Ukraine: Daily Briefing – August 29, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 29, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or 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 32 times in total, including at least 11 times with heavy weapons – mortars, artillery and tanks. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 3 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. European Court of Human Rights demands Russia account for health of Ukrainian political prisoners
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “The European Court of Human Rights has responded swiftly to Ukraine’s request for urgent measures under Rule 39 regarding the state of health of four Ukrainian political prisoners: Volodymyr Balukh; Stanislav Klykh; human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku and Serhiy Lytvynov.  The move is very welcome, however the number of political prisoners, especially in occupied Crimea, whose very life Russia is jeopardizing is much higher.
            Ivan Lishchyna, Ukraine’s Representative to the European Court of Human Rights, reported on August 23 that the Court in Strasbourg has given Russia until 5 September to provide information about the men’s state of health and what medical treatment they are receiving. It asks whether particular prisoners have declared hunger strike and, if so, what measures are being taken in connection with this.                  Lishchyna writes that ECHR is thus breaking through the information vacuum which Russia has created around the state of health of Ukrainians whom it is illegally holding prisoner. There are particularly grave concerns about the health of two of these prisoners.”
3. Ukraine and Operation UNIFIER achieve a key milestone in training
Lieutenant-Colonel Fraser Auld congratulates Colonel Vodymyr Rodikov_ Commander of the AFU’s Demining Centre on a successful course transition, during the IEDD course transition ceremony. (Photo: JTF-U)

Captain Karyn Mazurek, Public Affairs Officer, Joint Task Force-Ukraine, wrote for the Maple Leaf, “On the 20th of August, a ceremony was held in Kamianets-Podilskyi, in south western Ukraine, to mark a milestone in Operation UNIFIER’s mission. The Canadian team transitioned full responsibility for the planning and execution of the Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) training program to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
           This ceremony marks the transition of one of the most specialized aspects of Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) training. This has been a standing goal for Operation UNIFIER: advisors and mentors have been working towards this day since September 2015 when Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine was established.
           For missions like Operation UNIFIER which have a role to train, advise, and assist indigenous forces, a key indicator of progress is when hands-on instruction and day-to-day advice and mentorship are no longer required to plan, run, and evaluate training. The AFU has proven its ability to do this for IEDD training, so Operation UNIFIER is able to formally disengage from this specific effort. […]
           With the transition of IEDD training to full Ukrainian ownership, Operation UNIFIER’s staff in Kamianets-Podilskyi can shift focus to building the remaining four levels of the five-level Basic Combat Engineer Sapper model. The five-level model largely mirrors the CAF’s training in the Combat Engineer field, and Operation UNIFIER’s combat engineers will work side-by-side with Ukrainian colleagues to develop the remaining four levels of Sapper training.
         ‘The transition of the IEDD training program to full ownership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the culmination of almost three years of determined effort and teamwork. This is a great day for both the Operation UNIFIER team and our colleagues in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, one that Operation UNIFIER looks forward to repeating for our other training objectives throughout this country,’ says Lieutenant-Colonel Fraser Auld, Commander of Joint Task Force-Ukraine.      ‘Developing new approaches and amending military training design and delivery across Ukraine is no easy task. But this ceremony is a clear indication that progress is occurring and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are taking concrete steps towards NATO compatibility.'”
4. Ukraine’s President: German Chancellor to visit Ukraine in autumn
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported, “During the 13th meeting of the heads of foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko said that the work on the implementation of the lasting peace process in Ukraine does not stop and in the autumn, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel plans to visit Ukraine.
          ‘I think I can say it here – this autumn, in early November, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay a visit to Ukraine. This is a vivid evidence of a special attention of our German partners, Berlin, to the development of a mutually beneficial partnership with Kyiv,’ the Head of State said.”

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