Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
24 October 2016, 6 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 Shchastya and Krymske with mortars. At Novooleksandrivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka and Luhanske village with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnhorivka and Pavlopil with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Vodyane and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned in Russia, sent to isolation cell
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “The Russian prison authorities in Yakutia have placed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov in an isolation cell for 15 days. His cousin Natalya Kaplan knows no details but has also just received threats directed at Sentsov on Facebook and is understandably concerned. All of this comes after the news on Oct 21 that Russia’s Justice Ministry has refused to return Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko to Ukraine, claiming falsely that the two men are Russian citizens. […] That news in turn followed a clear indication from the Kremlin that it is denying its obligation under the Minsk Agreement to release Sentsov, Kolchenko and all Ukrainians illegally held. The 2 letters from the Justice Ministry, dated Oct 7, claim that Sentsov and Kolchenko received Russian citizenship after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and that, according to Russian law, in the case of dual nationality, a person is regarded as Russian. This is directly stated as the reason for refusing to extradite them to Ukraine. […] In July 2014, Sentsov stated in court: ‘I also wish to protest against the attempts to deprive me of Ukrainian citizenship. I have always been and remain a citizen of Ukraine. I do not recognize the Russian Federation’s annexation and military seizure of Crimea. I consider any agreements made by the illegitimate government of Crimea with the Russian Federation invalid. I am no serf to be passed over together with the land. I have not written any applications to take on Russian citizenship and reject my Ukrainian citizenship.’ […]On Oct 20, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in new talks with the leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany, his Press Secretary stated that Putin does not agree that the release of prisoners held in Russia falls under the Minsk Agreement. There are numerous international documents calling for the release of the men in accordance with precisely that agreement. Putin has consistently behaved and talked like a kidnapper and is quite openly using the Ukrainians as hostages.” The full report from KHPG is available athttp://khpg.org/en/index.php?
3. Ukraine’s President confident that European Parliament will ratify visa free regime by November 24
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels on 23 October, “I am confident that the documents on granting the visa-free regime for Ukraine will be signed and ratified by the European Parliament. I have no doubt about that. I can even say by what date this will have taken place – by November 24. Because on November 24, the Ukraine-EU Summit will take place and we agreed that the documents will be ready for that Summit.”
4. Atlantic Council on international media enabling Russian aggression in Ukraine
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Peter Dickinson stated, “When does a Russian warlord become a ‘pro-Russian separatist?’ Newsrooms around the world may want to ask themselves this question following Russian militant leader Arsen Pavlov’s assassination in Donetsk in mid-October. In the wake of the killing, one news report after another ran with headlines referring to Pavlov as a pro-Russian separatist leader, creating the impression of a Russia-leaning local who was defending his democratic rights by force of arms. In reality, Pavlov was much more than simply ‘pro-Russian.’ He was an actual Russian. This is not a matter of mere semantics-it is the crux of the entire conflict. Pavlov was one of tens of thousands of Russian citizens who have traveled to neighboring Ukraine in order to wage war. The forces Russia has deployed for this purpose include a mixture of regular army troops without insignia (‘little green men’), paramilitaries drawn from Russian army veterans, Russian nationalists, common criminals, and local recruits. Together, they form a hybrid army of occupation that is larger than the armed forces of all but a handful of European states. Describing such people as ‘pro-Russian’ is clearly absurd, and yet it continues. By almost any rational measure, Pavlov’s nationality should have been central to the international media coverage of his demise. Instead, in most reports it appeared as a mere footnote. The media response to the death of Pavlov has highlighted the problems international reporters continue to face when covering events in Ukraine. Ever since the seizure of Crimea in early 2014, correspondents and editors have struggled to find the right terminology to define the Ukraine conflict and accurately describe the various combatants […]. These difficulties are no accident. Russia’s hybrid war tactics aim to create exactly this kind of ambiguity in order to paralyze international opinion and prevent an effective response. […]The news is not all bad. The recently published findings of the Joint Investigation Team into the MH17 tragedy have served to expose the depths and complexity of Kremlin disinformation, leading to increased levels of skepticism towards any information coming from Russian sources. The Kremlin’s air war in Syria has had a similarly sobering effect. Nevertheless, ambiguous media coverage of the conflict in Ukraine is still a major problem. As long as the international press sees fit to refer to Russian nationals as ‘pro-Russians,’ the realities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hybrid war in Ukraine will stay shrouded in a fog of confusion, and peace will remain elusive. No conflict can expect to be resolved when the principle protagonist is permitted to pretend he is an innocent bystander.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.
org/blogs/new-atlanticist/ there-they-go-again- international-media-enables- russian-aggression-in-ukraine