Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 4 August 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
4 August 2016, 7 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 at Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyvika with mortars. At Zaytseve, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Horlivka and the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist force shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka with mortars. At Shyrokyne, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Maryinka, Hranitne and Talakivka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Four possible motives of murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet being investigated 
D. Holovin, Head of the National Police Criminal Investigation Department stated today that four possible motives for the murder of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet are being investigated, Radio Svoboda reported. Sheremet, a journalist with Ukrainska Pravda, was murdered in a car bomb explosion in Kyiv on 20 July. According to Holovin, the four possible motives being investigated are a direct personal hatred of the victim; the professional journalistic activity of the victim; the goal of destabilization of the situation in Kyiv and Ukraine through the murder of a prominent journalist; and mistaken target, as the car in which Sheremet was killed was owned by his partner, Olena Prytula, editor of Ukrainska Pravda, Radio Svoboda reported.
3. Poland’s PGNiG starts gas deliveries to Ukraine
 Poland’s state-run PGNiG stated today that it has started gas supplies to industrial consumers in Ukraine, through an agreement with private gas company Eru Trading, Reuters reported. Poland and Ukraine “are aiming to expand the connection linking their gas systems to 5-8 billion cubic metres (bcm) in a few years from 1.5 bcm now. Linking the gas grids is a part of a wider project designed to connect Poland’s Baltic Sea liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal with central and eastern European countries, known as the North-South Gas Corridor. Polish officials said earlier this year Poland would like to send gas to Ukraine, after launching its first LNG terminal at the Baltic Sea,” Reuters reported.
4. Atlantic Council: “We need to understand that from Putin’s standpoint he is at war with America”
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, stated, “Russia’s recent hacking attacks on the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the US House of Representatives reflect Moscow’s view that it is in a state of political war with the United States, if not the West. Efforts to take down Western political institutions are hardly a new phenomenon. Moscow has previously sought to take down the Viktor Yushchenko government in Ukraine, the governments in Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Kyrgyzstan, and used cyberattacks to penetrate the Bundestag, the Pentagon, and other foreign political institutions. Nevertheless, the brazen quality of this most recent episode reflects Russia’s heightened aggressiveness and confirms Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper’s observation that Russian cyber threats are the most dangerous ones we face. But the real issue is not whether Donald Trump is a Manchurian candidate. Rather it is that Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing for keeps. These new revelations represent the latest examples of his global efforts to interfere with, discredit, and corrupt the integrity of governments and democratic institutions everywhere. Moreover, the Russians apparently wanted to get caught. And they had a reason for doing so. […]  Moreover, the recent hacks suggest an organized plan to strike back at the United States, which Putin believes is doing similar things to him, disrupt the integrity of the US elections, portray Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in the worst possible light, and obtain intelligence that could be used to blackmail or compromise American politicians. This much is clear. It is equally clear that Trump is totally reckless and irresponsible: he invited Moscow to further hack Clinton’s email account after threatening to break up NATO and recognize Crimea as Russian. Moreover, Trump has already been caught in several lies about his relationship to Russia. Perhaps it is true that Trump has not invested in Russia. But there is no doubt that Russian oligarchs under Moscow’s thumb are deeply invested in his properties that are reportedly highly leveraged. […] The Obama administration and Congress must investigate to prevent recurrences of such hacking attacks on both parties and other key institutions like those that oversee elections. The United States also needs to retaliate in ways that need not be public but that make the right impression upon Putin and his subordinates. Finally, we need to understand that from Putin’s standpoint he is at war with America and act accordingly. Failure to grasp this fact stems from either an unwillingness to face the facts or willful ignorance. Ignorance is never a virtue, while shilling for Putin is still a vice.” The full article is available athttp://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/trump-s-dangerous-bromance-with-putin-is-a-national-security-threat

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