Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 25, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian and US Marines take part in live fire training excercise during Exercise Sea Breeze 2017. Photo – US Marine Corps
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, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka with mortars. Near Svitlodarsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Krasnohorivka, Bohdanivka and Shyrokyne. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces attacked a Ukrainian position near Troykhizbenka. Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. Near Kryakivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at several locations on the Luhansk sector of the front.
2. US Envoy: US considering providing defensive weapons to Ukraine
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that Kurt Volker, US special envoy to Ukraine stated in an interview that providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine would allow Kyiv to “defend itself if Russia were to take further steps against Ukrainian territory.” Volker said that the Trump Administration “is now reviewing where the Obama administration left it, considering whether we should provide defensive arms to Ukraine or not.” Volker stated, “I hear these arguments that it’s somehow provocative to Russia or that it’s going to embolden Ukraine to attack. These are just flat out wrong. […] First off, Russia is already in Ukraine, they are already heavily armed. There are more Russian tanks in there than [tanks] in Western Europe combined. It is a large, large military presence. […] We see as many as 1,500 or more cease-fire violations every night. […] So this is a very hot conflict that’s going on and it has a terrible cost.”
3. Reuters report: Germany wants more EU sanctions on Russia over Siemens turbines case
Reuters reported on July 24, “Germany is urging the European Union to add up to four more Russian nationals and companies to the bloc’s sanctions blacklist over Siemens gas turbines delivered to Moscow-annexed Crimea, two sources in Brussels said.
The EU has barred its firms from doing business with Crimea since the 2014 annexation, imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, and curbed cooperation with Russia in energy, arms and finance over its role in the crisis in Ukraine. […]
The EU’s blacklist comprises 150 people and 37 entities subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban. The restrictions are in place until Sept. 15. ‘The regular review would normally be the moment to look at who is on the list. In the past, when there were good grounds, we’ve added entries to the list,’ an EU official said. Siemens, trying to distance itself from the scandal, last week said it was halting deliveries of power equipment to Russian state-controlled customers and reviewing supply deals. […] Siemens says it has evidence that all four turbines it delivered for a project in southern Russia had been illegally moved to Crimea.
German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said on Monday the turbines were delivered to Crimea against the terms of the contract and despite high-ranking assurances from Russian officials that this would not happen. Berlin was consulting on what consequences this ‘unacceptable’ operation might have, she said, adding, however, that the onus was on companies to ensure they did not violate the sanctions regime. The proposed additions to the blacklist could include Russian Energy Ministry officials and the Russian company that moved the turbines to the Black Sea peninsula, one senior diplomatic source in Brussels said.
Another source said representatives of all 28 EU member states could discuss the matter for the first time in Brussels as soon as Wednesday. […] Reuters first reported a year ago on the Siemens case, which has exposed the difficulties of imposing EU sanctions.”