Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 October, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) stated at 12PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to violate the conditions of the ceasefire, firing on Ukrainian positions with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) near Pisky, Komuna, Tonenke, Olkhovatka, Donetsk oblast, and Chornukhine, Luhansk oblast. On 13 October, Ukrainian forces successfully repelled an attack on the Donetsk airport and on positions near Smile, Luhansk oblast. The RNBO stated at 12PM Kyiv time that 7 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the last 24 hours, 6 of whom were killed during anti-terrorist measures by mines and trip wires set by Kremlin-back terrorists. 18 Ukrainian soldiers of the National Guard were freed after being held hostage for nearly a month by Kremlin-backed terrorists. The RNBO stated that on 13 October, a newly arrived special unit of military intelligence of the armed forces of the Russian Federation was identified near Novoazovsk.
2. Parliament approves new Minister of Defense
Ukraine’s Parliament approved President P. Poroshenko’s appointment of Col. Gen. Stepan Poltorak as the new Minister of Defense. 245 MPs voted for. Poltorak previously served as commander of the National Guard. On 12 October, Poroshenko accepted the resignation of V. Heletey as Minister of Defense.
3. Parliament passes changes to Law on Prosecutor; passes series of anti-corruption legislation
Ukraine’s parliament adopted changes to the Law on the Prosecutor, which, among other measures, removes the function of general oversight from the General Prosecutor (316 votes for). Parliament also passed several anti-corruption laws – “On the principles of anti-corruption policy in Ukraine (Anti-corruption strategy) for 2014-2017,” 284 votes for; the law “On amendments to some legislative acts regarding identification of final beneficiaries of legal persons and public figures,” which obligates companies to identify their actual owners (265 votes for); the law “On the National Anti-Corruption Bureau,” – according to which the National Anti-Corruption Bureau is formed by the President, the Director of the Bureau is appointed and removed from their post by the President with the approval of Parliament; also Parliament, with 1/3 of its membership, can vote non-confidence in the Director (278 votes for); and the law “On Prevention of Corruption,” 230 votes for. Parliament also passed changes to the criminal code, which strengthen penalties for violating citizens’ voting rights.
4. Unrest at public demonstration at Parliament
Unrest at a public demonstration at Ukraine’s Parliament broke out after Parliament failed to adopt a law recognizing the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army participants in World War II as“fighting for the freedom and independence of Ukraine.” All 7 votes attempting to include the law in the Parliament’s agenda failed to gain the necessary 226 votes. Some of the demonstrators gathered outside Parliament began to throw smoke bombs and clashed with police. Both the Svoboda party and Right Sector stated that they had nothing to do with the violence, and stated that the violence was a provocation. President Poroshenko’s press service stated that the President “sees these developments as a provocation. He noted that, according to law enforcement, today’s events were planned long before, and the possibility of provocations was known a week ago.” Poroshenko stated, “I will not allow provocateurs or deserters to open a ‘second front’ within the country.” Parliamentary speaker O. Turchynov stated, “The provocateurs who have created a picture for Russian propaganda […] must be held legally responsible and condemned by society.” According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs 37 people have been detained.