Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 July 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, a two-hour firefight between Russian-terrorist forces and Ukrainian forces took place at Stanytsia Luhanska. At Novotoshkivsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian forces with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka and along the Opytne-Pisky line with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces shelled several Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk sector of the front with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Krasnohorivka-Maryinka line and Shyrokyne with artillery and mortars. Near Starohnativka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. The RNBO reported that as a result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces, one civilian was killed in Avdiyivka yesterday, and one civilian was injured in Maryinka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. US Mission to OSCE: Russian-separatist forces routinely fire heavy weapons from civilian areas
Speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, US Deputy Permanent Representative to the OSCE K. Byrnes stated, “Over the past week, Ukraine’s armed forces suffered the most casualties in any one-week period since the September 2015 ceasefire was signed. […]Combined Russian-separatist forces have increased the use of heavy weapons, including mortars, artillery, and Grad multiple-launch rocket systems, and Ukrainian forces have attempted to defend themselves. […] Russia’s obstructionism and obfuscation raises doubts about its commitment to a peaceful resolution to the conflict. At our previous meeting of the Permanent Council – where Ukraine, the EU, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States emphasized the need for disengagement – Russia repeated its inflammatory and disingenuous rhetoric. […] As [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission] reports show, combined Russian-separatist forces routinely fire heavy military weapons from civilian areas, including from the roofs of apartment buildings, in an effort to draw Ukrainian fire. […]The United States remains fully committed to achieving a peaceful resolution that recognizes and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We once again call on Russia and the separatists to stop the violence and fully implement their Minsk commitments. […] We remind Russia that our sanctions will remain in place until it fully implements its Minsk commitments. Our separate Crimea-related sanctions will also remain in place until Russia ends its occupation of Crimea and returns that piece of land to Ukraine.” The full statement is available at https://osce.usmission.gov/
3. IMF: Next Ukraine loan tranche nearing approval
Reuters reported that the International Monetary Fund’s “executive board could still be in a position to complete its review of Ukraine’s $17.5 billion bailout program in July, a key step necessary to release the next loan tranche, a fund spokesman saidon Thursday. IMF chief spokesman Gerry Rice said that there were some technical issues to still be resolved, but there was no pending legislation before Ukraine’s parliament that was a condition for continuing the program.” Rice stated at a briefing that the “discussions are very close to being finalized,” Reuters reported.
4. NATO Deputy Secretary General meets with Ukraine’s Acting Chief of Mission
NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow met with Ukraine’s Acting Chief of Mission Y. Bozhok. They discussed the outcome of the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting of 9 July at the Warsaw Summit, where NATO allies endorsed a Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine. Vershbow also “briefed Mr. Bozhok on the NATO-Russia Council of 13 July, at which the crisis in and around Ukraine was discussed. Ambassador Vershbow underlined that Allies and Russia have profound and persistent disagreements on the crisis. He stressed that Allies expressed firm support for Ukraine, and for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the conflict, as well as the immediate need to sustain a comprehensive ceasefire at the line of contact,” NATO stated.