1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions 17 times with mortars and twice with artillery. Towards Mariupol, clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists resumed at Shyrokyne. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions – at Pisky, Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to use weapons that were required to be withdrawn as part of the ceasefire, forcing Ukrainian soldiers to respond. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 4 were wounded. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported that on 30 April, the number of incidents of Kremlin-backed terrorists opening fire on Ukrainian positions increased substantially. From midnight to 6 PM Kyiv time on 30 April, Kremlin-backed terrorists opened fire on Ukrainian positions 50 times, with artillery, mortars, tanks, automatic grenade launchers, high-caliber machine guns and small arms.
2. Ukraine Foreign Minister visits Canada; Canada announces additional $14 million in support
Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, P. Klimkin, is visiting Canada. Klimkin is meeting with Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs R. Nicholson, Minister of National Defence J. Kenney, Minister of International Trade E. Fast, and the Chairs of the Senate and House Committees on Foreign Affairs Sen. R. Andreychuk and D. Allison. respectively. Following their meeting, Nicholson announced that Canada will be providing an additional $14 million in support, for seven projects, including Combating Human Trafficking (implemented by the International Organization for Migration) – $8 million; Polio Immunization (implemented by UNICEF) – $3 million; and Protecting Human Rights (implemented by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union) – $1.6 million. Nicholson stated, “Canada has always been clear: we recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all of Ukraine. Whether it takes five months or 50 years, we will never, ever recognize the illegal Russian occupation of any part of the Ukrainian territory. Russia must immediately withdraw its troops and weapons from sovereign Ukrainian territory and cease its material support of insurgents in eastern Ukraine.” For more information see http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2015/04/29c.aspx?lang=eng
3. NATO Europe Commander: Russian forces’ actions consistent with preparations for another offensive
Testifying at the US Senate Armed Services Committee, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander, US European Command, US General P. Breedlove, stated today, “Our top concern is a revanchist Russia. Russia is blatantly challenging the rules and principles that have been the bedrock of European security for decades. The challenge is global. Not regional. And enduring. Not temporary. Russian aggression is clearly visible in its illegal occupation of Crimea, and in its continued operations in eastern Ukraine. In Ukraine, Russia has supplied their proxies with heavy weapons, training and mentoring, command and control, artillery fire support, and tactical-and operational-level air defense. Russia has transferred many pieces of military equipment into Ukraine, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery pieces, and other military vehicles. What we have seen over the course of the fight, was that when the Russian proxy offensive ran into trouble, Russian forces intervened directly to ‘right the course.’ Today on the ground, the situation is volatile and fragile. Russian forces used the opportunities provided by the recent lull in fighting to re-set and re-position, while protecting their gains. Many of their actions are consistent with preparations for another offensive. […]We cannot be fully certain what Russia will do next, and we cannot fully grasp Putin’s intent. What we can do is learn from his actions. And what we see suggests growing Russian capabilities, significant military modernization, and ambitious strategic intent. We also know that Putin responds to strength and seeks opportunities in weakness. We must strengthen our deterrence in order to manage his opportunistic confidence.”
4. Savchenko transferred back to detention center after two days in civilian hospital
Ukrainian pilot and MP, Nadiya Savchenko, illegally imprisoned by the Russian Federation, was returned to a Moscow detention center after two days in a civilian hospital, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. “The announcement came hours after Savchenko’s lawyer, Mark Feigin, said his client wanted to go back to the detention center as conditions in the ‘special ward’ at the hospital were ‘substantially worse than expected’ and ‘certainly worse’ than the medical unit at Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center,” RFE/RL reported. Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in mid-June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. She was elected an MP of Ukraine’s parliament in October and appointed a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in January.
5. European Parliament calls for immediate and unconditional release of Nadiya Savchenko
European Parliament passed a resolution in which Members of European Parliament (MEPs) “call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, who was illegally kidnapped by Russia almost a year ago and has since been detained in prison there. They ask the French President and German Chancellor to press for her release at forthcoming meetings of the Contact Group on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. MEPs point out that Russia has no legal basis or jurisdiction to take any action against Ms Savchenko, and underline that those responsible for her illegal detention may face international sanctions or legal proceedings for their actions.”
6. Prosecutor’s Office prepares materials against Russian officials, Kremlin-backed terrorists for International Criminal Court
The Office of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine stated that it has prepared materials “on crimes committed by high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation and the leadership of the terrorist organizations Donetsk and Luhansk ‘Peoples Republics’” which fall under Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute (crimes against humanity and war crimes). The materials have been submitted to Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers for further analysis and decision on referral to the International Criminal Court.