Ukraine: Daily Briefing – March 7, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 7, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
 
#OpUNIFIER training
      
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours one Ukrainian soldier was killed and five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 102 times on Ukrainian positions in the last 24 hours, including 57 times with heavy weapons. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Zaytseve with mortars. Near Avdiivka, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy mortar shelling. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Chermalyk-Shyrokyne line with mortars and tanks. At Vodyane, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrianian positions near Krymske with artillery and mortars. Near Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars.
2. Canada extends military training mission to Ukraine
On March 6, Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland announced that the Government of Canada is extending Canada’s military training mission to Ukraine, Operation UNIFIER, until the end of March 2019. The Department of National Defence stated, “Through Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces provides military training and capacity-building assistance to Ukrainian Forces personnel in support of Ukraine’s efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability. Together with our allies and the Government of Ukraine, the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to support the professional development and enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces through a range of training activities such as: small team training; explosive ordnance disposal; military policing; medical training; logistics system modernization. The Canadian Armed Forces will also be transitioning over time to support strategic institutional reform of Ukraine’s defence establishment.” Jonathan H. Vance, Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff, stated, “Our highly-skilled soldiers have provided valuable military training and capacity building to our partners in Ukraine, and they will now continue to do so. I am confident this renewed mission will help the Ukrainian Armed Forces ensure stability in the region.” The full press release from the Government of Canada is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2017/03/canada_renews_itsmilitarycommitmenttoukraine.html
3. First day of hearings in Ukraine v. Russian Federation case at International Court of Justice
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported on Ukraine’s case against Russia at the International Court of Justice. The first day of hearings took place on March 6.  KHPG stated, “Ukraine presented a weight of arguments and examples to back its accusations against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and gross violations of human rights under occupation, and over its financing of terrorism in Donbas.  While Russia denies all charges, Ukraine’s case is backed by documents from the UN, OSCE, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, international human rights organizations, as well as NATO satellite imagery.   […]  One of the key focuses in Ukraine’s suit is on the compelling evidence of grave erosion of fundamental rights and liberties in Crimea under Russian occupation.  It is no accident that human rights activists played a considerable part in compiling evidence for the court. If the Court does agree that there is a case to answer, examination of all the evidence could take several years, and both the military conflict in Donbas, and the discrimination and political persecution in Crimea are ongoing. For this reason, Ukraine’s lawyers on Monday stressed the need for specific provisional measures now to prevent still further irreparable damage. In a 45-page document, Ukraine presents its reasons for accusing Russia of violating two UN conventions, namely the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Although the International Court of Justice has no instruments to enforce its judgements, the very fact of it finding against Russia would have enormous weight.  ICJ is the official judicial organ of the United Nations, which Russia has been a member of from 1945.  It cannot now turn around and say that it won’t accept its authority. […] Russia can petulantly refuse to ‘play’, but this does not remove its accountability. A judgement against Russia may not force the latter to stop its aggression and its rights violations, but it would be another strong argument against those politicians in other countries who have expressed willingness to make deals with Russia involving at least Ukraine’s tacit acceptance of Russian rule in Crimea.  Just the outline of repression and terror tactics in Crimea given on March 6 make it clear why that cannot be accepted.” The full report from KHPG is available at http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1488816597
4. Kyiv court sets bail in corruption case of former head of Ukraine’s tax service
Voice of America reported, “A Kyiv court set bail Monday for the former head of Ukraine’s tax service who had recently been named a suspect in a major corruption case involving the embezzlement of approximately $74 million. The case against Roman Nasirov is seen by some as the first real test of the country’s new National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU).Nasirov’s bail has been set at $3.7 million. If he doesn’t pay he’ll be held in pre-trial detention for two months. […] On Sunday, civil activists gathered outside the courthouse due to fears that Nasirov, who claimed to have had a heart attack after being removed from his post, might be released without being charged. The protesters brought tents and vowed to camp outside the courthouse in order to prevent Nasirov’s release.”

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