Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
5 August 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 Lopaskynе and Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve, Avdiyivka and Nevelsk with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Luhanske village. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces attacked a Ukrainian position at Bohdanivka. Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. At Vodyane, Pavlopil and Shyrokyne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s Military Intelligence: There is a threat of offensive operations by Russian occupation forces at Donetsk, Slovyansk sectors
V. Skibitsky, representative of the Main Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated at a press briefing, “There is a threat of offensive operations by Russian occupation forces on the Donetsk and Slovyansk sectors [of the front]. The enemy is carrying out resupply of personnel, weapons and ammunition of the 3rd and 5th mechanized infantry brigades. Personnel and medical staff have been recalled from leave. According to the order of the command of the 1st Army Corps of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, lightly wounded soldiers are being released from hospitals early. Training was carried out for medical personnel to accept a large number of wounded,” Ukraine’s Military Intelligence reported.
3. Western Canadian soldiers relieve Quebec-based counterparts on Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine
Canada’s Department of National Defence stated on 4 August, “Starting today and continuing throughout the month of August, approximately 200 Canadian Army soldiers will be deploying to Ukraine under Operation UNIFIER as part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The deploying soldiers, primarily from 3rd Canadian Division and based in Western Canada, will relieve their counterparts from 2nd Canadian Division in Quebec, and continue military training activities in support of Canada’s response to requests for assistance from the Government of Ukraine.” Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan stated, “Together with our Allies under Operation UNIFIER, Canada proudly supports the people of Ukraine. I welcome the return of our soldiers to Valcartier, and wish the best to those deploying from Edmonton and Shilo in continued support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I am pleased to witness Canada’s ongoing commitment to this important training mission.”
4. Crimean Tatar leader faces 5-year sentence for saying Russia must leave Crimea and Donbas
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Russia’s prosecution of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov on ‘separatism’ charges for rejecting Russia’s occupation of Crimea is political persecution, the authoritative Memorial Human Rights Centre has stated. In calling for an immediate withdrawal of the charges, Memorial notes that the opinion Umerov expressed about Russia illegally occupying Crimea is shared by the international community. […] Ilmi Umerov, one of the Deputy Heads of the Mejlis or representative body of the Crimean Tatar people which Russia has now declared ‘extremist’ and prohibited, was detained on May 12 this year. His arrest came less than 2 weeks after the internationally condemned ban of the Mejlis and coincided with armed searches and arrests of yet more Crimean Muslims. They remain in custody, however Umerov, who suffers from several serious medical conditions, was shortly released on a signed undertaking not to leave Crimea. Umerov is charged with ‘public calls to carry out activities aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation via the Internet’, with this carrying a sentence of up to 5 years. Memorial HRC notes that Russia’s FSB have charged Umerov over an interview given on March 19, 2016 in Kyiv in Crimean Tatar. Via the ATR Crimean Tatar TV channel (driven out of Crimea, and now broadcasting from Kyiv), Umerov is accused of having issued calls to carry out action aimed at returning Crimea under Ukrainian jurisdiction. He stated, for example, that ‘Russia must be forced to leave Crimea and Donbas.’ [Memorial stated] ‘We consider that the opinion expressed by Umerov about the status of Crimea which is shared by a considerable part of the international community and Russian citizens and contains no call to violence cannot be the grounds for criminal or any other prosecution.’ […] Memorial calls the prosecution of Umerov politically motivated and aimed both at preventing him from legal public activities and at intimidating Crimean Tatars and others who express a view in opposition to the official position regarding the status of Crimea, events in Ukraine and Russia’s policy with respect to Ukraine. It is on a par, the human rights group says, with other repressive measures by the Russian authorities, such as the illegal ban of the Mejlis and the numerous criminal prosecutions of Ukrainian nationals, as well as of Russian citizens who condemn Russia’s policy regarding Ukraine.”