Ukraine: Daily Briefing – October 24, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
October 24, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian armored units training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
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. In the last 24 hours, ceasefire violations by Russian-terrorist forces almost doubled. Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 22 times in total on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front.
2. Trial imminent of Russian soldier captured fighting in Ukraine
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “The trial could begin in the next few weeks of Viktor Ageyev, the latest serving Russian soldier to be captured in the Luhansk oblast of Ukraine.  Ageyev will be represented by a Ukrainian state-appointed lawyer since Russia has refused to provide him with legal aid.
           Moscow’s denial that Ageyev was a contract soldier when captured conflicts with the consistent testimony provided by the 22-year-old himself and his mother.  Such denials have been described by Valentina Melnykova, Head of the Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers, as the most despicable thing that Russia, via its Defence Ministry and military prosecutors, is doing.
           Ageyev was captured on June 24, 2017, near the village Zholobok in the Luhansk oblast after a clash between Ukrainian soldiers and a sabotage and reconnaissance unit from the self-proclaimed Luhansk people’s republic [LPR].
           Ukraine’s SBU [Security Service] reported on October 17 that its investigators had passed the indictment against Ageyev and two LPR fighters to the court.
           The Russian Federation military serviceman is alleged to have taken part in a terrorist formation from March 2017 and to have carried out the functions of a gunner for a particular ‘reconnaissance unit’.  His two accomplices are described as men from Alchevsk and Severodonetsk who had since 2014 been in the units led by Pavel Dryomov and the so-called ‘Platov Cossack Regiment’. […]
          Svetlana Ageyeva told the BBC that her son had signed a contract on March 18, with the place where he was to be posted – Bataisk in the Rostov oblast (which borders Ukraine).
          Unlike other mothers, she did not later change her story or avoid media attention after the Russian Defence Ministry came out with their denial that Ageyev had been in Ukraine as a contract soldier.” The full report from KHPG is available here: Trial imminent of Russian soldier captured fighting in Donbas
3. Atlantic Council: Why Ukraine’s Week of Protests Quickly Fizzled
Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky wrote, “A week of protests on behalf of needed reforms in Ukraine have rapidly fizzled having made limited headway in pressing for legislative action while discrediting a segment of liberal reformers with its populist rhetoric and aggressive tactics.
           The protest outside parliament, which some organizers had expected would bring at least 10,000 to the streets, peaked on October 17 at around four thousand. By October 20, the fourth day of mass action, the ranks had fallen to a few hundred, and the tent city they had constructed was largely empty, with almost as many tents as protestors. […]
           The demonstrators had three demands: lifting parliamentary immunity, changing the electoral system to an open-party list, and creating a National Anticorruption Court. But these demands were lost amid the insurrectionist tenor of the protests, including some acts of violence by some in the crowd. […]
           The basic point is this: tactics appropriate to mobilizing against an authoritarian government which shoots and violently beats protestors must differ fundamentally from those in the case of a slow moving, but largely reformist parliament and government, which in the last months has passed a sweeping educational reform, reformed pensions in line with recommendations from international financial institutions, and voted in progressive health care reform.

This is the main lesson one hopes will be taken by activists and politicians who should be the bedrock of much-needed centrist liberal and conservative forces. Failure to do so will sow chaos, weaken Ukraine’s path to reform, and erode its national cohesiveness at a time when the country is partly under Russian occupation with the threat of aggression, terrorism, and externally-funded subversion ever-looming.” The full article is available at Why Ukraine’s Week of Protests Quickly Fizzled

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