Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
25 November 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska. At Krymske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka and Opytne. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Maryinka and Novohryhorivka with mortars and artillery. Russian-terrorist force fired on Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka, Novotroitske and Starohnativka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed in action.
2. US Mission to OSCE: Sanctions on Russia will remain until end of Russian occupation of Crimea
Speaking at the OSCE Permanent Council on 24 November, US Chargé d’Affaires K. Byrnes stated, “since the beginning of Russia’s occupation of Crimea, abuses on the peninsula have risen steeply, including the severe curtailment of the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and religion or belief. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has found a pattern of security services carrying out arbitrary interrogations and house searches, and threatening prosecution against those questioning the Russian occupation. In the past week, the total number of Crimean Tatars being prosecuted on baseless ‘extremism’ or ‘terrorism’ charges has risen to 21 following a new series of police raids on Tatar homes that took place November 17. Russia has cut off access to government employment, education, and health care for those Ukrainians refusing Russian citizenship. At least 30,000 residents of Crimea, and likely many more, have fled to other parts of Ukraine, fearing reprisals for their work as political activists or journalists, or because of their pro-Ukrainian views. Others have suffered politically-motivated disappearances. We highlight the vote in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee on November 15 that condemned the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea and Sevastopol, exposing Russia’s occupation and purported annexation for what they really are. In closing, we reiterate that Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia ends its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and returns control of this territory to Ukraine. We join our European and other partners in restating that our sanctions against Russia for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will remain until Russia fully implements its commitments in the Minsk agreements.”
3. US Secretary of Defense: Russia’s actions undermining global security, eroding international order
Writing in the journal Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, US Secretary of Defense A. Carter stated, “The United States does not seek a new cold war with Russia. But the United States will defend its allies and partners, and the principled international order. […]Russia’s behaviour has changed. Rather than working to support the international order, Russia appears intent on spoiling decades of progress. Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Georgia, its contributions to the tragedy in Syria, its attacks in cyberspace, its violation of arms-control treaties and other international agreements, and, above all, its nuclear sabre-rattling, are not what the world expects of a responsible power in the twenty-first century. Rather, these actions undermine global security and erode an international order that has been of mutual benefit. […]In Europe, Russia is behaving in a manner reminiscent of the nineteenth century, rather than one befitting a responsible member of the modern international community. […] Finally, and most disturbing of all, Russia is behaving irresponsibly and aggressively with respect to nuclear weapons. Russia has long been a nuclear power, but Moscow’s recent sabre-rattling, combined with its building of new nuclear-weapons systems, raises serious questions about its leaders’ commitment to strategic stability […] The United States does not seek a new cold war with Russia, let alone a hot war. We do not seek an enemy in Russia; rather, we have long sought a peaceful relationship. But no one – neither in Moscow nor anywhere else – should forget that the United States will defend its allies, the principled international order and the positive future that order affords all of us. […] The United States is preparing for a longer-term situation of tension and military competition with Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, the transatlantic community has not had to prioritise deterrence against Russia. Unfortunately, we do now. As a result, the United States is adapting its deterrence posture in Europe, emphasising higher-impact approaches such as rotating forces into Europe, the prepositioning of armour and large-scale exercises throughout the Alliance. […]Meanwhile, NATO and its members are also providing support to partners such as Ukraine and Georgia, both of which have seen their sovereignty and territorial integrity violated by Russia. We are helping them to strengthen their capabilities for national defence, improve their ability to work with NATO and reform their defence institutions. These efforts took major steps forward in Warsaw, when NATO endorsed a Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine.” The full article is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/