Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 14 October 2016, 3 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 October 2016, 3 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions ta Stanytsia Luhanska. Near Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions on the Vodyane-Shyrokyne sector of the front. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Bohdanivka and Talakivka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.

2. US Mission to OSCE on Russia’s Ongoing Violations in Ukraine
On 13 October, US Permanent Representative to the OSCE D. Baer stated at a meeting of OSCE Permanent Council, “It is critical that the sides move forward on disengagement in Stanytsia Luhanska. Time is running out, and we call on the Russian Federation take the following steps immediately: First, halt all attacks on Ukrainian positions. Between October 2 and 9, the [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission] found impact craters just south of Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska, confirming Ukrainian reports that combined Russian-separatist forces continue their direct fire on Ukrainian positions. […] Combined Russian-separatist forces must also end attacks at other locations along the line of contact, such as in Mariupol, where two Ukrainian military personnel were killed and 11 were injured over the weekend. […] According to the United Nations, fighting between May and August killed twice as many civilians as were lost in the first four months of the year. […] Civilians trying to cross the contact line continue to wait as long as 36 hours. They are trapped, at times, between checkpoints the entire night, making them vulnerable to shelling by combined Russian-separatist forces. […] Colleagues, Russian actions have led to the dire situation in occupied Crimea, where the mistreatment of members of the Crimean Tatar community continues. […] We are troubled by the recent news that occupation authorities are pressuring the young children of imprisoned Crimean Tatar activist Emir Hussein Kuku to make statements against their father that could be used to strip him of his parental rights. There have been disturbing reports that the Russian FSB’s ‘anti-extremism’ division has been conducting mass interrogations of Mejlis members. In light of recent comments by occupation authorities comparing the Mejlis to ISIL, these reports raise concerns that a new wave of repressions may be planned in connection with the recent Russian court decision that upheld the baseless designation of the Mejlis as an ‘extremist’ organization. In closing, let me reiterate that our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia ends its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and returns control over this land to Ukraine. We also join the European Union in restating that our sanctions against Russia for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will remain until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments.”

3. Ukraine’s President speaks with French President
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko held a phone conversation with French President F. Hollande and German Chancellor A. Merkel on 13 October. Poroshenko’s press service reported, “Petro Poroshenko informed on the deterioration of the security situation in Donbas, particularly the increased shelling carried out by Russian militants using, inter alia, heavy artillery. He also drew attention to the absence of the OSCE permanent observation points in the areas of troops delimitation. The Presidents of Ukraine and France agreed on special importance of the security component, which still has not been fulfilled by Russia and must be the primary part of the road map for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Head of State noted that Moscow blocked the process of releasing hostages, which is absolutely inadmissible. Petro Poroshenko and Francois Hollande agreed to continue consultations in Minsk at the level of diplomatic advisors to the Heads of State of the Normandy format. Following the consultations, the leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany will carry out a phone conference next week.”

4. Bloomberg reports on Ukraine’s agricultural potential
Bloomberg reported, “Ukraine sold $7.6 billion of bulk farm commodities worldwide in 2015, quintupling its revenue from a decade earlier and topping Russia, its closest rival on world markets. By the mid-2020s, ‘Ukraine will be no. 3 after the US and Brazil,’ in food production worldwide, says Martin Schuldt, the top representative in Ukraine for Cargill, the world’s largest grain trader. […] the company is investing $100 million in a new grain terminal in Ukraine. Bunge, the world’s biggest soy processor, opened a port this year at a ceremony with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko-another vote of confidence in the country. […] About 1 in every 6 acres of agricultural land in Ukraine isn’t being farmed. Of land in production, John Shmorhun, [CEO of AgroGeneration] says only about a quarter is reaching yields on the level of those in the developed world, because of lower-quality seeds, fertilizers, and equipment. ‘It’s a huge upside. It’s mind-boggling,’ he says. […] Poroshenko supports creating a market for farmland, but the Parliament regularly extends the ban on selling agricultural property. Earlier in October, legislators backed a bill prolonging the moratorium through 2018, but the president has yet to sign it. The fear is that large Ukrainian companies and foreign investors will gobble up the land and displace small farmers. […] Despite the difficulties, Ukraine’s emergence as a global agro powerhouse may be a safe bet for a simple reason: The world needs more food, and Ukraine can produce it.” The full report is available at


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