Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – July 16, 2014
Internal Security News
- Fighting raged in Ukraine's east on July 16 when separatists tried to break through the lines of government forces near the border with Russia and a tentative step towards agreeing conditions for a ceasefire failed.
- The press service of the self-proclaimed ‘Novorossiya’ stated that insurgents of the “Luhansk People's Republic” encircled the Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation forces near the border checkpoint in Izvaryne, with the Ukrainian army sustaining tangible losses.
- The Ukrainian Armed Forces resumed flights within the area of the military operation in the eastern part of the country, which were suspended after an Antonov An-26 military transport plane was shot down in the Luhansk region on July 14.
- (ITAR-TASS) The press service of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk told ITAR-TASS that Ukrainian aviation delivered an air strike at the town of Shakhtyorsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Militants also reported that an Su-25 assault aircraft was shot down over the town of Snizhne, which remained unconfirmed by the press service. Gunfire at positions of the Ukrainian forces near the village of Marynivka in the Shakhtyorsk district continued on July 16.
- (ITAR-TASS) The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic instituted martial law in the city of Donetsk, with a curfew in place from 23:00 to 06:00.
- (ITAR-TASS) Militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic took control of the village of Marinivka on the Russian border.
- (ITAR-TASS) Militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics launched an offensive on the Ukrainian National Guard forces in eastern Donetsk Region at 5AM local time.
- (ITAR-TASS) An explosion rocked a stretch of a railway connecting two residential areas in Ukraine’s embattled southeastern Donetsk Region. The blast damaged the railway between the residential settlements of Novobakhmutovka and Gorlovka and was the second explosion at the location recently Three bridges had been blown up in Donetsk since July 13, located on the Rostov-Kharkiv highway, on the railway near the Bakhmutovka village, and across the Seversky Donets near the village of Zakotnoye. In addition, 2 bridges had been blown up in Luhansk.
- One person died and nine were injured in gunfire in Luhansk from July 15-16, the Luhansk City Council press service said.
- 11 Ukrainian servicemen died during the same period in eastern Ukraine, said National Security and Defense Council information center spokesman Andriy Lysenko.
- (ITAR-TASS) Two Ukrainian border guards were taken to hospital with heavy wounds in Russia’s southern Rostov region.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The Donetsk City Council reported overnight gunfire on the evening of July 15-16.
- (RIA Novosti) Horlivka’s self-defense militia leader Ihor Belzer alleged that foreign contractors are fighting against separatist militias in the southeast of Ukraine.
- (RIA Novosti) Belzer also claimed that militants can prove to the UN the Ukrainian Army uses prohibited weapons, including cluster bombs. The United Nations was prepared to investigate information on Kyiv’s use of banned military weapons if appropriate evidence were to be presented, UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay told RIA Novosti.
- (ITAR-TASS) The international contact group on Ukraine is deeply concerned over an absence of dialogue with representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, the press office of the OSCE said.
- The Ukrainian government is not considering martial law in the eastern part of the country, National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
- (ITAR-TASS) Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine hopes to restore the infrastructure in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in southeast Ukraine from the state budget, thanks to private investors and international aid.
- (RIA Novosti) Yatsenyuk stated that Ukrainian oligarchs should allocate funds for the restoration of damages incurred during the fighting in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
- An advisor to the Interior Minister said that Ukraine's Interior Ministry is recording crimes committed by anti-government militants in the east of the country as part of the evidence base that will be used in international courts for claims against the Russian Federation.
- White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the United States won't provide in advance any clear cut information about the probable 'timing or scope' of sanctions that the United States will impose on Russia over Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian presidential administration was considering the possibility of severing diplomatic relations with neighboring Russia but thinks that it is still not the right time to sever diplomatic relations, Valeriy Chalyi, a deputy chief of the Ukrainian presidential staff, told journalists.
- (ITAR-TASS) Two shells fired from Ukraine hit Russian territory near the Kuibyshevo multi-way automobile border-crossing point.
- The German government criticized Russia for failing to meet commitments agreed earlier this month on de-escalating the violence in Ukraine and said the European Union remained ready to impose further sanctions on Russia if necessary.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the issue of support from the international community for the settlement of the situation in Donbas ahead of a European Council meeting on July 16. Poroshenko also spoke by phone with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, who reiterated that the US is determined to support Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
- (Interfax Ukraine) European Union leaders were intending to expand sanctions against Russia, according to a draft document of conclusions obtained by Bloomberg. The EU planned to seek to stop the funding of new Russian projects through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EU could also order the European Investment Bank (EIB) to stop funding new projects in Russia's public sector.
- (ITAR-TASS) German Chancellor Merkel and UK Prime Minister Cameron stated that the EU summit on July 16 in Brussels was planning to discuss sanctions against Russia.
- Washington reacted positively to the extension of the "black list" of the European Union due to the situation in Ukraine, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
- (ITAR-TASS) The “punitive” military operation in Ukraine’s southeast heightens the humanitarian situation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
International Observation Missions
- A three-member assessment mission of the OSCE arrived in Rostov-on-Don to examine the situation of refugees on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk presented draft amendments to the state budget for 2014 at a government meeting.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Ukrainian Premier Arseniy Yatseniuk demanded a response to the unreasonable rise in prices in the town of Sloviansk of Donetsk region. His statement appeared after a report by the first deputy head of Donetsk Regional State Administration, Andiy Nikolayenko, who said that abuses have been registered in transport, at drugstores, as well as in supermarkets of the ATB network that have resumed work.
- (RIA Novsoti) Kyiv has made very little headway toward coveted reforms, while the chances of following through on the needed changes are dwindling, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said.
Greg Austin interprets Putin’s latest speeches and sheds light on Russia’s point-of-view. Read more
Writing for New Europe, EWI's Professorial Fellow Greg Austin argues that the creation of the Eurasian Union—a union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan—will test relations with the EU. Read more
There were clear warning signs to the Ukraine crisis, says Greg Austin. "If we want to get that future plan right, we do need to have some understanding of what went wrong." Read more
Greg Austin writes "The Luhansk Border: A New Crisis Point," for New Europe. Read more
EWI’s Danila Bochkarev busts some prevailing myths and explains why the Ukraine crisis is a political earthquake and not an energy quake. Read more
Bochkarev says the recent China-Russia gas deal is more practical than political. Read more