Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 30, 2018, 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, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 47 times in total, including at least 9 times with heavy weapons – mortars and artillery.
2. Kyiv Patriarchate sounds alarm about religious rights violations in Russian-occupied Donbas
The Kyiv Post reported, “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) has appealed to the international community to help protect the rights of its worshippers and other religious minorities in the Russia-occupied Donbas.
In an open letter published on the UOC-KP’s website, the church’s leader, Patriarch Filaret, called upon the participants in the Minsk Process, as well as the United States, European Union, United Nations, and OSCE, to ‘urgently pay attention to the sharp deterioration of the situation with freedom of conscience’ in the occupied territories.
According to Filaret, the self-proclaimed authorities in Donbas have announced that they will require religious communities to register in accordance with their legislation.
The occupation authorities informed UOC-KP priests that, should religious communities fail to register within a month, they will lose their rights to land and property, including churches; their activities will be banned; and their priests will be deported from the region.
Religious communities cannot register with the occupation authorities, Filaret wrote, because this would mean violating the laws of Ukraine. The Patriarch called upon the international community ‘not to allow more violations of the principles of religious freedom in this region.'”
The open letter from Patriarch Filaret is available here
3. US confirms delivery of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “The United States has confirmed to RFE/RL its delivery of American-made, Javelin antitank missile systems to Ukraine. […]
‘They have already been delivered,’ a U.S. State Department official confirmed on April 30 in response to an RFE/RL query on the handover of Javelins. […]
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in December that U.S. military assistance to Ukraine was intended to bolster that country’s ability to ‘defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression.’ […]
Since 2015, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with $750 million in nonlethal aid, including Humvees, night-vision equipment, and short-range radar systems.”
4. US Secretary of State: large group in NATO who are hopeful Ukraine will take actions that will put them in place to be NATO member
Short video of Secretary Pompeo’s remarks following NATO Foreign Ministers meeting from the Associated Press. To view video, please click on image above
Following the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting on April 27, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “Russia threatens allies and partners both militarily, as seen through its invasions of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, and through an aggressive campaign to undermine western democratic institutions. In light of Russia’s unacceptable actions, NATO is more indispensable than ever. As NATO allies agree, the use of military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia on UK territory was a reckless action that put the lives of innocent civilians at risk.
The United States has made abundantly clear that NATO should not return to business as usual with Russia until Moscow shows a clear change in its actions and complies with international law. […]
The United States is unwavering in our support for NATO’s open-door policy as well, and our commitment that any Euro-Atlantic country that wishes to join the alliance and meets the requirements may do so. We will continue to work with aspirants bilaterally and through NATO structures to help them meet those standards. […]
So there was discussion today about Ukraine, Ukraine’s potential entry to be a NATO partner, that there’s much work to do along the way to achieve that. I think that I’m always careful to describe consensus when there were lots of differing voices about how to approach it and what the right action set ought to be to achieve it, but I think there – I think there was a large group who are hopeful that the Ukrainians will begin to take the actions that would put them in a place where they could, in fact, be an aspirant to become a NATO member.”