Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
7 March 2016, 7 PM 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 Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars, firing over 200 shells. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Pisky, Opytne, and Luhanske village with small arms, high-caliber machine guns, grenade launchers and mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Shyrokyne and Vodyane with small arms. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister calls for international pressure on Russia to free Nadiya Savchenko
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister P. Klimkin stated that only international pressure will force Russia to free Nadiya Savchenko, who declared a dry hunger strike on 4 March in protest of her continued illegal imprisonment in Russia, Radio Svoboda reported. Klimkin stated, “right now we are speaking with everyone and will speak with everyone who can directly influence Putin, because the decision is his. […] Despite compelling evidence, the Russian court is simply carrying out a political order. […] The question can only be solved politically – through concentrated international pressure on Russia,” Radio Svoboda reported. Wednesday, 9 March has been declared the #FreeSavchenko Day of Global Support.
3. Free Savchenko: Open letter to European leaders
Hundreds of prominent political and civic leaders from all over the world, including three Nobel laureates, have signed an open letter to European leaders, which states, “We appeal to you to take emergency measures with the goal of the immediate and unconditional release of 34-year-old Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian citizen, kidnapped and imprisoned for more than twenty months in the Russian Federation. The Russian authorities have made a mockery of civil rights, international law, and their own Constitution. They show disdain for the international community and the Minsk Protocol alike. So far, all efforts of the international community have proven unsuccessful. On March 4, in protest against the proceedings of the Russian court, Nadia Savchenko announced a full hunger strike, refusing even liquids. Our ability to save her life will test the effectiveness of international diplomacy and our commitment to European values.” The letter is available for signature at http://www.freesavchenko.
4. EU continues to call for Savchenko’s immediate release
The EU External Action Service stated, “Reports on Nadiya Savchenko’s hunger and thirst strike are extremely worrisome. The European Union continues to call for Nadiya Savchenko’s immediate release. This would also be in keeping with the ‘Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements’ and the commitments therein to release all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The European Union underlines, as it has done on previous occasions, that Russia bears responsibility for the health, well-being and observance of the human rights of all persons it detains.”
5. Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs: Enough – NATO Should stop feeding the Russian troll
Writing in Politico on 5 March, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs L. Linkevicius stated, “For many years NATO attempted to use dialogue as the basis for its partnership with Russia. The Alliance operated in the spirit of trust and transparency. But this trust was, too often, abused: Russia disregarded the principles laid down in the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act; withdrew from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty; violated the Helsinki Act; bullied its neighbors, and tried to block Central European democracies from becoming NATO members. […]NATO-Russia relations are at their lowest ebb in years. This is not because democratic governments made ‘statements of deep concern’ regarding Russian involvement in Ukraine. Deteriorated NATO-Russia relations are a direct consequence of this aggression. Russia grossly violated international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty by annexing Crimea. Its tanks still roll down the streets of Donetsk and its bullets still kill Ukrainian soldiers defending their homeland. […] Serious NATO-Russia dialogue must address real concerns. Admitting that the Kremlin is a part of the conflict in Ukraine would be a good start. Russia has to explain its aggression in Ukraine, withdraw its troops, ensure border control, and return annexed Crimea. This will not happen overnight, but Russia must take first steps in this direction immediately, and prove that it wants to take up constructive dialogue. […] The lessons of the 21st century are the same as those of the 20th: An aggressor will only stop when it meets a principled and unified position. If Putin had met an unwavering response following his aggression in Crimea, residents of Donetsk and Luhansk would not be living in a state of war but in a democratic country – a far preferable situation, no matter how imperfect the state of that democracy. A reasonable Western policy toward Russia should be based on what Russia does, not what it says. […]Russia needs to prove, through action, that it is truly ready for dialogue.” The full article is available athttp://www.politico.eu/
article/nato-stop-feeding- russia-troll-defense-alliance- syria-war-baltics/
6. Ukraine’s Minister of Defense to meet with NATO Secretary General tomorrow
Ukraine’s Minister of Defense S. Poltorak will meet with NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg on 9 March. Poltorak will also attend a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.