Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
18 August, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russia’s proxy war against Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
The active phase of Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) continues in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts continues. At 12 PM Kyiv time the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) stated that at 9.40 AM Kyiv time near the city of Luhansk the Kremlin-backed terrorists used Grad missiles and mortars, obtained from the Russian Federation, attacked a civilian convoy of people who were trying to leave the battle zone for the safe area. The number of victims is unknown. The ATO forces continue to block terrorists in the area of Donetsk, Luhansk and Horlivka. The active combat operation continues near the settlements of Stanytsya – Luhansk, Yasynuvata, Zhdanivka, Nyzhnya Krynka. Servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine in the liberated towns of Hirske and Vuhlehirsk found caches of weapons and ammunition of Russian origin, namely reactive assault grenades RShG – 1, 82 mm handmade mortar;“Igla” man-portable air-defense system; RPG-26, disposable anti-tank rocket launcher; Dragunov sniper rifle; several boxes with VOG-17 grenades and other weapons. In parallel, Ukrainian authorities, volunteers and charities have delivered humanitarian aid to the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with the International Committee of the Red Cross stating that the humanitarian aid has already been delivered to ten towns in the Donbas.
2. President Poroshenko discussed the changes in tactics of further actions in the ATO.
As reported by the Press office of President, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with heads of security forces and discussed the tactics of further actions in the ATO. P Poroshenko noted that the information on the entry of 1200 trained militants and armored vehicles to the territory of Ukraine “from the eastern neighbor” had been confirmed. Part of these vehicles has been destroyed. Now, measures are being taken to destroy the rest of them. “Today, we must regroup our forces. It will ensure the protection of our territory and the continuation of offensive actions of our army,” the President said. Also, Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that currently there is a task to cut off the system of providing terrorists with mercenaries, new arms and ammunition, because its provision continues through the uncontrolled areas of the border. According to the President, the tactics now is “to cut the territories controlled by terrorists into zones, narrow the encirclement and deprive them of the opportunity to receive weapons and ammunition”. The President signed the Law No. 1633-VII “On amendments to the Law of Ukraine.
3. Russia and Ukraine Foreign ministers met in Berlin for ceasefire talks
On August 17 P Klimkin of Ukraine, Russia’s S Lavrov along with their German counterpart F Steinmeier and France’s L Fabius met in Berlin to negotiate an end to fighting. The German Foreign Minister admitted that the talks were difficult. The talks on Ukraine yielded limited progress in Berlin.
4. OSCE representative concerned about ban on journalists from entering Crimea
On 18 August 2014, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović expressed concern about deteriorating media freedom in Crimea following the decision of the de-facto Crimean authorities to ban journalist Ismet Yuksel from entering the peninsula. Earlier, on 9 August Yuksel, the General Co-ordinator of QHA Information Agency and contributor to the Turkish TRT channel, was barred from entering Crimea for a period of five years. The de-facto authorities did not present any reason for the ban. “I call on those responsible in Crimea to stop intimidating members of the media and refrain from stifling critical voices,” Mijatović said. “Such an arbitrary and restrictive measure cannot be tolerated as it affects the free flow of information and free media.”
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