and do not expect an acquittal. […]
           The Crimean Tatar people are upholding in this the security of the entire civilized world. If Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and Crimea remain unpunished, this will provide a precedent resulting in the final collapse of the entire world order.
           I will end my address with a line from the national hymn of the Crimean Tatar people. ‘I swore an oath, I gave my word to die for my people’
See you in the Hague!”
The verdict in Russia’s illegal trial of Umerov is to be announced on September 27. The full report from KHPG is available at Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov delivers powerful final statement in illegal trial in Russian-occupied Crimea

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