Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
29 July 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM that yesterday, towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces, after shelled and attacked Ukrainian positions at Shchastya. The attack was repelled. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Stanytsia Luhanska, damaging gas lines in the city. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near the Svitlodarsk water reservoir, the Donetsk bypass road and Maryinka. North of Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. West of Donetsk city, Russian-terrorist forces continued to shell Ukrainian positions. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported that on 28 July, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions over 80 times. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded.
- Netherlands PM calls Russian President ahead of UN Security Council vote on tribunal on MH-17
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands M. Rutte called Russian President V. Putin, ahead of today’s meeting of the UN Security Council, at which a vote on the establishment of an international tribunal to try those responsible for shooting down Flight MH-17 will take place. According to Rutte’s press office, he “stressed that it was preferable to make a decision about the tribunal before the facts and charges have been established precisely in order to avoid politicising the prosecution process. […]Mr. Rutte urged the Russian president to allow latitude for trying those responsible for the MH17 disaster in a UN tribunal.” The meeting of the UN Security Council is scheduled for today at approximately 3 PM Eastern time. A live stream is available at http://webtv.un.org/
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine: Oleg Senstov and a witness in his case were tortured
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated, “We are outraged by the violations of the human rights of citizens of Ukraine. In particular, by the information about the use of torture against Oleg Sentsov by representatives of Russian law enforcement organs during his detention in May 2014 in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In addition, there is information about the use of torture against another Ukrainian citizen, who is a prisoner in this case – Oleksiy Cherniy. His testimony, obtained through illegal means, is used to accuse Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko of terrorism – which negates completely the objectivity of the investigation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine again stresses the unacceptability and illegality of the continued detention on the territory of Russia of citizens of Ukraine, detained by the Russian occupation authorities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and demands from the Russian side their release and return home.”
- SBU: Russian officer detained in Ukraine on active duty in Rostov oblast, Russia
The head of the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), V. Hrytsak, stated that the Russian officer caught delivering weapons in Donetsk oblast this past Saturday is an active officer in the Russian armed forces. Major Volodymyr Starkov, is on active service as head of rocket-artillery weapons in a military unit, based in Novocherkask, Rostov oblast, Russia. During questioning, Starkov stated that the involvement of Russian military personnel in the fighting in eastern Ukraine is of a “massive character,” the SBU reported. Hrytsak stated, “There is a clearly established mechanism of coordination and direct involvement of regular personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Russia’s aggression against our country.”
- Russian occupation authorities in Crimea block Crimean Tatar leaders from leaving Crimea
Russia’s occupation authorities in Crimea blocked Crimean Tatar leaders from leaving Crimea days before the start of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, which will take place in Ankara on 1-2 August, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. The Russian Investigative Committee’s directorate in occupied Crimea issued subpoenas to the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Crimean Tatar Qurultay, Zair Smedlyaev and the first deputy Chairman of the Mejlis (Representative Assembly), Nariman Celal, to appear for questioning on 1 August. Smedlayev stated that the subpoenas were handed down to prevent him and other leaders of the Crimean Tatars from participating in the Congress in Turkey, RFE/RL reported.
- Ukrainian President’s interview with the Wall Street Journal
On 28 July, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. “As befits a head of state managing a war, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is blunt in an interview Monday evening at the presidential-administration building here. Asked about the kind of weapons his armed forces would need to deter further aggression by Russia and its separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Poroshenko gets specific: ‘We’re looking for just 1,240 Javelin missiles, and this is absolutely fair.’ The number 1,240 has special significance for Mr. Poroshenko. He says that was the number of nuclear warheads Ukraine gave up under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, jointly signed by the U.S., Britain and Russia. ‘Ukraine voluntarily gave up its nuclear arsenal,’ Mr. Poroshenko says, ‘and in exchange for that the United States of America and Great Britain . . . promised to guarantee our sovereignty and territorial integrity.’ Compared with strategic weapons, 1,240 Javelin missiles are small beer. Yet the Obama administration has thus far refused to transfer to Kyiv the antitank system—or any other form of lethal aid. Mr. Poroshenko is thankful for American political support, loan guarantees and nonlethal assistance, including Humvees, night-vision goggles, military-to-military training and artillery computers that allow Ukrainian troops to better protect themselves against shelling. Yet such assistance has so far failed to change Russian supreme leader Vladimir Putin’s calculus in the war. […] Russian forces and proxies in the east violate the letter and spirit of Minsk II on a daily basis. The latest evidence: Ukrainian forces over the weekend apprehended a Russian officer transferring a truck loaded with ammunition to a separatist position near Donetsk. ‘Today he gave up his full name,’ Mr. Poroshenko says, for the first time confirming the officer’s rank and home base. ‘He is a major of regular forces who comes here to kill my people.’ The full interview is available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/message-from-battlefield-ukraine-1438106297