Ukraine: Daily Briefing – June 12, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

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Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 12, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
 
Ukrainian tank crews participate in training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 67 times, including at least 26 times with heavy weapons. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions near Kamyanka and Avdiivka with mortars and tanks. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiivka. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Horlivka and Pisky with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions on the Chermalyk-Shyrokyne line with mortars and artillery. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions on the Krymske-Novotoshkivske line with mortars and artillery. Near Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that on June 9-10, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. On June 9-10, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions over 120 times, including at least 50 times with heavy weapons. On June 9, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Maryinka (near Mariupol) with mortars. Two civilians were injured as a result of the shelling by Russian-terrorist forces.
2. Visa-free travel to EU for Ukrainians begins
 
First flight from Kyiv to Vilnius after implementation of visa-free travel is welcomed in Vilnius. Photo – Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs


As of June 11, Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports are able to travel to the European Union for up to 90 days in any 180 day period without a visa. Visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens applies to all EU countries except the UK and Ireland, and includes non-EU states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
3. Ukraine’s President: We are entering a new historic era
 
Address by Ukraine's President on eve of visa-free travel implementation. To view video please click on image
Address by Ukraine’s President on eve of visa-free travel implementation. To view video please click on image


Speaking at Kyiv’s European Square on the eve of the introduction of visa-free travel with the EU, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “Fate has finally smiled upon us, fellow Ukrainians. Many generations of our ancestors dreamed about that and fought for that. […] We, Ukrainian people and the whole Ukraine, enter new historic era. And this event symbolizes the final break of our state with the Russian Empire and the break of the Ukrainian democratic world with the Russian authoritarian world. […] The only thing that is frustrating is an extremely high price, a bloody bill set by the Kremlin for our most natural right to build our life ourselves. […] We came together on the European Square in the center of our ancient capital. Inhaling the aromas of flowers and greenery in which Kyiv is literally drowning these days, all of us feel the taste of freedom – freedom that we have never known before. […] And we should appreciate our freedom. That is why I would like to address the youth – appreciate this freedom. Especially as it is now guarded with weapons in hands by the best of us Ukrainians.”
4. EU Foreign Affairs High Representative: “We made it, and we made it together”
On June 11, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stated, “Today, we bring down a barrier between the people of Ukraine and the people of the European Union. No more visa for short trips between our countries.  We made it, and we made it together. Ukraine has delivered the reforms its citizens were asking for. And we, in the European Union, we have kept our promise. This is what we call a win-win solution. It will create new opportunities for all of us, strengthening our economies, our security and our friendship. This is what our partnership is all about: making a difference to our citizens’ everyday lives.”

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