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

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 12, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Opening ceremony of annual Sea Breeze exercise in Ukraine. 
Photo – US Naval Forces Europe
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 one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.  Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne sector of the front. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske, Novotoshkivske and Novooleksandrivka with mortars.
2. EU-Ukraine Summit begins in Kyiv
The EU-Ukraine Summit begins in Kyiv today. The EU stated, “The summit in Kyiv will welcome the completion of the ratification of the association agreement and the recent entry into force of visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens, both of which are fundamental steps towards reinforcing the EU-Ukraine partnership.
Leaders will focus on:
–        the importance of pursuing an ambitious reform process, especially in the fight against corruption.
–        the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, including the implementation of the Minsk agreements
–        ways to maximise the benefits/potential  of the EU-Ukraine association agreement
The European Union will be represented by Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, and Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. Ukraine will be represented by President Petro Poroshenko.[…]
EU will reiterate its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Leaders will discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreements and take a close look at the situation in eastern Ukraine.
They will reaffirm their support for the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the Normandy format, which comprises Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia. In this context, leaders are likely to insist on Russia’s specific responsibility in implementing the agreements.
As there had been no progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, EU leaders gathered at the June summit in Brussels decided to prolong economic sanctions against certain sectors of the Russian economy.”
3. Ministry of Health: Ukraine’s healthcare reform legislation under threat
Acting Health Minister Dr. Suprun speaks at press conference, July 12. 
Photo – Ukraine Crisis Media Centre

Acting Health Minister Dr. Ulana Suprun called on Members of Ukraine’s Parliament to protect the principles of healthcare reform. Following 396 amendments proposed by MPs to the draft legislation on medical reform (Bill no. 6327) the bill has changed substantively, Suprun stated at a press conference today together with NGOs. Suprun said, “We have to state the fact that the majority of these amendments annul the very essence of the healthcare reform proposed by the Ministry of Health and the Government of Ukraine.”
Among the draft amendments proposed by the Parliamentary Committee is the removal of the concept of co-payment for medical services; only medical services covered 100% by the state and services covered 100% by the patient are provided for. Suprun stated, “In fact, we are returning again to where we started: declaring that the state will cover services for which there is no financing. For 25 years, we have guaranteed free healthcare, which in reality doesn’t exist.”
The Ministry of Health called on Parliament to maintain the principles of healthcare reform as presented in the draft legislation adopted by Parliament in first reading. The Ministry stated, “The reform of a healthcare system in a European country with over 40 million citizens cannot be threatened by the personal ambitions and corrupt interests of a few MPs of the Parliamentary Committee.”
4. Germany’s Siemens to press charges after turbines moved from Russia to occupied Crimea
The New York Times reported on July 10, “One of Germany’s biggest companies saidMonday that it had become an unwitting pawn in a scheme to evade sanctions against Russia and break a de facto blockade of electricity to the annexed territory Crimea.
The company, Siemens, a giant engineering and electronics conglomerate based in Munich, said a Russian customer had illegally shipped two power plant turbines to Crimea instead of their intended destination in southern Russia. The diversion of the turbines flouted what Siemens said was an agreement not to violate sanctions […]
The Russian customer, Technopromexport, has close ties to the Kremlin. […] Moscow had apparently become so desperate to solve an acute power shortage that it was willing to risk inflaming tensions with Germany. […]
The dispute will also do nothing to encourage foreign investment or repair Russia’s reputation as a place where contracts are often ignored, property is subject to arbitrary seizure and there is little legal recourse. […]
Siemens said it would begin criminal and civil proceedings in Russia against those responsible for what it called the fraudulent export of the turbines. The unusually sharp statement on Monday followed news reports about the violations, from what the company called ‘reliable sources.’
Siemens also said it had been lied to by its Russian customer. Technopromexport had repeatedly reassured Siemens that the turbines would not be sent to Crimea, Siemens said. […]
 ‘This development constitutes a clear breach of Siemens’s delivery contracts, which clearly forbid our customer from making deliveries to Crimea,’ Siemens said. […]
Siemens said it would review all its business activities in Russia to make sure there were no other violations of sanctions.”
            Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported today, “The German government demanded speedy answers on July 12 from industrial conglomerate Siemens. [..] Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin that the government was following the case ‘with great attention,’ adding, ‘right now, the facts of the matter need to be clarified as quickly and comprehensively as possible.’ ‘That’s the Siemens company’s responsibility above all,’ Seibert said.”

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