Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
2 April 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:51 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, the Ukrainian army had not suffered any casualties and no Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. ATO Spokesman A Lysenko reported that fiercest fighting took place in Avdiivka, where the presence of tanks and artillery were recorded and near the village of Zolote, Ukrainian troops clashed with Kremlin-backed terrorists. “Through bravery and competent defending, our enemy retreated” said Lysenko. During a raid in Odessa, the SBU along with police and prosecutors uncovered a criminal group suspected of committing 10 terrorist attacks. The detained individuals are suspected of committing a series of bombings that took place in stores, business centers and offices of national, public and political organizations.
2. Merkel meets with Yatsenyuk in Berlin: “More work to be done”
At a briefing in Berlin with Ukrainian Prime Minister A. Yatsenyuk, German Chancellor A. Merkel stated that the situation in eastern Ukraine had improved since the signing of the Minsk ceasefire deal; however more work still needs to be done. “It is still a situation (in Ukraine) where we can say that is has quietened as far as military conflicts are concerned,” said Merkel. “But the ceasefire hasn’t been fully implemented, and also the transparency in the withdrawal of the heavy weapons.” Ukrainian Prime Minister A. Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine continues to hold up its end of the deal, “…this is about the implementation of a real ceasefire….the Ukrainian side had implemented the ceasefire. Russia has not done so.” Both leaders agreed that all sides must adhere to the latest Minsk agreement.
3. European Union blasts Kremlin for shutting down Crimean Tatar
The European Union has condemned the Kremlin’s actions of shutting down the independent television station ATR TV, Crimea’s sole Crimean news station. In an official statement, the EU called this a ‘blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression’. EU spokeswoman Maya Kosyanich said that “the Crimean people deserve unimpeded access to the plurality of media. We call for an immediate re-establishment of ATR’s broadcasting rights and full respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all inhabitants of Crimea.” ATR was shut down on April 1 by Russian authorities, despite ATR having submitted all applications and documents in advance of the deadline.
4. Illegal Russian “humanitarian convoy” enters Ukraine
On the morning of April 2, 124 trucks of “humanitarian relief” entered Ukraine through the border checkpoints “Donetsk” (Russia) and “Matvyeyev Kurhan” (Russia), becoming the 23rd illegal convoy that has come from Russia to aid the Kremlin-backed terrorists. The arrival of this so-called “humanitarian convoy” is in gross violation of international and national legislation, and is counter to the procedures agreed with the International Committee of the Red Cross. A Ukrainian interagency group conducted a visual inspection however did not properly verify the nature of this shipment. This convoy is believed to contain dangerous cargo, such as herbicides and non-humanitarian goods, including foam producing agents and metal structures.