Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – May 20-26, 2017

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Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
May 20-26, 2017
 
Armored personnel carrier night fire training, Yavoriv Combat Training Centre. 
PHOTO – US 7th Army


1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of May 19-25, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 28 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 371 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 154 times with heavy weapons – mortars, artillery and tanks.
 
2. Ukraine’s President speaks with Canada’s Prime Minister
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 25. President Poroshenko’s press service reported, “President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. Petro Poroshenko informed on the developments in Donbas and the ongoing violation of the Minsk agreements by Russia. The President of Ukraine expressed confidence that the leaders of NATO and G7 will deliver an appropriate assessment of the given situation, particularly in the issue of continuation of sanctions’ pressure on Moscow. Prime Minister Trudeau assured that the G7 and NATO coalition is committed to support Ukraine. The parties also discussed future intensification of bilateral relations. The leaders praised recent ratification of the Free Trade Agreement by the Canadian Senate that paves the way to its full application in the nearest future. Petro Poroshenko thanked Canada for its stance in the issue of development of defensive cooperation, the evidence of which is continuation of UNIFIER training mission and signature of the agreement on defensive cooperation. Petro Poroshenko noted that the adoption of the EU’s decision as regards visa waiver for Ukrainians provides conditions for intensification of dialogue on visa liberalisation between Canada and Ukraine.”
3. Parliament adopts law on ensuring Ukrainian language content on TV, radio
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, “Lawmakers have approved a bill that would require Ukrainian television and radio stations that broadcast nationwide to have at least 75 percent of their programming in the Ukrainian language. The bill was supported by 269 lawmakers in its second and final vote in the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada on May 23. The legislation, which would amend laws on broadcasting, culture, and languages, will become law if signed by President Petro Poroshenko. […] The legislation would also require local and regional TV and radio stations to have 50 percent of their content in Ukrainian. It would not affect foreign-based broadcasters, but would require foreign films aired on Ukrainian television channels to carry Ukrainian subtitles. The language quotas would be in place between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
4. Statement at Conclusion of IMF Mission to Ukraine
A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Kyiv on May 16-26, to begin discussions on the fourth review of the government’s economic program supported under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility. Upon the conclusion of the visit, the mission lead, Ron van Rooden, stated,
“The Ukrainian economy continues to recover, with growth expected to exceed 2 percent in 2017. Fiscal and monetary policies remain on track to meet the 2017 targets. Gross international reserves have increased further to US$17.6 billion, and inflation is projected to fall below 10 percent by the end of the year. While the near-term outlook is positive, decisive implementation of structural reforms remains critical to achieve stronger and sustainable growth that Ukraine needs over the medium-term.
In this regard, the mission held constructive discussions with the authorities on reforms needed to improve productivity, attract investment, and continue to strengthen public finances. As envisaged under the program, discussions focused on the pending pension and land reform and on measures to speed up the privatization process and ensure concrete results in anticorruption efforts.
While good progress has been made in building understandings on the key elements of these measures, further technical work is needed in some areas to transform these into draft laws that meet the reform objectives. Securing parliamentary approval of these draft laws will be needed to pave the way for the completion of the fourth review. IMF staff, in cooperation with other international partners, will remain closely engaged with the authorities in the coming weeks to advance the reform agenda.”
5. Ukraine Tech Companies to visit Toronto May 29-31
Branham Group stated, “Branham Group, together with the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) Project, is bringing more than 15 Ukrainian ICT companies to Toronto and setting up introductory one-on-one meetings with Canadian companies interested in doing business with them. […] The event will provide a unique chance for Canadian companies interesting in off-shoring and finding partnering opportunities to have one-on-one B2B meetings and speak with many ICT executives from Ukraine who are here because they are interested and ready to work more closely with Canada, said Gail Balfour, Senior Research Analyst at Branham Group. […]The Ukraine B2B meetings with Canadian companies will take place between May 29 and May 31, 2017 at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce building in Toronto.” More information is available athttp://branhamgroup.com/2017/05/18/ukraine-tech-companies-in-toronto-to-talk-business-may-29-31/ 
 
6. Atlantic Council: It’s Counterintuitive, but Arming Ukraine Will Save US Taxpayers Money
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Stephen Blank, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council stated, “In April, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked, ‘Why should US taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?’ Now, the United States does not always provide assistance or help defend other victims of aggression, so the answer must go beyond the simple observation that Ukraine is the victim of premeditated aggression. I see five reasons why.
First, we defend our allies and interests by helping Ukraine defend itself. Every Ukrainian soldier who fights for his country represents one less American who is needed for the defense of Europe. Ukraine is fighting our war and that of our allies. Helping Ukraine defend itself actually saves taxpayers money.
Second, Ukraine is fighting our war and that of Europe because Moscow has essentially declared war on Europe and the international order. Russia has waged information warfare against every European government from the Baltic states to Spain. Moscow openly subsidizes political parties  all over Europe in an effort to undermine democratic governments. […]
If Ukraine is denied the means to help defend itself, it will likely to fail to dislodge the nefarious manifestations of Russian influence from its polity and the rest of the former Soviet Union, and that influence will spread westward. […] Ukraine is the keystone in the arch of European security. Therefore, its fall or disintegration entails the disintegration of European security. […]
Third, we gave Ukraine assurances that we would protect its territorial integrity and security in the 1994 Budapest Agreements, and the Obama administration did not honor that commitment. […]
Fourth, our earlier failure to help Ukraine defend itself has encouraged Moscow to escalate further. Today, there are three Russian armies mobilizing against Ukraine with a full complement of ground, armor, and artillery capabilities, not to mention air defenses and naval threats. […]
Fifth, as the strongest power in the world, the United States cannot simply avert its eyes whenever aggression occurs, especially aggression involving a nuclear power. The Trump administration may promote an ‘America first’ foreign policy, but as the underwriters of the international order for seventy years, we have a vital interest in sustaining it. Throwing Kyiv under the bus might lead to lucrative financial deals or rhetorical support against terrorists, but it opens the door to a new terror of permanent war. Supporting Ukraine’s defense, however, may deter others from breaking the rules.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/it-s-counterintuitive-but-arming-ukraine-will-actually-save-us-taxpayers-money
 

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