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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing 19 June 2015

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1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with small arms, mortars and artillery. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions from Maryinka to Adviyivka. Towards Luhansk, firefights with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place along most of the contact line. Near Novotoshkivsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers), and near Zolote and Popasne, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions with mortars. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 8:50 AM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, Kremlin-backed terrorists violated the ceasefire 90 times. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported at 7 PM Kyiv time, that throughout the day on 19 June, Kremlin-backed terrorists violated the ceasefire 50 times.  Cease fire violations by Kremlin-backed terrorists totalled 224 in the last 3 days.

 

2. US State Department: Any attempts to seize additional Ukrainian territory will be met with increased cost

US State Department spokesperson J. Kerby stated on 18 June, "We're concerned by reports of new attacks by combined Russian and separatist forces on Ukrainian positions in Maryinka, Shyrokyne, and northeast of Mariupol, all on the Ukrainian Government-controlled side of the cease-fire line. These attacks reportedly used heavy weapons that are prohibited by the Minsk agreements. Russia bears direct responsibility for these aggressive actions by combined Russian-separatist forces, which are unacceptable and contravene those agreements. Any attempts to seize additional Ukrainian territory will be met with increased cost."

 

3. Ministry of Finance sends updated proposal to Ukraine's creditors

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine sent an updated proposal to the ad-hoc creditors' committee in order to accelerate sovereign debt restructuring negotiations. "This proposal includes significant debt reduction, maturity extensions, and a coupon structure ensuring Ukraine's debt burden is sustainable in the medium term, managing the pressure on Ukraine's balance of payments and its financing needs. Furthermore, it proposes a value recovery instrument for debtholders should the situation significantly and durably improve beyond the projections of the EFF Program. The Ministry strongly urges the Committee to come to the table immediately to reach a negotiated solution in the nearest time. Ukraine has both a liquidity and a solvency problem. Therefore, reprofiling its debt will not be sufficient. A simple debt extension does not resolve the massive pressure on Ukraine's financial system from the debt load, largely placed on the country by the Yanukovych regime which had borrowed approximately US$40 billion. [...] Today, Ukraine remains current on its obligations, including the coupon due on the Eurobond maturing in December 2015.  However, the Ministry notifies creditors within the debt operation that, unless a negotiated solution is found in the weeks to come, it will be forced to use the tools available to the Ukrainian Government and provided recently by our coalition partners in the Parliament in order to maintain and strengthen the nation's financial health," the Ministry stated.

 

4. IMF: Ukrainian authorities' program warrants support of international community

Managing Director of the IMF, C. Lagarde issued a statement today on Ukraine: "I welcome progress made in Parliament yesterday in approving legislation to strengthen the National Bank of Ukraine's independence, which is part of the far-reaching economic and structural reforms supported by the Fund to modernize the economy and restore robust growth. The success of the program, however, also rests on the rapid completion of the debt operation with high participation. In this regard, I also welcome the government's continued efforts to reach a collaborative agreement with all creditors. This is important since this means that the Fund will be able to continue to support Ukraine through its Lending-into-Arrears Policy even in the event that a negotiated agreement with creditors in line with the program cannot be reached in a timely manner. Overall, I strongly believe that the authorities' program and the determination and boldness with which it is being implemented, despite considerable headwinds, warrant the support of the international community."

 

5. Senate  Passes National Defense Authorization Act 2016: Authorizes lethal weapons for Ukraine

On 18 June, the US Senate, by a vote of 71-25, passed the National Defense Authorization Act 2016. The $612 billion act allocates approximately $300 million in military aid for Ukraine, and authorizes the Secretary of Defense, "with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training, equipment, lethal weapons of a defensive nature, logistics support, supplies and services, and sustainment to the military and national security forces of Ukraine, through September 30, 2016, to assist the government of Ukraine for the following purposes: (1) Securing its sovereign territory against foreign aggressors. (2) Protecting and defending the Ukrainian people from attacks posed by Russian-backed separatists. (3) Promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict." The Obama Administration has thus far resisted calls by US legislators to provide lethal defensive military assistance to Ukraine, despite strong bi-partisan support in both the US House and Senate.

