Ukraine: Daily Briefing – August 8, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 8, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
 
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense


1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. in the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 36 times, including at least 5 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 3 and wounded 9 enemy combatants.
2. Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov’s health significantly deteriorating – Lawyer
Hromadske International reported on August 7, “Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov is in poor health, his lawyer Dmitry Dinze told Hromadske.
            The filmmaker is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Russia for fabricated terrorism charges and has been on hunger strike since May 14, demanding the release of all of Russia’s Ukrainian political prisoners. According to Dinze, Sentsov still has no intention of ending his hunger strike.
            Dinze, who recently visited Sentsov in the Siberian town of Labytnangi where he is imprisoned, says that the filmmaker is suffering from heart problems and the prison administration have tried twice to convince him to go to hospital. He also has low hemoglobin levels, which has led to anaemia, and his heart rate is also very low at 40 bmp.
            His lawyer adds that Sentsov has been affected by the high temperatures in the Labytnangi prison as he has low tolerance to heat. Overall, Sentsov is now very weak.
            Sentsov himself is also concerned about what may happen if he is sent to a civilian prison as ‘the supervisor of the intensive care unit may treat him aggressively and will most likely only do him harm,’  Dinze says. Even getting to the hospital may be harmful as he ‘simply cannot endure the transfer and could die.'”
3. Ukraine’s President speaks with US Secretary of State
The US State Department reported on August 7, “Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today to discuss a range of bilateral issues. Secretary Pompeo reiterated strong U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He emphasized that the United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea, as he made clear when he released the ‘Crimea Declaration’ on July 25. The Secretary welcomed Ukraine’s recent passage of anticorruption court legislation and the Law on National Security and urged Ukraine to fulfill the outstanding IMF requirements.”
4. Enlarge NATO to ensure peace in Europe
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Damon Wilson and David Kramer stated, “Exactly ten years ago, Russian forces attacked Georgia, bringing to a violent end a nearly two-decade long advance of a Europe whole and free. In the wake of NATO’s failure to agree on how to advance the membership aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine at its Bucharest Summit months earlier, Moscow acted to block those prospects with its invasion. Moscow’s actions in Georgia ten years ago previewed its far deadlier attacks on Ukraine, which continue today.
            Ten years on, the NATO Summit in Brussels July 11-12 offers the prospect of reversing the shortcomings of Bucharest and restoring momentum to NATO’s Open Door policy.  […]
            This year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made clear that, ‘NATO’s door is, and will remain, open.’ Such statements, coupled with the decision on Macedonia, send a credible signal to Georgia and Ukraine about their aspirations. […]
            Division within the Alliance and ambiguity in Georgia and Ukraine about their relationship with NATO left a security vacuum in Europe’s East which the Kremlin aims to fill. Both Georgia and Ukraine suffered Russian invasions and continued occupation of their territory – and in the case of Ukraine’s Crimea, annexation. […]
            NATO has pledged not to consign Ukraine and Georgia to a Russian sphere of influence or grant Russia a de facto veto over their aspirations to join the Alliance. However, leaving them in a gray zone, without the protection and security guarantees that come with NATO membership, exposes them to further Russian subterfuge and aggression. […]
            In the summit this month, NATO leaders reaffirmed their support for the 2008 Bucharest Declaration that both nations will become allies. […] This time in Brussels, the NATO communique reaffirmed the decision made at the 2008 Bucharest [NATO] summit ‘that Georgia will become a member of the alliance.’ On Ukraine, the declaration stated, ‘We stand firm in our support for Ukraine’s right to decide its own future and foreign policy course free from outside interference. In light of Ukraine’s restated aspirations for NATO membership, we stand by our decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit and subsequent Summits.’
These statements are important but not good enough. Without a sense of timing on when such membership is coming, the dangerous gray zone that Ukraine and Georgia find themselves in will continue. Allies should not allow their aspirations to be held hostage by Russian occupation. Both should join Macedonia on a clear path forward.” For the full article, please see here: Enlarge NATO to ensure peace in Europe 

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