Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
26 November 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday the Commander of Ukraine’s Armed Forces ordered that Ukraine’s forces only open fire in response to a direct threat to the life of soldiers, and on the orders of the local commanding officer. The RNBO reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Luhanske village with grenade launchers and machine guns. On the Avdiyivka-Maryinka line, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions several times with small arms. There was no combat in the Luhansk or Mariupol sectors of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that yesterday at approximately 8 PM Kyiv time, Russian-terrorist forces shelled occupied Horlivka with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers), firing over 20 rockets from occupied Spartak. The Ministry stated that the “goal of this provocation is yet another attempt to discredit Ukraine’s armed forces, and a confirmation of the unwillingness” of the Russian-terrorist forces to adhere to the Minsk agreements.
- Savchenko defense: Russian prosecutors calling fake witnesses
Nadiya Savchenko’s lawyers presented evidence that the prosecution in her illegal Russian trial is calling fake witnesses. At yesterday’s hearing, lawyer I. Novikov presented evidence that alleged FSB agent Alexei Pochechuyev, who gave testimony in a disguise on 7 October, was not the same “Pochechuyev” who signed previous witness statements. The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “The defence suspects that since ‘Pochechuyev’ couldn’t remember the questioning which he had signed as having been part of, refused to give his age and appeared in comical disguise, that he might not have been the FSB officer at all. More importantly, they asserted that his story was complete fiction. The defence handed the court the assessment given by a handwriting expert of the signatures given by the first and second ‘Pochechuyev’. The expert concluded that the signatures were almost certainly from different people. KHPG’s latest report on the trial is available at http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1448493518. Nadiya 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.
- Ukraine military intelligence identifies Russian generals in charge of invasion forces
The Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense identified two Russian generals in charge of Russia’s invasion forces in Eastern Ukraine. The first is Col. Gen. Sergei Istrakov, Deputy Commander of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, from the beginning of 2015, and “is responsible for the coordination of Russian occupying forces in Donbas.” The second is the Southern Military District Staff Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, Lieut. Gen. Mykhailo Teplynsky, “who directly commands the Russian occupying forces in eastern Ukraine.”
- Turkish PM: Turkey will not apologize for shooting down Russian fighter jet
Turkish PM Erdogan stated that Turkey will not apologize for shooting down a Russian fighter jet that violated its airspace. “I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us. Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to … violations of the rules of engagement.” Erdogan stated.