At noon today, trucks left from Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk to bring Ukrainian humanitarian goods to Luhansk Oblast. On arrival, the cargo will be turned over to Red Cross officials so that the international humanitarian mission could deliver these goods to the people who are being held hostage by militants. The key will be for these militants to allow the mission into the territory temporarily in their control and to guarantee safety. Altogether, since July 6, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has delivered 270 t of food, 800 special food packages, more than 9,000 l of drinking water, and thousands of loaves of bread to the east.
Andriy Lysenko, spokesperson for the National Security Council’s News & Analysis Center, reported at the Center’s midday briefing, August 14, 2014, that in the population centers freed of the terrorists, the Ukrainian government has been consistently renewing civilian life, ensuring that basic services and systems are working. By contrast, in territories controlled by Russian mercenaries, the situation is nearly at the level of a humanitarian catastrophe, reflecting the Kremlin’s real motives.
The Russian side was offered completely transparent conditions for joining the international humanitarian mission. Everything was supposed to take place in accordance with the procedures and rules of the International Committee of the Red Cross. However, the Russian side has for several days now avoided meeting the conditions of this renowned international organization, something that ICRC officials and international media have openly noted.
If Russia decides to bring its humanitarian aid through that part of the border with Ukraine that is in the hands of terrorists, its cargo nevertheless will hare to be inspected by Ukraine’s border guards and transferred to the Red Cross. But all responsibility for the security of this cargo will belong to Russia, which is in charge of the mercenaries that it has been arming.
Military action in the conflict zone
On August 13 in the evening, National Guard units took over the town of Hirske in Luhansk Oblast and raised Ukrainian flags over the local concert hall and the town hall. Right now, the National Guard is setting up checkpoints around the town that will be guarded day and night. Shortly, law enforcement officers will take measures to stabilize the crime situation and to ensure public order.
During the liberation of this town, there were no casualties on the National Guard side. Hirske is the nearest to the town of Pervomaisk and then to Stakhanov, where one of the larger groupings of terrorists is currently based.
Over the last 24 hours, ATO forces engaged in fire with terrorist groups 20 times near the towns of Rozsypnhe, Khriashchuvate, Zemliane, Miusinsk, Bokovo-Platove, Mariyinka, Stukalova Balka, Ozerianka, Avdiyivka, Petrivka, Novohannivka, and Ilovaisk, as well as Luhansk Airport.
The border area
The situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border remains difficult. During the night, armed clashes occurred at the border with sabotage and intelligence groups. Near 03:00, a group of mercenaries from the border side attempted an armed attack on the border patrol on duty near the village of Pobieda, Donetsk Oblast. The border guards rebuffed the attack and the militants were forced to retreat towards the border. At 04:00, near the Uspenka border crossing, another clash occurred between the border patrol and another sabotage and intelligence group. Together with reinforcements that showed up in an APC, the border patrol repelled the attack.
Terrorists continue to use remote-controlled anti-personnel mines and landmines. At noon on August 13, on the Krasna Talivka section of the border in Luhansk Oblast, saboteurs set off two landmines where a border patrol was moving. Soon afterwards, the border guards discovered yet another group of terrorists with a grenade launcher not far from the border and opened fire, shooting to kill.
OSCE mission members who continue to monitor the Gukovo border checkpoint of the RF noted in the report of a special commission and published on the OSCE site, that the border is constantly being breached by uniformed personnel.
During the past week, the OSCE mission noted many groups of young men in military-like uniforms crossing the border in both directions. The observers also noted that several times ambulances evacuated wounded supporters of DNR. The report also noted that in the last 3 days, Mi-24 helicopters belonging to the RF Armed Forces have been flying over the border checkpoint with greater frequency. At night, the helicopters fly very closely to the actual border crossing. In the daytime, observers stated that the helicopters did not violate Ukrainian airspace visible from the border checkpoint.