 

6. EU extends Crimea sanctions for one year

The European Council extended EU sanctions until 23 June 2016 in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. The sanctions include prohibitions on - imports of products from Crimea into the EU; investment by EU-based companies in Crimea; tourism services in Crimea; exports of certain goods and technologies to Crimean companies or for use in Crimea in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors and related to prospection, exploration, production of oil, gas and mineral resources.

 

7. France freezes Russian state bank accounts

In an attempt to enforce a $50 billion ruling won by Yukos shareholders in international arbitration court from the Russian Federation in 2014, on 18 June France seized Russian state accounts in about 40 banks, along with eight or nine buildings, AFP reported. Tim Osborne, director of GML, a holding company representing the shareholders, told the BBC, "The Russian state has made no effort to pay or engage with us - all of its statements and actions suggest it has no regard for international law or the rule of law." Applications have also been filed to seize Russian state assets in the UK and US, Osborne told the BBC.


Follow us on Twitter @ukrcancongress, or on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/UkrainianCanadianCongress or Internet: www.ucc.ca

 

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing 18 June 2015

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1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to deploy heavy weapons to the contact line and continue attempts to advance. Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions with artillery and small arms. Towards Donetsk, 2 firefights with Kremlin-backed terrorist groups numbering 30 and 150 respectively took place near Maryinka. Ukrainian forces repelled the attacks. The RNBO reported that Maryinka was shelled throughout the day. Kremlin-backed terrorists also fired on Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk Airport and Krasnohorivka. Towards Luhansk Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions at Popasne with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) and artillery, and fired on Ukrainian positions from Popasne to Shchastya. At the Bakhmutska highway, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and fourteen were wounded.

2. Parliament votes to dismiss head of Security Service of Ukraine

Ukraine's Parliament voted to dismiss the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) V. Nalyvaichenko, at the request of the President of Ukraine. 248 of 364 MPs present supported the resolution. President Poroshenko appointed Vasyl Hrytsak acting head of the SBU, pending parliamentary confirmation. Hrytsak was head of the SBU's Anti-terrorism center and first Deputy head of the SBU.

 

3. New law on local elections passes first reading in Parliament

Ukraine's Parliament adopted a new law on local elections at first reading. According to the new law, members of village councils will be elected by a majoritarian, first-past-the post system; members of oblast, raion, and city councils - will be elected by preferential party (or bloc) list proportional system; mayors of cities with over 90,000 electors - by majoritarian, absolute majority system; mayors of cities, towns, villages with less than 90,000 electors - majoritarian, first-past the post system. Local elections are expected to take place in October 2015.

 

4. EU Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner visits Ukraine

Ukraine's Parliament ratified the Memorandum of Understanding with the EU for the third macro-financial assistance package from the EU, totaling 1.8 billion Euros. The EU stated that it is working towards disbursing the first payment in the coming weeks. Visiting Kyiv, European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner J. Hahn met with Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko, PM. A Yatsenyuk and other top officials. Hahn and Minister of Economic Development and Trade A. Abromavicius signed a financing agreement for 55 million Euros under the program EU Support to Ukraine to Re-launch the Economy, which will support "national, regional and local authorities and other stakeholders to develop and implement effective economic development policies, including SMEs policy. One component will be the setting up of Business Support Centres to cover 15 regions, managed by the EBRD for the development of regional capacities and training in entrepreneurial skills in at least 15 regions of Ukraine," the EU stated.

5. Belgium freezes Russian government accounts

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the "accounts of the Russian Embassy in Belgium, Permanent Missions of Russia to the EU and NATO in Brussels, as well as a number of other Russian companies in Belgium" have been frozen. The account freeze is the result of a Belgian arbitration court's decision to allow the seizure of Russian state property in Belgium connected with the Russian government's refusal to pay $50 billion for expropriating the Yukos oil company, according to a ruling from an international arbitration court in July 2014. Reuters reported that "The GML group of former shareholders who made the claim said then it would be hard to get Moscow to pay, so it started 'recognition proceedings' in Britain, the United States, Belgium and France to enforce the decision in their capitals." In Belgium and France that means that GML "can attach assets of the Russian government to safeguard the ultimate award," Reuters stated, quoting a representative of GML.

