Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
12 February 2016, 8PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Zaytseve. A civilian was injured. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Pisky and Krasnohorivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka with grenade launchers. At Krasnohorivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions a total of 53 times yesterday. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded in action.
2. G7 fully committed to supporting Ukraine in reform efforts
The Ambassadors of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US stated, “G7 Ambassadors welcome the announcement made by the Cabinet of Ministers on the basic objectives and principles of public policy on February 11, 2016, in particular zero tolerance to political interference and corruption. However, we believe much still needs to be done to implement these principles. Words need to be translated into actions. G7 Ambassadors are fully committed to supporting Ukraine in its reform efforts and will continue to work together for the benefit of the people of Ukraine. G7 Ambassadors are further committed to supporting a strong, united, accountable and reform oriented government. We call on all Ukraine’s political institutions – the Government, the Presidential Administration and the Rada – to work together.”
3. New Attack on Crimean Tatar Muslims in Russian-occupied Crimea
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, (KHPG) reported, that “Four Crimean Tatars, including Emir Huseyn Kuku, a member of the Crimean Contact Group on Human Rights, remain in custody after a day in which the Russian FSB and OMON riot police carried out at least eleven armed searches of Crimean Tatar Muslim homes and detained 12 people. […] Abdureshit Dzhepparov, Coordinator of the Crimean Contact Group reported that all searches had been carried out in a rough manner. In one home in Yalta, armed men in balaclavas broke down the door and windows although nobody had tried to show any resistance. The windows were smashed with the glass shattering over three children asleep in the room. They and their mother are understandably distressed and traumatized. […] It should be noted that Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev reported soon after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea that FSB officers were quite openly turning up at mosques and carrying out surveillance, with religious behaviour deemed ‘suspicious’. […]Thursday’s armed searches and arrests are chilling indicators that no Council of Europe visits or European Parliament resolutions are to be put in the way of further repression and persecution.” KHPG’s full report is available athttp://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
4. Ukraine will not buy Russian natural gas this heating season
Ukraine’s PM A. Yatsenyuk stated that Ukraine will not buy Russian natural gas during this year’s heating season. Yatsenyuk stated, “For the first time in history, we will live through the winter without Russian gas. Thanks to our work with the member states of the EU, our western partners, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, World Bank and other international organizations, we were able to achieve real diversification and energy independence.”
5. US Mission to OSCE: Russia continues to violate international obligations
On 11 February, at the OSCE Permanent Council, US Ambassador D. Baer stated,
“One year ago today, Russia signed the Minsk Package of Measures, pledging an end to hostilities in eastern Ukraine within 72 hours— at midnight on February 15. Instead, Russian-led separatist forces escalated their aggression, and a week later, combined Russian-led separatist forces captured Debaltseve, a city Russia recognized as in Kyiv’s control under the Minsk agreements. Over the ensuing 12 months, little has changed. Several new ceasefires and weapons pullbacks have been negotiated, only to be ignored by Russia and the separatists it backs. […]The United States reiterates its call on Russia to fully implement the Minsk agreements. Russia’s appeals to Kyiv to de-escalate the conflict ring hollow when combined Russian-separatist forces concentrate weapons near the line of contact, deny access to SMM monitors and their UAVs, and intensify their attacks against Ukrainian positions. […] Russia continues to violate its international obligations and commitments under the Helsinki Final Act, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, as long as its aggression against Ukraine – including its occupation of Crimea – continues. We call on Russia to end its aggression now and implement the Minsk agreements, and we join the European Union in recalling that the duration of the sanctions is linked to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.” The full statement is available at http://osce.usmission.gov/feb_