Ukraine: Daily Briefing – June 13, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 13, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian Army reserves training exercises near Chernihiv.
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
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, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiivka. At Luhanske village, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Near the Donetsk airport and Zaytseve, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Hrafske, 14 km from the line of contact, with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Olhyntsi, 6 km from the line of contact, with artillery. At Chermalyk and Pavlopil, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Maryinka with grenade launchers. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions and Novotoshkivsk, Katerynivka, and several other locations with mortars.
2. US Senators Announce Agreement on Russia Sanctions
On June 12, US Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) announced bipartisan agreement to strengthen and expand US sanctions on Russia.
An amendment to a bill on Iran sanctions “maintains and substantially expands sanctions” against Russia for violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, cyber-attacks, interference in elections and continuing aggression in Syria.
“The amendment will:
  • Provide for a mandated congressional review if sanctions are relaxed, suspended or terminated.
  • Codify and strengthen existing sanctions contained in executive orders on Russia, including the sanctions’ impact on certain Russian energy projects and on debt financing in key economic sectors.
  • Impose new sanctions on: corrupt Russian actors; those seeking to evade sanctions; those involved in serious human rights abuses; those supplying weapons to the Assad regime; those conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government;  those involved in corrupt privatization of state-owned assets; and those doing business with the Russian intelligence and defense sectors.
  • Allow broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.
  • Authorize robust assistance to strengthen democratic institutions and counter disinformation across Central and Eastern European countries that are vulnerable to Russian aggression and interference.
  • Require a study on the flow of illicit finance involving Russia and a formal assessment of U.S. economic exposure to Russian state-owned entities.”
3. Naftogaz Ukrainy publishes 2016 Annual Report – posts first profit in 5 years
Naftogaz Ukrainy, Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas holding published its 2016 annual report on June 9. The consolidated financial statements were audited by Deloitte. Naftogaz was profitable for the first time in 5 years and required no support from the state budget for the first time in a decade. Naftogaz paid 74 billion UAH (approx. 2.8 billion USD) into the state budget.
Naftogaz stated, “The group’s financial result changed dramatically from net consolidated loss of UAH 88.4 billion (USD 5.6 billion) in 2014 to net consolidated profit of UAH 22.5 billion (USD 0.9 billion) in 2016. […] Transparency and a systemic struggle against corruption are not just attractive catchphrases; they have become key elements of our corporate culture, which, among other things, has made us the biggest user of Ukraine’s corruption beating ProZorro. Since its official launch in 2016, the enterprises of Naftogaz group held 13 thousand open bidding procedures in it and saved UAH 8.4 billion (9% of the expected cost).” The full report from Naftogaz is available here
4. Ukraine’s President signs law banning Russian St. George ribbon
On June 12, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed a law passed by Parliament on May 16, banning the use of the Russian St. George ribbon. The St. George ribbon is widely seen in Ukraine as a symbol of support for Russia’s occupation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko stated that the St. George ribbon is “not a symbol of [victory] in World War II, it is a symbol of aggression against Ukraine in 2014-2017. The militants who kill our soldiers every day are draped in these ribbons. Through its policies towards Ukraine Russia has placed this ribbon outside of the law.”

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