Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
31 December, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that overnight, Kremlin-backed terrorists did not fire on Ukrainian positions. According to operational information, Kremlin-backed terrorists are concentrating forces near Donetsk, Debaltsevo, Pervomaisk and Stakhanov. The RNBO reported that according to reconnaissance, there is both a rotation of as well as arrival of new units of armed forces of the Russian Federation to Donetsk and other cities. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded.
2. German Chancellor: Europe determined not to let itself be split
The Wall Street Journal reported that German Chancellor A. Merkel, in her new years’ address, pre-released by the Chancellery, will state, “It’s completely beyond question that we want security in Europe together with Russia, not against Russia. But it’s also completely beyond question that Europe cannot and will not accept an alleged law of the strongest that disregards international law. […]Europe is determined not to let itself be split but to act more strongly than ever as one to defend its peace and values, values which bear the whole of Europe’s future and that of its members politically as well as economically,”
3. US Mission to OSCE: Minsk Protocol remains formula for de-escalation; Russia must not try to renegotiate what was agreed
On 30 December, the US Representative to the OSCE, Ambassador D. Baer stated at a meeting of the Special Permanent Council, “As we head into the New Year we must remain clear headed. Ukraine, Russia, […], the EU, the US, Canada, Turkey, Norway and many others have stated repeatedly: the Minsk Protocol of September 5 and subsequent agreement on September 19 remain the formula for de-escalation. All efforts should be focused on accelerating the implementation in full of the Minsk Protocol. In this regard, Russia must take steps now to implement the Minsk Protocol in letter and spirit and not try to renegotiate what was agreed – including by Russia itself — on September 5. It must end its support for violence in eastern Ukraine and withdraw Russian weapons and fighters. Russia must use its influence on the separatists to release all hostages, and it must release the hostages that it is holding inside of Russia, including Nadiya Savchenko and Oleg Senstov. It must do its part to guarantee safe and unfettered access for OSCE monitors. It must cooperate in securing and respecting the entire internationally-recognized Ukrainian-Russian border and comprehensive monitoring of that border and security zones on both sides of it by the OSCE, as agreed at Minsk, and Russia must end the illegal occupation of Crimea.”