Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 July 2015, 6 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Russian-terrorist forces have substantially increased shelling at several areas of the front. In Luhansk, a series of shellings of Ukrainian positions took place near Shchastya and Luhansk with rocket launchers and mortars. The attacks were repelled, but hit civilians, resulting in three damaged homes and infrastructure were destroyed, stated ATO spokesman Colonel Andrey Lysenko. Towards Donetsk, Russian terrorist forces used heavy artillery in the area Svetlodarsk and Horlivka, including a new tactic shelling Ukrainian positions near the village of Lozovoe with 152-mm guns, from the village of Holmivskyy, located on the other side Svetlodarsk reservoir at a distance of 10 km. Ukrainian positions towards Horlivka were fired on with mortar and artillery by Russian terrorist forces. In the western outskirts of Donetsk fighting continues around the clock. Russian terrorist forces are using all available weapons systems, including rocket launchers. Fighting intensity significantly increased near Maryinka. Towards Mariupol, Russian terrorist forces made several provocations using small arms across the contact line. Russian Terrorist sniper activity was recorded near Hranite. During the last day of hostilities, no Ukrainian soldiers died, 5 were injured. ATO Staff reported a series of Russian terrorist shellings of territories under their (Russian) control by them, resulting in damages to houses and the local hospital, and video was released of same.
- Ministry of Internal Affairs reports high civilian casualties – 4 dead, 4 injured
On Sunday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that Russian terrorists fired on Avdiyivka, Maryinka, Krasnogorivka, towns Opytke, Pyske, Verkhnotoretske, Yasinovatskiy Vodne District, Novgorod Dzerzhinsky district. 8 civilians were injured, among them four were killed and four wounded, including – a young girl born in 2006. Three people – an elderly woman, her grandson born in 1995, and a 3rd person were killed in the shelling of Avdiyevky. In the village Vodne, the body of a local resident was recovered – he died from shrapnel wounds to the hip. The young man died from acute blood loss from injuries received during the attack by Russian terrorists. During the shelling of the village of Pervomaisk a mother and her 9 yr old daughter were hit by shelling. They were taken to hospital. A resident of the village Verhnotoretske was taken to hospital for shrapnel wound to limbs, obtained during the shelling of the village. On Saturday, Russian terrorists opened fire on residential areas. As a result of direct hits on homes, shelling killed a grandmother, her disabled grandson and husband. One of the shells exploded on the 8th floor of a multi-story building. The woman and her disabled grandson died on the spot. The man died when a missile directly hit a private house on the Sportyvna street, causing the roof and walls to collapse.
- RNBO Chair Turchynov – Russia trying to undermine Minsk Accords
Recent statements of the Kremlin’s desire to capture the territory of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts indicates the intention of Russia to disrupt the Minsk agreement by discrediting them. RNBO Secretary O. Turchynov stated, “Zakharchenko’s statements that they desire to capture all the territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions indicates not only the inadequacy and mental inferiority of the Kremlin puppets. It also demonstrates the intentions of the Russian Federation […] disrupt the Minsk agreement by discrediting them, ” he said, adding that Ukraine fulfills all its Minsk obligations.
- US Assistant Secretary Nuland Interview with Savik Shuster
Assistant Secretary V. Nuland stated, “We believe in Ukraine. It’s time to go invest in Ukraine. We’re supporting Ukraine. It’s time for you to do that as well. […] Look, fighting corruption is one of the hardest things that countries have to do – particularly countries emerging from the kleptocratic Soviet system. And frankly, this part of Ukraine’s journey was never really done before. I don’t have to tell you this — that pretty much every set of leaders since independence has, in one way or another, either directly ripped off the people of Ukraine or allowed it to happen. […] As I said – fighting corruption has to be pursued in stages. So you have put in place the legislative base. You’ve started to clean the cadre. But now the justice system has to work. So it’s not just a matter of presenting cases to the prosecutor. The prosecutor has to complete some cases – whether it’s at the federal level, whether it’s at the city level, whether it’s the local level – so that the people of Ukraine have confidence that if they report a crime, if they report that they’ve been ripped off, that those people are going to pay, that there will be justice. And justice also creates a deterrent. We’ve made absolutely clear that we expect Minsk to be implemented. As you know, the sanctions that the international community has put in place – that the U.S. and the EU have in place – are there to change the policy of Russia, to encourage it to fulfill its obligations. We’ve made clear that they will stay in place until Minsk is fully implemented, including an end to the violence, including a return of hostages, a return of the border. But we’ve also made clear that if the violence increases, we’re prepared to put more pressure on Russia.”
- Rapid Trident 2015 Kicks off in Lviv Oblast
The International Peacekeeping and Security Centre hosted an official opening ceremony of the 2015 Rapid Trident exercise. Over 1,800 servicemen from 18 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey) will participate in the exercise. The exercise is being co-directed by Ukrainian Col. Oleksandr Syvak and American Col. Fred Renzi. The aim of the exercise is to train headquarters and units of multinational brigade for stabilization actions in the framework of defensive operations and operational command based on the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in the east of Ukraine. The exercise will last two weeks at various sites of the military range of the training centre.