Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
29 January 2015, 8 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 Kremlin-backed terrorists continued intense shelling of Ukrainian positions. Russian and terrorist forces are redeploying manpower toward Debaltsevo and Mariupol. The RNBO reported that 5 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 29 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the last 24 hours. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions 103 times in the last 24 hours. The Ministry of Defense reported that Kremlin-backed terrorists attacked Ukrainian forces near Vuhlehirsk with tanks and infantry. As of 2:00 PM Kyiv time the battle there continues. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported at 6:00 PM Kyiv time that Ukrainian forces killed 22 Kremlin-backed terrorists; 48 Kremlin-backed terrorists were wounded.
2. Ukrainian President meets with representatives of Trilateral Contact Group
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko met with representatives of the Trilateral Contact Group, former President L. Kuchma (Ukraine), Ambassador H. Tagliavini (OSCE) and Ambassador M. Zubarov (Russia). Poroshenko “called on the participants of the Trilateral Contact Group to immediately hold consultations with the signatories of the Minsk agreements. These consultations should result in immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy armament from the front line laid down in the Minsk memorandum of September 19, 2014, determination of concrete time period for the pullback to the given line, restoration of Ukrainian control over the Ukrainian-Russian border in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, establishment of permanent monitoring of the border by the OSCE, promotion of the provision of essential commodities and humanitarian aid for the affected areas and significant progress in the liberation of hostages and illegally detained persons.”
3. PACE suspends voting rights of Russian Federation delegation, calls for Savchenko’s release
On 28 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) suspended the voting rights, its right to be represented in PACE’s leading bodies, until April 2015, and suspended the right of its Russian members to be appointed rapporteur, observe elections or to represent the Assembly in external bodies or other Council of Europe bodies, “as a clear expression of condemnation of continuing grave violations of international law in respect of Ukraine by Russia.” PACE called on Russian authorities to release Nadia Savchenko “within 24 hours and to ensure her return to Ukraine or to hand her over to a third country.”
4. EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting
The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) adopted conclusions following a meeting in Brussels on the situation in Ukraine, “In view of the worsening situation the Council agrees to extend, in full compliance with the requirements of EU law, the restrictive measures targeting persons and entities for threatening or undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, adopted in March 2014 and subsequently updated, until September 2015. Moreover, it calls on the High Representative and the Commission to present, within a week, a proposal on additional listings for decision at the FAC onFebruary 9, 2015. The Council will continue to closely follow the situation on the ground and the current diplomatic efforts, and asks that further preparatory work by the Commission Services and the EEAS be undertaken on any appropriate action, aiming at ensuring a swift and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements.” The full conclusions can be read at http://www.consilium.europa.
5. State Security Service of Ukraine: Russia cremating bodies of its dead soldiers to conceal involvement
On 28 January, V. Nalyvaichenko, head of Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU), stated, “In order to conceal the involvement of Russian soldiers in combat on the side of the terrorists of the Donetsk and Luhansk ‘Peoples’ Republics,’ the bodies of the dead are being burned in mobile crematoria.” According to Nalyvaichenko, between 20-23 January the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation ordered that 7 mobile crematoria be moved into territory controlled by the Kremlin-backed terrorists. Nalyvaichenko stated that the SBU hotline receives dozens of calls each day from Russian citizens looking for family members who have been illegally deployed to Ukraine. “Despite the fact that they, with weapons in their hands, committed crimes against our citizens, we act humanely and return identified bodies and documents to their mothers, so that they may be buried with dignity,” stated Nalyvaichenko.