Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
27 May 2015, 9 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists are shelling Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol) with artillery and mortars. Towards Donetsk, battles continue near the Donetsk airport – Kremlin-backed terrorists are firing on Ukrainian positions at Pisky, Adviyivka and Mariyinka. Towards Luhansk, battles with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place along a line from Zolote to Stanytsia Luhanska. Near Pervomaisk and the Bakhmutska highway, residential buildings have been shelled by Kremlin–backed terrorists. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 8 were wounded. The Donetsk oblast Prosecutor’s office reported that on 26 May, at about 7 PM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed terrorists of the so-called Donetsk “Peoples’ Republic” shelled a residential area of Horlivka city. As a result of the shelling, three civilians, including an 11-year old girl, were killed. Four civilians were injured, including a 10-year old boy.
- Ukrainian President approves National Security Strategy
On 26 May, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko signed a decree approving the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine’s (RNBO) National Security Strategy of Ukraine. The Strategy aims to ensure Ukraine’s integration into the EU and create the conditions for NATO membership. “The document stipulates that the Association Agreement with the EU defines strategic guidelines for the systemic political and socio-economic reforms in Ukraine, and cooperation with the Alliance promotes democratic values in Ukraine, formation of a stable security environment.” Under the strategy the main goal is the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its recognized borders, the further development of defense-industrial and military-technical cooperation with NATO and EU countries, and “full independence from Russia in the production of military equipment.”
- Queen Elizabeth II at opening of UK Parliament: “My government will maintain pressure on Russia”
Delivering her speech at the State Opening of UK Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II stated, “My government will maintain pressure on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and will insist on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”
- US Vice President: provision of defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine a “debate worth having”
Speaking at the Brookings Institution, US Vice-President J Biden stated, “What happens in Ukraine and how the West and the world respond, has, I think, consequential implications for the nature of the international order in the years to come. In particular the bedrock principles of security, territorial integrity and the inviolability of borders. China and many other nations are watching very closely how the world responds. They’ll learn from this conflict, regardless of how it plays out, in my view. […] I have been to Ukraine three times since the current crisis began and it’s hard to fathom unless you go there how much they’ve accomplished for themselves under enormous pressure since the Maidan. Correlating people power to rally against corruption, defending their country against brutal Russian aggression, with the odds against them, staying unified, putting patriotism before personal ambition, and holding the fairest and freest and most widely monitored elections in Ukrainian history. Of course, painstaking work lies ahead. Transitions are hard under any circumstance; it’s even harder when a powerful neighbor is actively undermining everything you do. […] So long as Ukrainian leaders keep faith with the project of reform, the United States will continue to stand with them. […] Much of the debate in Washington has been focused on whether we should provide additional, defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine. That’s a debate worth having, and continues, and my views are somewhat known on that. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Ukraine also needs basic military equipment and training, which we are also providing on the ground. […] It is profoundly in our self-interest and I would argue the self-interest of the world that this new Ukraine emerges as a prosperous, democratic, independent, reform-oriented country that cannot be bribed, coerced or intimidated. That’s what the Ukrainian people are devoting their lives to, giving their lives for. And one day it will serve as an example for Russians across the border who will see what’s possible when a country embarks on real reform.” Biden’s full speech can be viewed at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2015/05/27-biden-russia-ukraine
- US Senators ask FIFA to revoke 2018 World Cup from Russia
In a letter to the FIFA Congress, US Senators B. Menendez (D-NJ) and J. McCain (R-Ariz) stated, “President Sepp Blatter is running for a fifth term as FIFA President, with the election scheduled to take place at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015. In light of President Blatter’s continued support for Russia hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup – despite Russia’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and other challenges to the post-WWII security architecture – we ask that you reconsider your support for President Blatter’s fifth term as FIFA President. As you know, more than a year has passed since Russian troops and Russian-backed separatists began their dismemberment of Ukraine, which continues to this day in violation of both Minsk I and Minsk II ceasefire agreements. […]The next president of FIFA has a responsibility to ensure not only a safe and successful 2018 World Cup, but the endurance of the FIFA mission that claims to promote football ‘globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values.’ We strongly encourage you to elect a president who will uphold these values and work to deny the Putin regime the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup.” The full letter is available at: http://www.menendez.senate.gov/news-and-events/press/sens-menendez-mccain-call-on-fifa-congress-to-elect-new-fifa-president-that-would-deny-russia-2018-world-cup.
- NATO official: Ukraine facing “continual attacks”
At a meeting of NATO and Ukrainian officials, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy T. Stamatopoulos stated, “We are well aware of the formidable challenges that Ukraine is facing. […]It’s not easy to launch wide-ranging reforms while managing a major conflict and deterring continual attacks against your territorial integrity,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.