Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
7 October 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 shelled Ukrainian positions at Novozvanivka with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska and Orikhove. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka with mortars and artillery. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Shyrokyne, Novohryhorivka and Pavlopil. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Human Rights Group: Ukrainian journalist’s arrest a chilling warning to stay away from Russia
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has echoed earlier warnings from human rights groups and advised Ukrainian nationals to not visit Russia. The advice came three days after journalist Roman Sushchenko became the latest Ukrainian to be seized, held incommunicado and accused of mystery ‘spying’. From the video shots of Sushchenko being led by two masked FSB officers to the attempts to prevent him contacting his family and a lawyer, everything has been eerily reminiscent of all previous arrests since soon after Russia’s invasion of Crimea and military aggression in eastern Ukraine. Sushchenko’s lawyer Mark Feygin has, after initial refusals, been allowed to see the journalist, but Ukraine’s consul is still, in gross breach of the law, being denied access. […] He was arrested shortly after he arrived, making the claims about his gathering sensitive information baffling even from a logistical point of view. It is certainly not unheard of, as Russia knows all too well, for security services to use journalists for collecting information. It would make absolutely no sense, however, for Ukraine to use a Paris-based correspondent to ferret out information in Russia. 47-year-old Sushchenko has been working for Ukrinform since 2003, and has been the agency’s French correspondent since 2010. […] Russia’s lawlessness has become an immediate danger to Ukrainians. When this is how a country’s security service ‘works’, with the courts guaranteed to convict however absurd the charges, nationals of other countries should probably also beware.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
3. Modernizing Ukrainian Army Logistics: Second group of Ukrainians completes Logistics Operations Course
In an article published by Canada’s Department of National Defence, Joint Task Force-Ukraine reported, “The graduation of 13 Ukrainian Army officers from the Logistics Operations Course (LOC) on September 30, 2016, in Starychi, Ukraine, marked continued progress in Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) logistics modernization. The current rotation of Canadian Armed Forces personnel began delivering logistics modernization training in mid-September with the second-ever serial of the LOC. The 15-day curriculum encompasses the sustainment planning process in the context of supporting both battalion- and brigade-level operations. Canadian subject matter experts (SMEs) provided detailed instruction on the specialist sustainment functions of transportation, supply, and maintenance. The broad range of experience of these SMEs, which includes multiple overseas deployments, served to better illustrate the instructional material. […] This iteration of the course had a student audience of 13 Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) logistics staff officers, ranging in rank from Lieutenant to Lieutenant-Colonel. Such an audience presented many opportunities for the trainers to gather lessons learned from Ukrainian operations. The complexities of hybrid warfare present many challenges to sustainment both on and off the area of operations, and the trainers have been quick to capture lessons learned by the Ukrainian Army. […] The LOC falls under the wider Operation UNIFIER initiative of providing logistics modernization training to the UAF. Canada’s contribution to this complex task is aimed at the brigade level and below, also referred to as ‘the Last Mile.’ Modernization at the Last Mile is targeted toward two distinct but complementary audiences: the first is Ukrainian brigade logistics staff, with the intent of working towards UAF interoperability with NATO by 2020. The second audience is the instructors of Ukrainian logistics training centres, which contributes to improving both technical and survival skills of Ukrainian Army sustainers at the most junior level.”
4. Canada, US support for vaccination programs in Ukraine
Canada and the US will support routine vaccinations programs in Ukraine, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine stated. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, only 30% of children in Ukraine were vaccinated against measles; 10% against hepatitis B and 3% against diphtheria. These low numbers were caused by supply shortage of vaccines and refusal of parents to vaccinate, the Ministry stated. Vaccines are now being purchased through UNICEF and UNDP. At a press event with Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine R. Waschuk and US Ambassador M. Yovanovitch, Ukraine’s acting Minister of Health U. Suprun stated, “Thanks to the assistance of our international partners, we’ve been able to secure the procurement of high-quality vaccines, and are working to renew routine vaccinations.” Ambassador Yovanovitch stated, “I am especially pleased to join acting Minister of Health Suprun, whose vision of healthcare in Ukraine is so clear and compelling and one that the United States is very proud to support. […] I’m very impressed that Minister Suprun and Prime Minister Groysman have ensured the Ukrainian people’s access to vital drugs and vaccines this year – or next year – by doubling next year’s health budget. And let me repeat that: doubling. […] Our support that includes $1 million in support of UNICEF’s polio response in Ukraine last year and $800,000 for immunization awareness this year. It’s important that parents know they need to bring their children for immunization.”