Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
6 September 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 and Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Luhanske village, Mayorsk and Avdiyivka. Twoards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Talakivka and Shyrokyne with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s President delivers Annual Address to Parliament
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko delivered his Annual Address to Ukraine’s Parliament – “On the Internal and External Situation of Ukraine 2016.” President Poroshenko stated, In conditions of lasting aggression of Russia against Ukraine when military threat from the East is the biggest strategic challenge, the issue of national unity and political consolidation is a life-and-death issue. This is the main thing I would like to say today. […] State independence gave us democracy and freedom, civil dignity and national unity; taught us to defend ourselves and opened the European perspective for our country. Now, we must supplement our spiritual and moral achievements with material achievements and ensure the increase of welfare of every citizen of free Ukraine. This is our main task. In order to achieve such an ambitious goal, we need three components: peace, security and reforms. Our security depends first and foremost on the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the quality of Ukrainian diplomacy. […] Everyone can clearly see how the army has changed in two years. Two years ago, we didn’t have one and now we do and it is powerful! Of course it doesn’t have luxurious conditions, but it is motivated morally and financially. […] In fact, every day and night military actions test our troops to the limit. But our troops hold the line against the aggressor whose resources far exceed all possible kinds of resources we possess. […]We have reached the unprecedentedly close level of cooperation with NATO countries. And we will increase, expand and enhance it until the achievement of full membership criteria. Our strategic goal is NATO membership. […]Personally, I would prefer neither mobilization nor martial law. I see a very different plan for our country. But will there be a new wave of partial mobilization or, God forbid, full mobilization? The final answer to this question depends on Moscow.[…] The Russian terrorist troops in Donbas have almost 38.5 thousand people, over 600 tanks and 1250 armored combat vehicles, 750 artillery system units, over 300 multiple launch rocket systems. […] We have convinced our western allies and partners that any political settlement must be preceded by apparent and undeniable progress in security issues: sustainable ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from the occupied territories, disarmament of militants and finally, restoration of control over our border. […]Crimea was, is and will be Ukrainian. And there will be no other conversation. It is obvious that there is no military solution to the problem of territorial integrity. First of all, the capacity of our army is purely defensive. Second, the enemy entrenched in the most urbanized and densely populated areas and towns with our compatriots – citizens of Ukraine. So the only way of settlement and restoration of territorial integrity is the political-diplomatic way based on the defense capabilities of the army. […]To reform in terms of hybrid war, in terms when one part of the territory is annexed and another is occupied is very complicated task. But we are moving forward. […]We do not have that much time. I share your dissatisfaction with the tempo. I understand how much it does not comply with expectations of the society. Obviously, there is a need to accelerate systematic modernization in all spheres. I am confident, that historically and strategically we are on [the] right way. […] At the same time, the time of crises has opened to us few opportunities and perspectives that will allow Ukraine worthily meet this challenge. The Ukrainian people realized themselves as a nation. The state firmly stands on democratic principles of power. The vector of foreign policy cooperation and integration has been decided for good. There are still a lot of difficulties ahead, but trials and victories, gained by enormous efforts and blood of the best sons and daughters of our nation in all times, does not give us another choice but only victory!” The full address in English translation is available athttp://www.president.gov.ua/
en/news/shorichne-poslannya- prezidenta-do-verhovnoyi-radi- pro-vnutri-38077
3. Journalist facing jail for not accepting Russian occupation of Crimea
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “It takes serious gall to invade and seize another country’s territory and then prosecute citizens of the other country for ‘encroaching on your territory’. That is exactly what Russia is now doing in Crimea with its persecution of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov and journalist Mykola Semena. Russia’s reinstatement of punitive psychiatry against 59-year-old Umerov, and the risk to his life have rightly elicited international outrage. Semena’s life is not in danger, however he also has a spinal injury which, if prevented from seeking treatment in mainland Ukraine, could lead to permanent disability. On Sept. 2, the International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) issued a statement urging Russia to allow Semena to seek urgent treatment in Kyiv. They were backing calls already made by their Ukrainian affiliates, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine. Both Semena and Umerov are charged with ‘public calls to action aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity’, otherwise known as openly condemning Russia’s annexation of their native Crimea. Semena was charged over a text supporting the Civic Blockade of Crimea, which was launched in September 2015 with a number of human rights demands, such as the release of all political prisoners. The surreal nonsense about violating Russia’s territorial integrity was added, as Article 280.1 § 2, to Russia’s Criminal Code in May 2014, and is now, as feared, being used against Ukrainians and Russians expressing the same position regarding Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea as that taken by the UN General Assembly and all democratic countries. […]Semena is facing a possible 5-year sentence and has already been placed on Russia’s ‘List of Terrorists and Extremists’, together with the Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Refat Chubarov, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and many others Ukrainians.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
4. US President: US will not pull down sanctions until Minsk implemented
In his press conference following the G-20 Summit on 5 September, US President B. Obama stated, “There is a Minsk agreement that arose out of the Normandy negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, but it hasn’t been implemented. And I made very clear that until it is implemented, the United States is not going to pull down sanctions; that it is important for both sides to try to seize this opportunity in the coming weeks to finalize an agreement and to figure out a sequence in which that document is put into effect. And there was agreement not just between myself and Mr. Putin, but also with Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, that that effort should increase in urgency over the next several weeks. And so that what was constructive but not conclusive. And we’ll have to see whether we can actually get this done, or whether, in fact, President Putin — despite talking about wanting a negotiation and a solution — in fact, is comfortable with this constant low-grade conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border.”