Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
7 August 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PMKyiv time that the intensity of shelling of Ukrainian positions by Russian-terrorist forces has substantially increased. Towards Luhansk, Russian terrorist-forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska with grenade launchers and mortars. At Shchastya, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with tanks. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zolote with mortars. At Troitske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars and Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Mayorsk, Kirove and Leninske (near Horlivka) with grenade launchers and mortars. On the western outskirts of Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Avdiyivka-Maryinka line with tanks, mortars and artillery. As a result of shelling of Avdiyivka by Russian-terrorist forces, a civilian was injured. At Krasnohorivka, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novohryhorivka with artillery. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 9 AMKyiv time that in the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 106 times. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven were wounded.
2. Ministry of Finance of Ukraine agrees to meet with international commercial creditors on 12 August
The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine stated that “in a spirit of collaboration and good faith, [the Ministry] has agreed to meet with the ad hoc creditors’ committee at their request on Wednesday next in San Francisco, United States. However, given the legal and timing constraints of reaching and implementing any settlement, failure to reach an agreement at the sovereign level next week would force Ukraine to implement alternative options for financing its IMF-supported program. Due to these constraints, this meeting is the final opportunity to reach a full agreement in advance of the September and October Eurobond amortizations and next IMF review now planned for September.”
3. US Treasury Department urges creditors to reach agreement with Ukraine’s authorities
On 5 August, US Department of Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs N. Sheets stated, “Last Friday, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with strong U.S. support, approved the next disbursement of financial assistance under Ukraine’s IMF program – marking almost a year and a half of sustained reform implementation. There is no disputing that the government and people of Ukraine have faced the country’s extraordinary challenges with courage and commitment. […] Since the onset of the crisis in 2014, the United States and other official creditors have provided significant new money and technical assistance – both through the international financial institutions and bilaterally – to stabilize and support Ukraine. […] To sustain this recovery, Ukraine also needs to restructure its government debt. […] Russian aggression over the past 18 months has delivered a blow to economic activity and productive capacity that has left Ukraine’s debts unsustainable. Creditors involved in the ongoing debt restructuring negotiations should heed the long view, and not treat this as a zero-sum game. We urge these creditors to move swiftly in the coming weeks to reach an agreement with the Ukrainian authorities that satisfies the three criteria outlined in Ukraine’s IMF program – including the debt-sustainability targets. By doing so, creditors have an opportunity to be part of a solution that will decidedly advance their own interests as well as Ukraine’s economic and geopolitical fortunes. A strong, stable Ukraine is in the interests of all parties – Ukraine’s citizens, international partners, and investors. We all benefit if Ukraine prospers.”
4. Amnesty International urges Russia to drop terrorism charges against Sentsov and Kolchenko
The illegal trial of Ukrainian filmmaker O. Sentsov and activist O. Kolchenko on fabricated terrorism charges continues in a Russian military court. On 6 August, Amnesty International stated, “We have serious concerns about fundamental flaws in this trial, and we fear that Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko have been targeted for their opposition to the Russian occupation of Crimea. The absurdity of some of the prosecution evidence and their reliance on testimonies by witnesses who have complained of torture suggest that the charges may have been fabricated. From the courtroom proceedings, it appears the case is collapsing for lack of reliable evidence. […] Amnesty International is urging the Russian authorities to drop the terrorism-related charges against Sentsov and Kolchenko immediately. […] The authorities must thoroughly and independently investigate the allegations of torture and other human rights violations, and ensure the physical safety of the defendants and the witnesses.” Russia has ignored repeated calls by the international community for the immediate release of Sentsov, Kolchenko, Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, and other Ukrainian citizens illegally imprisoned by the Russian Federation.
5. Attorney: Yanukovych will not show up for questioning
According to his lawyer, former President of Ukraine V. Yanukovych will not appear for questioning at the Office of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. According to a subpoena issued yesterday, Yanukovych is required to appear for questioning at the Office of the General Prosecutor on 11 August. On 28 July, Ukraine’s General Prosecutor V. Shokin stated that the procedures for trial in absentia of Yanukovych and six other former Ukrainian officials have begun.