Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 September 2016, 6 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 Novozvanivka, Popansne and Novooleksandrivka. Towards Doentsk Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka with mortars. Near Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Starohnativka and Talakivka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.
2. Human Rights Group: New Wave of Repression Feared after Crimean Tatar Mejlis Ban Comes into Force
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Ukrainian parliamentarians and international organizations have been urged to keep Russian-occupied Crimea on the agenda and warned that a new escalation in repression against Crimean Tatars is probable once the ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis or representative assembly comes into effect. The original court ruling banning the Mejlis – the self-governing body of Crimea’s main indigenous people, as ‘extremist’, was in April. It was immediately appealed, and has therefore not officially taken effect. The ban received international condemnation and was clearly recognized as being over the Mejlis’ opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea. The appeal hearing is, unfortunately, almost a formality, with the Mejlis viewing it largely as a necessary stage before approaching the European Court of Human Rights. The Court in Strasbourg will surely find in the Mejlis’ favour, but not soon, and this is the problem. There is already overt repression, with one Mejlis leader Akhtem Chiygoz having been held in detention now for 18 months. A second Deputy Head, Ilmi Umerov is facing a potential 5-year sentence on equally surreal charges and was recently subjected to punitive psychiatry. […] The problem is not just in pressure on the Mejlis. Freedom of speech, of peaceful assembly, etc. have been curtailed. The situation in schools is much worse, with pressure brought to bear on parents not to ask for their children to study in their native language. […] Within months of Russia’s annexation, veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev and the Head of the Mejlis, Refat Chubarov had been banned from their homeland. Repression increased in September 2014, after the Mejlis called on all Crimeans to boycott elections organized by the occupation regime. The Mejlis was first subjected to an armed search, then evicted from its headquarters in Simferopol in September 2014, Soon afterwards, Akhtem Chiygoz was arrested. […] The criminalization of the Mejlis as ‘extremist’ was carried out in stages, doubtless in order to see how the West reacted. They scarcely did at all, and Russia therefore moved from vague threats to specific action.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
3. Ukraine’s President meets with IMF Managing Director
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko met with IMF Managing Director C. Lagarde met on 21 September on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The IMF stated, “During the meeting, they discussed recent economic developments and the Managing Director strongly encourages continued implementation of the authorities’ economic reform program supported by the IMF.”
4. Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs meets with NATO Ambassadors
Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs V. Prystaiko took part in a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission on the ambassadorial level, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported. |The issues of deepening cooperation between Ukraine and NATO on the results of the Warsaw Summit (July 2016), the security situation in the east of Ukraine and the development of Minsk and Normandy processes were on the meeting’s agenda. As a result of the discussion on strengthening of practical mutually beneficial cooperation between Ukraine and NATO allies have assured that their help to our country will be increased in the framework of approved at the Warsaw Summit a Comprehensive Assistant Package for Ukraine aimed at strengthening of Ukraine’s defense and reforming of the national defense and security sector in accordance with Alliance’s standards. Representatives of NATO also confirmed the immutability of their positions on supporting of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea, emphasizing direct responsibility of Russia’s military aggression in the eastern regions of the country. In this context, it was noted the need to extend sanctions against Russia to fully implement its obligations under the Minsk agreements. The allies expressed full understanding of the need to ensure security conditions for early political settlement of the situation in Donbass,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.