Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 24 November 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
24 November 2016, 6 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 at Krymske, Novooleksandrivka and Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zayteve, Avdiyivka and Luhanske village with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions near Maryinka, firing over 200 mortar shells. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed in action.
2. EU-Ukraine Summit: EU supporting accountable, transparent governance in Ukraine
 At today’s EU-Ukraine Summit, the next components of the EU’s support package to Ukraine were announced. 104 million Euros was announced for public administration reform. The EU stated, “Over the next four years the EU will provide, through the state budget, some of the funding necessary to finance the modernisation of the public service, and help recruit a new generation of public servants. The government is in the process of establishing reform support teams to drive change and modernisation in individual Ministries, and the EU will also support this initiative.” 52.5 million Euros was announced for rule of law reform. The EU stated, “The rule of law programme will support reforms of the judicial system and of the police. It will back the Ukrainian justice reform strategy and will be implemented by the French Development Agency, focusing on training and renewal of the body of judges, and the enforcement of judgments and sanctions. The police reform component has been designed in collaboration with the experts from the European Union’s Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform.” A 15 million Euro programme to fight corruption was signed. The EU stated, “The new anti-corruption programme is intended to strengthen the capacity of the newly created anti-corruption institutions to investigate, prosecute and sanction corruption. The programme, which will be implemented by the Danish development agency, DANIDA, will also finance a group of international advisers to help the Rada with the task of scrutinising corruption-related legislation and monitoring reform implementation. Finally, the EU programme will support local authorities which back real change and are ready to cooperate with civil society organisations and the media to put in place a full range of anti-corruption measures in the regions and municipalities.”
3. European Council President: Ukraine has completed all its work for visa-free regime with EU 
Speaking following the EU-Ukraine Summit, European Council President D. Tusk stated, “Europe must do everything in its power to make sure that Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and stability are preserved. […] The last three years have seen the birth of a new Ukraine that advances its democracy and economy through, sometimes very tough, reforms. Additional assistance from Europe should support Ukraine in strengthening its democratic path. In this context we discussed visas. I am happy that all EU Member States decided Ukraine is ready for a visa-free regime. This decision is a recognition of Ukraine’s achievements in meeting European standards. It will enter into force once the European Parliament and the Council find an agreement on the reform of the EU’s visa policy, which is on track. […] But I want to underline that this discussion does not concern Ukraine any more, as Ukraine has already done its work perfectly. Now the discussion concerns relations between the EU Member States and the European Parliament with regard to the EU’s visa policy. Before concluding, let me add a comment on the future of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, following the Dutch referendum. My goal is clear: to finish the ratification process of the Association Agreement. This agreement is not only of mutual economic benefit, but – more importantly – it carries great geopolitical significance. After having spoken to Prime Minister Rutte and President Poroshenko, I can report that we are working hard to find a solution that will allow the Dutch to ratify, by addressing all their concerns, while fully respecting the interests of Ukraine and making sure that the remaining 27 do not need to ratify again. It is my hope and intention to find such a solution at the December European Council.”
4. EU-Ukraine Summit: EU and Ukraine intensify energy partnership 
Ukraine’s Energy Minister I. Nasalyk and European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union M. Sefcovic signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership between the EU and Ukraine.  The EU stated, “The new agreement will broaden the cooperation in all areas, including energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as aim to create more certainty for investors. Up until now cooperation focused mainly on energy security, nuclear safety, infrastructure and market reforms. […]The Memorandum of Understanding foresees enhanced cooperation on a number of energy topics, from energy security to full market integration, energy efficiency and the decarbonisation of the economy to research and cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding covers an initial period of 10 years and will be implemented through annual priority work plans.”

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