Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 July 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions on the Adviyivka-Maryinka line. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Adviyivka and enemy snipers fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka and Krasnohorivka. Towards Luhansk, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces at Staryi Aydar. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery at Novotoshkivske and Orikhove. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded.
- Ukraine President’s address on the anniversary of the shoot-down of Flight MH-17
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko addressed the world on the one-year anniversary of the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17. He stated, “Exactly one year ago a regular passenger Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines – flight MH17 – was on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. […] Unfortunately, this civilian aircraft and 298 people on board became a target of a ruthless terrorist attack, launched from a territory occupied by the Russian-backed militants in the East of Ukraine. A highly technological weapon, with which the aircraft was shot could have come into hands of the terrorists only from Russia. It would not have happened without participation, without a direct order from the highest political and military leadership of the neighboring state. […] The Ukrainian people took this catastrophe as a personal tragedy. A year ago thousands of people all over Ukraine expressed their definite protest against the terrorists. Ukrainians voiced support and sincere condolences to families and beloved ones of the victims. With tears in their eyes they brought flowers and toys to embassies of the Netherlands and other countries who suffered most. Today our people recall this tragedy and share the grief and sorrow of the families, who lost their loved ones. Hardly anyone can feel for the families of the victims of MH17 flight more than Ukrainians. Due to Russia’s aggression, we have thousands of Ukrainians who lost their lives, thousands of people have been wounded. Many Ukrainian cities and villages are destroyed. More than a million and a half Ukrainians had to leave their homes and flee for safety. […] Our moral duty to honor the memory of the fallen ones is to ensure a fair punishment for those guilty in downing the aircraft. This crime represents a threat to the whole international community. Justice has to be restored and the readiness to defend the basic values has to be demonstrated. This is an act of atrocity that can’t be forgiven by anyone in the modern world. Recently, together with Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and the Netherlands, Ukraine asked the UN Security Council to establish an international criminal tribunal on those responsible for crimes connected to the downing of the aircraft. Just as in the course of the past year, Ukraine is ready to continue to provide all the support, information, necessary to bring those responsible to justice. A year ago we made an oath that those responsible for the tragedy would be punished. Those are not empty words. The murderers should know that the punishment is inevitable.”
- Video shows Russian terrorist forces arriving on site of MH-17 crash
A video released by News Corp Australia shows Russian terrorist forces sifting through the wreckage of MH-17 and discovering that the aircraft was a civilian, not military plane. They are seen on the video rummaging through personal items of the victims, looking for items of value. The video is available athttp://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/never-before-seen-footage-reveals-russian-backed-rebels-arriving-at-the-wreckage-of-mh17/story-fnizu68q-1227444676268 Australian Foreign Minister J. Bishop, when asked about the video, stated, “It is sickening to watch. I felt quite revolted this morning viewing it but I’m assuming that footage is forming part of the independent investigation and that that will be part of the evidence that the investigators have drawn upon in compiling this report. […] it is most certainly consistent with all that we were told 12 months ago about how this crash occurred.”
- Nadiya Savchenko transferred to Rostov – attorney
Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian pilot and MP, illegally imprisoned by the Russian Federation, was moved to Rostov oblast, her lawyer I. Novikov stated. Savchenko appealed to have her trial held in Moscow; her request was denied and the trial will be held in Rostov oblast, Russia. Novikov wrote, “I have said this openly in several interviews – our task now is not to win the trial, because this is impossible, but to discredit the trial […] If we do our jobs well, everything will change.” On 16 July, Nadiya Savchenko wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, asking them to appeal to the leadership of the Russian Federation to have her trial held in Moscow. The decision of the Russian prosecutor to hold the trial in Rostov oblast was taken with the political goal of undermining the work of her legal team and obstructing the press from covering the trial, Savchenko wrote. Rostov oblast “is the main center and transit point for sending Russian weapons and pro-Russian separatists of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk ‘Peoples’ Republics’ to the territory of Ukraine. My lawyers are constantly receiving threats from supporters of the LPR and DPR.[…] Furthermore, according to Russian law, entry into border areas for [my sister and mother] and other foreign nationals can be prohibited by the State Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation. […] This applies as well to members of Ukrainian parliament, PACE and European Parliament, in the event that they would like to be present at the trial. Savchenko was serving in eastern Ukraine, when abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. Russia has ignored repeated calls from the international community for her immediate release.
- US Assistant Secretary of State on Ukraine’s Parliament passing draft constitutional changes on decentralization in first reading
US Assistant Secretary of State, V. Nuland, speaking in Kyiv on 16 July, stated, “I was honored to be here today when Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada took very important steps […] passing on the first reading the package of constitutional reform measures bringing broad decentralization to the country, and bringing government closer to citizens, and Ukraine closer to European norms, as approved by the Venice Commission. […]The decisions that were taken today at the Rada reinforce the trajectory along all of these paths, and I am very pleased to be able to go home and report so much progress here in Ukraine. […] The United States is not in the business of trading one thing for another in its international relations. The United States was pleased that we were able — with our Allies, and with China, and with the European Union — to cooperate with Russia in reaching this historic agreement with Iran. But we don’t judge that Russia did this as a favor to the United States or anybody else. It did it because its own interests were served by ensuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon. […] With regard to the single sentence about the need for the law that’s already been passed by the Rada on special status — as you know, that’s a direct quote from the Minsk Agreement, which was signed by Ukraine in the hope of having peace and having the restoration of its territory in eastern Ukraine. […]Did we want to see Ukraine meet its obligations that it took in Minsk by including this sentence as it agreed to do? Of course. But the reason that we wanted to see that happen was so there would be no excuses on the other side for renewed violence. No excuses to break the agreement. That Ukraine is doing its job. Now it is up to the other side to do its job.”
- Ukraine’s Parliament votes for laws necessary to receive IMF tranche
On 16 July, Ukraine’s parliament passed all the laws necessary to receive the second tranche of support from the IMF, worth $1.7 billion. The laws include legislative changes to the banking system and energy sector, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.