Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – August 5-August 11, 2017

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
August 5-August 11, 2017
Ukrainian armored personnel carrier participates in night-time live fire training exercise, Yavoriv. Photo – US Army Europe
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of August 4-August 10, five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 22 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 165 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 48 times with heavy weapons.
2. Human Rights Group reports on Russia’s illegal trial of Crimean Tatar Leader Akhtem Chiygoz
On August 11, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported on the illegal “trial” of Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Akhtem Chiygoz, who has been illegally imprisoned by Russian occupation “authorities” in Russian-occupied Crimea. KHPG states, “The sentence is expected on August 11 of Akhtem Chiygoz, Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and recognized political prisoner.
          He and other Crimean Tatars are on trial, as Chiygoz said in his final address, for upholding the law and for defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity, with Russia’s prosecution carried out by people who themselves turned traitors. Although Chiygoz has officially not been convicted, he has already been held in custody for two and a half years on openly lawless charges and an acquittal is not anticipated.
         Akhtem Chiygoz is himself clear not only that a prison sentence is awaited, but also that this is ‘a sentence directed against the entire Crimean Tatar people on behalf of the Russian Federation which has occupied my Homeland.’
          His words were spoken from the SIZO or remand prison since Russia is too scared of publicity and has prevented Chiygoz from attending his own trial since July 2016.  He was prevented from being at his own mother’s funeral and was allowed to see her before her death for only ten minutes. […]

Nothing has crushed the will of the people, nor could anything destroy their sense of identity, their love for their Homeland, passed on from generation to generation.” The full report from KHPG is available at Sentence of Crimean Tatar leader Akhtem Chiygoz a “sentence against the entire Crimean Tatar people”

3. Appeal on imposing of sanctions against individuals involved in persecution of Volodymyr Balukh
Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh, 
illegally imprisoned by Russia

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union stated on August 9, “On August 4th 2017, violating the fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law provisions, the Crimean Occupation Court passed a sentence on Mr. Volodymyr Balukh, Ukrainian. Ms. Maria Bedritskaya, ‘a judge of Razdolnensky District Court’, handed him to a three-year and seven-month sentence in the penal colony settlement as well as imposed a fine of RUR10,000.00.
          The persecution of Mr Balukh is politically reasoned, he being himself a prisoner of conscience, for he is in custody only because of his opinions peacefully expressed.

Considering the above-mentioned, we are appealing to the governments of the EU Member-States, Switzerland, Norway, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania, Liechtenstein, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan and are asking to introduce personal sanctions for the persons linked to the persecution of Mr. Volodymyr Balukh, a Crimean prisoner of conscience, as well as for strengthening sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation for gross and repeated violations of human rights in Crimea.”

          The full appeal, as well as the list of Russian officials responsible for Balukh’s illegal imprisonment is available here: Appeal on imposing of sanctions against individuals involved in persecution of Mr. Volodymyr Balukh 
4. Atlantic Council: Why the Case Against Arming Ukraine Doesn’t Hold Water
John Herbst, former US Ambassador to Ukraine and Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Altantic Council, stated, “Armchair strategists have come out of the woodwork to explain why it would be a mistake for the United States to arm Ukraine. They argue that Russia is stronger than Ukraine and can outmatch any escalation, Moscow has a greater interest in Ukraine than Washington, and Ukraine’s government is corrupt and undeserving of such support.
          These arguments are based on hoary myths, outdated analyses, and an incomplete understanding of Kremlin policy and American interests. […]
           The United States has a vital interest in keeping the peace in Europe, and a vital interest in the strength and viability of NATO and the European Union. The Kremlin seeks to weaken both institutions and the ties binding the United States to Europe. The most cost efficient way to counter the Kremlin’s revisionist policies is to increase the cost of its aggression in Ukraine. Thanks to Congress, we are raising the economic costs on Moscow through sanctions. But that is not sufficient. […]
           Ukrainians have fought the Kremlin to a standstill, but there are casualties every day, and since the Minsk II ceasefire, Moscow has taken hundreds of additional square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. Providing anti-tank missiles will help deter Moscow from taking more. […]

The United States made a commitment to guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity when it gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994. Providing defensive weapons to Ukraine will honor that commitment and raise the cost of the war for Moscow. Over time, that may help persuade the Kremlin to withdraw from the Donbas. Even if it does not, it will force Moscow to waste additional resources in Ukraine and make them think twice about challenging us in the Baltics, where our NATO commitments would compel us to respond more forcefully. Providing defensive weapons to Ukraine actually decreases the odds of a dangerous US-Russian confrontation.” The full article is available here:  Why the Case Against Arming Ukraine Doesn’t Hold Water

5. Ukraine’s National Investment Council publishes mid-year investment climate outlook report
Ukraine’s National Investment Council published the mid-year review, Ukraine: Turn to Growth – Investment Climate Outlook. In the introduction, Yuliya Kovaliv, Head of the Office of the National Investment Council, states, “The Office of the National Investment Council provides analytical coverage of the key sectors of Ukrainian economy, highlighting sectors potential for investments, key regulation and issues related to investment in these sectors. We are focusing on practical steps needed to address investors’ needs and concerns enhancing public private dialogue and promoting actions to strengthen the business climate in the country.  […]
           This Report is a brief outlook which reflects the changes of the Ukrainian economy and investment climate in the first half of 2017, covering macroeconomic indicators, key improvements of business regulation as well as some of the trends of FDI coming to the country.” The report is available at Ukraine: Turn to Growth – Investment Climate Outlook
6. Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine: “a woven tapestry of international partners”
Major Hartwick at Operation UNIFIER training exercises 
Photo- Canada’s Department of National Defence
In an interview published by the Canadian Army, Major Chris Hartwick, (2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), who arrived in Ukraine in March as part of Operation UNIFIER, discusses his team’s transition from trainers to mentors and the “woven tapestry of international partners they are working in.” The interview with Major Hartwick is available at Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine: “a woven tapestry of international partners”
7. Euromaidan Press investigates Siemens turbine deal that breached EU sanctions on Russia
To view a video of the investigation by Euromaidan Press, please click on image above
To view a video of the investigation by Euromaidan Press, please click on image above

Euromaidan Press stated on August 10, “Four gas turbines produced by German technogiant Siemens have been delivered to occupied Crimea in breach of EU sanctions. They are being installed in two power stations under construction.
          EU sanctions prohibit helping power the energy-reliant peninsula which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Siemens says it has been duped by its Russian partners and Germany is pressing to sanction more Russian officials.
But is Siemens really not guilty?”
Read the investigation by Euromaidan Press here: Siemens’ Crimea Sanctions Break

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