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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing 4 May 2016

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
  The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with armored vehicles, small arms and grenade launchers. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve and Luhanske village. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka and Hnutove with small arms and grenade launchers. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action.  
2. Bellingcat publishes report identifying Russian Buk missile launcher that shot down Flight MH-17 
The investigative reporting group Bellingcat published a report identifying the Russian Buk missile launcher that shot down civilian airliner MH-17 that was flying over eastern Ukraine on 17 July, 2014. All 298 passengers on board Flight MH-17 were killed. The Bellingcat report identifies Buk missile launcher 322, from Russia's 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade of Kursk, Russia as the missile launcher that shot down flight MH-17.  The Bellingcat report is available at
3. Incoming NATO Europe Commander: "we should support Ukrainians with what they need to successfully defend their territory"
Speaking at a press conference today, the incoming NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), US General C. Scaparrotti stated, "First of all, from everything I have seen, Russia has been very active in eastern Ukraine. I don't see any indication that that's going to change in the short term. And I don't expect it will. And they're active through many means, not just military but information, work to undermine the political fabric, etcetera.  And I think that is very representative of the kinds of activities that they're demonstrating in other areas as well. Secondly, having to do with weaponry, I do believe we should support the Ukrainians with what they need to successfully defend their territory and their sovereignty. Now, I'll take a look at that as the SACEUR, specifically because you need, I need to assess what weapons are best, what capabilities they can use, what capabilities are complementary to their forces today. And I'll make a more refined decision here as I get into this job."
4. German Foreign Office hosts conference with Ukrainian, Germany civil society 
The German Foreign Office and the Korber Foundation hosted a conference - "After Euromaidan - Off to New Horizons" with representatives of Ukrainian and Germany civil society. Opening the conference, German State Secretary S. Steinlein stated, "One of the big assets that Ukraine has is its vibrant civil society. Certainly, it is true that Ukraine faces unprecedented challenges. It is confronted with a most serious violation of its territorial integrity and with an acute conflict situation. It has initiated a comprehensive and extremely challenging reform process. And it is clear that not everything has been achieved so far. But a lot of things have been set into motion, and some even say that in the past two years more reforms have been completed than in the 20 years before, since independence. [...] We welcome the commitment of the new government to continue with the reform agenda, and we think that here, civil society has a crucial role to play. And this is where Ukraine is unique. Hardly any country of the Eastern Partnership has such a vibrant civil society."

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