Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
18 May 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 Stanytsia Luhanska, Tryokhizbenka, and Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve, Avdiyivka and Opytne with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Dokuchayevsk, Pavlopil and Shyrokyne with mortars and artillery. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten were wounded in action.
2. Ukrainian President’s Address on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated, “Last year Ukraine’s Parliament […] passed a resolution On Recognizing the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People. May 18 was established the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People. […] Repressions imposed by the Soviet regime did not conquer the national movement for the renewal of rights and freedoms. And the Russian occupiers temporarily occupying Crimea will not be successful in defeating your freedom-loving nation. […] 72 years ago, Crimean Tatars were left to face the ruthless tyrant alone. Today, together with you, together with all of us, are millions of friends. Ukraine and the world cannot allow for the tragedy of the Crimean Tatar people to repeat again. […] Our task is to protect the Crimean Tatar People in their homeland in Crimea, and our strategic task – to liberate the Ukrainian Peninsula from Russian occupation, step by step. […] Crimea was, is and will always be an integral part of Ukraine, and the aggressor state will return what has been stolen. […] For Ukraine, this war will end only when the last piece of our land in Crimea and the Donbas will be liberated, when the boot of the last occupier leaves our sacred Ukrainian land. Until that time, we must be strong and steadfast in our faith.” Poroshenko’s full address is available in Ukrainian here:
3. Crimean Tatar leader visits Canada
Leader of the Crimean Tatar People Mustafa Dzhemilev is visiting Canada. On May 17, Mr. Dzhemilev met with Parliamentarians and Canadian officials. Mr. Dzhemilev also participated in an event commemorating the victims of the Genocide of Crimean Tatars on the grounds of Parliament Hill. He will speak at the University of Ottawa today and in Toronto on May 19. Rising in the House of Commons on 17 May to pay tribute to Mr. Dzhemilev, Canadian Member of Parliament B. Wrzesnewskyj stated, “Mr. Speaker, in 1783 Russia first occupied Crimea and so began a tragic history of 160 years of occupation and ethnic cleansings of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. On May 18th 1944 Stalin ethnically cleansed all 240,000 Crimean Tatars to Central Asia. Over 100,000 perished. Amongst the survivors was the legendary human rights activist Mustafa Dzhemilev who spent 18 brutal years in Soviet gulags for demanding the right of return for his people. Two years ago Russia once again militarily invaded and annexed Crimea and Mustafa has once again been banned from returning to his ancestral homeland. Putin’s Crimean terror includes disappearances, torture of detainees, and summary executions. Twenty thousand Crimean Tatars are now refugees. May 18th commemorates the anniversary of the mass ethnic cleansing and genocide of Crimean Tatars, and on this date we welcome the legendary Mejlis Leader Mustafa Dzemilev to Ottawa. Slava Krymskym Tataram.”
4. Russian occupation regime in Crimea bans Remembrance Events on Anniversary of Crimean Tatar Deportation
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Regional Mejlis or Crimean Tatar self-governing bodies are being prevented from holding any remembrance gatherings to mark the 72nd anniversary of the 1944 Deportation of the entire Crimean Tatar people from their homeland. […] The refusals to allow the gatherings were anticipated, and not specifically because of Russia’s internationally condemned ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis or representative assembly. This is now the third anniversary of the 1944 Deportation since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. It is equally the third time that Crimean Tatars are facing bans and harassment for remembering the victims of Stalin’s crime which has been recognized by Ukraine as an act of genocide. […] Since Russia and its puppet prosecutor in Crimea have come up with various claims about ‘extremism’ for its recent ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, it is worth stressing that repressive measures began as soon as Russia understood that Crimean Tatars and the Mejlis were overwhelmingly opposed to Russian occupation and adamant that their homeland is part of Ukraine.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
5. US will not recognize results of any Donbas elections held outside of Minsk framework
Speaking in Moscow, US Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland stated, “We will not recognize the results and nor will anybody else in the international community of any election held in Donbas outside of the Minsk framework and without the agreement that is represented in Minsk that these need to be Ukrainian elections that meet Ukrainian standards and meet OSCE standards. So, a bunch of guys out there just deciding to hold an election is not going to lead to peace and security in Donbas, and we would respectfully encourage them instead to focus on Minsk compliant elections.”