Ukraine: Daily Briefing – October 11, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
October 11, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian army training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 15 times on the Donetsk, Mariupol and Luhansk sectors of the front, including 4 times with heavy weapons.
2. Ukraine’s Parliament to consider healthcare reform bills next week
Acting Health Minister Dr. Ulana Suprun. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Health
Ukraine’s Parliament will consider two draft bills that would reform Ukraine’s healthcare system next week. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman called on MPs to adopt the bills, which were introduced in April. Acting Minister of Health Dr. Ulana Suprun called on MPs to pass the systemic changes to Ukraine’s healthcare.
           Dr. Suprun stated, “We are very close to a historic step – building a high-quality and equitable healthcare system for millions of Ukrainians. The price of delaying is the lives and health of our citizens. Ukraine can’t wait any longer. We call on all MPs and politicians to unite and do everything possible to begin the healthcare reforms!”
           According to a public opinion survey conducted in June-July 2017, 72% of Ukrainians support the reforms in the two healthcare bills that will be considered next week.
3. Ukraine’s President addresses Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe
Ukraine’s President addresses the PACE. 
Photo – Presidential Administration
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). He stated, “In this challenging moment, let us be frank with each other and with ourselves. The aim of the Russian aggression is to destroy democracy, liberal freedoms and human rights. In one places they do this with tanks. In other places – with the help of fake news. […]
           It is only upon the respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine that we can achieve peace and stability in Europe. Ukraine strives for peace as, I believe, everyone does in this hall. I, as the Head of State, want peace for Ukraine and Europe.And these are not mere words.
           On numerous occasions, Ukraine proved its readiness for peaceful settlement of the situation that was artificially created by Russia. Only in 2017 Ukraine has initiated long-lasting ceasefires for three times – Easter, Harvest and Back to School ceasefires. Russian occupation troops and their proxies violated them all almost straightaway. […] We count that Russia will finally begin to implement security commitments under the Minsk agreements.
           We also expect that these steps will allow moving forward with the matter of the deployment of the UN peacekeeping operation in Donbas.   I call on the honorable Assembly to continue to pay attention to the issue of respect of human rights in the occupied Crimea and Donbas. […]
           There is hardly more evident example of a nation than Ukraine, which has to fight a two-front war at the same time. On the front of countering external military aggression, restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity. And on the front of implementing difficult and complex reforms. […] The turning point was the Revolution of Dignity of late 2013 – early 2014.
It is very symbolic that on the margins of my visit to Strasbourg I will inaugurate the Star for the Heavenly Hundred at the Strasbourg Alley of the Stars. […]
           By opening the Star for the Heavenly Hundred, we will commemorate their contribution to the history of Ukraine and to the history of Europe. It is our common duty, as regards their memory and sacrifice, to win on both fronts in Ukraine and to strengthen the common values in Europe. The full address is available HERE
4. Former NATO chief: Russia’s UN peacekeeping proposal a Trojan horse
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “Former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russia’s proposal to send UN peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine is ‘a Trojan horse,’ but it would be worth trying to ‘reshape’ it, since it presented the first opportunity in a long time to resolve the conflict.
           Putin last month said that UN peacekeepers might be deployed on the contact line separating the sides of the conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region — a proposal that has been dismissed by both Kyiv and the West.
           ‘In its current form, Putin’s peacekeeping proposal is what I would call a Trojan horse, it is a non-starter,’ Rasmussen told a conference organized by the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank in Brussels on October 11. […]
           ‘We should push for a robust mandate that seeks to protect civilians, protect infrastructure, and cover the entire territory of Donbas, not just the contact line. If we followed President Putin’s proposal we would just have what I’d call a UN-mandated frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine, and that would of course be unacceptable,’ said Rasmussen, who currently works as a security adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
           He also urged that a UN assessment team be sent to Ukraine ahead of any future peacekeeping force — a move that wouldn’t require consent from the UN Security Council, where Russia is a permanent member.”

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