Ukraine: Daily Briefing – May 12, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 12, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian T-64BM tank crews participate in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge in Germany. Ukraine is one of six NATO and partner countries participating.
PHOTO – US 7th Army

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, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka and Svitlodarsk with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Horlivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line with mortars. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske with mortars. At Stanytsia Luhanska, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions.
2. US Mission to OSCE: We do not and will not accept Russia’s efforts to change the borders of Ukraine
Speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on May 11, US charge-d’affaires Kate Byrnes stated, “The tragic death of mission member Joseph Stone on April 23 should have signaled an end to the violence, intimidation, and harassment of the dedicated women and men of the SMM. As the Permanent Council reaffirmed after that tragic incident, the SMM should have safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. However, in recent days, an incoming shell nearly struck an SMM patrol, warning shots were fired near monitors, and SMM patrol members were held at gunpoint at separatist checkpoints. We are gravely concerned by the May 5 incident in which Russian-led separatist forces held SMM personnel at gunpoint and sexually harassed a female monitor. […] The violence must stop, and those responsible must be held to account. We call upon Russia to direct the forces under its control to end such treatment of OSCE personnel. And as we continue to mourn the death of Joseph Stone, we echo our call for an impartial and thorough investigation into the cause of his death. Despite a deliberate pattern of behavior by Russian-led separatist forces aimed at weakening the SMM and preventing the international community from observing separatist activities, over the last three months the SMM has documented a 750 percent increase in proscribed heavy weapons on territory the separatists control. [..] We remain deeply troubled by the serious reports of systemic abuses that continue to emerge from separatist-held territory. On May 3, a so-called tribunal set up by Russian-led separatists in Donetsk sentenced Ihor Kozlovsky to 32 months in prison on reportedly baseless charges of illegal weapons possession. […] No less disturbing are the actions of Russian occupation authorities in Crimea, where security forces have reportedly launched another wave of raids and searches of the homes of Crimean Tatars. On May 8, as members of the security forces searched the home of Ilver Ametov, head of the Sudak Regional Mejlis, they reportedly brutally beat and carried off his son, whose location remains unknown. […] Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has shaken the very foundations of security and stability in Europe, and is antithetical to a vision of Europe that is whole, free, and at peace. The United States affirms its staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders. We do not, and will not, accept Russia’s efforts to change the borders of Ukraine. We join our European partners in affirming that our sanctions on Russia will remain until it fully implements the Minsk agreements, and Crimea-related sanctions will remain until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”
3. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister meets with US President and Vice President
The White House stated on May 10, “Vice President Mike Pence met with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine today. The Vice President emphasized unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He underscored that the Minsk agreements remain the most viable path towards peace. Following that meeting, the President spoke with the Foreign Minister and reaffirmed U.S. support for Ukraine and his desire to work with our Ukrainian partners to peacefully resolve the conflict.”


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