Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 6, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 6, 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 at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 23 times on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 10 times with heavy weapons – mortars, artillery and Grad rockets. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiivka and Opytne with Grad rockets.
2. US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations press briefing
US Special Representative Ambassador Volker
US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker provided a special press briefing on November 3 at the US State Department. Volker stated, “Let me start out by emphasizing that this is still a hot war. It’s an active conflict. Ten thousand plus people have been killed; over 2 million displaced persons. It goes on night and day. There are ceasefire violations every night, multiple ceasefire violations, and they recently ticked up again a little bit. […]
           And just imagine a Ukrainian soldier on average dies every three days, and in their own country, fighting to defend their own country. So imagine if that were in any other country – your home, and your soldiers are fighting on your own territory to protect the country. It’s just – it’s an extraordinary strain, and it is a conflict that really does need to be put to rest. […]
          It’s not an internal strife. It’s not an ethnic conflict; it’s not an indigenous conflict. It is one where on the eastern side you have 100 percent Russian command and control of what’s happening there, and on the Ukrainian side obviously it’s Ukraine, and nothing is decided. […] But this is Russian-directed, and so the relevant interlocutor here is Russia. And as I said, I think there’s reasons why we may actually be able to make progress, but I think that’s the relevant thing. […]
         The leadership of this is Russia and the decision making is Russia, and the only way we’ll actually have a resolution is if we are in agreement with Russia.” The full transcript of the briefing by Ambassador Volker is available here: U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker
3. Ukraine’s President, US Secretary of State discuss possibility of UN mission to Russian-occupied Donbas
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko spoke with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported, “The parties coordinated further steps towards the deployment of an international UN mission in the occupied part of Donbas, including the uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian border.
           The President noted the importance of sanctions against Russia and stressed the U.S. leadership in this. He added that only in this way the aggressor could be forced to return to the international law, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
           Petro Poroshenko and Rex Tillerson paid special attention to the release of hostages illegally detained in the occupied territory and in Russian prisons.
           The interlocutors also noted the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States.
The progress of Ukraine on the way of reforms was discussed as well. In particular, the importance of medical, educational, pension and anti-corruption reform was highlighted.
           Rex Tillerson informed the President about the appointment of Wess Mitchell as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia and his plans to visit Ukraine in November to meet with the Ukrainian authorities.”

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