Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 June 2015, 9 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continued to fire on Ukrainian positions with heavy weapons – artillery, mortars and tanks. Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with small arms, artillery and mortars. Towards Donetsk, clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place near the Donetsk airport, Maryinka and Krasnohorivka. Towards Luhansk, firefights with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place at several locations along the contact line. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six were wounded. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine reported that three civilians were injured as a result of shelling of Maryinka by Kremlin-backed terrorists.
- EU, US call for release of Nadiya Savchenko on anniversary of her illegal captivity
The European Union External Action spokesperson stated, “A year ago, Nadiya Savchenko was captured in eastern Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists. 365 days of detention, most of them in Russia, have severely affected her health. She has repeatedly been denied the core right to fair proceedings. […] The European Union firmly calls for her release. This would be in keeping with the ‘Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements’ and the commitment to release all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine.” US Ambassador to Ukraine G. Pyatt stated, “One year ago today, Nadiya Savchenko was captured by separatists on Ukrainian soil and smuggled to Russia against her will. While detained, Nadiya has endured relentless interrogations, and even been subjected to solitary confinement for staging a hunger strike. The United States will continue to press tirelessly for Nadiya’s release, as well as the release of all Ukrainians who are being held illegally by Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine. We again call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Savchenko to allow her to return home safely to her family, in conformance with the commitments Russia signed onto under the Minsk Agreement.” Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists last June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time.
- BBC: EU to extend sanctions against Russia by six months
The BBC reported that EU member states “have agreed in principle to extend economic sanctions against Russia by six months over the Ukraine conflict,” citing EU officials. “The sanctions, which expire on 31 July, are not expected to change in content. The decision needs to be ratified by EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday, though this is seen as a formality,” BBC reported. The BBC stated that in a meeting in Brussels today, ambassadors from the 28 EU states “also voted unanimously to extend a ban on investment in Crimea by one year.”
- Independent Russian journalist detained, beaten by Kremlin-backed terrorists, “deported” from occupied Donetsk
Novaya Gazeta correspondent P. Kanygin, who has challenged the Kremlin’s propaganda about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was detained, beaten and “deported” back to Russia by Kremlin-backed terrorists from the so-called Donetsk “People’s Republic.” Kanygin was detained on 16 June, one day after covering a protest rally in which protestors in occupied Donetsk demanded that the “leadership” of the so-called “DPR” remove heavy weaponry from residential areas and stop using civilians as human shields. Kanygin was also the first Russian correspondent to interview the two Russian regular army servicemen captured in eastern Ukraine in May. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “Kanygin spoke to RFE/RL on June 17, after his return to Russia. He said that he was accused of illegal drug use, spying for Ukraine and the United States, and working on territory controlled by the separatists without accreditation. Novaya Gazeta quoted Kanygin as saying one of the separatist security officers who questioned him “pointed a pistol at me and said that if I moved, he would shoot me.” Kanygin said he was then asked which side he was on in the conflict between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces […]’ “I said I am for peace. At that moment, he punched me in the eye,” Kanygin said.
- General Prosecutor asks Parliament to authorize arrest of MP Serhiy Kliuyev under new charges
On 16 June, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine sent an appeal to Parliament to give its consent to the criminal prosecution, detention and arrest of MP Serhiy Kliuyev, brother of the former head of the Yanukovych Presidential Administration. Kliuyev is suspected of “large scale transactions with property obtained as a result of a socially dangerous actions that was preceded by the laundering of incomes, as well as actions aimed at concealing and disguising the illegal origin of such property and rights to such property,” and other charges. On 3 June, Parliament stripped Kliuyev of immunity from prosecution on earlier charges of fraud, misappropriation, embezzlement and abuse of power or position. Kliuyev reportedly tried to leave Ukraine the same day but was stopped from boarding a flight to Vienna. On 4 June, he failed to appear for questioning.