Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 14, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 14, 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 two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 33 times in total on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 12 times with heavy weapons. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Maryinka with mortars.
2. Human Rights Watch: Persecution of Crimean Tatars in Russian-occupied Crimea intensifies
A report from Human Rights Watch, published today, stated, “Russian authorities in Crimea have intensified persecution of Crimean Tatars, under various pretexts and with the apparent goal of completely silencing dissent on the peninsula. […] Crimean Tatars are a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula. Many openly oppose Russia’s occupation, which began in 2014.
          ‘Russian authorities in Crimea have relentlessly persecuted Crimean Tatars for their vocal opposition to Russia’s occupation since it began in 2014,’ said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. ‘They have portrayed politically active Crimean Tatars as extremists and terrorists, forced many into exile, and ensured that those who choose to stay never feel safe to speak their mind.’
          Since Russia’s occupation began, Russian authorities and their proxies have subjected members of Crimean Tatar community and their supporters, including journalists, bloggers, activists, and others to harassment, intimidation, threats, intrusive and unlawful searches of their homes, physical attacks, and enforced disappearances.  Complaints lodged with authorities are not investigated effectively.            Russia has banned Crimean Tatar media and organizations that criticized Russia’s actions in Crimea, including disbanding and proscribing the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar self-governing highest executive body.
          In October 2017, Human Rights Watch researchers in Crimea documented criminal prosecutions for separatism against Crimean Tatars who had criticized Russia’s actions in Crimea, as well as new and ongoing baseless terrorism-related prosecutions. Researchers also documented detention and fines for Crimean Tatars who peacefully staged single-person pickets to protest the arrest and prosecution of other Tatars. Under Russian law people who want to picket individually are not required to seek official permission.” The full report from Human Rights Watch is available here:Crimea: Persecution of Crimean Tatars intensifies
3. UK PM: “I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed”
PM May delivers speech at Lord Mayor’s Banquet. 
Photo – UK Prime Minister’s Office
UK Prime Minister Theresa May, in her speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on November 13, stated, “Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe. Since then, Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbas, repeatedly violated the national airspace of several European countries, and mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption. This has included meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defence and the Bundestag, among many others.
           It is seeking to weaponise information. Deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions. So I have a very simple message for Russia.
          We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us.
The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.
          That is why we are driving reform of NATO so this vital alliance is better able to deter and counter hostile Russian activity. It is why we have stepped up our military and economic support to Ukraine.
          It is why we are strengthening our cyber security and looking at how we tighten our financial regimes to ensure the profits of corruption cannot flow from Russia into the UK. So we will take the necessary actions to counter Russian activity.”
4. Ukraine’s Minister of Defence visits Canada for UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial
Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Stepan Poltorak began a working visit to Vancouver to participate in the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial (November 14-15). Poltorak is expected to hold bilateral talks with the Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, and Ministers of Defence of Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Japan and other countries, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence stated.

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