Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 November 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PMKyiv time that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near occupied Horlivka with small arms, grenade launchers and mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Verkhnotoretsk and Troitske. The most serious situation is on the western outskirts of occupied Donetsk, where Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka and Hirnyk with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with mortars. There was no combat in the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three were wounded.
2. Savchenko’s defense published all 40 volumes of material in the “case” against her
Nadiya Savchenko’s defence team published all 40 volumes of the material in the “case” against her, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported. “Nadiya Savchenko had already been captured by Kremlin-backed militants in the Luhansk oblast [Ukraine] when the two Russian journalists were caught in mortar fire and killed. The defence is able to prove from mobile telephone records and witness reports that Savchenko was captured at around 10 a.m., around an hour and a half before the two journalists came under fire,” KHPG stated. KHPG’s full report on the illegal Russian trial of Savchenko can be found at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
php?id=1447717398. 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.
3. Recession ends in Ukraine, recovery begins
1.5 years of economic recession ended in Ukraine last quarter, Bloomberg reported. Ukraine’s GDP rose 0.7% in July-September from the previous quarter, the State Statistics office reported yesterday.
4. Results of investigations into crimes committed against the Revolution of Dignity presented
On orders from the President of Ukraine, the Office of the General Prosecutor, State Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs began a series of briefings informing the public on investigations into crimes committed against the participants of the Revolution of Dignity. The first briefing, held today, was on the preconditions that led to the Revolution of Dignity; investigation into the beating of the participants of the “student’s Maidan” in December 2013; and criminal and administrative persecution of activists and participants of social movements. The information presented today can be found here http://www.gp.gov.ua/ua/news.
html?_m=publications&_c=view&_ t=rec&id=165591. On 18 November, results of the investigation into the actions of the authorities against peaceful protestors (the January 2014 Dictatorship Laws, etc); the use of “titushky”; and crimes committed in the regions will be presented. On 19 November, the results of the investigations into mass killings (February 2014) will be presented. On 20 November, the results of the investigations into criminal organizations, corruption and economic crimes of the former regime, and a summary will be presented.
5. US State Department: We must maintain pressure on Russia to complete Minsk commitments
Speaking at the Berlin Security Conference, US Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland stated, “Even as we focus on ISIL, we must not forget that barely two years ago, almost one million Ukrainians stood for days and weeks in the snow on the Maidan to demand that their government give them what we have: human dignity, democracy, clean government, justice. When Yanukovich turned his back on Europe, Ukrainians would not be denied their choice. But that was unacceptable to both Yanukovich and to the Kremlin, which met the Ukrainian people’s demand with occupation, tanks, Buk missiles, support for the separatists, sabotage, and propaganda. Today, 93 percent of Ukraine survives as a democratic state in association with Europe because Ukrainians fought and died for their rights, and our nations stood with the people of Ukraine. We have given political, economic, and security support; we imposed successively harsh rounds of sanctions to bring Russia to the negotiating table; and we supported a diplomatic resolution to the conflict via the Minsk agreements and the Normandy talks led by Germany and France. Now we have to help Ukraine see it through. We must maintain pressure on Russia and its separatist proxies to complete the unfinished commitments of Minsk, including: the return of all hostages; full humanitarian access for UN agencies, NGOs, and government relief agencies; free, fair elections in Donbas under the Ukrainian constitution monitored by ODIHR; the removal of all foreign forces and weapons; and the return of the international border to Ukraine. Sanctions are an essential tool for holding Russia accountable: they must be rolled over until Minsk is fully implemented. And we must keep our Crimea-related sanctions in place until Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine. And, because the best antidote to Russian aggression and malign influence is Ukraine’s success as a democratic, prosperous, European state, the Ukrainian government must continue to live up to its promises to its own people and maintain the trust of the international community. Much difficult work remains to clean up endemic corruption throughout government and society, at every level; to stabilize the economy; break the hold of corrupt state enterprises and oligarchs; and reform the justice system. But, the will is there. Ukraine’s own people are demanding a faster pace of change. We help them most when we make clear that our own sustained support depends on Ukraine continuing to clean up its own house.”