Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 December 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday, the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine-OSCE-Russia) reached an agreement on a ceasefire that was to be implemented starting 23 December at midnight Kyiv time. The press-centre of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported at 6PM Kyiv time that since midnight, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions over 30 times. Near Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). The RNBO reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Shchastya and Krymske with small arms. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Luhanske, Zaytseve, Novhorodsk, and Pisky. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka and Maryinka. At Maryinka, a Russian-terrorist sniper shot a civilian in the chest. The victim was hospitalized. A clash with Russian-terrorist forces took place at Talakivka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded in action.
- Russian court prohibits Ukrainian lawyer from defending Nadiya Savchenko
The Russian court where Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko is being tried has prohibited Ukrainian attorney Oleksandr Plakhotnyuk from taking part in her defense, Radio Svoboda reported. Savchenko’s attorney Illya Novikov protested the court’s decision. On 18 December, Savchenko announced a hunger strike. The last hearing of the year in Russia’s illegal trial of Savchenko will take place tomorrow. 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’s Parliament votes to accept resignation of Martynenko
On 22 December Ukraine’s Parliament voted to accept the resignation of Mykola Martynenko from his position as a Member of Parliament. US Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine Carol Urban stated, “Martynenko’s decision to resign and submit to the rule of law is yet another sign of a changing Ukraine, in which public officials are accountable to the people they serve. Today’s vote is an important step in Ukraine’s fight with corruption.”
- Saakashvili announces aim to establish non-partisan anti-corruption movement
At the Anti-corruption Forum held today in Kyiv, Head of the Odesa Oblast State Administration (Governor) M. Saakashvili announced the aim to establish a non-partisan anti-corruption movement, the BBC’s Ukraine service reported. Saakashvili stated, “We need to establish a wide non-partisan movement against corruption and in support of reform […] Without any leaders, without a party.” The BBC reported that several thousand people took part in today’s Anti-corruption forum, which was organized by close to 20 organizations. The goal of the forum, according to organizers, is to “focus society’s forces on the battle against corruption in all spheres,” the BBC’s Ukraine service reported.
- Ukraine’s Parliament sets new mayoral elections in Kryviy Rih
Ukraine’s Parliament set new mayoral elections in Kryviy Rih, Dnipropetrovsk oblast for 27 March, 2016. Opposition bloc candidate Yuri Vilkul was initially declared the winner over Samopomich candidate Yuri Miloboh in the November 2015 election by 752 votes amid widespread accusations of vote-rigging.