Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
28 August 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that towards Luhansk yesterday, fighting intensified. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars and grenade launchers, as well as Staryi Aydar with mortars. On the Tryokhizbenka-Krymske-Orikhove line, 10 firefights with Russian-terrorist forces took place. Towards Donetsk, Russian terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Luhanske village with artillery. Near the Donetsk airport, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Opytne with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy artillery shelling near Avdiyivka, with several shells striking residential neighborhoods. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions 16 times with artillery and mortars on the Bohdanivka-Starohnativka line. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five were wounded.
- KHPG: Make Russia’s Senstov and Kolchenko trial a warning to the perpetrators
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) stated on 27 August, “International outrage over the long sentences passed on Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko was as foreseeable as the predetermined outcome of Russia’s Crimean show trial. The courage and defiance shown by Sentsov, Kolchenko and Gennady Afanasyev was certainly not what Moscow had planned. It is now for Ukraine and western countries to demonstrate commitment to rule of law by ensuring proper penalties against all those who take part in Russia’s farcical prosecutions and trials of Ukrainian nationals (and thus far one Estonian). […] Both Sentsov and Kolchenko insisted throughout on their innocence and Sentsov consistently repeated his account of the torture and threats he had been subjected to. […] Moscow has effectively abducted Ukrainian nationals and its attempts to foist Russian citizenship on the men are overtly illegal. […] Once the indictments were made public, and from the first day of the trial, it was clear for everybody to see that there was no ‘terrorist plot’, and no evidence at all against Sentsov. As the Memorial Human Rights Centre pointed out in its statement declaring both men political prisoners, the one charge against Kolchenko was in no way ‘terrorism’. […] The prosecutor Igor Tkachenko ignored all of this, as did the three judges: presiding judge Sergei Mikhailyuk, Viacheslav Korsakov and Edward Korobenko. There was no response from any of them to Afanasyev’s retraction of his testimony and statement in court that he had given it under duress. There was none when the first real lawyer that Afanasyev has had, Alexander Popkov, read out Afanasyev’s account of the torture he had been subjected to and the threats he had received both before and after his courageous act in court. The prosecutor and judges are demonstrably complicit in the crime committed against Afanasyev, Kolchenko and Sentsov. It took a long time for countries to agree to sanctions against people implicated in the death in detention of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. This case, that of Nadiya Savchenko and some other Ukrainians, as well as the trial of Estonian police officer Eston Kohver, are more straightforward. No country should be allowed to abduct foreign nationals and convict them in farcical court trials on fabricated charges.”
- Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity and UDAR join forces; Narodnyi Front will not nominate candidates in local elections; Narodnyi Front representatives may run as part of Solidarity in local elections
The Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity and UDAR, led by Kyiv mayor V. Klitschko, merged at a convention held in Kyiv today. Klitschko was elected leader of the party. First deputy head of the Poroshenko bloc parliamentary faction, I Kononenko stated that they will contest the local elections (scheduled for 25 October) as the Solidarity party. Ukrainian PM and leader of Narodnyi Front A. Yatsenyuk stated that Narodnyi Front (as a party) will not nominate candidates for the local elections. Yatsenyuk stated that the “main task of all democratic forces is to contest the election in coordination and cooperation and give the Ukrainian people the opportunity to have worthy, pro-European representation in local government.” Kononenko stated that representatives of Narodnyi Front may contest the elections as part of Solidarity. “Narodnyi Front – is a political force with which we are allied, we are in one coalition […] I will suggest to our local chapters that they consider worthy candidates from Narodnyi Front to include in the lists from our political force.”
- New patrol police service to be launched in Kharkiv in September
The new patrol police will begin working in Kharkiv on 26 September, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs A. Avakov stated. The new patrol police services are already patrolling Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa. Avakov stated that new patrol police will being working in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Uzhorod, Mukachevo, Lutsk, and Khmelnytsk in December, and that the process of formation of new patrol police will begin by the end of the year in Ternopil, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Slovyansk, Zaporizhya, Mariupol and several other cities.
- US Defense Secretary: Russia is one of most significant challenges facing US
Speaking on 27 August, US Secretary of Defense A. Carter, in response to the question, stated that ISIL is one of the most significant challenges facing the U.S, and “The other thing that’s happened over the last year, which is unfortunate, but we also have to respond to is the behavior of the Russian government under Vladimir Putin, which was signified in Ukraine, which is I think taking Russia in the wrong direction for his own people. But it seems that that’s the direction he wants to take them, towards one of more confrontation. And we’re simply going to have to check that. Both on our own — in our own security interest and because we have important allies and friends in that part of the world, and we have important treaty commitments in the case of NATO[…] Those two over the last year have loomed larger. We’re going to have to counter them both.”