Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
13 March 2015, 6 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 fired on Ukrainian positions 58 times in the last 24 hours, including with artillery and armored vehicles. Near Starohnativka, Donetsk oblast, Kremlin-backed terrorists attacked a Ukrainian position. The attack was repelled. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 2 were wounded.
2. Ukraine receives $5 billion tranche from IMF
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that Ukraine stated it has received the first $5 billion tranche of IMF loan. “Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said talks would start on March 13 with Kyiv’s creditors on restructuring Ukraine’s debt,” RFE/RL reported.
3. KHPG: Wave of Repression against independent Crimean journalists
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group stated that Natalya Kokorina, editor at the Simferopol-based Centre for Investigative Journalists has “been taken away following a search by FSB officers. […]Presumably her phone has been taken away, with all direct contact lost […] FSB officers also carried out a search of the home in Simferopol of journalist Anna Andrievska’s parents. The journalist herself was previously an editor at the Centre for Investigative Journalism and still writes for the Centre, but from Kyiv where she has been living since she left Crimea following Russia’s annexation.” The “criminal proceedings appear to be linked with one specific article written by Anna Andrievska and published by the Centre on Dec 11. The article “Volunteers of the Crimea [Krym] Battalion is about people providing support for the Krym [Crimea] volunteer battalion fighting in Donbas, and for other Crimean units fighting within other battalions. […]As reported here, a new law in Russia came into force on May 9, 2014, criminalizing ‘public calls to separatism’. The move was seen as highly ironic given Russia’s extremely direct role and massive funding and manning of the so-called ‘separatists’ in Donbas. It was also immediately understood as posing a major threat to freedom of expression in Crimea. Media freedom was in any case significantly curtailed from shortly after Russia’s invasion, with most Ukrainian channels removed from air altogether, and independent media like the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR, Chornomorka and others under serious pressure or, in the case of Chornomorka, forced to broadcast from mainland Ukraine. A number of independent media, including QHA – the Crimean Information Agency – are likely to be shortly prevented from functioning after being refused registration under Russian legislation.”
4. General Prosecutor investigation into 16 January 2014 dictatorship laws vote – 5 former MPs wanted
The General Prosecutor of Ukraine (GPU) announced that in the course of their investigation into the 16 January 2014 vote on the dictatorship laws in Ukraine’s parliament, five former MPs have been informed of their suspicion of crimes committed regarding their role in the voting on 16 January and are wanted. The former MPs are all former members of the “counting commission” of Parliament. The General Prosecutor stated that if the former MPs do not appear before investigators “in the nearest time,” the GPU will appeal to court for an arrest warrant.
5. Canadian provincial lawmaker calls for defensive weapons for Ukraine
On 11 March in the Ontario Legislature, Ontario MPP Y. Baker urged the federal government to “dramatically increase sectoral sanctions’, ‘increase the provision of communications and intelligence capabilities’ and ‘provide Ukraine with the defensive weapons, equipment and training it needs to defend its territorial integrity.’” A video of Baker’s full statement is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
6) OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Mandate extended
On 12 March the OSCE Permanent Council extended the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. The mandate has been extended until 31 March 2016, and allows for the number of monitors to be increased from the current approved 500 to 1,000, as necessary. The United States Mission to the OSCE stated, “The decision adopted today also included €65 million in partial financial support for the one year SMM operating budget. The United States and others pushed for more robust funding but Russia objected.” US Permanent Representative to the OSCE D. Baer stated, “It is too bad–and, frankly, embarrassing– that even after President Putin says that the SMM should be strengthened, even after Foreign Minister Lavrov professes commitment to see the SMM properly resourced, and even though Russia pays only a paltry 2.5% of the assessed budget, the Russian delegation was the only one to block giving additional needed resources to the SMM. […] Instead of pleading poverty in Vienna, Russia should save money by ceasing sending weapons and illegal convoys into Ukraine.”