Ukraine: Daily Briefing – March 14, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 14, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
UAF training Picture – JMTG-Ukraine video screenshot
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on March 13, two service members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire twice on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk sector. This time the enemy didn’t use heavy weapons.
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence report one invader was killed and three were wounded, as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on March 13.
 
2. The UN Recognizes Ukrainian Sailors as Prisoners of War
Screenshot from khpg website
Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian troops near the Kerch Strait should be considered prisoners of war, stated the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The document outlines the human rights situation in Ukraine from November 16, 2018 to February 15, 2019.
“OHCHR notes that based on the provisions of international humanitarian law, the 24 detained crew members could be considered as prisoners of war and protected by the Third Geneva Convention. In any case, they shall enjoy the status of a prisoner of war until a competent tribunal determines otherwise,” reads the report
The Office of the of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights insists that prisoners of war must
inter alia be humanely treated, protected against violence or intimidation, and provided with the medical assistance if needed.
Thus, OHCHR became the first international organization to recognize captured Ukrainian sailors as prisoners of war.
On 25 November 2018, the Russian Federation naval forces attacked three Ukrainian naval vessels that were on their way to the Azov Sea through the Kerch Strait, which is the only passage between the Black Sea and the Azov Sea and lies between the Russian Federation and Russian Federation-occupied Crimea. Russian naval forces opened fire on the Ukrainian vessels, seized them, and captured 24 crew members injuring 6 of them.
3. State Department Report: Russia is Guilty of Massive Human Rights Abuses in Crimea
 
Resistance Day in Crimea. Photo – Said Ismagilov
People in Crimea are being kidnapped, tortured, killed, intimidated and illegally placed in psychiatric clinics, reports the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the US Department of State.
“The Russian intelligence services consistently strengthened their control in Crimea and violated human rights,” the report said.
The Russian occupation authorities failed to conduct adequate investigation into the incidents of kidnappings and murders of Crimean residents in 2014 and 2015.
According to the UN, from 2014 to 2018, 42 people were abducted in Crimea, 12 of them went missing, one was found dead, two were officially detained and 27 released. No one was punished.
Human rights activists reported that the Russian occupation forces use physical violence against Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians. The examples include the case of the Crimean Tatar activist Akhtem Mustafayev, who was detained, beaten, and tortured by the Federal Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).
According to the Crimean human rights group, since the beginning of occupation, 17 Crimean Tatars were subjected to psychiatric examination and detention against their will, without apparent medical reason.
The report also notes that Russia restricts freedom of expression, media, peaceful assembly, association, religion, travel and travel, etc. in Crimea.
Read the full report here
4. Politico: Naftogaz of Ukraine: What are we fighting for?
Today’s issue of politico contains the column by the Executive Director of Naftogaz of Ukraine Yuriy Vitrenko who emphasizes that Ukraine’s westward integration is irreversible.
“We value our freedom, we share European values and we will continue to fight for the rule of law,” he says. Describing the situation at the time when the new management came on board after the Revolution of Dignity he said that the the company looked like a “colossus with feet of clay… it was on the brink of total collapse.” It was both due to poor management and constant attacks from Russian Gazprom.
“Now, … we have freed Ukraine from critical dependence on the Russian gas imports; delivered two significant victories in Stockholm arbitration against Gazprom; turned a loss-making enterprise into the biggest net contributor to the state budget; improved corporate governance in line with OECD guidelines; and facilitated the development of a liberalized wholesale gas market, which allowed for a radical shift from hidden to targeted subsidies for households,” Vitrenko noted.
To read more about Naftogaz, the USD 125 billion arbitrations, and lessons learned click here
5. Ukraine Celebrates Volunteer Day
Picture by Tatyana Pomolova
On March 14, the country celebrates the Ukrainian Volunteer Day. Established on January 17, 2017, by the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament] of Ukraine, this day is to honor the courage and heroism of the defenders of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, promoting further strengthening of the patriotic spirit in society, strengthening public attention and caring for volunteer groups and supporting the public initiative.
“When in March 2014 it became clear that the war began. It became clear that our independence was threatened and that Ukraine was actually defenseless, something that the enemy had not expected happened – the Ukrainian people organized themselves instantly,” Petro Poroshenko stressed in his address.
During the celebrations General of the Army Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed forces has reminded that more than 40,000 citizens volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the mobilization campaign. Another 170,000 voluntarily signed contracts with the Armed Forces between 2014 and 2018, noted the general.

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