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

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
October 17, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian army 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, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, ceasefire violations by Russian-terrorist forces significantly escalated. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front 36 times in total, including at least 6 times with heavy weapons.  Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas near Zalizne. One civilian was injured as a result of the shelling by Russian-terrorist forces.
2. Russia sends Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov to brutal prison north of Arctic Circle 
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “It seems very likely that the Kremlin’s most famous Ukrainian political prisoner, Oleg Sentsov, has been taken to the ‘White Bear’ Prison Colony No. 8 in Labytnangi.  The prison is ‘north of the Arctic Circle’, in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug […] According to civic activist Yana Goncharova, the prison colony is believed to be ‘red’, that is, one where the staff impose their own brutal regime, with many reports of prisoners having been brutally beaten.
          As well as multiple violations of Sentsov’s rights through his imprisonment on ludicrous ‘terrorism’ charges, Russia is also flouting the European Court of Human Rights which has found it in breach of the European Convention to hold prisoners so far from their families.  […]
         It is not known why Sentsov was moved from the Yakutsk prison at the beginning of September.  He has been moved between different remand prisons since then with this making it impossible for family and lawyer to maintain any contact or monitoring of his treatment.  This is one of the reasons why such transfers are always particularly dangerous, and are sometimes used to put pressure on a prisoner while totally defenceless.
           The first news of Sentsov being moved coincided with the monstrous 8-year sentence passed on Crimean Tatar leader Akhtem Chiygoz, and seemed like a possible ploy, with hopes for his release / exchange deflecting attention from the new political sentence.  There was only ever a flicker of hope, and it does not appear to have ever been warranted, with Moscow simply ensuring that Sentsov is now held in even harsher conditions in the most northern part of the Russian Federation.” The full report from KHPG is available here: Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov sent to brutal prison north of the Arctic Circle 
3. Ukraine’s President expects Parliament to deliver decision on abolition of parliamentary immunity and proposals regarding anti-corruption court
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration stated, “President Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that two years ago he submitted the draft constitutional amendments to the Parliament providing for the abolition of parliamentary immunity and judicial immunity. Today, the Head of State submitted the draft law on constitutional amendments that clearly envisage the abolition of parliamentary immunity, and he expects its adoption.
           According to the President, the first stage has already been completed – judicial immunity has been abolished in the format of the judicial reform introduced pursuant to his initiative. […]
          The Head of State drew attention that he had demanded the abolition of immunity in his speech on the Day of Constitution and during his Address to the Parliament in September.
         ‘As a confirmation of these positions, I submitted a bill to amend the Constitution, which clearly provides for the abolition of parliamentary immunity,’ Petro Poroshenko stressed. […]
         The Head of State also noted that the whole judicial reform in Ukraine is taking place in close cooperation with the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission. According to him, ‘the Venice Commission has considered the draft laws (on the Anticorruption court – ed.) that are already in the Parliament. It recognized both inadmissible for implementation in the judicial reform. […] I expect the Parliament to work out an acceptable bill guided by a few very important principles. The bill must comply with the Constitution, the requirements of Ukraine’s sovereignty, provide for a completely transparent selection procedure and absolutely effective candidates trusted by the public,’ Petro Poroshenko emphasized.”
4. Atlantic Council event with Ukraine’s Finance Minister – Ukraine’s Economic Reforms: Three Years On
On October 13, the Atlantic Council held an event with Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk. A video of the event is available below

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