Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
26 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, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Novotoshkivske with mortars Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Shchastya, Zolote and Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy mortar shelling of Ukrainian positions along the Avdiyivka-Opytne-Nevelske sector of the front. Russian-terrorist forces attacked a Ukrainian position near Avdiyivka; Ukrainian forces repelled the attack after an hour-long battle. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiyivka; six residential buildings were damaged. No civilians were injured. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Horlivka and Pisky. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnhorivka and Talakivka with mortars, artillery and tanks. Russian-terrorist forces attacked two Ukrainian positions near Maryinka; Ukrainian forces repelled the attacks. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Ukraine, EU intend to launch a “Digital Community”
G.H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, spoke in Kyiv at a high-level policy event that explored the challenges and opportunities that the EU Digital Single Market (DSM) represent for Ukraine. Oettinger stated, “I am delighted being here in Ukraine, to begin discussions on the creation of the Digital Community, which could extend the benefits of the DSM beyond EU borders. It is in the clear interest of the EU and Ukraine to cooperate closely in the digital matters for the benefit of our economies and our societies. […] Prime Minister Groysman and I are inspired by the success of the Energy Community which extends the EU’s internal energy market rules to countries in South-East Europe and beyond. We should develop a similar common vision of a Digital Community between the EU and Ukraine, and bring in other neighbouring countries. Ukraine could share the benefits flowing from the DSM by approximating its national legislation to relevant EU acquis, as well as to EU principles and norms. This could apply to a variety of topics: eTrade, eCommerce, eCustoms, eGovernment, eHealth, Telecom, Rules, Digital Skills and promoting innovation, to mention some possibilities.” Oettinger intends to organize a Ministerial level meeting with the six Eastern Partnership countries in the early fall to “continue the discussion on the creation of the Digital Community,” Oettinger’s press service reported.
3. Russian citizen sentenced to two years in prison for reposting call to end Russian occupation of Crimea
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Andrei Bubeev, a Russian father of two is to spend the next two years and three months in a minimum security prison colony for reposting an article entitled “Crimea is Ukraine” and a cartoon toothpaste tube with the caption “Squeeze Russia out of yourself” on a social network page. […] No arguments, including the fact that he is the sole breadwinner for a family with two small children had any effect on the Tver Regional Court which has rejected his appeal against the sentence. […] Russia is openly applying anti-extremism legislation against critics of the current regime and especially those who condemn its aggression against Ukraine. […] Bubeev was prosecuted for reposting an article criticizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In his article ‘Crimea is Ukraine’, Boris Stomakhin, who is himself now serving a politically motivated prison sentence, called Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea the final straw, the border dividing this world from that, good from evil. He says that the return of Crimea to Ukraine should serve as a unifying idea for all Russians holding anti-imperial views.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
4. Reuters: Democratic Party email leak points to Russia
Reuters reported, “Cyber security experts and U.S. officials said on Monday there was evidence that Russia engineered the release of sensitive Democratic Party emails in order to influence the U.S. presidential election. The FBI said it was investigating a cyber intrusion at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which has led to discord as the party’s convention in Philadelphia opens on Monday to nominate former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton as its candidate.Although the hacking of the DNC was known to officials and cyber security experts a month ago, the timing of the release of the contents of communications within the party is what is causing concern for U.S. authorities. A U.S. official involved in the investigation said that the classified information collected on the hack so far ‘indicated beyond a reasonable doubt that it originated in Russia.’The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the timing of the release of emails ‘has all the hallmarks of a classic intelligence operation intended to damage a perceived adversary.'”