Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
24 November 2015, 7 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 at Shchastya with grenade launchers. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Mayorsk, and Novhorodsk with small arms, grenade launchers and mortars, and at Zaytseve with small arms and grenade launchers. The most serious situation is on the Avdiyvka-Maryinka line, where clashes with Russian-terrorist forces took place throughout the day yesterday. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Bohdanivka and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded in action. Two other Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in a tripwire explosion.
- Russian Supreme Court rejects appeal of Sentsov and Kolchenko verdicts
A military panel of Russia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. Sentsov is facing a 20 year sentence and Kolchenko is facing a 10-year sentence. The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, (KHPG) reported, “The men’s lawyers had asked the court to either overturn the sentence or to send the case for reconsideration. They pointed out that the sentence had been based largely on the testimony previous given by Gennady Afanasyev, one of the two other opponents of Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea, arrested and tried in this ‘case’. Afanasyev appeared in court on July 31 and stated clearly that he retracted all previous testimony as given under torture. […]Afanasyev’s account of the torture he was subjected to came after consistent allegations from Sentsov and Kolchenko of similar methods used against them to extract ‘confessions’. The fourth person Oleksiy Chirniy is known to have previously complained that he was pressured into ‘confessing’. He refused to testify in court, meaning that he could not be cross examined.” Sentsov and Kolchenko, Ukrainian citizens, were illegally abducted by the Russian security service following Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea. Russia has neither the jurisdiction nor the authority to detain, try, or sentence them.
3.Turkey shoots down Russian fighter plane that violated Turkish air space
Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet near the Syrian border, saying the plane had repeatedly violated Turkish airspace, Reuters reported. “The Turkish military said the aircraft had been warned 10 times in the space of five minutes about violating Turkish air space. Officials said a second plane had also approached the border and been warned,” Reuters reported.
- RNBO: Russia strengthening offensive units in northern Crimea
The National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine stated today that “Russia is strengthening its offensive units in northern Crimea. On 24 November, five Russian Il-76 transport planes deployed two battalion-tactical groups of paratroopers from the 98th Airborne Division of the Russian Armed Forces from Ivanovo (Russia) to Dzhankoi (occupied Crimea). Also, near Kalynivka, (3 km northwest of Dzhankoi), the 97th assault regiment of the 7th mountain assault division has been deployed. Therefore, the offensive capability of the Russian armies in occupied Crimea is greatly increased with well-trained units, prepared for assault operations.”
- 9,000 Russian troops remain in occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk
In an interview with Radio Svoboda, V. Seleznyov, spokesman for the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces stated that as of yesterday, there are approximately 9,000 Russian troops in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, in addition to approximately 35,000 mercenaries and local marginal elements. Nearly 50,000 Russian troops are also deployed to the Ukraine-Russia border, Seleznyov stated.
- US Army Commander, Europe: US won’t be distracted by what Russia is doing in Syria
Speaking at the Yavoriv training centre in Lviv oblast, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General, US Army Europe stated, “Ukraine can be sure that the United States will not be distracted by what Russia is doing in Syria or anywhere else. We welcome Russian support against IS in Syria, but we will not be distracted that they still occupy Crimea. All 28 nations of NATO agreed at the Wales Summit that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea is unacceptable in the 21st Century. So we call on Russia to allow the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to do its job — to monitor the implementation of the Minsk Agreement.”
- EU publishes weekly Russian disinformation review
The EU’s External Action Service East Stratcom Task Forces published its fourth weekly Russian disinformation review. “The main aim of this product is to raise the awareness about Russian disinformation campaign. And the way to achieve this goal is by providing the experts in this field, journalists, academics, officials, politicians, and anyone interested in disinformation with some real time data about the number of disinformation attacks, the number of countries targeted, the latest disinformation trends in different countries, the daily basis of this campaign, and about the coordination of the disinformation spread among many countries.” The weekly Disinformation Reviews are accessible at http://eeas.europa.eu/euvsdisinfo/.