Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 July 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 11:50 AM Kyiv time that the situation in the area of the Anti-terrorist Operation(ATO) that there is an increasing concentration of manpower and heavy military equipment of the Russian terrorists on key fronts – specifically at Uhlehorsk, areas north & west of Horlivka. ATO spokesman Col A Lysenko, stated that attacks are continuing in those areas while in other parts of the contact line the situation is quite calm. Towards Luhansk, Russian terrorists made sporadic attacks near the villages Luhanske, Stariy Aydar, Zolote and Troyitskoho, with small arms and machine guns. Lysenko confirmed the presence of a large concentration of Russian forces in the border area. Ukraine’s border patrol noticed on the territory adjacent to Stanichno Luhansk region, the Russian military equipment at a distance of 2 kilometers. In Donetsk in the Svitlodarsk area Russian terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions with 120-mm mortar rounds and 152-mm guns. The use of these heavy weapons resulted in Russian terrorist fire hitting not only Ukrainian positions along the front from of Sanzharivky to Novgorod, but also towns behind the front and strategic infrastructure, such as the dam in the village Mironovsky. Two civilian women were hit by Russian terrorist fire in Mayorsk yesterday, they were evacuated to Artemivska hospital. Towards Donetsk fighting continues around the clock in the area from Avdiyivka to Maryinka with attacks on Ukrainian positions with mortars and tanks. Near Mariupol, Russian separatists shelled Ukrainian positions between Komsomolsk and Volnovakha with tanks and repeatedly fired on Shyrokynomu. Yesterday in the ATO 8 flights of Russian drones were reported. During the last 24 hours there were no fatalities among Ukrainian soldiers and 5 were wounded.
2. President Names new Governor of Luhansk Oblast
Ukraine’s President P Poroshenko appointed Heorhiy Tuka, a well-known volunteer, as governor of Luhansk oblast. Poroshenko an order on live television to appoint 51-year-old Heorhiy Tuka, a former telecom executive, as governor of the Luhansk region presenting him as a “man with an immaculate reputation, intolerant to corruption and (who has) Ukraine in his heart.” Tuka is known for his efforts helping Ukrainian troops with supplies, and is replacing Hennadiy Moskal. During Tuka’s presentation in Severodonetsk, the region’s temporary capital while Luhansk remains under the control of Russian terrorists, Poroshenko said Tuka’s primary task will be to clamp down on the flow of contraband and corruption.
3. Top US General Backs giving lethal weapons to Ukraine
Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that General Mark Milley, nominated to be the next Army Chief of Staff, stated that the United States should “seriously consider” providing Ukraine with lethal weapons.
General Milley stated that he agreed with Marine Corps Commandant Joe Dunford that Russia poses the greatest threat to the United States because of its large nuclear arsenal and its “very, very aggressive” behavior since 2008. “They’ve attacked and invaded Georgia, they’ve seized the Crimea, they’ve attacked into the Ukraine,” he testified at the Senate Armed Services Committee. “That’s worrisome.” In view of the bombardment of Ukraine by artillery and rocket fire from Russian-backed rebels since last year, Milley said, “I would be in favor of [providing Kyiv with] lethal defensive equipment.” Milley said he also favors temporarily increasing U.S. ground forces in Europe to reassure allies and deter Russian aggression.
4. Interpol removes “Red Notice” for Yanukovych
On July 21, Interpol removed the “Red notice” from Viktor Yanukovych after the disgraced former President’s lawyers filed an appeal. Ukraine vowed to fight to ensure the return and trial of Yanukovych after his name was unexpectedly removed from Interpol’s international most wanted list. In January, Interpol placed Yanukovych on its “red notice” list for “misappropriation, embezzlement or conversion of property by malversation” because it lacked the criminal authority to open the more severe charges sought by Ukraine. An Interpol spokesman said that the “suspension means that the Red Notice is not accessible to any member country searching Interpol’s databases, and has been removed from the “wanted persons” section on the Interpol website for the duration of the review”. An Interpol red notice requires member states to “seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action”.
5. Zakarpattya Governor names supplier of cigarettes smuggled from Ukraine
Lviv Tobacco Factory JSC is the main supplier of cigarettes smuggled abroad, newly appointed Zakarpattya Governor Hennadiy Moskal wrote on his website Wednesday. “The results of the searches are being compiled, and will be announced later, but today we can say that the main supplier of cigarettes which are smuggled abroad is Lviv Tobacco Factory,” he said. He added that in order to boost the fight against smugglers, that checkpoints with customs officers, personnel of the State border guard service, interior ministry, Security Service of Ukraine and the Fiscal Service of Ukraine have been established on all 4 mountain passes leading into the region.