Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 8, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 8, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Exercise Maple Arch participants from Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland, joined by Canadian mentors, study the military decision planning process. Photo – Canadian Army
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 three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 17 times in total on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 6 times with heavy weapons.
2. Ukraine’s MFA protests against new wave of repressions in Russian-occupied Crimea
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its strong protest against a new wave of illegal searches and arrests in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
           According to available information, on the morning of November 8, the Russian occupation regime detained activist and photographer Seytumer Seytuemerov and carried out a series of illegal searches in Bakhchysaray, Staryi Krym, Zarychne and Kirovske.
           The new wave of repressions shows that the Kremlin continues to constantly and deliberately exert pressure on members of Crimean Solidarity (Krymska Solidarnist), a public association of family members of illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, activists and attorneys.
           Pressure on Crimean Solidarity is an attempt to intimidate those who assist family of illegally detained prisoners in occupied Crimea, and, those who, despite threats by the Russian occupation authorities, continue to objectively shed light on the repressive policies of the Kremlin on the Peninsula. […]
           In temporarily occupied Crimea, there is no freedom of speech or peaceful assembly. Betraying their weakness, the Russian occupiers fear that the truth about the crimes in Crimea of the Russian Federation, for which they will have to answer, is being told beyond the Peninsula. […]
           Ukraine calls on the international community to condemn the mass violations of human rights and basic freedoms in temporarily occupied Crimea; to defend the residents of Crimea, who are suffering from repressions under the Russian occupation authorities; and increase pressure, including sanctions, against the aggressor state.”
3. US Army Europe: Meeting Major Milestones in Ukraine
Earthern berms surround a bunker at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center’s new grenade range. Photo – US Army Europe

US Army Europe reported, “Just this past month, a new grenade range was opened on the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, meeting yet another major milestone of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine mission.
           Maj. Montana Dugger, a resident of Edmond, Oklahoma and the brigade engineer for the JMTG-U and the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, who oversaw the project from start to finish, said that the new training facility is a complete redesign and meets all NATO safety standards.
           It improves the training for the rotational unit and moves Ukraine closer to overall NATO interoperability, Dugger explained.
           Ukrainian army battalions rotate through the CTC in 55-day training cycles, working their way through individual soldier tasks and squad-level training all the way up to a culminating battalion-level force-on-force exercise.
           Training is often in the spotlight, but direct training is just one small part of the overall JMTG-U mission. The mission actually consists of five lines of effort and each one is equally important to the long term success of the CTC.
           The five main efforts are rotational unit training, operations group development, opposing force development, instrumentation, training aids, devices and simulators and simulations, commonly referred to as ITADSS, and lastly, facilities and range operations improvements.
           The completion of the grenade range falls under the latter most effort. In addition to the grenade range, Dugger has managed to completion several other significant and large-scale facilities and range operations improvements to include renovations to the rotational units’ housing facility.
           Dugger said the renovations have increased housing capacity to allow for 800 soldiers to live on their own walkable campus. The campus is complete with classroom space and a dining facility in addition to new, cozier living quarters, which are designed to build morale and increase retention.”
4. US State Department calls on Russia-led forces to implement full ceasefire
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert stated in the Department press briefing yesterday, “in eastern Ukraine two water filtration plants have been subjected to shelling in recent days. It is considered especially dangerous because some shells have fallen as close to as 50 meters from chlorine gas storage tanks at the facilities. A hit on the tanks would cause a major catastrophe, gassing people at the plant, possibly even those in nearby towns, as well as disrupting the supply of clean drinking water in the area.
           The Minsk agreements call for a full ceasefire along the line of contact, a ceasefire that Russian-led forces have never fully respected. We call on the Russian-led forces to implement a genuine ceasefire and especially to cease shelling around the filtration plant and withdraw heavy weapons to the agreed-upon lines.”

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