Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
6 April 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. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Luhanske village, Zaytseve and the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne and Krasnohorivka with mortars. At Maryinka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that in the last 24 hours Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 76 times in total. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four were wounded in action.
2. Nadiya Savchenko begins dry hunger strike in protest of illegal imprisonment in Russia
Ukrainian pilot and MP began a dry hunger strike (refusing both food and water) today in protest of her illegal imprisonment by the Russian Federation. On 22 March Savchenko was sentenced 22 years in prison in a show trial in Russia. In a letter released by her attorney M. Feygin, she stated, “In response to the criminal actions of the Russian authorities against myself and against Ukraine, I declare a dry hunger strike beginning on 6 April. I demand to be immediately returned to Ukraine,” Radio Svoboda reported. Savchenko’s attorney M. Feygin stated today, “The fate of Nadiya Savchenko is completely in the hands of the Russian President, the consequences of Savchenko’s dry hunger strike are on Putin.” Feygin also reported that Ukrainian Consuls were not being allowed to visit Savchenko in prison today. 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.
3. The Netherlands votes in referendum on EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
A non-binding referendum is being held in the Netherlands today on the approval of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urged voters to support the agreement. “It’s in the interest of the Netherlands and Europe to have stability” on the EU’s border, he said as he cast his vote in The Hague, the Wall Street Journal reported. Exit polls are expected shortly after voting ends at 9PM local time (3PM EDT).
4. April 7 Live Event: Stop Impunity for Human Rights Violations in Crimea
On Thursday 7 April, the US and other OSCE delegations will host a briefing and discussion on human rights violations in Crimea with experts from civil society, the OSCE and the UN. The US Mission to the OSCE stated, “Two years ago, Russia launched its military aggression against Ukraine, illegally occupying the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. Russia’s aggression has resulted in gross, systemic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in occupied Crimea, affecting Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian communities in particular, as identified by independent missions of the OSCE and the UN.” The event will be live streamed at https://osce.usmission.gov/
ending-impunity-in-crimea/, be ginning at 13:30 Central European Time, (6:30 AM EDT).