Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 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 towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions at Bolotene (near Stanystia-Luhanska). Two firefights with Russian-terrorist forces took place at Shchastya. Towards Donetsk, Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces at Semyhirya (north of Horlivka). West of Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Kirove and Novhorodske with mortars. At Novobakhmutivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. West of Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Opytne and Avdiyivka with artillery. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Novotroitske-Talakivka line. Near Starohnativka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positons with artillery and Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). At Pavlopole and Orlivske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with Grads. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and six were wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 9AMKyiv time that in the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 95 times.
2. Russian Supreme Court allows Putin to hide military casualties in Russia’s war against Ukraine
Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that Russian President V. Putin’s decree classifying information about military casualties in peacetime as a “state secret” is legal, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported. KHPG stated, “It is unclear how the Court dealt with the compelling arguments presented against this view, but the result was unfortunately predictable. Putin’s decree is widely seen as linked with Russia’s undeclared military engagement in Ukraine and can be used as a weapon against those trying to provide truthful information about the conflict, including details of Russian soldiers killed in the fighting. It is no accident that the nine Russians who challenged the decree include Lev Schlosberg who first revealed details of the death in Ukraine of Pskov paratroopers; Svetlana Davydova, a mother of 7 arrested earlier this year on charges of ‘state treason’ for informing the Ukrainian embassy about Russian soldiers being sent to Donbas and a number of independent journalists reporting on the conflict. […] It remains to be seen whether the kind of information revealed by Soldiers Mothers of St. Petersburg, Lev Schlosberg, members of the Presidential Human Rights Councils and others over the last year will now result in charges of state treason. The decree is dangerously, and almost certainly deliberately unclear. What better deterrent in a country where the Supreme Court can seriously uphold the President’s right to conceal information about the deaths of Russian soldiers in Moscow’s undeclared war against Ukraine?”
3. PACE President’s letter to Nadiya Savchenko
Nadiya Savchenko’s attorney, Mark Feygin, released a letter from Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Anne Brasseur to Ukrainian pilot, MP and member of Ukraine’s PACE delegation Nadiya Savchenko, who has been illegally imprisoned in Russia for over a year. Brasseur wrote, “It is with great concern that I have learned from your letter of 15 July 2015 that the court hearings in your case would be held in the city of Donetsk, Rostov oblast, Russia. As you are aware, since your appointment as member of the Ukrainian delegation to the [PACE] I have repeatedly appealed to the Russian government to release you […] I am deeply concerned that these, as well as other actions taken by the Assembly, have so far not led to your release. Therefore, as a follow-up to your letter I will appeal once again to the Russian authorities for your release. […] On behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, allow me to convey a message of support to you in the extremely difficult situation you are living through. I hope that our efforts will be successful and I will soon have the honour of welcoming you in Strasbourg in the Assembly Chamber.”