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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing 10 July, 2014, 8 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

10 July, 2014, 8 PM Kyiv time

1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts continues.  The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported at 12 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired upon 10 checkpoints and positions of ATO forces near Luhansk, Dovzhansk, Pryvolye, Siversk, Rozsypne Marynivka, Shyshkove, Rubizhne, and Muratovo. During an operation near Siversk, ATO forces destroyed two mortars and fortifications of Kremlin-backed armed extremists. Kremlin-backed armed extremists carried out artillery and tank fire on the Luhansk airport. In resulting battles two tanks and a BM-21 Grad artillery piece in possession of Kremlin-backed separatists was destroyed by ATO forces. 3 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in battles in the last 24 hours. On 10 July Kremlin-backed armed extremists carried out a mortar and small-arms attack on the Donetsk airport; the attack was repelled. Ukrainian military engineers continue to clear liberated areas of mines set by Kremlin-backed armed extremists; in the last three days over 2,000 explosive devices have been identified and destroyed in Slovyansk. The State Border Service reports that Kremlin-backed armed extremists are attempting to create a ‘window’ to retreat into Russia – the border point at Dovzhankiy, Luhansk oblast was attacked again on 9 July. The attack was repelled; 5 border guards and 5 armed forces personnel were injured. The State Border Service also reports that 6 Russian helicopters violated Ukrainian airspace near Kolysnivka, Luhansk oblast. The RNBO reports that Kremlin-backed armed extremists continue to use the tactic of hiding behind human shields, and taking up defensive positions in heavily-populated city districts. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that on 10 July, offensive operations by ATO forces against positions held by Kremlin-backed armed extremists began near Karlovka, Donestk oblast, 30 km from Donetsk city.

2. Testimony on Ukraine and Russia at US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

US Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland testified at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 9 July. She stated, “Russia has made too many commitments at the diplomatic table over the past four months that have been rendered hollow by the weapons, cash and fighters that continue to flow across the border to fuel the fight in eastern Ukraine. In response, the U.S. and Europe have imposed repeated rounds of sanctions to increase the cost Russia pays for its choices. And we are ready to impose more costs – including targeted sector-specific sanctions — very soon if Russia does not decisively change course and break its ties with separatists.” US Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, US Department of the Treasury, D. L. Glaser, testifying at the same hearing, stated that “Currently, we are developing a number of options to take action under this authority in the event Russia does not take immediate steps toward de-escalation, including actions involving a broad range of sectors. Of course, such preparation involves close consultation and coordination with our EU, G-7, and other international partners to maximize the impact on the Russian economy.”

3. Poroshenko on abduction of Ukrainian pilot

Ukraine President Poroshenko stated that he would make every effort to ensure the liberation of all hostages abducted in the Donbas, including Ukrainian armed forces pilot Nadia Savchenko, who is being held in detention in Russia. Savchenko was abducted by Kremlin-backed armed extremists and is now in Russian custody. Poroshenko stated “the situation is very difficult. She is abducted, and the reaction of the Ukrainian authorities will be very tough. Nobody has the right to abduct Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian military. This is a violation of all international agreements, all norms of international law, and is categorically unacceptable.”  Poroshenko also assigned an attorney to ensure Savchenko’s legal defense.

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