Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 June, 2014, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine
Despite the unilateral ceasefire ordered by President P. Poroshenko on 20 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists continued their campaign of violence in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. From 20 to 23 June over 30 incidents occurred where Kremlin-backed armed extremist groups attacked Ukrainian armed forces and security personnel and positions. In the evening of 22 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists attacked an Ukrainian Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) armed forces reconnaissance group near Varvarivka, Luhansk. The attack was repelled. Near Sverdlovsk, Luhansk oblast, Kremlin-backed armed extremists attacked a military base with mortars. The attack was also repelled. Near Dolyna, Donetsk oblast, Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired upon a military column with a grenade launcher. Between 4:20 and 5:00 am, Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired mortars at Ukrainian armed forces checkpoints in Kreminna, Luhansk oblast. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that on 20 and 21 June, two representatives of the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Donetsk oblast – a major and colonel – were abducted by Kremlin-backed armed extremists. The Ministry stated that they “consider this serious crime as a continuation of terrorist actions by the separatists.” The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at noon, Kyiv time, that ATO forces are holding to the conditions outlined in the unilateral ceasefire, and that “Offensive actions and attacks on facilities are not being carried out. Weapons are used only in circumstances when an armed attack takes place against Ukrainian units or the civilian population of the region. It should be noted that in some areas of Kramatorsk militants continue to fire upon public facilities, schools, kindergartens and hospitals. The terrorists are using weapons that are not used by Ukrainian armed forces, in particular 12.7 mm large caliber sniper rifles.” The National Security and Defense Council stated that as of between 9:00 am and 5:00 pmKyiv time, no fighting took place, and that as of 5 pm Kyiv time there is an actual ceasefire in the region.
2. Trilateral Contact Group talks take place in Donetsk
Trilateral Contact Group talks between Ukraine (represented by former Ukrainian President L. Kuchma, at the request of President P. Poroshenko), the Russian Federation (represented by Russian Ambassador M. Zurabov) and the OSCE (represented by Personal Representative to the Chairperson-in-Office H. Tagliavini) are being held in Donetsk. According to media reports, V. Medvedchuk and representatives of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” are also present. Several media sources reported that an agreement on a ceasefire has been obtained from the Kremlin-backed self-proclaimed “leaders” of the two “republics.” These reports have not been officially confirmed as of 8 PM Kyiv time.
3. Warrants issued for arrest of “leaders” of self-proclaimed “Peoples’ Republics”
The Kyiv Shevchenko District Court issued warrants for the arrest of 11 “leaders” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” as part of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine’s investigation into these individuals. They are suspected of committing criminal offenses under Paragraph 1 Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (establishing a terrorist organization).
4. Council of the European Union Foreign Affairs Meeting
The Council of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council Meeting in Luxembourg, in its conclusions, stated that the EU is prohibiting “the import of goods originating from Crimea, with the exception of those having been granted a certificate of origin by the Government of Ukraine.” The Council also called on the Russian Federation to “support the peace plan and to adopt effective measures to stop the continued flow of illegal fighters, arms and equipment over the border into Ukraine.” The Council stated that they share the analysis of the European Commission that Ukraine has “fulfilled all benchmarks under the first phase of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan, and decides to launch the assessment of the benchmarks under the second phase.”
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