Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
4 April 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Tryokhizbenka and Stanytsia Luhanska. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Horlivka and near the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three were wounded in action.
2. Nadiya Savchenko to resume dry hunger strike on 6 April
Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned in the Russian Federation, stated that she would resume a dry hunger on 6 April, Radio Svoboda reported. Savchenko was sentenced in a Russian show trial to 22 years in prison earlier this month. In a letter published by her attorney, Savchenko stated, “In response to the criminal actions by the Russian authorities against myself and against Ukraine, I am announcing a dry hunger strike beginning on 6 April. I demand to be immediately returned to Ukraine!” Savchenko was serving in eastern Ukraine, when abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally imprisoned since that time. Russia has ignored repeated calls from the international community for her immediate release.
3. Ukraine’s President responds to allegations made in Panama Papers
On 3 April the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and multiple news organizations published the Panama Papers, a report based on the massive leak of over 11.5 million documents and examining dozens of world leaders and public officials around the world and their alleged links to offshore companies. Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko is alleged in the Panama Papers to have “set up an offshore company to move his confectionery business, Roshen, to the British Virgin Islands in August 2014,” Reuters reported. Poroshenko responded today, stating on his official Facebook page, “I believe I might be the first top office official in Ukraine who treats declaring of assets, paying taxes and conflict of interest issues profoundly and seriously, in full compliance with the Ukrainian and international private law. Having become a President, I am not participating in management of my assets, having delegated this responsibility to the respective consulting and law firms. I expect that they will provide all necessary details to the Ukrainian and international media.” Poroshenko’s legal advisor, Avellum, “called tax-evasion allegations unfounded, saying Roshen met all its Ukrainian tax obligations. Transferring the assets to the holding company in the British Virgin Islands was a necessary step in moving them into a blind trust, Avellum said,” Bloomberg reported.
4. Pope Francis announces special collection for Ukraine in European churches
Speaking at St. Peter’s Square yesterday, Pope Francis stated, “I think in particular, here in Europe, of the drama of those who suffer the consequences of the violence in Ukraine, of those who remain in lands devastated by hostilities that have already claimed thousands of lives, and of all those, over a million, who have been displaced as a result of the grave ongoing situation there. […] In addition to accompanying them in my constant thought and prayers, I wish to promote humanitarian aid for them. A special collection for this cause will be held in all the Catholic churches throughout Europe onSunday, April 24. I invite the faithful to participate in this initiative by contributing generously. This gesture of charity, as well as alleviating material suffering, will also express to Ukraine my personal closeness and that of the Church as a whole.”