NSC NEWS & ANALYSIS CENTER BRIEFING at 12:00 JULY 22, 2014

The MH17 airplane crash

 

Search and rescue work at the site of the crash of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 was completed, after over 140 sq km had been searched, including 2.1 sq km of the Hrabove water reservoir. At the moment, international experts are working with the fragments of the plane. Their work has been complicated by the fact that Russian military experts already combed through the site dressed as ordinary civilians.

 

Today at 11:20, the special Ukrzaliznytsia train with the remains of the victims of the catastrophe arrived in Kharkiv, Andriy Lysenko, spokesperson for the National Security Council’s News & Analysis Center, reported at the Center’s noon briefing, July 22, 2014,

 

Military action in the conflict zone

 

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continue their offensive against the terrorists. Successful battles have liberated the towns of Dzerzhynsk and Soledar in Donetsk Oblast and Rubizhne and Yuvileyniy in Luhansk Oblast from the Russian mercenaries. ATO forces took control over the critical strategic hub of Heorhiyivka in Luhansk County. At the moment, the battle to liberate Lysychansk from the terrorists is going on.

 

Over the last 24 hours, terrorists attacked Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoints and positions 20 times near the towns of Dmytrivka, Kamianka, Kamysheve, Kumacheve, Marynivka, Novoazovsk, Starobysheve, Sontseve, Ilovaisk, Avdiyivka, Chervonopartyzansk, and Luhansk.

 

Not far from Kamianka in Donetsk Oblast, Russian mercenaries committed an act of terror at an ATO forces checkpoint when they blew up a minibus with explosives. Three Ukrainian soldiers died as a result.

 

The border area

 

In addition to this, the positions of ATO forces outside the villages of Novoazovsk and Kumacheve in Donetsk Oblast were shelled from Russian territory while mobile artillery units attacked the Dovzhanskiy border crossing in Luhansk Oblast.

 

Around midnight last night at the Stanychno-Luhanske section of the Border Service in Luhansk Oblast more than 40 mortar shells were fired from Russian territory at the positions of Ukrainian border patrol units. Afterwards, Russian military equipment moved back deeper into Russian territory. Near 04:00, terrorists once more shot at this border area from a Grad missile launcher. There were no casualties among Ukrainian servicemen.

 

From 02:00 to 03:00, the National Guard of Ukraine checkpoint near Novoazovsk, Donetsk Oblast, was also shot at from Russian territory.

 

Russia continues to increase its military presence at the border with Ukraine. Military units from Zabaikal [Trans Baikal] and Dalnevostochny [Far East] Military Districts have been redeployed to the town of Sudzha, Kursk Oblast. In addition, 2 communication hubs are being set up in Sudzha County and the expectation is that covert communication equipment will be brought there as well.

 

Near the village of Shevchenkove, border patrols discovered traces of another breaching of the border from the Russian side, this time apparently 14 Grad missile launchers that have been shooting ATO forces positions. Evidence of the breach of the state border was recorded and the photo and video materials were sent to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Russian side.

 

Population centers in the conflict zone

 

Terrorists continue to systematically destroy infrastructure and to disrupt the work of local institutions. In Luhansk Oblast, saboteurs blew up two automobile bridges between the cities of Severodonetsk and Rubizhne. In Lysychansk, the bridge across the Siverskiy Donets near the former VAT Lysychansk Soda Plant was mined. The bridge between Severodonetsk and the town of Voyevodivka was also mined.

 

On July 21, terrorists damaged two water canals in Vovchoyarivka, Luhansk Oblast, which caused a flood in the town.

 

In Artemivsk, militants attacked the power plant with a Grad missile launcher, which damaged the station and cut power to several important components of UkrEnergo’s Donbas power grid. The most problematic situation with electricity is currently in Artemivsk, Avdiyivka, Horlivka, Yasynuvatka, and Mariyinka Counties.

 

Locals have been expressing growing anger at the actions of the Russian mercenaries. After July 20, when three teenagers were blown up by a mine laid by the terrorists, the residents of Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast, issued an ultimatum to them to leave the town by 1:00 on July 22.

 

In order to restore normal living conditions as soon as possible and to bring IDPs back, Ukrzaliznytsia, the state railway company, added an Intercity rapid express train on July 22 to run Kyiv-Sloviansk-Kramatorsk. On July 21, buses once again began running to Sloviansk and Sviatohorsk in Donetsk Oblast.

 

Support from Ukrainians

 

During the period that the АТО has been operating, ordinary Ukrainians have donated nearly UAH 137 million [around US $12mn] to support the Ukrainian army.

 

A private entrepreneur from Kolomyia, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, purchased a BTR 60 armored personnel carrier for the Prykarpattia territorial defense battalion. A business owner from Dnipropetrovsk donated the ATO forces an armored combat reconnaissance patrol vehicle (CRPV) from his own fleet.

 

International news involving Ukraine

 

On July 21, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Australia regarding the downing of the Malaysian Boeing 777-200 in eastern Ukraine. The resolution demands secure, complete and unobstructed access for experts to the crash site and the preservation of evidence at the site where the plane crashed. This means to stop all fighting in the area of the air crash. In addition, the Netherlands, in close cooperation with the UN and ICAO, agreed to take upon itself the leading role responsibility for investigating the circumstances of the catastrophe.

 

Today, at the request of the Ukrainian side, an emergency session of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is meeting to discuss the situation in Ukraine. One of the items on the agenda is the question of new sanctions against Russia.

 

British Prime Minister David Cameron also raised the issue of new sanctions against Russia. This time it will be a matter of banning the export of Russian hi-tech dual-use equipment. Sanctions will be instituted if Moscow fails to act in resolving the question of unobstructed access to the site of the Boeing 777-200 crash site for international experts.

 

Dutch PM Mark Rutte announced that political and economic measures could be used against those who are interfering in free access to the Boeing 77-200 crash site in Ukraine. In this context, he called on the Russian Federation to influence its militants to provide access to experts to the Malaysian Airlines catastrophe.

 

Today, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law approving the Presidential Decree of President Petro Poroshenko “On partial mobilization.” The bill received 232 votes in favor in the 450-seat legislature. The decree establishes additional conditions for filling the ranks of the Armed Forces, National Guard, SBU, State Border Service, the Special State Transport Service, and other military formations in Ukraine with those required to serve and reservists in line with mobilization plans. The mobilization will last 45 days.

 

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine also approved the text of a Declaration “On countering the spread of international terrorism supported by the Russian Federation.” Among others, the Rada is turning to all the people of the world to form a united front against the terrorism that is being sponsored by the Russian Federation.

 

Translated by EMPR for IAC NSDC

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