Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
4 February, 7 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 continue intense shelling of Ukrainian positions towards Debaltsevo, Severodonetsk, Shchastya and Stanystia Luhanska. The RNBO stated that Kremlin-backed terrorists are amassing weapons, ammunition, military equipment and personnel to renew offensives towards Debaltsevo and Volnovakha. The RNBO stated that in the last 24 hours, 4 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 25 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) stated at 6 PM Kyiv time that throughout the day, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions 42 times; the heaviest shelling was towards Debaltsevo. Kremlin-backed terrorists attacked Ukrainian positions at Ridkodub (near Debaltsevo); the attacks were repelled. The press center of the ATO reported that Debaltsevo remains under control of Ukrainian forces. The press-center of the ATO reported that in the last 24 hours, 18 Kremlin-backed terrorists were killed and 55 Kremlin-backed terrorists were wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 10AM Kyiv time that on 2 February, over 150 Kremlin-backed terrorists were killed (more than 80 near Debaltsevo) and over 280 Kremlin-backed terrorists were wounded.
2. 15 US Senators send letter to US President urging increased military assistance to Ukraine
On 3 February, a bipartisan group of 15 Senators (6 Republicans, 9 Democrats) signed a letter to US President B. Obama urging Obama and NATO “to rapidly increase military assistance to Ukraine to defend its sovereign borders against escalating Russian aggression.” The group, led by Senators R. Portman (R-OH) and D. Durbin (D-IL) stated, “Working with our NATO allies, the United States must implement a comprehensive strategy to support Ukraine, deter Russian aggression, and help maintain stability in the region. […]Ukraine needs an immediate infusion of effective defensive military equipment and financial aid to thwart Putin’s naked aggression. Defensive military assistance such as anti-tank weapons, counter-battery radars, armored Humvees, and increased training are all critical to ensuring Ukraine has the capabilities to defend its territory and its citizens.” The full text of the letter is available at http://www.durbin.senate.gov/
3. Parliament recognizes jurisdiction of International Criminal Court regarding crimes against humanity
Ukrainian Parliament passed the Resolution “On the Statement of Recognition by Ukraine of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court regarding commission of crimes against humanity and war crimes by high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation and leaders of the terrorist organizations Donetsk and Luhansk ‘Peoples’ Republics,’ which have led to particularly grave consequences and mass killing of Ukrainian citizens.” The resolution also directs the Cabinet of Ministers and the General Prosecutors’ Office to “collect relevant materials and evidence for an appeal to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Paragraph 3 Article 12 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” 271 MPs of 318 present supported the Resolution.
4. Savchenko lawyer: Nadiya Savchenko is “dying slowly”
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on 3 February that I. Novikov, lawyer for Nadiya Savchenko, stated that after more than 50 days on a hunger strike, “To speak bluntly, she is dying, but she is dying slowly.” Novikov visited Savchenko in Moscow’s notorious Matrosskaya Tishina detention center on 2 February. Novikov stated that Savchenko continues to refuse to eat, but was drinking about 2 liters of water a day, while allowing doctors to inject “anything they deem necessary,” RFE/RL reported. Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in mid-June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. She was elected to Ukraine’s parliament in October.
5. EU Foreign Affairs Chief: “Separatist offensive causing great human suffering”
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs F. Mogherini stated, “The spiral of ever increasing violence in Eastern Ukraine needs to stop. The fighting provoked by the continued separatist offensive, notably around Debaltsevo, is causing great human suffering and undermines all efforts aimed at a political solution.”