Ukraine: Daily Briefing – October 20, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
October 20, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian armoured units ahead of training exercising. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
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. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 15 times in total on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front.
2. US Mission to OSCE on Russia’s violations in Ukraine
The US Mission to the OSCE stated on October 19, “the conflict in eastern Ukraine remains hot. The Ukrainian government has taken numerous political steps prescribed under the Minsk agreements, such as its recent extension of the law to devolve ‘Special Status’ to eastern portions of the Donbas after satisfactory local elections.
           However, the Russian Federation has failed to uphold Step One: a real and lasting ceasefire. Acts that are contrary to both the letter and spirit of Minsk agreements continue regularly. The situation remains fragile and unpredictable, and the risk of re-escalation remains high. […]
          The United States waits for Russia, as the party that initiated this conflict, to withdraw the forces that it arms, leads, trains, and fights alongside from the line of contact and to place its proscribed weapons in storage, in accordance with the Minsk agreements. […]
          The United States also calls for the release of all Ukrainian citizens illegally held or sentenced in Russia for exercising their fundamental freedoms. […]
Mr. Chair, the restrictions on freedom of expression in Russia-occupied Crimea are appalling. We are concerned by reports that at least 49 Crimean Tatars were arbitrarily detained on October 14 […]These detentions are part of an orchestrated campaign of oppression of the Crimean Tatars, and of anyone else who opposes Russia’s purported annexation and occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
         The United States once again calls upon Russia to end its repressive actions in occupied Crimea and return control of Crimea to Ukraine. The United States fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders.”
3. Ukraine’s President meets with Acting Health Minister on adopted healthcare reform
To view video, please click on image above
To view video, please click on image above
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko met with Acting Health Minister Dr. Ulana Suprun on October 19, and congratulated her on the legislation adopted by Parliament on the reform of Ukraine’s healthcare system.
           President Poroshenko stated, “I congratulate you on this important result on the track of reforms, which is coupled with the reform of education, coupled with the pension reform. There was a very good communication strategy explaining why it is so important. And not only because we must improve the quality of health services, but also because if we do nothing, the situation will deteriorate significantly.”
          Acting Minister Suprun stated, “This is the first step and there is much to be done. We will work with you and the Government to implement the necessary changes. Rural medicine, telemedicine will go hand in hand with the medical reform. […] The reforms in medicine will also be of anti-corruption nature, as there is a lot of corruption in medicine. However, the system is changing and it will be transparent and fair.”
4. Ukraine’s PM: Ukraine still in talks with IMF on gas price formula
Reuters reported, “The Ukrainian government is still in talks with the International Monetary Fund on a gas price formula, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said on Friday.
            Sustainable gas pricing is one of the conditions Ukraine must meet to qualify for its next IMF loan tranche, but the government has vowed not to raise prices for households this winter as it should according to the $17.5 billion program.
‘We are in dialogue with the IMF,’ Groysman told parliament. ‘Our task is to make the formula fair for the future.'”

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