Ukraine: Daily Briefing – August 3, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 3, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian troops participate in platoon movement exercises, Yavoriv, Ukraine. Photo – US Army 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 or wounded in action.  Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions on the Kamyanka-Avdiivka line. At Luhanske village, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Lebedynske and Vodyane with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Vodyane with mortars. At Shyrokyne and Pavlopil, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Troitske, Krymske and Katerynivka with mortars. At Novozvanivka and Novooleksandrivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers.
2. Reuters report: Sanctions gap lets Western firms tap Russian frontier oil
Reuters reported on August 2, “A gap in U.S. sanctions allows Western companies to help Russia develop some of its most technically challenging oil reserves, and risks undermining the broad aim of the measures, a Reuters review of company results and media releases has found.
          When Washington imposed the sanctions on Moscow in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea and role in the Ukraine conflict, the U.S Treasury said it wanted to ‘impede Russia’s ability to develop so-called frontier or unconventional oil resources’.
          The restrictions were designed to prevent Russia countering declining output from conventional wells by tapping these hard-to-recover reserves which require newer extraction techniques like fracking, an area where it relies on Western technology.
          Three years on, however, Norway’s Statoil is helping Kremlin oil giant Rosneft develop unconventional resources, while British major BP is considering a similar project.
           Statoil is not breaching sanctions and nor would BP be doing so, but the cooperation highlights how sanctions have only been partially effective in curbing Western energy investment.
          The United States, having itself experienced a spike in oil output from tapping shale rock over the past decade, worded the measures to prohibit Western companies from helping Russia develop ‘shale reservoirs’. It did not mention other lesser-known forms of unconventional deposits.
          The EU followed suit by banning cooperation on projects ‘located in shale formations by way of hydraulic fracturing.’
          Rosneft and its Western partners are not targeting shale but are instead drilling to reach oil reserves known as limestone – deeper reservoirs that lie beneath shale oil. […]
          Spokesmen for the U.S. Treasury, and for European Commission foreign affairs and security policy, both declined to comment on Russian projects, the wording of the sanctions or if any change was planned to include other unconventional oil resources.” The full report is available at
3. Yanukovych’s treason trial adjourned until August 10
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “A Ukrainian judge has adjourned the in-absentia treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
          Judge Vladyslav Devyatko rejected a request by Yanukovych to give him another month to get acquainted with the case and adjourned the trial until August 10. Devyatko also denied a motion on August 3 by Yanukovych’s state-appointed lawyer, Vitaliy Meshechek, for a one-month delay.
           Yanukovych’s previous lawyers withdrew from the case on July 6, saying the former president had informed them that he no longer needed their services. Yanukovych announced on that day that he would not participate in the trial, charging that it was politically motivated. The court then decided to hold the trial in absentia and provide Yanukovych with a state-appointed lawyer. […]
          Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for Yanukovych, who is accused of treason, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and abetting Russian aggression.”

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