Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crisis in Ukraine - UCC Daily Briefing

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
18 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 shelling by Kremlin-backed terrorists of Ukrainian positions diminished somewhat, and that there were no attacks on Ukrainian positions in the last 24 hours, as a result of the fact that in the last few days Kremlin-backed terrorists suffered heavy losses during attacks. At the same time, however, the use of Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) by Kremlin-backed terrorists increased in the last 24 hours. Towards Debaltsevo, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired mortars and small arms at a Ukrainian positions, and fired Grads at Ukrainian positions in the south end of the city. Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery and mortars near Orlovo-Ivanivka, Vuhlehirsk, Luhanske, and Donetskyi. The RNBO reported that according to operational information, several dozen bodies of Kremlin-backed terrorists and Russian soldiers who were killed near Debaltsevo, on the order of the leadership of Kremlin-backed terrorist groups, were thrown into a tunnel of a mine, which was then detonated. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to shell Ukrainian position near Stanytsia Luhanska, Petrivka, Troyokhizbenka and Shchastya. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists twice fired on Ukrainian positions at the Donetsk airport with artillery and small arms. Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with tanks near Taramchuk, Grads and mortars – near Troyitske, and mortars near Adviyivka. Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with tanks and mortars near Hranitne, Orlovske and Zamozhne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine wounded. The RNBO reported that the humanitarian situation in territories controlled by Kremlin-backed terrorists is getting worse, and that in Sverdlovsk, Luhansk oblast, Torez, and Yenakievo, Donetsk oblast, city residents took part in protests against the actions of Kremlin-backed terrorists.

2. Ukrainian President meets with German Foreign Minister; Weimar format for talks proposed
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko met with German Minister of Foreign Affairs F-W Steinmeier. According to the President’s press service, “In the context of the international efforts aimed at peaceful settlement, the parties agreed on the expediency of different multilateral formats of negotiations, which lead to the ceasefire, liberation of hostages, withdrawal of troops and heavy armament. In particular, except Geneva and Normandy format, the idea of the so-called Weimar format with Germany, Poland and France has been proposed.”

3. Ukrainian PM calls for renewal of talks in the Geneva format
Following a meeting with the PM of Norway, E. Solberg, Ukrainian PM A. Yatseniuk called for a renewal of talks in the Geneva format (with the participation of the USA, EU, Ukraine and Russia). Yatseniuk stated, “The Minsk agreement could be a way towards de-escalation. But Russia continues providing terrorists with lethal weapons, we cannot control the Ukrainian-Russian border – and this was a key requirement of the so-called Minsk agreement. […] There are no signs of de-escalation of the situation. Russia keeps aggravating the situation. We can confirm the presence of a large number of Russian troops in Ukraine, on the territory controlled by the terrorists headed by Russia. We call on Russia to withdraw its troops, its agents, artillery and tanks. […] We urge the Russian Federation to begin real negotiations. We believe that a Geneva format is the best one for such negotiations.”

4. NATO Secretary General meets with EU Defense Ministers
NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg met with EU Defense Ministers. He stated, “Russia is still destablising Ukraine. We see the movement of troops, of equipment, of tanks, of artillery, and also advanced air defence systems, and this is in violation of the ceasefire agreements. We call on Russia to bull back its forces from Eastern Ukraine and to respect the Minsk Agreements.” According to the NATO press service, “The Secretary General stressed that the EU and NATO are united in their support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

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