Ukraine: Daily Briefing – March 20, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 20, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Canadian troops train Ukrainian army snipers as part of #OpUNIFIER. Photo – Canadian Forces
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. On March 17-18, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk and Horlivka. At Avdiivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with tanks and mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiivka. One civilian was injured. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka. At Vodyane, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian forces with artillery. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Popasne with mortars.
2. House of Commons to hold debate on Canada’s extension of Operation UNIFIER
Tonight, beginning at approximately 6:30 PM Eastern time, Canada’s MPs will hold a take-note debate on the Government of Canada’s extension of Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission to Ukraine. On March 6, the Government of Canada announced that Operation UNIFIER will be extended until the end of March, 2019. The debate will be broadcast live on the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC). Online the debate will be broadcast at
3. IMF postpones meeting on tranche of Ukraine funding
Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance stated on March 19, “The Executive Board of the IMF postponed for a short time the planned meeting on the completion of the third review of Ukraine’s Extended Fund Facility. The postponement of the meeting is due strictly because of the need to clarify calculations on the economic impact of measures taken by Ukraine in response to the blockade and the seizure of Ukrainian enterprises on territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblast not under control of the Ukrainian government, and also due to the recognition by the Russian side of ‘documents’ issued on these territories.”
4. EU remains fully committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity
On March 17, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini stated, “Three years on from the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The European Union reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law. It remains a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all States. The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. […]Over the past year, the ongoing militarisation of the peninsula has continued to impact the security situation in the Black Sea region and the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula has deteriorated further. The rights of the Crimean Tatars have been gravely violated through the shutting down of Crimean Tatar media outlets, the banning of the activities of the Mejlis, their self-governing body, and the persecution of its leaders. Lawyers such as Emil Kurbedinov and Mykola Polozov, defending the rights of Crimean Tatars and of those who do not recognise the illegal annexation of the peninsula, were themselves presented with criminal charges. In this regard, we call for the release of the First Deputy Chairman Akhtem Chiygoz and for the charges against Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov to be dropped, and the right to legal counsel to be fully respected. Furthermore, the EU reiterates its call for the immediate release of Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and all those who have been detained and sentenced in breach of international law.”

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