Ukraine: Daily Briefing – October 27, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Ukraine: Daily Briefing
October 27, 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, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 20 times on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 7 times with heavy weapons.
2. Crimean Tatar leaders, released from Russian imprisonment, vow to return to Crimea
l to r – Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov, Mustafa Dzhemilev, Akhtem Chiygoz, 
photo – Reuters


Reuters reported, “Two Crimean Tatar activists released from Russian custody this week said on Friday they would travel back to the annexed peninsula and campaign for the freedom of other political prisoners and the return of Crimea to Ukraine. […]
Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Crimean Tatars’ Mejlis legislature, and fellow Tatar leader Akhtem Chiygoz, were released unexpectedly on Wednesday.
           ‘Whether they allow me or not, I will go home without fail,’ Umerov told journalists after flying back to Kyiv. ‘I’m sure that if things continue like this then the topic of Crimea will not drop out of the newspaper pages and the process will continue of freeing people, gradually de-occupying Crimea and restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity,’ he said.
           Umerov, who had been sentenced to two years in Russian prison for separatism, credited international pressure on the Kremlin for his early release.
Earlier, they had flown to Turkey to meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whom Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has thanked for helping free the pair.
           Umerov’s supporters said at the time that the two-year jail term handed to him actually amounted to a death penalty since he suffers from Parkinson’s disease. […]
          Chiygoz said their release did not feel like a return to freedom. ‘Because a release would be the liberation of my people, my land, my homeland, my country,’ he said.
         According to a U.N. human rights report, Russia is committing ‘grave’ human rights violations in Crimea, including by imposing Russian citizenship and deporting prisoners.”
3. Trump Administration Sends Congress List of Possible Russia Sanctions
The New York Times reported, “Under pressure from Republicans and Democrats, the Trump administration on Thursday turned over to Congress a list of Russia-connected entities it will use to determine new sanctions meant to rebuke Russia for actions in Eastern Europe, Syria and the 2016 United States presidential election.
            Administration officials made clear to lawmakers that they intended to impose sanctions on individuals in the United States and elsewhere who did ‘significant’ business with the Russian entities, sending an early warning that such deals must soon end. […]
           Administration officials said the list, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, was not itself an imposition of sanctions, but rather the government’s assessment of organizations or persons ‘that are part of, or operating for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the government of the Russian Federation.’
           Under the law, persons who ‘knowingly engage in a significant transaction’ with these entities could be subjected to sanctions as soon as Jan. 29. Officials said they intended to work with individuals and the United States’ allies to help them avoid sanctionable activity.
          The list reads like a who’s who of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors. It includes the United Aircraft Corporation, which makes Sukhoi jets and Tupolev passenger airliners; Kalashnikov Concern […] and Rosoboronexport, which is the chief state-owned arms exporter in the country.
          Democrats and several powerful Senate Republicans, led by Mr. McCain and Mr. Cardin, had grown frustrated in recent days over the delay. Mr. McCain, a fierce critic of Russia, threatened to use his position as the chairman of the Armed Services Committee to try to force the Trump administration to comply. […]
         The Russia measures were part of a larger sanctions package approved with near unanimous support by the House and Senate and signed by Mr. Trump in early August. The legislation also included sanctions on Iran and North Korea, but it was the Russia sanctions, as well as a provision limiting Mr. Trump’s authority to lift them, that most irked the president.”

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