Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 26 October 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

26 October 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time

  1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that on the night of 24-25 October, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Pisky, Donetsk oblast with small arms, grenade launchers, high-caliber machine guns and anti-aircraft artillery. Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the attack. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported that Russian-terrorist forces did not violate the ceasefire during the night of 25-26 October.

  1. Domestic, international observers report on Ukraine’s local elections

Local elections were held in Ukraine on 25 October in all parts of the country except for Russian-occupied Crimea and those parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblast occupied by Russian-terrorist forces. Domestic election observation NGO OPORA’s preliminary report stated, “violations on election day in the majority of communities had a non-systemic character, and generally did not influence the result of voting or the counting of ballots. Overall, the campaign was competitive.” Ukrainian NGO Committee of Voters of Ukraine’s preliminary report stated, “voting day in the local elections, with the exceptions of a few territorial communities, overall met standards of free and democratic elections. Observed violations of the law for the most part did not have a material influence on the results of the vote.” The OSCE’s preliminary report stated, “The elections were competitive, well organized overall and the campaign generally showed respect for the democratic process. Nevertheless, the complexity of the legal framework, the dominance of powerful economic groups over the electoral process, and the fact that virtually all campaign coverage in the media was paid for, underscore the need for continued reform. […]. The voting and counting process was transparent and orderly overall, despite the lack of clarity in the procedural provisions.”

  1. US Commerce Secretary: US to move forward with third $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine

US Secretary of Commerce P. Pritzker met with Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko and PM A. Yatsenyuk in Kyiv today. Following her meeting with President Poroshenko, Secretary Pritzker stated that “I am pleased to announce that the [US] President, working with Congress, intends to move forward with a third $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine in the coming months. This fulfills a U.S. commitment to consider providing a third $1 billion loan guarantee in late 2015, if the conditions warrant.” Joining Secretary Pritzker in Ukraine are representatives of Cargill; Citibank; Honeywell; DuPont; Westinghouse and NCH Capital.

  1. Ukraine bans direct flights from Russia

Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers stated that as of today, direct flights between Russia and Ukraine are banned. Sanctions were implemented against 29 Russian airlines that have violated Ukrainian law by flying into illegally occupied Crimea. In response the Russian government restricted the flights of several Ukrainian airlines, forcing Ukraine’s state aviation service to prohibit flights into Ukraine of all Russian airlines, the Cabinet stated. Ukraine’s position is as follows – “in order to begin negotiations, Russian airlines should stop illegal flights to annexed Crimea and through prohibited zones, and also pay all fines that Ukraine’s state aviation service has levied on Aeroflot and other Russian airline companies during 2014-15,” the Cabinet stated.

  1. Kremlin-backed terrorist organization “Donetsk Peoples’ Republic” bans Doctors without Borders

On 23 October, Doctors without Borders (MSF) reported that “its accreditation in the self-proclaimed state had been withdrawn. The international medical humanitarian organization was asked to immediately stop its activities. It was not provided with a reason for the decision.” B. Janssens, MSF Director of Operations stated, “We are almost the only organization providing treatment for tuberculosis in prisons, insulin for diabetic patients, and hemodialysis products to treat kidney failure. With the termination of our activities from one day to the next, thousands of patients suffering from chronic, potentially fatal diseases will now be left with little or no assistance.”

  1. Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce holds meeting on Canada-Ukraine FTA

The Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce (CUCC) and the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs held a meeting “Ukraine-Canada: Looking Ahead to the Free Trade Zone,” in Kyiv today. “The main goal of the meeting is to discuss the evolution of economic relations between Ukraine and Canada; the establishment of the free trade zone, and also new opportunities and priority directions for trade and investment cooperation,” the CUCC stated. Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine R. Waschuk, Ukraine’s Ambassador-designate to Canada A. Shevchenko attended.

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