Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – August 18, 2014
Internal Security News
Ukrainian forces made advances against rebel fighters over the weekend, regaining control over the strategic town of Yasynuvata in Donetsk in the southeastern part of the country. They also made gains in Luhansk in the eastern part of Ukraine. The Ukrainian army entered Donetsk and raised the Ukrainian flag in front of the district's police offices.
Ukrainian government forces conducted a series of successful offensives in the area of the anti-terrorist operation, encircling the town of Horlivka in Donetsk region and taking full control of a section of the M-04 highway near Luhansk.
(Interfax Ukraine) Russian humanitarian aid will reach the Izvaryne-Donetsk border checkpoint in batches and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will escort the humanitarian convoys after they are cleared by border guards and customs, Ukrainian State Fiscal Service head Anatoliy Makarenko reported.
(ITAR-TASS) Ukrainian armed forces encircled Luhansk and now control several of the city’s districts.
Pro-Russian gunmen opened fire with mortars and multiple Grad rocket launchers on a column of refugees in the settlements of Khriaschuvate and Novosvitlivka in Luhansk region. “Many people were killed, including women and children,” said NSDC spokesman Andriy Lysenko. A spokesman for Ukraine's national security council sad "dozens" of civilians were killed in the refugee convoy, which was flying white flags.
(Interfax Ukraine) The Donetsk water and draining system authorities urged residents of Donetsk to stock up on water.
(Interfax Ukraine) Nine Ukrainian military service members were killed in the military-operation zone in east Ukraine over the past 24 hours.
(RIA Novosti) The death penalty was introduced in the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People's Republic” for the gravest crimes, the republic’s press center reported.
(ITAR-TASS) 22,000 Ukrainian citizens fled war-torn Donetsk and Luhansk between August 8 and 15, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
(RIA Novosti) Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov alleged that “the Kyiv government fails to control numerous armed groups, including the Right Sector.”
- A convoy of Russian trucks bearing humanitarian aid continued its journey toward the Ukrainian border amid fears that it could be used as a pretext for an invasion. The convoy, with over 200 trucks, took off towards the direction of Rostov early on the morning of August 14, fuelling speculation that the trucks would try to enter Ukraine through separatist territory instead of an official Kyiv-controlled border crossing as originally promised.
- (Interfax Ukraine) A spokesman for the NSDC said that the Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid will be blocked unless it is inspected by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers in the presence of the ICRC.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian President Vladimir Putin described the current situation in Ukraine as “bloody chaos”, pledging that Moscow will make every effort to stop the conflict.
- Putin said that Russia would stand up for itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside world, a conciliatory note after months of tough rhetoric over the crisis in Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) demanded a full list of items contained in Russia’s relief convoy bound for southeast Ukraine.
- A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said that a senior official of the ICRC will travel to Kyiv and Moscow for talks on the delivery of Russian aid to eastern Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission said that OSCE observers have not detected any troop movement on the Russian-Ukrainian border at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints.
- (RIA Novosti) Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov dismissed Ukrainian media outlets' reports that Russian military vehicles crossed the border with Ukraine.
- (Interfax Ukraine) German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that she does not accept Russia's actions committed in relation to Ukraine, and that she would never accept the annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
- (Interfax Ukraine) EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton convened an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council scheduled for August 15 in Brussels focusing on major crises in Iraq and Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) The U.S. delegation at the United Nations promised to “positively influence Kyiv” in the issue of relief aid delivery to eastern Ukraine, said Russian U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin. Churkin also stated that the United Nations is becoming more unbiased in assessing the situation in eastern Ukraine and has begun to sound alarm about possible attack on the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.
- (ITAR-TASS) Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Olexander Turchynov said that Ukraine can deliver all reforms required for its joining the European Union within five years. “We are setting the aim to join the European Union within five years,” he said. “Ukraine should become a member of the European Union and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
- (RIA Novosti) Russian FM Lavrov said that Moscow has the right to make decisions on security measures on its territory because hostilities continue a few kilometers away from its border with Ukraine.
- The Prime Minister of Finland said that the European Union and NATO are unable to give military support to Ukrainian troops fighting pro-Russian separatists.
- Russia's foreign minister said that full agreement has been reached on the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine after talks in Berlin, but no deal had been reached on achieving a ceasefire.
- The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was hearing three cases against Russia under an initiative of the Ukrainian government.