NSC NEWS & ANALYSIS CENTER BRIEFING at 12:00 JULY 28, 2014

The MH17 airplane crash

 

Experts on the commission investigating the causes of the Boeing 777-200 crash have announced that the data from the in-flight black boxes prove that the reason for the destruction and fall of the plane was a “massive explosive decompression” when the plane was hit with shrapnel from an exploding missile.

 

On July 27, the terrorists prevented a group of international experts and OSCE monitors from getting to the site of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 crash near Shakhtarsk in Donetsk Oblast. The Ukrainian Army is drawing nearer and nearer to the site, but is not actively engaging in this area.

 

The EuroPol issued a communiqué anticipating a rapid improvement in the conditions for investigators working on the site of the Malaysian Airlines crash in Ukraine and confirmed that the site area is still not being considered a crime scene by the terrorists that are in control of the area.

 

Military action in the conflict zone

 

Ukraine’s Armed Forces continue their offensive against areas temporarily in the hands of Russian mercenaries.

 

On July 27, Ukrainian AF airplanes attacked areas where the terrorists had collected, destroying a large quantity of military equipment and causing considerable militant casualties. This allowed the ATO to launch a strong offensive and liberate Debaltseve and the strategically important hill Savur-Mohyla. The militants had used this height to continually fire at Ukrainian forces positions. ATO forces have entered Shakhtarsk, Torez and Lutuhine. The battle is now raging to completely liberate Pervomaisk and Snizhne. Armed Forces and National Guard units have dug in on the outskirts of Horlivka and are preparing to liberate it.

 

Once the ATO gains control over this region, it will be able to surround and neutralize the Donetsk and Horlivka terrorist groups. Moreover, highly mobile paratrooper units have begun raiding in the direction of Ridkodub, Lohvino and Ternove. Terrorist checkpoints and firing positions have been destroyed there.

 

In Horlivka, remnants of the militant groups with Grad launchers and mortar have been chaotically shooting up residential blocks, resulting in civilian casualties. The terrorists are trying to make it look like this is coming from the Ukrainian side, but local activists have already exposed these provocations for what they are and are actively reporting to ATO officials about every such crime and, where possible, about the militants’ further plans.

 

There is also evidence that the terrorists have booby-trapped the manufacturing plant at Stirol, a major chemicals company in Horlivka.

 

As they retreated, the militants opened fire 24 times against Armed Forces checkpoints and positions near Luhansk, Noviy Svit, Marynivka, Amvrosiyivka, Komisarivka, and Prydorozhne. They also continue to destroy infrastructure. In the city of Horlivka, terrorists blew up the tracks of the 2nd kilometer on the Mykytivka-Bairak line and destroyed the highway bridge in the direction of Mykytivka. The tracks have also been obstructed with the ruins of construction between the Mykytivka-Horlivka and Mykytivka-Bairak stations.

 

The border area

 

During the last 24 hours, terrorists maintained constant fire on the positions of Border Service patrols and ATO forces along the border with Russia running through Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. There was gunfire, shelling, artillery fire and MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) such as the Grad.

 

During 4.5 hours on July 27, the Dovzhanskiy border checkpoint in Luhansk Oblast was under constant fire from mortars and Howitzers from near the settlement of Chernikov, Russian Federation. A total of 250 shells were fired at Ukraine’s border patrols, killing 4 and injuring 2 of them.

 

According to NATO’s military representative, the US has sent an instruction to the Alliance to investigate data that confirms missile attacks from Russian territory into Ukraine. The Barack Administration has specifically provided 4 satellite images that have been declassified by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and confirm that Ukrainian territory was under fire from the Russian Federation side (dated July 21-26). The risk that ATO forces will fall under artillery fire in the borderlands of Ukraine remains high in the areas opposite the Russian villages of Matviyev-Kurgan, Kuybisheve, Millereve, and Novoshakhtynsk.

 

Near the village of Noviy Svit in Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian soldiers returned fire at a group of militants. During the ensuing battle, the Ukrainian forces were able to destroy a group of terrorist snipers.

 

According to the Defense Ministry, the supply of water, medicine and ammunition to the two groups, the #72 Mechanized and #79 Aeromobile Brigades, who bravely maintain the defense of the border counties in Luhansk Oblast.

 

Russian Air Force reconnaissance SU-24MPs continue to fly into Ukrainian territory to monitor the actions of ATO forces units, the cover and surrounding landmarks in order for terrorist groups to be able to more accurately attack them.

 

Population centers in the ATO zone

 

The broadcast of Ukrainian channels in the population centers freed of terrorists continues. Since the start of the ATO, 7 of the 10 broadcasting towers seized by terrorists are now controlled by Ukraine. On July 27 in Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast, Ukrainian channels resumed airing.

 

Local resistance against the Russian mercenaries is growing. Members of the Donetsk Branch of the Chornobyl Solidarity, an All-Ukrainian civil society organization of invalids of the Chornobyl catastrophe, turned to the terrorists with a demand that they drop their weapons and leave Ukrainian territory.

 

In Donetsk Oblast, terrorist continue to hold 135 sick orphans from Donetsk municipal and oblast orphanages hostage, as well as children from the Makiyivka Malyatko Orphanage for HIV kids. The militants have categorically refused to allow the children to be moved from the ATO zone.

 

International support

 

European Council President Herman van Rompuy has called on EU member country prime ministers to authorize EU ambassadors to vote for additional sectoral sanctions against Russia in the names of their countries on July 29. This means that the matter of expanded restrictive measures against the Russian Federation will be decided at the level of permanent representatives without calling an emergency EU Summit.

 

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmaier has announced that, despite the obvious economic damage for German business, official Berlin is ready to approve sectoral sanctions should Russia continue its course in destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. The German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has also called on the EU to immediately approve the next round of sanctions against the Russian Federation and Russian officials, oligarchs and business owners who support the activities of the self-proclaimed DNR and LNR.

 

Translated by EMPR for IAC NSDC

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