Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – July 22, 2014
Internal Security News
- (Interfax Ukraine) The situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine remained complicated and may continue to worsen, the press center of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) said. A Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint, located near the town of Vesela Hora in the Donetsk region, came under Grad rocket strikes in the early morning hours of July 22. Militants also fired Grad systems against another Ukrainian army checkpoint near the town of Kamysheve, as well as the Luhansk airport. Militants were attempting to maintain their control over Horlivka, Avdiyivka, Donetsk, parts of Uspenka, Marynivka and Diakove.
- A refrigerated train carrying the remains of 282 victims of the Malaysian airliner which crashed in the Donetsk region arrived in the city of Kharkiv, outside rebel territory. The Ukrainian government said it will do "its best" to send the remains to the Netherlands on July 22.
- Explorations of the MH17 crash site were completed on July 22. Over 140 sq. km were inspected including 2.1 sq. km of the Hrabovske reservoir, according to the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
- Rebels in eastern Ukraine have handed over two flight-data recorders from the downed MH17 plane to Malaysian experts. A senior rebel leader signed them over to the Malaysian officials at a meeting in the city of Donetsk.
- OSCE monitors were initially granted very little access to the crash site, which was controlled by rebel forces on July 18. Over the weekend, increased access was granted to observers and investigators, but the site remained largely unsecured, with fears that access by local civilians and rebels would contaminate the investigation and wide condemnation of rebel behavior at the site, which was marked by drunkenness and looting, with reports that credit cards belonging to victims had been stolen and used. Parts of the plane wreckage have been changed since OSCE officials at the site last saw it, spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told BBC World Update. Large pieces of the plane have been cut into, he said.
- Ukraine's army captured the strategically important town of Severodonetsk, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov tweeted.
- (ITAR-TASS) Accident investigation experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) arrived in Ukraine over the weekend to begin assisting their Ukrainian counterparts with the official accident investigation into the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
- Ukraine's parliament approved a presidential decree on July 22 to call up more military reserves and men under 50 to fight rebels in eastern Ukraine and defend the border against a concentration of troops in Russia.
- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the countries whose citizens were killed on Flight MH17 to consider the possibility of sending civilian police units to guard the plane's crash site in eastern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian forces took full control of Donetsk airport as they continued to fight pro-Russian rebels in the eastern Ukraine city.
- (ITAR-TASS) From July 21-22, military confrontation in southeastern Ukraine’s Luhansk killed five civilians, injured sixteen, and damaged 22 houses and infrastructure facilities.
- (ITAR-TASS) A number of foreign football players fled clubs in eastern Ukraine.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The Verkhovna Rada adopted a statement proposing to declare the Malaysian Boeing-777 passenger plane crash as a terrorist attack committed by militants with the support of the Russian authorities.
- Russia will do everything for a comprehensive and transparent investigation of the Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a Russian Security Council meeting on July 22. He also called on Kyiv for a ceasefire for the period of the investigation.
- Putin stated to the Russian Security Council that "Russia is being presented with what is almost an ultimatum: 'Let us destroy this part of the population that is ethnically and historically close to Russia and we will not impose sanctions against you.’ This is a strange and unacceptable logic." Despite Western sanctions, he said Moscow would stand by separatists in eastern Ukraine whom he described as part of a popular rising against an illegal coup.
- Attitudes towards Russia have changed "fundamentally" since last week's downing of a Malaysian airliner, and the European Union must put pressure on Moscow to do more to calm the unrest in eastern Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
- Ukrainian President Poroshenko compared the downing of MH17 to 9/11 and Lockerbie. “This is a danger for the whole world.”
- A spokesman for Ukraine's Security Council said on July 21 that Kyiv had evidence the missile that brought down a Malaysian airliner last week came from Russia despite Moscow's denials. "There is evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation," said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's Security Council.
- Vitaly Nayda, Ukraine's director of informational security, told CNN that he is certain a Russian officer personally pushed the button to shoot down the plane.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry said of the US-Russia relationship: “There is no question of trust with, you know, that would be ridiculous at this point in time to be trusting. What I’m saying is that this is the moment of truth for Russia and for Mr. Putin, where they need to stop just saying things, and they need to make sure that they happen.”
- Russia's Defense Ministry on July 21 challenged accusations pro-Russian rebels were to blame for shooting down a Malaysian airliner and asked the United States to produce satellite images to support its assertions. The ministry alleged that a Ukrainian fighter plane had shadowed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, implying that the Ukrainian government had a hand in its being shot down.
- European Union foreign ministers threatened Russia with harsher sanctions over Ukraine, but tougher talk may not be matched by much action after France's president signalled the disputed delivery of a warship to Moscow would go ahead.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The foreign ministers of the EU member states at a meeting in Brussels approved a decision to send a police mission to Ukraine as part of the EU's Common Security and Defense Policy.
- (ITAR-TASS) The Netherlands agreed to take on leadership in investigating the circumstances of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans said.
- (ITAR-TASS) The Russian Foreign Ministry noted the importance of the UN Security Council’s call to all the parties to the Ukrainian conflict to stop combat actions in the area of the Malaysian Boeing crash and ensure access of investigative bodies, including the OSCE special monitoring mission, to the site.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there is "no military threat, no threat to sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country as of today."
- The UK government denied that the decision to launch a public inquiry into the killing of the Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is in response to the downing of the Malaysian airliner.
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