Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
21 October 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, Russian-terrorist forces did not violate the ceasefire. No Ukrainian soldiers were killed. One Ukrainian soldier was wounded during de-mining operations near Maryinka, Donetsk oblast, as a result of a grenade explosion.
- Hearings in Russia’s illegal trial of Nadiya Savchenko continue
Hearings in Russia’s illegal trial of Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko continued today. Members of the Kremlin-backed terrorist organization Luhansk “Peoples’ Republic testified for the prosecution. 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.
- US House passes resolution supporting free elections in Ukraine
On 20 October, the US House of Representatives passed H. Res. 348, “Supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to freely elect their government and determine their future,” “Whereas the Russian Federation has continued to engage in relentless political, economic, and military aggression to subvert the independence and violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine; […] Resolved, That the House of Representatives–(1) strongly supports the right of the people of Ukraine to freely elect their government and determine their future;(2) urges the Administration to expedite assistance to Ukraine to facilitate the political, economic, and social reforms necessary for free and fair elections that meet international standards; and(3) condemns attempts on the part of any outside forces, including the Government of Russia, its agents or supporters, to interfere in Ukraine’s elections, including through interference, intimidation, violence, or coercion.” The full text of the resolution is available at https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hres348/BILLS-114hres348ih.pdf Congressman E. Royce, (R-CA), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, stated, “Almost two years after the conflict in Ukraine began Russian aggression remains a daily reality. […] Unfortunately, elections can’t be held in the areas controlled by Russian-led separatists because intimidation and manipulation make free and fair elections impossible. But the elections held in the rest of the country will demonstrate that Ukraine is continuing to implement democratic reforms and that the Ukrainian people are determined to bring peace to their country.”
- Foreign Policy: Kremlin’s war in Ukraine turning into quagmire
Writing in Foreign Policy, A. Karatnycky and A. Motyl stated, “The Kremlin’s war in Ukraine is turning into a quagmire. Militarily, it is a stalemate — which, given the vast imbalance between Russian and Ukrainian capabilities, amounts to a Ukrainian victory. Ideologically, the war is a bust, as the Kremlin’s hopes of converting southeastern Ukraine into “New Russia” have been effectively, and perhaps permanently, shattered. […] Time is, therefore, on the side of Ukraine and the West. They should avoid offering Putin any relief as long as Russian and proxy troops continue to occupy Ukrainian territory: on the contrary, they can and should press for additional concessions. […]While Western pressure to facilitate a durable peaceful solution should remain a top priority for the European Union and the United States, forcing Ukraine into deep concessions to secure peace at any cost is a mistake. While Putin has dug himself and Russia into a hole, Ukraine is making steady, if unspectacular, progress toward reforming its economy, society, and political system, while retaining its democratic institutions, a free press, and a vigorous civil society. […]The West should pursue two aims. First, it should keep Ukraine sovereign and stable and promote its reform process — which is exactly what the West has been and is doing anyway. Second, the West should maintain strong sanctions on Russia until all its forces and heavy weapons are withdrawn from occupied Ukrainian territory. […]For the first time since Putin invaded Crimea, the West and Ukraine have the upper hand. They should play it and force Putin to agree to a genuine peace in Ukraine. He could do it. He started the war in 2014. He forced the separatists to accept a ceasefire on September 1, 2015. If confronted with a tough Western stance, he just might draw the right conclusion and actually end the war with Ukraine.” The full article is available at http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/20/how-putins-ukrainian-dream-turned-into-a-nightmare/