Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 July, 2014, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Ministry of Defense: Ukrainian forces transport plane shot down
At about 12:30 PM Kyiv time, contact was lost with a Ukrainian forces AN-26 airplane. The plane was shot down. The crew of the airplane parachuted out of the plane. The whereabouts of all the crew members have not yet been established. Minister of Defense V. Heletey briefed Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko on the incident, and stated that the plane was shot down while flying at an altitude of 6500 meters, and that Kremlin-backed terrorists are not in possession of anti-aircraft weapons capable of shooting down a plane at such altitude. “Therefore the plane had to be shot down with more powerful weapons, which were likely used from the territory of the Russian Federation. At this time, based on data provided by Ukrainian pilots, two versions are being investigated – that the [plane was fired upon] by the surface-to-air weapon system ‘Pantsir’ or an X-24 air-to-air missile, from a Russian plane, which may have taken off from Milyerovo airport.”
2. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine
The active phase of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts continues. The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reports that in the last 24 hours, Oleksandrivsk, Bile, and Rozkishne have been liberated, and the blockade around the Luhansk airport has been broken. 5 airstrikes were carried out by Ukrainian forces in the last 24 hours against positions and materiel held by the Kremlin-backed armed extremists. The RNBO reports that “the enemy suffered heavy losses in manpower and materiel. The airstrikes paralyzed the actions of the terrorists…Fear and panic is spreading in the terrorist groups. It is worth nothing that all the coordinates for the airstrike targets were provided by people who have fled from the gangs.” A spokesperson for the ATO reported on July 12 that Kremlin-backed armed extremists took heavy losses at a base camp of Kremlin-backed armed extremists near Holmovskiy was destroyed; 500 Kremlin-backed armed extremists were killed, 2 tanks, and 10 armored vehicles were destroyed. A base near Dzerjinsk was also destroyed – up to 500 Kremlin-backed armed extremists were killed there as well. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that at about 4:30 AM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed armed extremists carried out a mortar attack near Dyakove, Luhansk oblast. The Mayor of Donetsk, O. Lukyanchenko, has fled Donetsk and is in Kyiv. According to Lukyanchenko, he received an ultimatum from Kremlin-backed armed extremists to assist them in their military needs, which he refused to do. The RNBO reports that in the last 24 hours, 3 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 12 wounded in battles with Kremlin-backed armed extremists.
3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacts to Russia’s accusations
On 13 July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, reacting to accusations from the Russian Federation that ATO forces fired into Russian territory, officially stated that “Ukrainian forces have never fired upon, are not firing upon, and will never fire upon, the territory of a neighboring country…” The Ministry also stated their protest “in connections with attempts to breach [the border], from the territory of the Russian Federation, of military hardware and mercenaries…near Izvaryno, which took place on the night of 13 July.” On 12 July, the Ministry stated that a mortar attack was carried out from near Kyubishevo (Rostov oblast, Russia) on the Marynivka border crossing, on 12 July. “The Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation has not taken any steps to prevent numerous violations of the Ukrainian border by armed persons and military hardware from the territory of Russia.”
4. Poroshenko: Russian officers taking part in combat actions against Ukraine
At a meeting with security officials, Ukrainian president P. Poroshenko stated that “it is confirmed that regular Russian army officers are taking part in the combat actions against Ukraine.” Poroshenko also noted a necessity to make certain changes in the tactics of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO), which would allow for a narrowing of the area in which the ATO is taking place, strengthening protection of the border, and to do everything possible to protect civilians.
5. Poroshenko speaks with European Council President
On 13 July, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko spoke with European Council President H. Van Rompey. Poroshenko called on the EU to provide proper assessment to the facts of illegal crossing of the Ukrainian-Russian border by heavy military equipment and attack of the Russian servicemen on the position of the Ukrainian servicemen.” The President asked that the Ukraine issue be added to the agenda of the European Council on 16 July.
6. UK refuses to issue visas to Russian delegates for Farnborough International Air show
On 11 July, the Embassy of the Russian Federation expressed its regret that the “visit of a greater part of the Russian delegation to the Farnborough International Air show 2014 hosted by the UK is falling through. The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federal Space Agency…the Federal Air Transport Agency and dozens of Russian companies planned to send their representatives to take part in the exhibition and hold talks with a wide range of international participants.” The Embassy asked for relevant explanations. The Farnborough International Air show takes place 14-20 July.
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