Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 13, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk with tanks. At Troitske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. At Zaytseve, Avdiivka and Verkhnotoretske, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Maryinka, damaging several buildings. Russian-terrorist forces fired on several Ukrainian positions along the Mariupol sector of the front. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars. At Novozvanivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions.
2. Russia weaponizes citizenship against Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia since 2014, turns 41 years old today. The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “After invading Crimea and faking a ‘referendum’ on ‘joining’ Russia, Moscow is applying strictly selective Russification in its persecution of Ukrainians. While it has banned or even deported some Crimean Tatars from their homeland as Ukrainian citizens, it is falsely claiming that Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko automatically’ become Russian citizens. That, at least, is the current story which, like all of Moscow’s claims regarding Ukraine is varied as required.
Sentsov, Kolchenko and two other opponents of Russian annexation – Gennady Afanasyev and Oleksiy Chirniy – were seized by the Russian FSB in May 2014. They were held incommunicado for three weeks, first in Crimea, then in Moscow, before any lawyer was allowed to see them. This is of critical importance since there was literally no evidence of any ‘terrorist plot’ with the entire case, and eventually Sentsov’s 20-year sentence and Kolchenko’s 10 years, based solely on the ‘confessions’ of the other two men.
Later in court, Afanasyev found the courage to retract every word of his ‘confession’, stating clearly that it had been given under torture. Sentsov had, from the outset, described the torture that he was subjected to, but had withstood. This FSB ‘plot’ was chillingly Stalinist in many respects, including the total disregard for plausibility. […]
Claims that Sentsov, Kolchenko and Afanasyev had ‘automatically’ become Russian citizens began early on. […]
Both Kolchenko and Sentsov objected vehemently when Russia began claiming the men to be its citizens. With the prosecutor initially denying Kolchenko’s Ukrainian citizenship altogether, his lawyer lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights. […]
Russia is using this very cynical ploy to deprive Sentsov, Kolchenko and other Ukrainians held in Russian on politically motivated changes of their right to consular advice and protection under international law. Having violated international law by occupying another country’s territory, it is indeed treating opponents as serfs who ‘come with the land’ it grabbed.”
More on Russia’s illegal imprisonment of Oleg Sentsov is available here: http://khpg.org/en/index.php?
3. EU-Ukraine Summit held in Kyiv
|Photo – Ukraine’s Presidential Administration|
The EU-Ukraine Summit took place in Kyiv today. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council represented the EU. Ukraine was represented by President Petro Poroshenko.
The EU stated, “Since the last EU – Ukraine Summit, which took place in Brussels in November 2016, a significant amount of progress has been made, bringing positive change to the lives of Ukrainian and EU citizens.
The ratification of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/ DCFTA), two days ago, will mean its full entry into force on 1 September 2017. The Association Agreement provides the blueprint for Ukraine’s ambitious reform path and fosters trade and investment between the European Union and Ukraine. After more than one year of provisional application of the DCFTA, trade has grown by 10%, cementing the EU as Ukraine’s first trading partner. […]
The leaders assessed the state of play in Ukraine’s implementation of its ambitious reform efforts. The Ukrainian authorities have undertaken intense and unprecedented reforms in many areas, including: Decentralization; public broadcasting; anti-corruption; the judiciary; police reform; public administration; public finance management and procurement; trade; energy; the banking system
This has been achieved despite severe security challenges caused by the ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine. At the Summit, EU leaders stressed the importance of continuing such efforts and strengthening the implementation of reforms in crucial areas such as anti-corruption. Fresh impetus to strengthening the functioning and independence of anticorruption institutions, such as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the removal of the extension of e-declaration of assets to activists of anti-corruption NGOs, setting up a high anti-corruption court and ensuring transparency of the selection of judges to the Supreme Court, are vital in this respect. […] Both sides agreed on the importance of continuing to accelerate reforms and their sustained implementation. […]
At the Summit, the European Union announced the preparation of €200 million of priority programmes for 2017 to support conflict-affected areas in the east of Ukraine; energy efficiency programmes, including contributions to the Energy Efficiency Fund established by Ukraine; public finance management; support to key reforms; and the implementation of the AA/DCFTA via a technical cooperation facility. The EU’s newly-established External Investment Plan provides additional new funding opportunities for Ukraine. […]
The European Union reiterated its continued and unwavering support to Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The European Union condemns and does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. Leaders reiterated the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements as the basis for a sustainable and peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.”