Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – September 23-29, 2017

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
September 23-29, 2017
Ukrainian soldiers participate in training exercises, part of Exercise Rapid Trident 17. Photo – US Army Europe
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of September 22-28, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 126 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 18 times with heavy weapons.
2. Russia jails Crimean Tatar leader for speaking out against Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea
On September 27, a “court” in Russian-occupied Crimea has sentenced Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, to two years in a prison colony under “separatism” charges. Umerov has consistently opposed Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea.
           The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “On the eve of the verdict, Ilmi Umerov reiterated that he will challenge anything but total acquittal, all the way to the international courts.
           In his final address to the court, he said that it was Russia that was guilty before him.  ‘It is Russia who committed an act of aggression against Ukraine, having occupied and annexed my native land – Crimea.'”
           Umerov suffers from Parkinson’s disease and high blood pressure. His lawyer, Mark Feygin, stated on social media that his dispatch to a prison colony would mean his death.
           Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “The ‘judicial ruling’ against Ilmi Umerov is shameful. A courageous hero of his people, who faced Moscow’s worst methods of the Soviet repressive machine, including punitive psychiatry and settlement colonies. I call on partners to intensify the pressure on the Russian occupation authorities by combined efforts to stop the persecution of Ukrainian citizens in Ukrainian Crimea.”
3. EU: Conviction by Russia of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov is serious violation of his human rights and breach of international law
The European Union stated on September 28, “On Wednesday, a so-called ‘court’ in Crimea sentenced Crimean Tatar leader and Deputy Chair of Mejlis Ilmi Umerov to two years in prison. The European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation and therefore does not recognise this ‘court’ and its sentence.
           The sentencing of Mr Umerov is a serious violation of his human rights, another example of persecution of the Crimean Tatar community, and a further and clear illustration of the severe deterioration of human rights on the Crimean peninsula, as most recently documented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in his report published earlier this week.
            Mr Umerov has been convicted for voicing dissent against the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, under Article 280.1 of the Russian criminal code on “public calls to action aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity”. This conviction is in breach of international humanitarian law and the European Union expects it to be reversed.
           The European Union is unwavering in its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We reiterate that all illegally detailed Ukrainian citizens on the Crimean peninsula and in Russia must be released immediately.”
4. UN Report Details Grave Human Rights Violations in Russian-occupied Crimea
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated on September 25, “The human rights situation in Crimea has significantly deteriorated under Russian occupation, with ‘multiple and grave violations’ committed by Russian state agents, according to a landmark report by the UN Human Rights Office published today.
             ‘Grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented,’ the report says.
             It reiterates that all residents of Crimea were affected when Ukrainian laws were substituted by those of the Russian Federation, and tens of thousands impacted by the imposition of Russian Federation citizenship. These and other actions highlighted in the report have taken place in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. […]
            Hundreds of prisoners and pre-trial detainees have been transferred to the Russian Federation, the report says, despite the practice being strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law. […]
           Some detainees were ill-treated, and at least three died after they did not receive the medical care they needed, the report says.
The report also highlights the severe impact of judicial and law enforcement changes introduced under Russian occupation. […]
           Among other abuses, it notes the use of forced internment in a psychiatric hospital as a form of harassment against political opponents, and at least 10 disappearances in which the victims remain missing.
          ‘Education in the Ukrainian language has almost disappeared from Crimea,’ it adds, highlighting numerous impacts across civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.”

The UN report is available at Situation of human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine) 

5. Canada’s Minister of Defence concludes visit to Ukraine
Minister Sajjan meets with CAF personnel deployed to Ukraine as part of Operation UNIFIER, 
Photos – DND
Canada’s Department of National Defence stated on September 28, “Today, Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan concluded his second visit to Ukraine, during which he reaffirmed Canada’s steadfast commitment to the country.
           On arrival in Kyiv, the Minister was met by Ukrainian soldiers who welcomed him with an Honour Guard. Following this, Minister Sajjan met with Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak to discuss Canadian-Ukrainian defence relations, and to reinforce Canada’s commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty and security. The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the progress made since the Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Arrangement was signed in April of this year and to discuss areas of further defence cooperation.
           While in Kyiv, the Minister visited an innovative unit that utilises the expertise of engaged Ukrainians to enhance communications and intelligence capabilities.
Minister Sajjan also travelled to Lviv where he visited Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed on Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training and capacity building mission in Ukraine. There he witnessed CAF personnel working alongside their Ukrainian counterparts, was provided an update on the progress of Operation UNIFIER, and participated in a town hall discussion with Canadian troops.”

Minister Sajjan stated, “The Government of Canada remains fully committed to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they work to build a more secure, stable, and prosperous country. I am proud of the ongoing collaboration between our two military forces and look forward to sustained cooperation between our two countries. The people of Ukraine can rest assured that we will continue to stand in solidarity with you.”

To read Minister Sajjan’s full remarks with Minister Poltorak, please see HERE
6. Ukraine’s President interview on CBC The National
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko was interviewed on CBC’s The National on September 25. To view the interview please click on image.
7. Ukraine: Owning the Reforms

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published an interview with Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk on Ukraine’s ambitious reforms agenda. Read the interview here: Ukraine: Owning the Reforms

8. Atlantic Council: How to Keep the Russian Bear out of Ukraine’s Energy Sector
Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Anders Aslund and Ukrainian MP Olga Bielkova report on Russia’s use of energy as a weapon against Ukraine, and steps that need to be taken to solidify Ukraine’s energy independence. Read the report here: How to Keep the Russian Bear out of Ukraine’s Energy Sector 

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