Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 December 2016, 5PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy mortar shelling of Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk. Following the shelling, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions near Svitoladarsk. Ukrainian force repelled the attacks. Near Avdiyivka and Zaytseve, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Stanytsia Luhanska, Popasne and several other locations. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with artillery, mortars and tanks. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at several locations on the Mariupol sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and ten Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. UN General Assembly adopts Resolution on human rights in Russian-occupied Crimea
On 19 December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution “Situation of human rights in Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine).” Following the adoption by the UN General Assembly, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine sincerely welcomes the UN General Assembly Resolution ‘Situation of human rights in Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)’, adopted on 19 December 2016. This important document provides a clear definition on the status of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of the territory of Ukraine, condemns the temporary occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and does not recognize its attempted annexation by the occupying State. Within the context of the terrible human rights situation in Crimea due to its occupation by Russia, we attach particular importance to the reference in the resolution to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, which, inter alia, foresees the humane treatment of the population, which live in occupied territory and protect its rights under international humanitarian law. That’s why the fixation and condemnation by UN resolution of the systematic human rights violations carried out by the Russian occupation authorities, including extrajudicial executions, abductions, politically motivated persecution and restriction of basic political rights of Crimean residents should become an important step towards defending rights and civil liberties of citizens of Ukraine that live under this occupation. […]Today the world sent a clear message to the Russian occupation authorities. Those responsible for the persecutions and violations of the human rights of the residence of Crimea will be brought to justice. The Russian Federation as an occupying state must stop its arbitrary violations of human rights and fulfil its obligations under international law and ensure observance of the human rights in Crimea.”
3. Ukraine’s President speaks with US Vice President
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with US Vice President J. Biden on 19 December. The White House stated, “Vice President Joe Biden called President Petro Poroshenko today to commend him, the government of Ukraine, and the Central Bank for their decisive action to strengthen the country’s banking sector and protect Ukrainian depositors through the nationalization of PrivatBank. […] The leaders expressed their grave concern about the latest surge in violence perpetrated by combined Russian/separatist forces in the Donbas, and expressed condolences for the recent loss of five Ukrainian soldiers near Svitlodarsk. The leaders reiterated their unwavering support for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”