Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crisis in Ukraine - UCC Briefing for Nov 13

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
13 November, 6 PM Kyiv time

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts has become more complicated. The Ukrainian military has identified a constant redeployment of Russian military equipment with Kremlin-backed terrorist insignia towards the demarcation line. Russian military units (including long-range air defense and aviation brigades) are being concentrated along the Ukraine-Russia border. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled two Ukrainian positions near Stanytsia Luhanska. Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions near Vilkhove, Shchastya, and Kryakivka six times with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers), and fired on Ukrainian positions near Staryi Aidar and Artem with mortars and small arms. Ukrainian forces repelled an attack on a position near Sokilnyky. Towards Pervomaisk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske and Frunze with Grads and fired mortars on positions near Zolote. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled the Donetsk airport twice, and fired mortars on Ukrainian positions near Pisky, Opytne, Troitske, Adviyivka and Slavne.  Towards Debaltsevo. The RNBO reported that 2 Russian soldiers were detained near the Donetsk airport. Kremlin-backed terrorists fired mortars, grenade launchers and small arms at Ukrainian positions near Nikishine, Debaltsevo, Kamyanka, Mayorske, and Donetskyi. Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions near Mykolaivka, Orlivske, and Shevchenko.  The RNBO stated that in the last 24 hours, 4 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 19 wounded. The press-center of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) reported at 5:30 PM Kyiv time that near Horlivka, Ukrainian artillery forces destroyed up to 10 pieces of military equipment and killed up to 20 Kremlin-backed terrorists. The RNBO reported that there has been an increase in the shelling of residential areas; Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Shchastya, Krymske, Zolote and Troitske; as a result, 2 civilians were injured in Zolote. Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars and artillery 8 times, damaging a kindergarten and several private homes in Molodizhne districts. Shells also hit three apartment buildings, and a school in Artem village near Stanytsia Luhanska was damaged.

2. US Representative to UN: Russia's actions a threat to the international order

At a meeting of the UN Security Council on 12 November, US Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador S. Power stated,  "Time and again, Russia has made commitments and then failed to live up to them; and subsequently offered explanations to this Council that it knows are untrue. [...]At Minsk, Russia committed to remove all illegal military formations, military equipment and militants from Ukraine. Yet rather than withdrawing its military forces from Ukraine and rather than cutting off its support for separatists, Russia is instead surging more forces and more equipment across the border. The Russian military has maintained a forward presence in eastern Ukraine since the ceasefire took effect. [...] NATO confirmed it has observed columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems, and Russian combat troops entering Ukraine over the past 48 hours. The list goes on, but the pattern is clear. Where Russia has made commitments, it has failed to meet them. Russia has negotiated a peace plan, and then systematically undermined it at every step. It talks of peace, but it keeps fueling war. [...] By contrast, Ukraine has made a genuine effort to live up to its agreements at Minsk, and continues to show considerable restraint in response to constant provocation and attack. [...] Russia has not earned the good faith that we would wish to bestow, and even when Russia claims, as Foreign Minister Lavrov did today, “the inadmissibility of disrupting the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreements" – actions are all that matter. And actions, alongside these words, show intentions. The Donetsk airport has come under artillery and arms fire attacks four times in the last 24 hours. And in the last day, Ukrainian positions are being shelled near Debaltseve, Avdiyivka, Hirske and Krasnohorivka. What we can do – what we need to do – is keep ratcheting up the pressure on Russia until it abides by Minsk and chooses the path of de-escalation. Russia’s actions in Ukraine are not only a threat to the countries in Russia’s immediate vicinity, but also to the international order."

3. UK Mission to UN: De facto Crimean authorities ridding Crimea of its Ukrainian and Tatar identity
At a meeting of the UN Security Council, Ambassador L. Grant of the UK Mission to the UN stated, "Although the focus of today’s discussion is the increase in fighting and the illegal elections held in Eastern Ukraine, this Council must not lose sight of the deteriorating human rights situation in areas under separatist control in eastern Ukraine and, particularly, in the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula - which the OHCHR mission is still unable to visit. We continue to receive disturbing reports of intimidation and harassment of Crimean Tatars as well as ethnic Ukrainians and all those who have refused Russian citizenship. The de facto Crimean authorities have undertaken a campaign to rid the Crimean Peninsula of its Ukrainian and Tatar identity. Citizenship provisions, the educational syllabus and the media are all being ruthlessly engineered to this end. Crimean Tatars are being targeted by security forces – 18 prominent Tatars remain missing and one body has been found. "

4. Canadian Foreign Minister: Russia must immediately withdraw its troops and weapons from Ukraine
Canadian Foreign Minister J. Baird stated, “Canada is deeply concerned by the escalation in violence in eastern Ukraine and by the reported movement of additional Russian troops and weapons into Ukraine in recent days. Russia must immediately withdraw its troops and weapons from sovereign Ukrainian territory and cease its material support to insurgents. Russia and the insurgents must also adhere to the ceasefire and remove heavy weaponry from the agreed-upon areas. Canada is monitoring developments closely and will continue to work with partners and allies to maintain pressure on Russia to cease its aggression.”

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