Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 26 June, 2014, 7 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

26 June, 2014, 7 PM Kyiv time

1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

Despite promises by the self-proclaimed “representatives” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” to abide by a ceasefire until 27 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists continued to attack Ukrainian armed forces checkpoints and positions. The National Security and Defense Council reported at noon, Kyiv time, that in the last 24 hours, Kremlin-backed armed extremists attacked seven checkpoints and Ukrainian armed forces positions. The attacks took place near Slovyansk, Kryva Luka and Kramatorsk, Donetsk oblast. All attacks were repelled. On the morning of 26 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists attacked Ukrainian armed forces near the airport in Kramatorsk. The attack was repelled. There are unconfirmed reports that as of 6 pm Kyiv time, the airport is again under attack. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that the Russian Federation’s Border Service continues to let militants through checkpoints into Ukraine. The State Border Service of Ukraine also reports that Russian border guards are opening fire on Kremlin-backed armed extremists who are trying to return to the Russian Federation from Ukraine. On 25 June, near Provallya, Luhansk oblast, “near the border line, Russian border guards shot up a “GAZelle” [midsized truck], in which were present citizens of the Russian Federation, who took part in battles on the territory of Ukraine on the side of the terrorists.”

2. Poroshenko speaks at Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Ukraine President P. Poroshenko spoke at PACE, ahead of the signing of the second part of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement on27 June, stating “It is absolutely necessary to stop the financing of terrorist groups in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which is taking place on behalf of the Russian Federation. This is the second stage of Russian aggression. In 2008, we witnessed it in Georgia. In 2014, it is happening at the expense of the sovereignty of Ukraine. The question of who will be next is open. That is why Europe today must demonstrate unity and solidarity…Aggression today is overwhelming and it engulfs Russian society. It constitutes the basis for both its policy and social attitude towards Ukraine, but Ukraine has found confidence and moral strength. It is obvious that without the return of Crimea, normalisation of relations with Russia will not be possible. We are, however, a peaceful people. The Ukrainian authorities and I – personally, as the Ukrainian President – have come up with a peace plan, because there must be dialogue and a readiness to reach an agreement for the sake of human life…Before my plan was made public, it was debated with representatives of all legitimate bodies of power in Donbass. The business elite, who represent the biggest enterprises in the Donetsk region, unanimously support it. The unilateral cease-fire became effective as of 10 p.m. on 20 June and will last until 10 p.m. tomorrow. Our task has been to switch from military defence of the border to control by peaceful means. Once that is sustainable, we will look to the OSCE to step up its efforts in establishing strict, unbiased monitoring on the ground and at every check point to stop the in-flow of insurgents, tanks and armoured vehicles. We are ready to call officially on the Russian representatives to get involved in monitoring the Ukraine border to ensure that the obligations that we have undertaken are strictly observed. The peace plan was supported by all major countries of the world and Ukraine is extremely grateful to them for that. At the same time, it is clear that the peace plan will work only if Russia plays along. Sadly, so far Moscow’s support has been insufficient. It is good news that the Russian Federation Council is not going to declare war on Ukraine, but, while Russia has not declared war, war is being waged at this very minute because it has not pulled back its mercenaries, so well equipped and highly motivated militants are coming in…I urge Russia once again to contribute to resolving the situation. Please support the peace plan with deeds and not just words.”

3. Kerry: Critical for Russia to show in next hours that they are moving to disarm separatists

US Secretary of State J. Kerry stated after a meeting with French Foreign Minister L. Fabius that “we are in full agreement that it is critical for Russia to show in the next hours, literally, that they are moving to help disarm the separatists, to encourage them to disarm, to call on them to lay down their weapons and begin to become part of a legitimate political process. And the European Community will be meeting on their component of the sanctions. We all agree that they need to be ready. But our preference is not to have to be into a sanctions mode. We would like to see a cooperative effort between the United States, Europe, and Russia and the Ukrainians. And we are going to try to encourage that as much as we can.”



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