Follow us on Twitter @ukrcancongress, or on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/UkrainianCanadianCongress or Internet: www.ucc.ca

Taras Zalusky, Executive Director

Ukrainian Canadian Congress

(613) 232 - 8822

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing 17 June 2015,

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1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continued to fire on Ukrainian positions with heavy weapons - artillery, mortars and tanks. Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with small arms, artillery and mortars. Towards Donetsk, clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place near the Donetsk airport, Maryinka and Krasnohorivka. Towards Luhansk, firefights with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place at several locations along the contact line. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and six were wounded. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine reported that three civilians were injured as a result of shelling of Maryinka by Kremlin-backed terrorists.

 

2. EU, US call for release of Nadiya Savchenko on anniversary of her illegal captivity

The European Union External Action spokesperson stated, "A year ago, Nadiya Savchenko was captured in eastern Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists. 365 days of detention, most of them in Russia, have severely affected her health. She has repeatedly been denied the core right to fair proceedings. [...] The European Union firmly calls for her release. This would be in keeping with the 'Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements' and the commitment to release all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine." US Ambassador to Ukraine G. Pyatt stated, "One year ago today, Nadiya Savchenko was captured by separatists on Ukrainian soil and smuggled to Russia against her will.  While detained, Nadiya has endured relentless interrogations, and even been subjected to solitary confinement for staging a hunger strike.  The United States will continue to press tirelessly for Nadiya's release, as well as the release of all Ukrainians who are being held illegally by Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine.  We again call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Savchenko to allow her to return home safely to her family, in conformance with the commitments Russia signed onto under the Minsk Agreement." Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists last June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time.

 

3. BBC: EU to extend sanctions against Russia by six months

The BBC reported that EU member states "have agreed in principle to extend economic sanctions against Russia by six months over the Ukraine conflict," citing EU officials. "The sanctions, which expire on 31 July, are not expected to change in content. The decision needs to be ratified by EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday, though this is seen as a formality," BBC reported. The BBC stated that in a meeting in Brussels today, ambassadors from the 28 EU states "also voted unanimously to extend a ban on investment in Crimea by one year."

 

4. Independent Russian journalist detained, beaten by Kremlin-backed terrorists, "deported" from occupied Donetsk

Novaya Gazeta correspondent P. Kanygin, who has challenged the Kremlin's propaganda about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, was detained, beaten and "deported" back to Russia by Kremlin-backed terrorists from the so-called Donetsk "People's Republic."  Kanygin was detained on 16 June, one day after covering a protest rally in which protestors in occupied Donetsk demanded that the "leadership" of the so-called "DPR" remove heavy weaponry from residential areas and stop using civilians as human shields. Kanygin was also the first Russian correspondent to interview the two Russian regular army servicemen captured in eastern Ukraine in May. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, "Kanygin spoke to RFE/RL on June 17, after his return to Russia. He said that he was accused of illegal drug use, spying for Ukraine and the United States, and working on territory controlled by the separatists without accreditation. Novaya Gazeta quoted Kanygin as saying one of the separatist security officers who questioned him "pointed a pistol at me and said that if I moved, he would shoot me." Kanygin said he was then asked which side he was on in the conflict between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces [...]' "I said I am for peace. At that moment, he punched me in the eye," Kanygin said.

 

5. General Prosecutor asks Parliament to authorize arrest of MP Serhiy Kliuyev under new charges

On 16 June, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine sent an appeal to Parliament to give its consent to the criminal prosecution, detention and arrest of MP Serhiy Kliuyev, brother of the former head of the Yanukovych Presidential Administration. Kliuyev is suspected of "large scale transactions with property obtained as a result of a socially dangerous actions that was preceded by the laundering of incomes, as well as actions aimed at concealing and disguising the illegal origin of such property and rights to such property," and other charges. On 3 June, Parliament stripped Kliuyev of immunity from prosecution on earlier charges of fraud, misappropriation, embezzlement and abuse of power or position. Kliuyev reportedly tried to leave Ukraine the same day but was stopped from boarding a flight to Vienna. On 4 June, he failed to appear for questioning.

