Monitoring August 1-7, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine 

On July 31, Ukrainian military discovered a sabotage and reconnaissance group of up to 5 people in the area of Bohdanivka, Donetsk region, reported ATO press centre. Ukrainian military fired back with small arms making the enemy retreat.

On August 1, terrorists shelled the positions of the State Border Service of Ukraine twice, reported the press service of the State Border Service. The terrorists used small arms and AGS against the control post “Mayorsk” and “Maryinka”. As a result of shelling the control posts, none of the border guards was injured.

There have been recorded regular losses in units of the 1st AC (Donetsk), reported the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (three killed and ten wounded) The largest losses suffered units that carried out attacks on ATO forces near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka.

On August 2, terrorists shelled the areas of Avdiyivka – Krasnohorivka with 120mm mortars and heavy machine guns, reported ATO press centre. In addition, the enemy used 82 mm mortars, grenade launchers and small arms near Avdiyivka, Mayorsk, Novhorodske, Zaitseve, Nyzhnie Lozove and Opytne. In Mariupol direction Shyrokyne was a hotspot, where occupants used infantry fighting vehicles, 120mm and 82mm mortars, grenade launchers and small arms.

On August 2 situation in the area of Avdyivka deteriorated, reported ATO press centre. The enemy shelled residential areas with 82mm mortars.

On August 3 ATO press centre reported of non-stop shelling of residential areas of settlements near Donetsk. In Donetsk area the enemy did not stop armed provocations near Krasnohorivka – Avdiyivka – Horlivka.

Number of civilian casualties in the fighting in eastern Ukraine has returned to the maximum of last year, stated the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In June 2016 they documented 69 civilian casualties: 12 dead and 57 wounded – almost twice more than in May 2016 and the maximum since August 2015.

The Russian side of the Joint Control and Coordination Centre for Ceasefire in Donbas has first started confirming the facts of shelling by terrorists, reported ATO press centre.

On August 4, the terrorists shelled 38 times Ukrainian forces positions, reported ATO press centre. Most cases (21) were recorded in Donetsk area. Positions of Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiyivka and Mayorsk were under the fire of 120mm and 82mm mortars and grenade launchers. In Zaitseve the enemy violated twice the Minsk agreement using heavy artillery (122mm artillery shells).

On August 4, the enemy group of up to 8 people approached the stronghold in the region of Bohdanivka. From the distance of about 500 meters, the saboteurs opened fire from grenade launchers and small arms, reported ATO press centre. Ukrainian defenders were ready for a provocation and repelled the attack. An hour later the enemy retreated. No losses among the Ukrainian soldiers were reported.

The leader of the LNR terrorists Ihor Plotnytskyi was hospitalized after an attempt on his life in Luhansk, confirmed the “official” separatist website of LNR. He was injured as a result of a powerful blast next to his car. Plotnytskyi was diagnosed damage to vital organs reported Interfax with reference to a source in the hospital. According to intelligence, the reason for an attack on the LNR leader could be redistribution of financial flows.

Politics and Economy

Ukraine increased production of natural gas in January-July 2016 by nearly 2% (to 223.3 million cu. m.), according to current data, and now constitutes 11 billion 695.3 million cubic meters.

Ukraine paid Rosatom for the return of Russian fuel for recycling, reported Interfax, citing its own sources in the public corporation.

Ukraine reached an agreement with Westinghouse to increase the supply of nuclear fuel and construction of the nuclear production plant in the country, reported Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Ihor Nasalyk. He said that the plant is needed to prevent the state from nuclear dependence on Russia.

Already in August, Ukraine will get the first ship with anthracite coal group, an alternative to coal mined in Donbas, reported Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Ihor Nasalyk. He noted that there was signed an order on reconstruction of two blocks of Zmiyiv TPP to substitute anthracite coal group for coal of gas group.

President Petro Poroshenko brought into effect the decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine concerning the activities of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a law on amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine concerning the documents certifying the citizenship of Ukraine aimed at liberalizing the EU visa regime for Ukraine. The respective law was adopted by the Parliament on July 14, 2016.

President Petro Poroshenko has signed the law no. 1462-VIII “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On State Social Assistance to Poor Families “re the social protection of family members of participants in anti-terrorist operation” adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on July 14, 2016. The law aims at improving social protection of the ATO family members.

At the meeting in Minsk representatives of L/DNR reported on 45 Ukrainian hostages, though they are not willing to talk about the exchange of hostages, reported Advisor to the head of the SBU Yuriy Tandit. According to him, Ukraine is interested in the fast release of these hostages held in DNR.

Secretary of NSDC Oleksander Turchynov did not rule out new waves of mobilization. In the case of deterioration of the situation in Donbas “new mobilization will be announced immediately,” Turchynov said.

International News

If sanctions against Russia are not working, they need to be strengthened, announced the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard. He also stressed that the main goal is restoration of Ukrainian Donbas territorial control. In this process there is a serious problem of access for OSCE observers to the territories in eastern Ukraine.

US may impose sanctions against the organizers of the hacker attack on the servers of the National Committee of the US Democratic Party (DNC), reported Deutsche Welle. “Washington has a number of measures, including economic and legal, it may apply to the State which committed the attack on the DNC, said the White House representative on August 2. He said that representatives of the American authorities for years have been talking about Russia’s activity in the field of cyber-attacks.

The Italian Parliament did not adopt a resolution on the lifting of sanctions against Russia, while the MPs adopted a resolution calling to fulfil Minsk agreements, said Ukraine’s Ambassador to Italy Yevheniy Perelyhin.

Ukraine and Malaysia signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation between two countries during the visit of President Petro Poroshenko to Malaysia.

Poland officially appointed the new Ambassador to Ukraine, a journalist Jan Pieklo, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.

EU introduced anti-dumping duties against Russian and Chinese steel companies. The reason for such a decision was the complaint of the European Steel Association (Eurofer), which includes firms that produce more than 25 per cent of cold-rolled steel sheet, reports DW. According to the media, European steelmakers have accused Russian and Chinese rivals that they artificially decreased prices for cold rolling, which is used in the production of automobiles and home appliances, thus displacing competitors from the market. Sanctions have affected Russian largest steel companies: “Severstal,” Novolipetsk and Magnitogorsk plants.

The petition for the resignation of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has taken 158,362 votes, reports “The Cabinet should be led by a competent and sympathising for his country person. Now we see a reverse picture. Not an advertising face of Apple, sleeping at the opening of the Olympics, the man who advises teachers to “somehow and somewhere look for jobs to survive,” should stand at the head of the Cabinet Ministers. The fish stinks from the head,” says the petition.

US is ready to cooperate with Russia “in Syria, but Moscow, in their opinion, “does not make any necessary steps”, and continues to support the regime in Damascus. With this statement US President Barack Obama addressed the media, reports “TASS”. The US president also said that ISIS “has changed tactics” and “encourages high-profile attacks, including the United States.” The head of the US administration expressed confidence that the coalition that opposes ISIS “is making progress.” He recalled the destruction of a number of leaders of the militants, including the Chechen Umar al-Shishanov.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltbenberh condemned the launches of ballistic missiles by North Korea, reported the press service of NATO. “This is another violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2270, which clearly stated that North Korea must stop all activities related to ballistic missile program. North Korea’s provocative behaviour is of concern and undermines international security. NATO calls on Pyongyang to immediately stop and abandon existing nuclear activities and ballistic missile programs,”- said in a statement. The Secretary General also stressed that North Korea must return to international negotiations and refrain from further provocative actions.

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