NSC NEWS & ANALYSIS CENTER BRIEFING at 12:00 JULY 16, 2014

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International support

 

Ukraine keeps informing the world community about the real situation in the Donbas, including the systematic efforts of the Russian Federation to escalate the conflict.

 

On July 16, a Council of Europe meeting is scheduled to take place in Brussels, with the Ukraine question on the agenda. On July 15, President Petro Poroshenko and CoE President Herman Van Rompuy coordinated their positions in preparation for the Council meeting. Poroshenko called for a “joint show of strength in the European Union in support of Ukraine.”

 

Ukraine’s Head of State reported numerous instances of militants crossing the border into Ukraine and the presence of heavy military vehicles and arms from the Russian side. He also expressed concern over the illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens—pilot Nadia Savchenko and filmmaker Oleh Sentsov—in Russian prisons, both of whom were illegally moved to Russian Federation territory. Council of Europe President Van Rompuy expressed support for the actions of the Ukrainian government.

 

Support for Ukraine via the CoE was also offered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She expressed confidence that Ukraine would receive “strong support” from the European Union at the Council meeting.

 

Altogether, after meeting to negotiate with leaders of more than 10 EU countries, Ukraine’s president was given assurance that the EU completely understood the steps Ukraine was taking and that it had their support.

 

On July 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held talks with US Vice President Joseph Biden. Biden reassured Poroshenko that the United States intended to continue to decisively support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and would work persistently to come to a consolidated position with the European Union.

 

Military action in the conflict zone

 

The Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts continues. Ukraine’s Army controls all the population centers freed by the militants. In these towns and villages, ATO units continue to restore infrastructure, provide local residents assistance in returning to normal life, and defuse explosive devices in buildings and roadways.

 

Over the last 24 hours, the terrorists attacked checkpoints and positions of Ukrainian Armed Forces positions 14 times with open fire near Donetsk, Luhansk, Krasnodon, Provallya, Dmytrivka, Stepanivka, Amvrosiyivka, Valuyskoho, Marynivka, Taran, and Izvaryne.

 

Not far from the town of Izvaryne in Luhansk Oblast, some personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forcs were ambushed. Terrorists opened heavy artillery fire on Ukrainian military positions. Casualties have not yet been confirmed.

 

At 05:00 this morning, terrorists attempted to break through the line outside the village of Stepanivka in Donetsk Oblast. They attacked with tanks, grenade launchers and anti-tank guided missiles on the ATO checkpoint deployed not far from the villages of Marynivka and Tarany in Donetsk Oblast as well. Shooting continued for an hour. Ukraine’s Armed Forces repelled the attack and began an offensive, pushing the terrorists back to Stepanivka. Three men were injured among National Guard fighters. During the shoot-out, the terrorists partly destroyed the infrastructure of Marynivka.

 

The border area

 

The situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border in the ATO zone remains difficult. Serious clashes continue over control of the border area. Terrorists and Russian mercenaries continue to shoot the bases where border patrol units are deployed. In the last 24 hours, 10 shoot-outs took place with the use of Grad missile launchers and mortar. When the shooting came not from the border area, Ukrainian Armed Forces artillery was used against the opponents.

 

The Russian Federation continues to build up military forces on the border with Ukraine. On the Rostov-Taganrog highway in the direction of Taganrog, not far from the border with Ukraine the movement of two artillery units with Grad missile systems was noticed.

 

Not far from Boyovyk in Briansk Oblast, RF, 1.5 kilometers from the border, opposite the Chernihiv section of the border, Russian Armed Forces have set up a field camp and set up firing positions for military equipment. Self-propelled artillery units and tanks on platforms were seen to be moving in this same direction.

 

On July 15 a well, near the temporarily occupied territory [of Crimea] off the Arbat Spit, not far from the village of Strilkove in Kherson Oblast, a 130-mm artillery piece of the Russian Federation Armed Forces was observed being set up.

 

Some news agencies have been wrongly reporting large casualty numbers on the Ukrainian side during yesterday’s battles. Confirmed data shows that over the last 24 hours, 11 Ukrainian soldiers lost their lives.

 

At the same time, during infrastructure repair work in Sloviansk, a pile of hundreds of bodies of dead militants were found that had been covered with dirt. Based on available information, some of these graves were deliberately booby-trapped by the terrorists.

 

Population centers in the conflict zone

 

Militants seized the №12 Central Post Communication Office and the local branch of Ukrtelecom in Snizhne. In Makiyivka, next door to Donetsk, they have set up firing position in a number of schools.

 

The terrorists’ Grad systems in Donetsk have been set up in residential areas. At the same time, they are not permanently deployed in any particular spot, moving on to the next one in a matter of 3-4 hours. Self-propelled Strila-10 zenit missile launchers have also been seen on the side of the terrorists, a piece of artillery that could only have come to their position from the Russian Federation.

 

On those territories freed of the militants, the situation remains difficult but, thanks to the response and efforts of the relevant state agencies and services, it is starting to improve. In part, this is due to the restoration of infrastructure and basic services, such as power and drinking water; the renewal of operations among financial and social institutions, medical facilities, post offices, communication, and transportation links, as well as Ukrainian radio and television broadcasting.

 

At the moment, some districts in Kramatorsk have completely restored water supplies. Ukrainian broadcasting has been renewed in Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Artemivsk and Kostiantynivka.

 

In the freed towns, particular attention is being focused on renewing and preparing for the beginning of the school year.

 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a Decree “On bestowing the state awards of Ukraine” to those servicemen who showed great heroism during the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. For particular bravery and dedication in the defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Security Bureau of Ukraine, the State Border Service, the Administration of State Security Units, the State Emergencies Service have been awarded. Heroic awards include the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytskiy, 111 Degree; the Order “For Bravery,” III Degree; The Order of Danylo Halytskiy; and medals—“For military service in Ukraine” and “Defender of the Homeland.”

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