 

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GET DAD SOMETHING UNIQUE FOR FATHER'S DAY - - SAVE THE LIFE OF A UKRAINIAN SOLDIER

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June 17, 2015 - OTTAWA. For Father's Day this year, give your father a gift he will always remember. Save the life of a Ukrainian soldier on the battlefield.  In Ukraine, thousands of fathers will spend Father's Day away from their wives and children, bravely defending their country against Russia's brutal invasion.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is appealing to all Canadians this Father's Day to give a NATO-standard Improved First Aid Kit (IFAK) and Combat Lifesaver Training (CLS) to a Ukrainian soldier.
Please donate to the Ukrainian World Congress Patriot Defence Project (http://patriotdefence.org), which provides IFAKs and CLS training to Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel. 

Statistics show that IFAK and CLS training greatly reduce combat mortality rates. To date the project has conducted over 225 training missions, distributed over 15,200 IFAKs and trained over 17,800 soldiers and over 2,300 cadets.

 

For a tax-deductible donation, Canadians can equip a Ukrainian soldier with a life-saving IFAK, allowing them to be with his children next Father's Day!

 

 

 

Donations are eligible for income tax receipts in Canada through the Canada Ukraine Foundation.

Please donate at:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/canada-ukraine-foundation/

Select "General Fund"

And add "IFAKs" in message box

 

Please send cheques payable to "Canada-Ukraine Foundation" with "IFAKs" in the memo line to:

Canada-Ukraine Foundation

145 Evans Ave, Suite 300

Toronto, ON

M8Z 5X8

Canada

 

 

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing 16 June 2015,

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1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continued shelling Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol) with heavy artillery and mortars. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers); clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists are taking place on a wide sector of the front (from Hranitne to Horlivka). Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at several locations, usually with small arms, and shelled Ukrainian positions near the Bakhmutska highway with artillery. The intensification of shelling by Kremlin-backed terrorists has also caused significant damage to residential areas and infrastructure. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five were wounded.

 

2. Vice News investigates presence of Russian regular army soldiers in eastern Ukraine

Vice News published an investigative report by journalist S. Ostrovsky on the presence of regular Russian army troops in Ukraine. The 23-minute report, Selfie Soldiers: Russia's army checks into Ukraine, is available athttps://news.vice.com/video/selfie-soldiers-russia-checks-in-to-ukraine

 

3. Donetsk city residents protest against Kremlin-backed terrorists

On 15 June, about 500 people protested in occupied Donetsk city on Monday, demanding that Kremlin-backed terrorists stop firing rocket launchers from inside residential neighbourhoods and stop using civilians as human shields. Agence France-Presse stated, "The small but unusual demonstration outside the offices of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic suggested that an undercurrent of resentment with the new authorities was appearing in eastern Ukraine's main rebel-held town. [...]Donetsk residents from a neighbourhood near the airport that insurgents managed to seize after months of some of the war's heaviest clashes in January, accused the insurgents of using them as human shields. 'You are hiding behind our backs,' some residents chanted. Others simply shouted 'Shame!'"

 

4. General Prosecutor initiates trial-in-absentia of two Yanukovych-era ministers

The General Prosecutor of Ukraine V. Shokin stated in an interview with Holos Ukrainy, the Parliamentary newspaper, that the General Prosecutor has submitted a request to the court for trial in absentia of former Minister of Health R Bohatyriova, suspected of misappropriation of state funds, and former Head of the National Bank, first deputy PM and acting PM S Arbuzov, on suspicion of misappropriation of state funds.

 

5. Trilateral Contact Group meets in Minsk

The Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine-OSCE-Russia) met in Minsk. Radio Svoboda reported that OSCE representative H. Tagliavini stated that the Contact Group listened to reports from working subgroups, discussed the organization of further work, and held consultations with "representatives" of certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. It was reported that Tagliavini will resign as the OSCE representative to the Trilateral Contact Group.
   

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