Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 September 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Zolote with small arms. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms at Mayorsk and Kirov (near Horlivka). There was no combat at the Mariupol sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded.
- Nadiya Savchenko defiant as illegal trial opens in Russia
Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned in Russia for over a year, vehemently denied the charges against her as her Russian show trial opened today in Donetsk, Rostov oblast, Russia. Savchenko was serving in eastern Ukraine, when abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. Russia has ignored repeated calls from the international community for her immediate release. Addressing the court, Savchenko stated “Everyone in this room understands very well this is not a case, it’s a piece of rubbish. Russia has long behaved in a hypocritical and two-faced way. Its hypocrisy is represented by the seizing of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine,” the BBC reported. The next hearing is scheduled for 29 September.
- NATO Secretary General: NATO and Ukraine have a stronger partnership than ever before
Speaking at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) in Kyiv, NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated, “Today, the Ukrainian people are facing their greatest challenge. There is conflict on Ukrainian soil. Russia has illegally annexed Crimea. An act we will never accept. And Russia continues to support the separatist forces in the east with weapons, command-and-control and troops. This is a violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and it undermines the international rules-based order. In these difficult times, Ukraine can rely on NATO. NATO provides Ukraine with political and practical support. We support your independence and your territorial integrity. And we support the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. This remains the only way out of the crisis. […] The onus is now on Moscow and the separatists to respect their Minsk commitments. To fully respect the ceasefire. To withdraw their heavy weapons. And to grant OSCE monitors full access. Any parallel local ‘elections’ that are not fully compliant with Ukrainian law would put the Minsk agreement at risk. […] NATO also provides Ukraine with practical support. NATO’s five Trust Funds, in areas like command and control, cyber defence, and medical rehabilitation, can make a significant difference. Our advisors are working with the Ministry of Defence, the General Staff, the National Guard, and others. Helping Ukraine to more effectively defend itself. In addition, many NATO Allies are supplying equipment and helping with military and police training. NATO and Ukraine have a stronger, more focused, more substantive partnership than ever before. Together, we can preserve our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace.”
- British communications regulator sanctions Kremlin-funded channel RT
On 21 September British communications regulator Ofcom sanctioned the Kremlin-funded RT “news” network RT (previously known as Russia Today) for a “series of misleading or biased programmes on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria,” the Guardian reported. In a ruling published on 21 September, Ofcom found that the channel “had breached the broadcasting code four times across three programmes,” the Guardian stated. A spokesperson for Ofcom stated, “Ofcom found that RT broadcast content that was either materially misleading or not duly impartial. These are significant failings and we are therefore requiring RT to broadcast two clear statements on our decision which correct these failures,” the Guardian reported.
- US at OSCE urges cancellation of “sham elections in so-called separatist controlled areas”
Speaking at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw on 21 September, the US Head of Delegation D. Kramer stated, “In Russia today, the space for civil society and human rights defenders is closing as the government increasingly uses the cloak of legislation to stigmatize and, in some cases, criminalize the work of NGOs. A largely state-controlled media is used to propagate fear, disinformation, and aggression. […] Its attempts to exert tight control over information and stifle independent views have created an environment conducive to Russian government aggression, including the invasion and occupation of Crimea and ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine. Despite Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the Russian occupation of Crimea, Ukraine has made tremendous progress in its efforts to transform into a modern, democratic, and prosperous country. We will continue to support reform efforts that benefit all Ukrainians. We expect the OSCE to continue to play an important role in the months and years ahead to help Ukraine stay on the course of peaceful domestic reform. Ukraine has made great progress implementing its Minsk commitments. My government reiterates its unwavering support for OSCE’s efforts to support the implementation of the Minsk Agreements between Russia and Ukraine. We urge the cancellation of sham elections in so-called separatist-controlled areas. Local elections in those regions should be conducted under Ukrainian law, according to international standards, and with observation by ODIHR as called for in the Minsk package.”