Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 10 June, 2014, 5:00 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

10 June, 2014, 5:00 PM Kyiv time

 

1. Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. Ukrainian troops repelled attacks on airfields in the Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts, killing 43 Kremlin-backed extremists, according to counter-terror operation spokesman V. Seleznyov. In a three-hour battle near the Kramatorsk airport Kremlin-backed extremists attacked the army with mortars but government forces returned fire, destroying their position and killing 40 “mercenaries”. In Slavyansk, two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded when extremists attacked an army position on the perimeter using grenade-launchers. In Luhansk, Kremlin backed extremists opened fire on the airport and nearby Ukrainian army positions. “The attack of the fighters was repelled by special force units. There are no losses on the Ukrainian side,” said Seleznyov.

2. Poroshenko orders Corridor for fleeing civilians

A day after Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said peace talks with Russia were yielding progress, President P. Poroshenko ordered Ukrainian regions to accept refugees from areas where government forces are combating extremists. Russia, Germany and Poland met in St. Petersburg to push forward Ukraine peace talks after President Petro Poroshenko called for an evacuation corridor so civilians can flee fighting in the eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.

3. Three-way talks begin

Three-way meetings between Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Kiev reached agreement on implementing a peace plan drawn up by Poroshenko and priorities for de-escalation in Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We’re at the point where there is the real possibility of achieving a cease-fire,” said Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, Chairman of the OSCE.

4. Yanukovych and his minister oversaw scheme that stole billions

AP reports that former Ukrainian Revenue Minister Klymenko was part of a scheme that siphoned billions from the Ukrainian state.  According to the report, hundreds of phantom firms squeezed 130 billion hryvnias ($11 billion) from Kyiv’s coffers. The country’s total tax revenue amounted to 210 billion hryvnias ($17.8 billion) in 2013. Deputy Tax Minister Ihor Bilous stated, “The corruption began at the top.” Bilous accused Yanukovych ally Oleksandr Klymenko of organizing the fraud into a nationwide system, organized “like a pyramid” with legitimate firms at the bottom funneling money through phantom partners until it reached Klymenko and his associates, who either ran the phantom firms through proxies or took a cut of their proceeds. In the past five weeks authorities say they have shut at least 30 phoney firms across the country, often raiding empty offices filled with bogus paperwork, fake corporate letterhead, and bundles of cash. There have been no mass firings at the tax ministry.

5. Head of Presidential Administration Appointed

Ukrainian President P Poroshenko has named Borys Lozhkin as head of the Presidential Administration. Poroshenko further appointed Hennadiy Zubko and Oleh Rafalsky as Deputy Heads of the Presidential Administration.

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