Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 30 June, 2014, 10 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

30 June, 2014, 10 PM Kyiv time

1Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

On 27 June, Ukraine President P. Poroshenko extended the unilateral ceasefire until 30 June, 10 PM Kyiv time. Despite promises by the self-proclaimed “representatives” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” to abide by a ceasefire until 30 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists continued to attack Ukrainian armed forces checkpoints and positions. On 29 June, at a briefing by the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Y. Mykolenks stated that a large amount of the weaponry seized by the Ukrainian armed forces from Kremlin-backed armed extremists “have foreign origins…most likely we can say that the Russian Federation is the country of origin of the seized materiel and weaponry.” On 29 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists attacked a column of Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) forces near Nyzhnia Olkhivka. During the night of 28-29 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists attacked ATO checkpoints with mortar fire near Slovyansk, Donetsk oblast, near the Kramatorsk airport, and near Biryukovo, Luhansk oblast. The Ministry of Defense stated on 29 June that “there are facts showing that militants from [occupied] Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Caucuses are leaving the zone of the ATO. The reason for this may be the end of ‘contracts’ or fear by the militants that the Russian Federation will cease supporting them.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that almost 300 soldiers of the National Guard unit 3037 broke through an encirclement of a National Guard base and joined up with ATO forces near Donetsk city. The weapons and ammunition in the base were detonated by the National Guard before breaking out of the encirclement. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that they shot down an unmanned drone aircraft equipped with a camera over an armed forces base in Luhansk oblast. The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reports that they have detained a “terrorist group that was planning to blow up railroad tracks” on the Kyiv-Kharkiv track. Five men were detained placing explosives on the track. The SBU stated that the men were acting on the orders of the diversionist Ihor Bezler (aka ‘Bez’). The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine reported that the 4-member team of OSCE observers in Luhansk oblast, which had been held in captivity since 29 May, were released on 28 June. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that since the announcement of the ceasefire by President Poroshenko, 108 violations of the ceasefire have been committed by Kremlin-backed armed extremists; 27 Ukrainian armed forces personnel have been killed and 69 wounded.

2. Poroshenko meeting with National Security and Defense Council

As the deadline for the ceasefire announced by President Poroshenko expires at 10 PM Kyiv time, according to reports the President is meeting with the National Security and Defense Council. The results of the meeting and next steps by the President have not been announced publicly as of 10 PM Kyiv time.

3. Poroshenko, Merkel, Hollande, Putin speak

President Poroshenko spoke with German Chancellor Merkel, French President Hollande and Russian President Putin. Poroshenko “underlined that, unfortunately, agreements made during the previous four-sided discussion have not been carried out.” The four leaders agreed on the necessity to organize consultations of the contact group with the participation of former Ukrainian president L. Kuchma, Russian Ambassador M. Zurabov and OSCE special representative H. Tagliavini, in order to discuss a “bilateral unconditional ceasefire, release of all hostages that are illegally being held, institution of control on the Russia-Ukraine border with the monitoring and verification of the OSCE.”

4. Russian sailors arrive in France for training

The Navy of the Russian Federation stated that some 400 Russian sailors arrived in France for training on the “Mistral” class warship that France recently completed as part of a contract with the Russian government. The French government refused to cancel the contract despite Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea and Russia’s continuing support for violence in eastern Ukraine. The French government signed a contract to deliver two “Mistral” class warships for 1.2 billion Euros with the Russian Federation in 2011.

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