Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
11 June 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions at Myrne and Berdyanske with artillery. There is heavy fighting in Shyrokyne – where Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars and heavy artillery. Towards Donetsk, the heaviest fighting was in the area of the Donetsk airport, where Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions with tanks, mortars and artillery. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions at Novotoshkivsk with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) and artillery. Clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists also took place at several other locations, including Shchastya and Stanytsia Luhanska. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and thirteen were wounded. The Donetsk oblast Prosecutor’s Office reported that on the night of 10-11 June, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled residential areas of Horlivka with heavy artillery, murdering three civilians, including two children.
- Ukraine ready to impose moratorium on debt payment if deal with creditors not reached
Ukraine’s Minister of Finance N. Jaresko stated that Ukraine’s Parliament would move next week on three final preconditions for the next tranche of the IMF package, including strengthening the independence of the central bank. Jaresko stated that if a deal with international commercial creditors on debt repayment is not reached, Ukraine was ready to impose a moratorium on debt payments, the Wall Street Journal reported. Jaresko said, “We cannot keep bleeding in repayments to the debt this year. […]They are provoking the use of other tools, including the moratorium,” the Wall Street Journal reported. On 9 June, the IMF stated that they can keep supporting Ukraine even if it doesn’t pay bondholders. IMF First Deputy Managing Director D. Lipton stated, “We have a policy of lending into arrears which allows us to continue lending to a member state when it has arrears with private creditors, providing it’s fulfilling all its other commitments that it’s made to us. This is a way we can go forward,” Bloomberg reported.
- Ukraine’s President appoints new Governor of Donetsk oblast
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko appointed Pavlo Zhebrivsky head of the Donetsk oblast State Administration (Governor). He previously served as head of the Anti-Corruption Department of the General Prosecutors’ Office (2015) and as an MP (2006-2012). Poroshenko thanked outgoing Governor Oleksander Kikhtenko and stated that he will be appointed to a different position.
- US Vice President: G-7 ready to impose significant additional sanctions
On 10 June, Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk met with US Vice President J. Biden in Washington, DC. “The Vice President underscored the resolve of the United States and its G-7 partners to continue pressing Russia to fully implement the Minsk agreements, including return of the Ukrainian side of the international border to Ukrainian control, as well as the withdrawal of all Russian soldiers and weapons from Ukraine. The Vice President also noted that the United States and its G-7 allies stand ready to impose significant additional sanctions if necessary to respond to Russia’s actions,” according to statement from the Office of the VP.
- European Parliament: Russia can no longer be considered a strategic partner
On 10 June, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on EU-Russia relations, which stated, “Whereas Russia has – by illegally annexing Crimea, an action which was strongly condemned by the EU and which will not be recognised, and waging an armed conflict against Ukraine, with the direct and indirect participation of military and security services, and by deliberately destabilising this neighbouring sovereign and independent country – profoundly damaged its relationship with the EU by jeopardising the basic principles of Europe’s security by not respecting borders and by breaking its international commitments, notably the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Budapest Memorandum, the 1990 Paris Charter for a New Europe and the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership; whereas the humanitarian situation in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine has considerably deteriorated, with a death toll of several thousand;[…] In this context, the EU cannot envisage a return to ‘business as usual’ and has no choice but to conduct a critical re-assessment of its relations with Russia, which includes the drafting, as promptly as possible, of a soft-power contingency plan to counter the aggressive and divisive policies conducted by Russia, and a comprehensive plan on its future relations with that country and with its Eastern European partners; underlines that the resolution of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine can only be political in nature; Stresses that at this point Russia, because of its actions in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine, can no longer be treated as, or considered, a ‘strategic partner’. ” The full text of the resolution is available athttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2015-0225+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN
- Russian court illegally jails Crimean Tatar leader’s son
A Russian court sentenced Khaisar Dzhemiliev, son of Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemiliev, to 5 years in prison. He was found guilty of manslaughter through carelessness and illegal possession of a weapon. Dzhemiliev was found guilty by a Russian court “for an offence committed in Ukraine by a Ukrainian national and one in which a Ukrainian court has already passed sentence. […]A Russian court on May 27 this year refused to terminate the trial despite the verdict and sentence passed by a Ukrainian court and Ukraine’s formal request for his extradition. Although Russia’s own Criminal Code makes it quite clear that a sentence passed in Ukraine is sufficient grounds for terminating proceedings on the same charges in Russia, the judge explained his refusal as being because there had been no verdict from a Russian court. There has now been a verdict from a Russian jury and an unfairly severe and simply unlawful sentence from a Russian court […] The jury’s verdict and Ukrainian court verdict and sentence were entirely in keeping with previous rulings from Ukrainian courts from early 2014 which reinstated the original charges of manslaughter and ordered Khaiser’s release from custody. The order to release Khaiser was then reiterated by the European Court of Human Rights which on July 10, 2014 applied Rule 39, ordering that Dzhemiliev be freed. Despite the binding nature of all rulings and decisions from the Court in Strasbourg, Russia not only failed to comply, but also moved Khaiser from Simferopol in Crimea to Russia’s Krasnodar,” the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported.
- Pope calls for “great and sincere effort” for peace in Ukraine in meeting with Russian President
Pope Francis met with Russian President V. Putin on 10 June. The Vatican Information Service reported that “Regarding the situation in the Ukraine, the Holy Father affirmed that a great and sincere effort is necessary to achieve peace. He agreed on the importance of re-establishing a climate of dialogue and that all parties must commit themselves to enforcing the Minsk Accords.”