Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
24 September 2015, 6 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions east of Krymske village with small arms. Near Zolote, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian soldiers patrolling the contact line. There was no combat at the Donetsk or Mariupol sectors of the front. The RNBO reported that as a result of a landmine explosion near the Bakhumtska highway, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and two were wounded.
- Foreign Minister of Australia: Criminal Tribunal on downing of MH-17 may be formed
Australian Foreign Minister J. Bishop stated that following Russia’s blocking of an international tribunal on the downing of Flight MH-17 at the United Nations, member states seeking justice for the crime may create a prosecution tribunal, the New York Times reported. Bishop stated that “such a tribunal was among the narrowed options now under consideration by the core group of nations that has been leading the effort for victim justice in the destruction of the jetliner. […]Ms. Bishop said ministers from those nations – Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine – would meet at the United Nations on Tuesday, during the annual General Assembly meeting of world leaders, for further discussions.” the New York Times reported. Bishop said, “nothing I’ve seen over the last 15 months has changed Australia’s official view that it was brought down by a surface-to-air missile operated by Russian-backed separatists inside the Ukrainian border.”
- NATO Chief: “There is no doubt there is a strong Russian presence” in eastern Ukraine
NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated that “There is no doubt that there is a strong Russian presence in the eastern part of Ukraine. There (are) Russian forces there, there (is) Russian equipment and Russia continues to train and to assist the separatists. […] Russia has to change behaviour if they (are going) to do something with the economic sanction. Therefore I think sanctions should continue,” AFP reported.
- Russian occupation authorities in Crimea prohibit media from mentioning Crimean Tatar Representative Assembly
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported that the de-facto prosecutor in Russian-occupied Crimea has warned the media against mentioning the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar Representative Assembly. A letter sent to all leading media by the so-called “Ministry of Internal Policy on Information”, stated, “The Prosecutor of Crimea, citing information from the Central Department of the Russian Federation Justice Ministry on Crimea and Sevastopol informs that on the territory of the republic non-commercial organizations are not registered with the name or part of the name ‘Mejlis’ or ‘Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People’.” KHPG reported that “On the basis of this official letter, the said Ministry ‘strongly advises’ the Crimean media ‘to stop using the name or parts of the name of non-existent organizations in news, articles, and interviews.’ The ‘strong advice’ comes as Crimean Tatars under the leadership of Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis, have initiated a blockade of the administrative border between mainland Ukraine and Crimea, not allowing trucks carrying goods to pass. The pro-Kremlin media have been careful to avoid mentioning Crimean Tatars at all, and try to present the blockade as being run by Ukrainian ‘radicals’. […]There have also been efforts to put malleable people, loyal to the Russian occupation regime, in top Mejlis posts. They have failed, and this new extraordinary ‘advice’ to not mention the Mejlis suggests that Russia is seeking to destroy, or marginalize and silence the Mejlis altogether.”
- Russian lawmaker critical of Russian occupation of Crimea and war in Eastern Ukraine stripped of mandate
Lev Shlosberg, an opposition lawmaker from the Yabloko party, was stripped of his mandate in the Pskov regional assembly by an overwhelming vote, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. Shlosberg is a vocal critic of the Russian occupation of Crimea and Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine. RFE/RL stated, “During the September 24 vote, lawmakers called Shlosberg a ‘mouthpiece of the [U.S.] State Department’ and said he ‘betrayed’ Crimean residents. […]He was severely beaten up by unidentified assailants last year after publishing an investigative report into the death of two Pskov paratroopers suspected of having been killed while fighting Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine.”