Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 27 June, 2014, 7 PM Kyiv time

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

27 June, 2014, 7 PM Kyiv time

1. Ukraine, EU sign Association Agreement

In Brussels, Ukraine and the European Union signed the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which includes the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between Ukraine and the EU. The deal also sets out a path for political, economic and social reforms. More importantly, the deal confirms the historic European choice of the people of Ukraine. Speaking at the Signing Ceremony, Ukrainian President Poroshenko stated that “By signing this Agreement, Ukraine takes enormous commitment in terms of reforms. But it is also a document of joint responsibility. So, in the spirit of the political association, we also expect that the EU will make everything to support our sovereign choice and protect Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. A lot will depend on the European solidarity with these three countries that paid a high price to be in Europe and with Europe. Will Europe be free or partly free? Will it have to worry about more wars and annexation? Or will it be confident in future? These aren’t idle questions. And the answer will depend on success or failure of the documents that we will sign today.” The President also declared Ukraine’s intention to seek full EU membership, and called on the EU to “finally consider a simple statement on the part of the EU. Once Ukraine will be ready it will be in.”

2Kremlin-backed violence in Eastern Ukraine

Despite promises by the self-proclaimed “representatives” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” to abide by a ceasefire until 27 June, Kremlin-backed armed extremists continued to attack Ukrainian armed forces checkpoints and positions. The National Security and Defense Council stated, that as of 5 pm, Kyiv time, “Terrorists continue to violate the conditions of the ceasefire.” Near Semenivka, Donetsk oblast, Kremlin-backed armed extremists are relocating tanks and militants. Around noon, Kyiv time, near Chervonopartysansk, Luhansk oblast, Kremlin-backed armed extremists opened mortar fire on a Ukrainian armed forces position. There were no casualties on the Ukrainian side. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that a commander of a battalion of the National Guard has been taken prisoner by Kremlin-backed armed extremists after a battle in Donetsk city.  The Department of Defense reports that a tank, which was used by Kremlin-backed armed extremists during an attack on a Ukrainian armed forces base in Artemivsk, Donetsk oblast, was seized by Ukrainian soldiers. According to analysis by the Department of Defense, the tank was brought into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. On 26 June 27, 2014 at 7:30 PM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed armed extremists fired upon 2 checkpoint north of Slovyansk, Donetsk oblast, controlled by Ukrainian Anti-terrorism Operation (ATO) forces. One checkpoint was attacked with tanks and mortars. One tank was destroyed. The Ministry of Defense reports casualties on the Ukrainian side. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that the Russian Federation is conducting unmanned drone surveillance of border areas. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission reports that the four members of the Donetsk monitoring team was released late on 26 June after 32 days in captivity. 4 members of the Luhansk-based monitoring team abducted on 29 May have not been released.

3. Decision on ceasefire to be taken today by Poroshenko

The deadline of the unilateral ceasefire announced by Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko on 20 June ends on 27 June, 10 PM Kyiv time. The President stated that he will take a decision on whether or not to extend the unilateral ceasefire today, “after consultations with the Ministry of Defense, the commander of the National Guard, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Chief of the General Staff and other members of the National Security and Defense Council.” According to unconfirmed media reports, at a Trilateral Contact Group consultation meeting between Ukraine, the OSCE and the Russian Federation, taking place in Donetsk, self-proclaimed “representatives” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” stated that they are willing to extend the ceasefire until 30 June. These are the same “representatives” who stated on 23 June that they would abide by a ceasefire. Since “agreeing” to the ceasefire, over 20 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by Kremlin-backed armed extremists.

 


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