As reported earlier, on July 30, the OSCE leader of the mission in Rostov Oblast, Paul Picard, announced that the mission was starting to work at the Gukovo border crossing and Donetsk on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
In the last 24 hours, RF Armed Forces aircraft violated Ukrainian air space several times. On August 13 at 11:40, the border patrol on duty on the Milove checkpoint in Luhansk Oblast saw 2 Mi-24 helicopters fly over Ukrainian territory. In addition, 4 other instances of Russian drones engaged in surveillance were reported: at 21:20 in Donetsk Oblast towards the town of Yalta at an altitude of 1,500 m; at 22:05, near Mariupol on a direct line towards the towns of Yalta and Siedove at an altitude of 2,000 m, and at 22:05 in Kherson Oblast from the direction of temporarily occupied Crimea, near the village of Shevchenko, flying at an altitude of nearly 2,000 m.
Population centers in the conflict zone
While liberating the towns of Hirske and Uglehorsk, National Guard servicemen discovered weapons and ammunition that were of Russian origins and are not part of the weaponry used by the Ukrainian army.
Information is coming in about places where saboteurs have mined infrastructure. For instance, militants mined yet another bridge on the highway between the towns of Nyzhnia Krynka and Khartsyzk in Donetsk Oblast. In the Kyiv District of Donetsk, Russian mercenaries booby-trapped the power substation at the Tochmash plant.
In Donetsk Oblast, employees of Donetskoblenergo, the regional power company, have been risking life and limb to restore power lines damaged by the terrorists at the Trudovska, Cheluskintsiv, Skochynskiy and Abakumova mines. In the Petriv District of Donetsk, the neighborhoods of Tekstylnyk in Kirov District, Maidanchyk and Adminsposelok in Kuybysheve District, where more than 3,000 residents have their homes, have been reconnected to power supplies again. Unfortunately, during the repair work, a mine exploded at one of the structures, injuring 3 employees of Donetskoblenergo.
According to information from the Ministry of Social Policy, pensions are currently being paid out to 29 Donetsk Oblast cities. Pensions are also being paid out in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Novoaidarsk County in Luhansk Oblast as well. Altogether, 13 counties and cities in Luhansk Oblast are having their pensions funded. At the moment, benefits are being temporarily held up in Donetsk, Avdiyivka, Horlivka, Yenakievo, Zhdanivtsi, Kirovsk, Makiyivka, Snizhne, Torez, Khartsyzk, Yasynuvata, Shakhtarsk, and Shakhtarsk County in Donetsk Oblast. Pension Fund offices are currently not working in Krasniy Luch, Pervomaisk, Leninsk, Zhovtneviy, Artemivsk and Kamianobrid Counties in Luhansk Oblast.
The NSC would like to call on all parents and all citizens who have remained in the ATO zone: the terrorists have started to use mines that are prohibited by international conventions. Please do not pick up any suspicious objects, including children’s toys, lighters, mini-radio receivers and even items that appear attractive, as they can all contain mines.
International reaction to events in Ukraine
During the night of August 13, President Poroshenko spoke over the phone with US Vice President Joseph Biden. The two discussed the situation with humanitarian assistance provided to Ukraine and agreed to continue to coordinate the efforts of their two countries to respond to existing and potential challenges and threats.
The Commander in Chief of NATO’s Joint Armed Forces in Europe, Phil Breedlove, announced that any international aid should come to Ukraine through the auspices of the Red Cross, with the agreement of Kyiv. Any other variations will be seen as an act of aggression against Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Deputy Spokesperson for the US Secretary of State Marie Harf stated that Russia has no right to unilaterally, without Kyiv’s approval, to enter Ukrainian territory under the guise of the so-called “humanitarian convoy” or in any other guise.
The Swiss Federal Council Chair announced that her country had decided to take additional measures to protect European sanctions against Russia. Among others, she mentioned a prolongation of the embargo on delivering certain goods designated as for military purpose to Russia and strict control over dual-purpose technology and goods being delivered to Russia. In addition, Switzerland promised to do everything to ensure that its territory was not being used to get around EU sanctions. At the same time, the Council Chair announced that it recognized the territorial integrity of Ukraine and considers that Russia is in violation of international law for having annexed Crimea.