Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 March 2015, 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 yesterday Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 5 times with tanks and twice with artillery, and fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms and mortars. Kremlin-backed terrorists also shelled Adviyivka city twice. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 6 were wounded. Today, Kremlin-backed terrorists attacked Ukrainian positions near Sokilnyky; the attack was repelled. Z. Shkiryak, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs, stated that tanks, artillery and rocket systems are being deployed to cities and towns along the contact line by the enemy.
2. NATO Supreme Commander Europe: West should consider all tools in reply
At the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum on 22 March, Gen. P. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, stated, “On the issue of defensive arms […] I do not think that any tool of US or any other nations’ power should necessarily be off the table. In Ukraine, what we see […] is diplomatic tools being used, informational tools being used, military tools being used, economic tools being used against Ukraine. And so we, I think, in the West, should consider all of our tools in reply. Could it be destabilizing? The answer is yes. Also, inaction could be destabilizing. […]We’ve seen a series of increased actions in all four of those tools of power […] So I think that’s the other question that our nations should look at – is inaction an appropriate action?”
3. Canadian PM meets with NATO Secretary General
Canadian PM S. Harper met with NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg in Ottawa. Harper stated, “It was a pleasure to once again meet with Secretary General Stoltenberg to discuss pressing issues, including Russia’s invasion and illegal occupation of Ukraine as well as the need for ongoing cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Canada remains steadfast in our support for and contributions to NATO operations during these uncertain times.”
4. UK Foreign Secretary: Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine
On 22 March, UK Foreign Secretary P. Hammond stated, “The illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia one year ago was a blatant breach of international law. It showed total disregard for Ukraine’s right to sovereignty and territorial integrity, and I condemn it in the strongest terms. It is completely unacceptable for Russia to use force to change borders. We do not recognise last year’s sham referendum which President Putin has admitted was planned to provide a fig leaf for his land grab. This behaviour threatens international security, and has grave implications for the legal order that protects the integrity and sovereignty of all states. Our message to Russia is consistent and clear: the annexation of Crimea was illegal and illegitimate in March 2014, and remains illegal and illegitimate in March 2015. Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine.”
5. Ukraine to temporarily stop buying natural gas from Russia on 1 April
The Wall Street Journal reported that Ukraine will temporarily stop buying Russian natural gas on 1 April. Ukrainian Energy Minister V. Demchyshyn stated that currently “there’s no reason to buy [Russian gas] at a higher price than we can buy from Europe, so I think we’ll just stop buying it,” the Wall Street Journal reported.