Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
2 November 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Pisky with machine guns and grenade launchers. Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded.
- Illegal trial of Nadiya Savchenko continues in Russia
The illegal Russian trial of Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko continued in Donetsk, Rostov oblast, Russia, today. The prosecution continued to call witnesses; the proceedings adjourned until tomorrow. Radio Svoboda reported that the prosecution has three witness left to call, including the “leader” of the Russian-backed terrorist organization “Luhansk Peoples’ Republic,” I. Plotnitsky. 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 commun ity for her immediate release.
- Kolomoyskyi associate Hennadiy Korban detained
On 31 October, the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained H. Korban, leader of the Ukrop party, a close associate of oligarch I. Kolomoyskyi. Korban served as deputy when Kolomoyskiy served as governor of Dnipropetrovsk. Korban was detained in Dnipropetrovsk on suspicion of forming a criminal organization and several other charges. Today, Parliamentary speaker V. Groysman asked the General Prosecutor of Ukraine and the head of the SBU to inform Ukraine’s parliament about the events in Dnipropetrovsk.
- Prosecutors intend to question several Opposition Bloc MPs
Radio Svoboda reported that General Prosecutor V. Shokin stated today that prosecutors intend to question Opposition Bloc MPs O. Vilkul (who is running for mayor of Dnipropetrovsk; N. Korolevska, and V. Novynsky. Shokin stated that the questioning should take place on 5 November. Shokin did not state what cases the questioning is related to.
- KHPG: Oleg Sentsov suing FSB for defamation
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported that Ukrainian filmmaker and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced under spurious charges to 20 years in prison by a Russian court in August, is suing Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) for defamation. KHPG stated, “A vital defamation hearing is finally taking place on Monday, Nov 2, brought by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov against Russia’s FSB and media. While it has little or no chance of success, it is important in highlighting the way in which the FSB presented four Crimeans as ‘terrorists’, with this obediently parroted by most Russian media. Despite the FSB’s failure to prove any terrorism, or in Sentsov’s case any offence at all, a Russian court sentenced Sentsov to 20 years imprisonment, and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko to 10 years. Sentsov, Kolchenko, and two other opponents of Russia’s occupation of Crimea – Gennady Afanasyev and Oleksy Chirniy were all detained in May 2014 and held incommunicado, first in Simferopol, then in Moscow. […] On July 31, 2015, during the trial of Sentsov and Kolchenko, Afanasyev refused to testify and retracted all evidence saying that it had been tortured out of him. His account of the torture is very similar to the complaints consistently made and ignored by Sentsov, and to some extent Kolchenko. […] There is literally no evidence against Sentsov, aside from the testimony of Chirniy and Afanasyev. Chirniy was not prepared to retract it, but refused to give testimony in court where he would have had to face cross examination, and Afanasyev has provided details of the torture he was subjected to.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1446386026
- NATO Commander Europe: We have not seen Russia remove any of its forces from Ukraine
US Gen. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and commander US European Command, stated, “Russia’s continued aggressive actions and malign influence remain a top concern and a very high priority. Although the cease-fire in Eastern Ukraine is holding, I’m still concerned about Russia’s lack of effort to end its occupations and honor its commitments in Ukraine.[…]And what I’m concerned is that folks have taken their eye off of Ukraine a little bit because of what is happening in Syria. And that is — that is a technique that I think has been employed here a couple of times. Invade Crimea. Take the world’s eyes off of Crimea by invading Donbass. Take the world’s eyes off of Donbass by getting involved in Syria. […] If Russia truly wants to cooperate, collaborate or whatever in Syria, a great place to — to demonstrate that is to begin to cooperate and collaborate in the Donbass and start moving towards those Minsk requirements, like returning the border of Ukraine to Ukraine so that Ukraine controls its own international border. And so if we saw good-faith work in Ukraine, maybe that starts a conversation in other places. We need to remember that these are connected. […] What we have not seen his Russia removing any of its forces in Ukraine. As you have heard me report at this podium before, command and control, air defense, artillery spotting support, artillery support, personnel, supplies, all still being supplied to the Donbass by Russia. So good faith there would begin the retrograde of those Russian forces out of the Donbass.”
- President calls on Parliament to pass EU visa liberalization laws
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko called on Ukrainian MPs to pass the package of laws required to complete the technical requirements for a visa-free regime with the EU. Of 13 necessary laws, 4 have been passed. “If Parliament doesn’t pass the laws, there will be no visa-free regime. We have to ensure this, and there is a deadline – 9 November,” Poroshenko stated in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels.