Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
7 October, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council stated at 12PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continued to shell and attack Ukrainian positions throughout the last 24 hours. The Donetsk airport was shelled by Kremlin-backed terrorists with artillery, Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers and tanks. Olkhovatka, Donetsk oblast was shelled with artillery by Kremlin-backed terrorists, and Kremlin-backed terrorists fired mortars at Popasna, Luhansk oblast. The RNBO stated that “these attacks cannot be justified by any military necessity. These are cynical attacks on peaceful civilians, as a result of which three people were killed in Luhansk oblast.” The RNBO stated that the most numerous shelling of Ukrainian positions took place near Debaltsevo and Starahnativka, Donetsk oblast, and near Shchastya, Luhansk oblast. 5 Ukrainian soldiers were killed as a result of shelling. The RNBO stated that the situation in Mariupol remained calm.
2. Parliament passes anti-corruption legislation in first reading; passes changes to the Criminal Code
Ukraine’s Parliament passed anti-corruption legislation in first reading, which would establish an anti-corruption bureau (278 votes for); a law on the principles of state anti-corruption policies (Anti-corruption strategy) for 2014-2017, (256 votes for); a law on prevention of corruption (263 votes for). It is likely that the laws will be voted on in second reading on 14 October. Parliament also adopted, in first and second reading, changes to the Criminal and Criminal Procedural Code “On the necessity of punishment for certain crimes against the basis of national security, public safety and corruption crimes,” which, among other measures, allows for trial in absentia of those, against whom there is an international search (warrant) for crimes against Ukraine. Speaking in Parliament, the Minister of Justice, P. Petrenko, stated that this law “makes it possible to complete dozens of criminal cases against former officials – Yanukovych, Arbuzov, the so-called ‘Family’ in which assets of tens of billions of UAH have been frozen, but cannot be recovered to the [state] budget because a decision of the court is needed.” The legislation received 235 votes in first reading and 253 in second reading, and must now be signed by the Speaker and then President to become law.
3. Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: 4 abductions or disappearances of Crimean Tatars
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) stated that four Crimean Tatars have been abducted or have disappeared in the last week. The KHPG stated on 6 October that one of the disappeared, Edem Asanov, 25 years old, who was missing since 29 Sept, was found dead in Yevpatoria; “Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis or representative-executive body of the Crimean Tatar People says that Edem was hanged. He believes that the authorities are trying to establish a mood of terror and fear in Crimean society. […] It is increasingly difficult to believe in any chance with these abductions or disappearances. They coincide with a major offensive against the Mejlis, or representative-executive body of the Crimean Tatar people and Muslims in the Crimea. Veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev has spoken of 18 disappearances of Crimean Tatars since Russian invaded and annexed the Crimea in March this year. […].The almost certain murder of Edem Asanov, the abduction of two young Crimean Tatars and disappearance of a fourth young man of similar age, against the background of all other repressive measures, can only heighten the suspicion that the Crimean puppet regime and those pulling its strings in Moscow want to intimidate the Crimean Tatars and force them to leave their homeland.”
4. US Assistant Secretary of State meets with President, PM
US Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland met with Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko in Kyiv. According to the press service of the President, Nuland “ expressed hope that in the course of the visit, the President of Ukraine had felt the support of the American people to the aspirations of Ukrainians for freedom and democracy. ‘I hope that you have felt the recognition of your own aspiration for peace and success in termination of the war,’ the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State said. The parties discussed the possibility of increasing macro-financial assistance of the United States to Ukraine and the necessity of adopting the presidential anti-corruption package in this context.” Nuland also met with Ukrainian PM A. Yatseniuk. According to the Government of Ukraine’s press service, Yatseniuk and Nuland “paid special attention to challenges to energy security. Arseniy Yatseniuk confirmed the readiness to continue together with the European Commission negotiations with the Russian side on supply of natural gas from Russia. The Ukrainian side is ready [for] a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of market pricing for gas and its transit.”