Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 October, 12 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported that the situation in eastern Ukraine remains tense. Yesterday, Ukrainian military repelled an attempted massive assault near settlement of Shchastya, on the positions of the ATO forces, using heavy weapons. All attacks were repelled and the positions remain under control of Ukrainian forces. During shelling and combat in the area, the Ukrainian military suffered losses although the exact number of casualties is being confirmed. RNBO reported multiple violations of the ceasefire agreement, namely near Debaltsevo and Donetsk. ATO forces were shelled by “Grad” multiple rocket launcher systems near the centers of Mykolayivka, Novobakhmutivka, Tonenke, Ridkodub, Yunokomunarivsk and near Kamjanka village. In Luhansk oblast, near Tryokhizbenka, villages Donetske and Mius. According to RNBO, the Ukrainian military prevented an attempted seizure of the Luhansk thermal power plant (TTP), which is a large supplier of electricity to Luhansk.
2. Former Polish Foreign MinisterSikorski: Russia proposed that Poland occupy part of Ukraine. Poland said “No”
In an interview with Politico magazine, former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski stated. “Putin wants Poland to commit troops to Ukraine. These were the signals they sent us. We have known how they think for years. We have known this is what they think for years. This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, [soon to be President of the European Council] when he visited Moscow. He went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow [Lviv] is a Polish city and why don’t we just sort it out together. Luckily Tusk didn’t answer. He knew he was being recorded,” stated Sikorski. As reported, in March 2014, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky proposed that Poland seek a referendum on the accession of Ukraine’s five western regions – Volyn, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Rivne regions – to Poland. Sikorski also said that Poland had made it clear to Putin that it would not participate in that. “We made it very, very clear to them – we wanted nothing to do with this,” he said.
3. President: Parliament must ensure participation of ATO soldiers in elections
The Members of the Verkhovna Rada failed to include into the agenda the consideration of several bills, concerning the democratic rights of military and anti-terrorism Operation forces in Ukraine’s upcoming Parliamentary elections. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that he considers the actions of MPs who didn’t vote for the amendments to the law on elections irresponsible. The President stated that he would make every effort for the servicemen in the ATO area to be able to vote.
4. Verkhovna Rada adopts law on rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainian Parliament) has adopted a law on ensuring the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons, which establishes guarantees for the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of displaced persons. The purpose of the law is to ensure the implementation of constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons – citizens of Ukraine. The law foresees the creation of proper conditions for social adaptation, temporary accommodation, assistance in employment, continued education, and the promotion of opportunities to get humanitarian and charitable aid, from international institutions, organizations and different countries.
5. Latvian Foreign Minister: no grounds to lift the sanctions against Russia
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs stressed that there are currently no grounds to lift the sanctions against Russia. He stated that when introducing the sanctions, the EU expected that the situation in Eastern Ukraine would get back to the pre-crisis level; however it never happened. “Currently the ceasefire is not being respected and the state of play with human rights in Eastern Ukraine and in Crimea is critical,” he said.
6. American Senators express bipartisan support to arm Ukraine
In a 19 October Op-Ed in the Washington Post, Senators Carl Levin (D-Mi) and James Inhofe (R-Ok) express their support for the US to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine. http://www.washingtonpost.com/