Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
11 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske and Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Popasne with small arms and grenade launchers. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Pisky with grenade launchers. At Opytne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars and grenade launchers. Russiant-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Horlivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Maryinka with grenade launchers and armored vehicles. Two children in Maryinka were injured as a result of the firing by Russian-terrorist forces. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Talakivka and Shyrokyne with mortars. At Vodyane, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions, firing over 70 artillery shells. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s President: Goal of Russia’s accusations – a pretext for more military threats against Ukraine
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated, “Russian accusations that Ukraine launched terror attacks in the occupied Crimea are equally cynical and insane as its claims there is no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. These fantasies pursue [one] goal: a pretext for more military threats against Ukraine. Ukraine resolutely condemns terrorism in all its forms and shapes. We would never ever use terror to de-occupy Crimea. Russia provides money and arms to support terrorism in Ukraine. It became a state-led policy on the occupied areas of Crimea and eastern Ukraine that resembles the Soviet Great Terror. Russia will fail to undermine Ukraine’s reputation on the international arena and press for lifting sanctions with such provocative acts. I urge Russian authorities to honor the international law, especially respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity of states and human rights. I expect Russia will implement security clauses of Minsk accords including via Normandy Four procedures. Ukraine is devoted to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity exclusively through political and diplomatic means. That includes de-occupation of Crimea.”
3. United States: Russia has a record of frequently levying false accusations at Ukraine
US Ambassador to Ukraine G. Pyatt stated on twitter, “US government has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russian allegations of a ‘Crimea incursion’ and Ukraine has strongly refuted them. Russia has a record of frequently levying false accusations at Ukraine to deflect attention from its own illegal actions. Our view on Crimea’s status is well known. Crimea is, and will always remain, part of Ukraine. Our Crimea related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine.”
4. Ukraine’s President orders forces to high alert in response to Russian provocations
Ukraine’s President has ordered Ukraine’s Armed Forces, National Guard, Border Services and State Security Service to high combat readiness in response to Russia’s provocative actions, the President’s press service reported. President Poroshenko also ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize phone conversations with the leaders of France, Germany, the Vice President of the US, the President of the European Council D. Tusk, and to initiate a phone conversation with Russian President V. Putin. Poroshenko also ordered Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, Chief of the General Staff, head of the Security Service and Minister of Foreign Affairs to hold a meeting with diplomatic missions in Ukraine to inform them of the course of events on the administrative border with Russian-occupied Crimea and the contact line in the east.
5. UN Security Council holding closed meeting regarding Crimea
Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN V. Yelchenko stated that UN Security Council (where Ukraine is a non-permanent member) is holding a closed meeting regarding Russia’s provocative actions in occupied Crimea, Radio Svoboda reported. The meeting of the UN Security Council is being held at the request of Ukraine.
6. Atlantic Council: Is Putin Preparing a New Attack on Ukraine?
Atlantic Council Senior Fellow A. Aslund stated, “Observers have greatly feared that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would start a small regional war this August. Russia has moved up its State Duma elections to September 18. Although only Putin’s parties are allowed to win, he has a predilection for ‘small and victorious wars’ to mobilize his people. In 1999, the second war in Chechnya preceded his rise to president. In August 2008, Russia attacked Georgia. In February 2014, Russia annexed Crimea […] For the last two years, Russia’s economy has been in recession, giving Putin all the more reason to mobilize his compatriots around a small war. August is the best time for Moscow’s military action because Western decision-makers are on holidays. […] The parallels with the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war are striking. That conflict started with the Olympic games in Beijing. The United States president was a lame duck amid the presidential election campaign. Russia was pursuing a large-scale military exercise called Caucasus 2008 in the Northern Caucasus. The Kremlin blamed Georgia for an implausible attack. A war in August has seemed quite likely for domestic reasons, but where? In the last week, it has become clear that Ukraine will be the target. Major Russian troop movements with hundreds of tanks and heavy artillery to the Donbas and Crimea were reported during the weekend. They were part of a big Russian military exercise named Caucasus 2016. […]]On August 10, the FSB and Putin made dramatic statements. The FSB, the KGB’s successor, published a statement on its website claiming that it had averted terrorist attacks prepared by Ukraine’s special forces against critical infrastructure in Crimea. The alleged aim of the action was to ‘destabilize the social and political situation during the federal and regional elections.’ […] So far, Russia has not presented any evidence, and this part of Crimea has been closed to visitors. Ukrainian commentators suggest that the Russians’ problem might have been deserters. […] Instantly, all of Ukraine’s defense institutions denied it in the sharpest terms, evidently attentive and ready. They stated that nothing had happened and that the FSB statement was an attempt to justify the Russian military’s aggression on the temporarily occupied territory. National Security and Defense Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov called the statement ‘hysterical and mendacious’ and added that ‘this provocative FSB nonsense is party of the hybrid war that Russia pursues against our country.’ Scariest was Putin’s uncompromising statement that “Ukraine is choosing terror” and that Kyiv was trying to provoke a conflict with Moscow. […] Poroshenko responded that Putin had ‘fantasized terror acts’ to threaten Ukraine. It was Russia, he said, that was generously financing terrorism in Ukraine. […] Putin appears to have chosen the time and place. He has done the necessary diplomatic footwork. His military has marched up. He has fabricated a casus belli that resembles the Gleiwitz incident in 1939 that preceded Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland. Given where the Russian troops are located, the Kremlin might want to seize the long-discussed land bridge from Mariupol to Crimea after it has failed to build a bridge over the Kerch Strait.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.
org/blogs/new-atlanticist/is- putin-preparing-a-new-attack- on-ukraine