Ukraine: Daily Briefing
21 February 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine Armed Forces reported that on February 17-19, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 14 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 14 were wounded in action. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska, Novooleksandrivka and Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk and Avdiivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novotroitske with mortars. At Starohnativka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers and small arms. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 72 times in total, including 12 times with heavy weapons.
2. Statement by Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Third Anniversary of Russia’s Military Aggression Against Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “On February 20, 2014, the Russian Federation launched the military aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine. Three years have passed since the treacherous attack by the neighbouring state, despite its commitment to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, as well as its status of one of the guarantors of security and territorial integrity of Ukraine according to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Although the Revolution of Dignity clearly reconfirmed the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to build European, democratic and prosperous Ukraine, the Kremlin responded by attempting to deprive Ukrainians of the right to define their future by their own. Russia launched a well-planned military operation, which resulted in the temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as well as in bloodshed in Donbas. […] The appalling number of victims highlights the immorality of Kremlin’s war against the Ukrainian people: over 9 800 Ukrainian people were killed, about 23 000 wounded and almost 1.8 million of internally displaced persons. […] Occupied Crimea, closed for any form of international control and monitoring, is now an area for systemic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, targeting, first of all, the Ukrainian activists and the indigenous people of Crimea – Crimean Tatars.[…] Russia continues to fuel the conflict in Donbas, sends regular troops and mercenaries to the territory, which is out of control by the Ukrainian Government, and keeps reinforcing its militants and terrorists with the sophisticated weaponry and military hardware. Russia remains unwilling to implement the Minsk Agreements thus undermining all efforts taken by Ukraine and the international community towards de-escalation and stabilization in the region. […] The aggressive policy of the Russian Federation pose a threat for the entire world order. The only dignified response by the international community, which has no alternative, will be maintaining solidarity with Ukraine in countering the Russian aggression by strengthening political, diplomatic and economic pressure on the aggressor state. Russia must fully implement its own commitments on peaceful resolution of the conflict in Donbas as a signatory of the Minsk Agreements, put an immediate end to violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied territories, release all hostages and political prisoners, de-occupy the Crimean peninsula. It is only Russia’s return to the tenets of international law that will ensure peace and stability on the European continent and will lift the threat of chaos and domination of force in the international relations.”
3. Ukraine’s President: Recognition of fake documents by Russia requires enhancement of sanctions
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko responded to Russia’s decision to recognize fake documents issued by the Russian proxy so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics.” President Poroshenko stated, “”We observe constant violation of the Minsk agreements. We can see not only ceasefire violation, but also absolutely cynical decision to recognize fake documents of fake republics. In terms of international law, this is already an element of recognition of these illegal formations and, de-facto, rejection of the Minsk process, for these steps are incompatible with the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We think it is an extremely alarming phenomenon that requires decisive action up to the enhancement of sanctions.”
4. Atlantic Council Event – Today, 4PM – Connecting Ukraine’s Past and Present: From Holodomor to the War in the Donbas
The Atlantic Council is holding an event – Connecting Ukraine’s Past and Present: From Holodomor to the War in the Donbas, today at 4PM EDT. “Russia’s expansionist ambitions, including the annexation of Crimea and military actions in the Donbas, are the greatest threat to Ukraine’s future and national identity. In the 1930s, Ukraine faced a similar existential challenge due to the Soviet Union’s territorial ambitions. Stalin’s policies led to the deaths of millions of Ukrainians in the Holodomor, and while Ukraine survived, that came at a great cost. This panel discussion will bring together experts to discuss Ukraine’s experience with great challenges and will coincide with the release of the film Bitter Harvest – a feature film which tells the story of Holodomor.” The event can be viewed live through webcast at http://www.atlanticcouncil.
org/events/upcoming-events/ detail/connecting-ukraine%E2% 80%99s-past-and-present-from- holodomor-to-the-war-in-the- donbas
5. Austrian court grants US extradition request for Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash
An Austrian court approved the request for extradition by the United States of Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash on corruption charges. Bloomberg reported, “Vienna’s Higher Regional Court overturned a 2015 lower-court ruling that had blocked the extradition.Tuesday’s ruling is not subject to further appeal, but the ultimate decision to hand him over to the U.S. lies with the Austrian Ministry of Justice. […]U.S. prosecutors are seeking Firtash, a one-time ally of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, on allegations he led a conspiracy to pay $18.5 million to Indian officials to facilitate a mining project there.”
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