Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
15 April 2016, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions over 100 times – the largest number since August, 2015. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanksa with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krymske and Zolote. Towards Donetsk, the heaviest shelling by Russian-terrorist forces took place at Avdiyivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions near Novotroitske. The attack was repelled. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Bohdanivka with artillery and Berezove with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and three were wounded in action.
2. Human Rights Group: Mounting Concern for Nadiya Savchenko’s Life and Health
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Nadiya Savchenko, former Ukrainian military pilot, current MP and delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has been on dry hunger strike for 9 days. She is receiving intravenous injections, but her lawyer Nikolai Polozov wrote on Thursdaythat she will be refusing to accept these from Friday. Polozov was forced to wait 5 hours before being allowed to see Savchenko on Thursday, and her sister Vera was not admitted.” The full report from KHPG is available at: http://khpg.org.ua/en/
index.php?id=1460672303. Savch enko 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 speaks with US Vice President
On 14 April, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with US Vice President J. Biden. The White House stated, “The Vice President congratulated the President on the new cabinet and government program of work that were approved by the Rada today. The Vice President stressed that Ukraine must use the renewed political stability to move forward on the reforms required to secure Ukraine’s future – including fulfilling Ukraine’s IMF commitments. The Vice President also stressed the urgency of putting in place a new Prosecutor General who would bolster the agency’s anti-corruption efforts and strongly support the work of its reformers. Expressing grave concern about escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, the Vice President reiterated the urgent need for all sides to accelerate Minsk implementation. The Vice President expressed deep concern about the deteriorating health of Ukrainian pilot and member of Parliament Nadiya Savchenko, who is imprisoned in Russia, and called for her immediate release.”
4. Ukraine’s PM, NATO Deputy Secretary General agree to prepare comprehensive support package for Ukraine
Ukraine’s Prime Minister V. Groysman met with NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow. The parties “agreed to enhance the support for the security and defence reforms. To this end the parties will develop a comprehensive support package to meet the needs of our country [by] the Warsaw Summit in July […] The parties agreed to resume the work of a State Inter-ministerial Commission on cooperation with NATO,” Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers reported.
5. US Mission to OSCE: military provocation remains policy of combined Russian-separatist forces; Russia urged to release Savchenko without delay
On 14 April, US Permanent Representative D. Baer stated at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, “Regrettably, the worsening security situation in the Donbas, precipitated by ceasefire violations from combined Russian-separatist forces, has constrained Ukraine’s capacity to move forward on the political aspects of Minsk implementation and Ukraine’s reform program. The United States expresses grave concern over the escalating cycle of violence that has taken hold in the Donbas and notes, once again, clear and incontrovertible evidence that military provocation remains the policy of combined Russian-separatist forces. […] The United States once again calls on the Russian Federation to release immediately all Ukrainian detainees held in Russia for political reasons. We remain especially concerned about Nadiya Savchenko, and urge the Russian Federation to release her without delay. Today marks the ninth day of Ms. Savchenko’s dry hunger strike. Ms. Savchenko’s health and her very life are on the line – we reiterate that Russia is responsible for her well-being.”