Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
25 April 2016, 6 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 Stanytsia Luhanska. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions and residential areas of Pravdivka village with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka and Zaytseve with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the entire sector of the Mariupol front. The most intense shelling by Russian-terrorist forces was at Maryinka and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three were wounded in action. The RNBO reported that on 22-23 April, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in action.
2. US President: sanctions must stay in place until Russia fully implements Minsk
Speaking in Hannover, Germany, US President B. Obama stated, “Russian aggression has flagrantly violated the sovereignty and territory of an independent European nation, Ukraine, and that unnerves our allies in Eastern Europe, threatening our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. And it seems to threaten the progress that’s been made since the end of the Cold War. […]Just as we stand firm in our own defense, we have to uphold our most basic principles of our international order, and that’s a principle that nations like Ukraine have the right to choose their own destiny. Remember that it was Ukrainians on the Maidan […] reaching out for a future with Europe that prompted Russia to send in its military. After all that Europe endured in the 20th century, we must not allow borders to be redrawn by brute force in the 21st century. So we should keep helping Ukraine with its reforms to improve its economy and consolidate its democracy and modernize its forces to protect its independence. And I want good relations with Russia, and have invested a lot in good relations with Russia. But we need to keep sanctions on Russia in place until Russia fully implements the Minsk agreements that Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande and others have worked so hard to maintain, and provide a path for a political resolution of this issue.”
3. NATO, Ukraine discuss security situation, defense reforms
General P. Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee was in Ukraine on 20-22 April where he met with Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council O. Turchynov, Minister of Defense S. Poltorak and Chief of Defense Gen. V. Muzhenko. Pavel “acknowledged the significant progress made in areas such as command and control, logistics capabilities and training, adding that ‘the scope of reforms is truly impressive considering the backdrop of real-life operations”. He also stressed NATO’s continued commitment to NATO’s partnership with Ukraine and its reform efforts, as demonstrated through a variety of means, ‘be it the depth and broad spectrum of activities that NATO and Ukraine are doing together or the fact that as a long-standing partner, Ukraine has been invited to attend the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July where a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will take place’.” Speaking about the NATO-Russia Council meeting that took place last week, Pavel reassured Ukraine’s military leadership, stating, “At times like these, political dialogue is useful and necessary if we are to reduce the risk of military incidents and to clarify and resolve serious disagreements. But this does not mean a return to business as usual. This will not happen until Russia again respects international law.”