Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crisis in Ukraine - UCC Briefing - 9,000+ Russian troops in Ukraine, 50,000 on border

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
21 January 2015, 7 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 Kremlin-backed terrorists continued to shell Ukrainian positions and continued attempts to expand the area under their control. Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions towards Luhansk, Debaltsevo, and Donetsk with artillery, mortars, grenade launchers, tanks and Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Battles at the Donetsk airport continued; Ukrainian forces there were reinforced with reserves and ammunition. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 40 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. The RNBO reported that advances by Kremlin-backed terrorists and Russian forces in the area of checkpoints 29 and 31, (near the Bakhmutska highway, which were attacked yesterday by regular units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation) have been stopped. The Ministry of Defense reported at 3 PM Kyiv time that Ukrainian forces west of Horlivka, Donetsk oblast repelled an attack by Kremlin-backed terrorists, destroying their armored vehicles.

2. MFA of Ukraine: more than 50,000 Russian troops amassed on Ukraine-Russia border
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “The Russian Federation has concentrated along the Ukrainian-Russian border over 50,000 Russian troops, who are in full battle readiness, and deployed close to the Ukrainian border weapons and military equipment, which earlier were not deployed in border areas of the Russian Federation.”

3. Ukrainian President: More than 9000 Russian troops on Ukrainian territory

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko stated that according to intelligence and independent sources, there are more than 9000 Russian troops of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory, more than 500 tanks, heavy artillery and armored personnel carriers. “If this is not aggression, what is aggression?” Poroshenko asked.

4. NATO Secretary General calls on Russia to withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine
NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated, “[W]e have seen over a period of several months that there are Russian forces inside eastern Ukraine. As I underlined, we have also seen heavy equipment and we have seen an increase in Russian equipment inside eastern Ukraine. And we speak about equipment like tanks, artillery, armoured vehicles, advanced air defence systems and this Russian military presence with forces and equipment in eastern Ukraine does not contribute to a peaceful and negotiated solution. That’s the reason why we call on Russia to stop supporting the separatists, to withdraw its own forces from eastern Ukraine and to respect the Minsk agreement.”

5. Ukraine requests Extended Fund Facility arrangement with IMF
C. Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated after meeting with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Davos, Switzerland, that the Ukrainian authorities have requested “a multiyear arrangement with the Fund, supported by the Extended Fund Facility, to replace the existing Stand-By Arrangement. […]We will consult with the IMF Executive Board on the authorities’ request. Following the Executive Board’s agreement to proceed, the Fund mission currently in Kyiv would begin discussing the policy program underpinning the authorities’ request. Discussions are ongoing on official financing support from Ukraine’s international partners.”

6. US President's State of the Union Address: "Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters"
During the State of the Union address on 20 January, US President B. Obama stated, “We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small -- by opposing Russian aggression, and supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies.  Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, as we were reinforcing our presence with frontline states, Mr. Putin’s aggression it was suggested was a masterful display of strategy and strength.  That's what I heard from some folks.  Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters.”

7. US Mission to OSCE: We don’t need new agreements. We need Russia to honor the agreements it has already made
Speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 20 January, US Representative to the OSCE Ambassador D. Baer stated, “It is all well and good to call on all sides to observe the ceasefire, but we must all also recognize that when you and I agree to a pact of non-violence, and you try to strangle me, we don’t have equal culpability if I resist your violent attack. Now that Ukraine is again actively defending its territory, Russia is cynically calling for a new peace plan and a renegotiated ceasefire. The agreed parameters of the ceasefire already exist. What we need is not a new agreement. What we need is serious implementation of the Minsk agreement by Russia and the separatists it backs: to respect the ceasefire that has already been agreed; to allow the OSCE to monitor the entire length of Russia’s border with Ukraine; and to release all hostages and illegally detained persons, including Nadia Savchenko and Oleg Sentsov, who are being held inside Russia. We don’t need any new agreements. We need Russia to honor the agreements it has already made.”

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