Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 31 March 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
31 March 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Tryokhizbenka and Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars and artillery. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions southwest of Horlivka and shelled Ukrainian positions at Pisky with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Shyrokyne with mortars, firing over 100 shells. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Hranitne and Maryinka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s President arrives in US on working visit
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko arrived yesterday in Washington on a working visit. Poroshenko will take part in the Nuclear Security Summit, attend the “Ukraine’s Lasting Struggle for Freedom” Forum, and hold a series of meetings. Poroshenko will meet with US Vice President J. Biden, Secretaries of Commerce and the Treasury, and leaders of the US MIC companies. Poroshenko will also meet with A. Duda, the President of Poland, Dutch PM M. Rutte, President of Argentina M. Marci, and Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon, Poroshenko’s press service reported.
3. Ukraine’s President addresses World Affairs Councils of America
Speaking at the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated, “Since I’ve visited America last time, Ukraine has effectively stopped the Russian offensive. The price we have paid is striking. Almost 10,000 people have died. […] 19 months after we initiated the Minsk process, I still receive reports about losses and shelling of our positions in the frontline every single day. Every morning I have a report from Chief of the General Staff, General of the Ukrainian Army Muzhenko. Unfortunately, every day we have from 50 to 100 shelling per day. Russia continues sending troops, heavy weapons and ammunition into Ukraine a few times a week. Only since January 1, 2016, Russian trains and trucks full of supplies have illegally crossed the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border over 80 times. […]In 1994, Ukraine abandoned the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal. […]We got security assurances under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum about sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of my country. […] Russia simply defied its assurances to Ukraine and committed a direct armed aggression against my state. […]
We, Ukrainians, are entitled to call upon the Western guarantors under the Memorandum to take all possible efforts to restore international justice and order, to help us in our battle for survival and independent, democratic and European future. […]Sanctions are the only ‘line in the sand’ that the West drew after 2014. It is the only line between good and evil drawn in the context of this war. And if there is no line anymore – than what’s the difference between good and evil? […]Therefore, without sustainable peace in Donbas – sanctions must stay in place. Without restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea – sanctions must stay in place. […]And if the perpetrator keeps killing and stirring instability – it does not mean the sanctions do not work and must be lifted. It means they must be strengthened. […] The US support has been critical for successful resistance to the Russian aggression. It is high time to boost Ukraine-US bilateral dialogue in form and content. It is also time to upgrade our strategic alliance and to channel our intense cooperation in defense and security into a comprehensive bilateral security agreement. […] Ukraine’s fight is a fight for freedom.  And this fight continues.” A full transcript of Poroshenko’s remarks is available at http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/vistup-prezidenta-ukrayini-na-forumi-bitva-ukrayini-za-svobo-36927
4. Council of Europe Ministers’ Deputies call for Russia to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko
The Council of Europe Ministers’ Deputies “expressed their concern following the sentencing of Ms Savchenko on 22 March by a court of the Russian Federation;  further expressed their concern with regard to the deteriorating health condition of Ms Savchenko during her ongoing illegal detention in the Russian Federation;  deplored the failure to grant access to a medical team, trusted by Ms Savchenko, to examine her, as well as to grant access to members of her family;  recalled that any person within the jurisdiction of member States must fully enjoy the guarantees provided by the European Convention on Human Rights and the other relevant Council of Europe instruments; called upon the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Nadiya Savchenko, on humanitarian grounds, and in keeping with the ‘Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements’.”

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