Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 13, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 13, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
November 11 – Operation UNIFIER members participate in multinational Remembrance Day ceremony at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Ukraine. Photo – Joint Task Force-Ukraine
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 escalated attacks on Ukrainian positions. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 33 times in total on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 7 times with heavy weapons.
2. Interview with Commanding Officer of Operation UNIFIER
Lt. Col. Kristopher Reeves, Commanding Officer of Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine, was interviewed recently by UATV. To watch the interview, please click on the image below.
Lt. Col. Reeves: Canada is learning Ukraine's tactics on battling hybrid threats
Lt. Col. Reeves: Canada is learning Ukraine’s tactics on battling hybrid threats
3. Members of European Parliament want deeper EU ties with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova
The European Parliament is proposing new ways to intensify relations with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit on November 24. The European Parliament stated, “Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are working hard to forge closer links with the EU, in spite of strong resistance from Russia. They already benefit from visa-free travel to the EU as well as increased commercial opportunities thanks to free-trade agreements.
           A new Parliament report is now calling to deepen this collaboration further and find new ways to support the countries on the EU’s eastern borders. The own-initiative report has already been adopted by the foreign affairs committee and will be voted on by all MEPs during the November plenary session in Strasbourg. The main focus is on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, three countries which have recently achieved major progress in the cooperation with the EU. […]
         Topping the list of recommendations is the establishment of a trust fund for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The trust fund is a development tool for quick and flexible EU response to crisis and post-crisis situations. It would pool resources from public and private donors for investment in projects aiming to improve socioeconomic structures.
         The committee also recommends increased support for economic reforms and upgrading the current partnership as a way of rewarding progress on EU-related reforms by partner countries. This upgrade could provide access to the EU’s customs or energy union, for example.
          Lithuanian EPP member Laima Andrikien, one of the authors of the Parliament report, said: ‘The creation of an Eastern Partnership Plus model for associated countries with the possibility of a future membership in the customs, energy and digital union is crucial.'”

The draft report is available here

4. S&P affirms ratings on Ukraine at ‘B-/B’; Outlook stable
On November 10, Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings affirmed Ukraine’s ‘B-/B’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Ukraine. The outlook on the long-term foreign and local currency ratings is stable. S&P stated, “Important reforms that pave the way for the disbursement of the next tranche of support from the International Monetary Fund are under way, but external refinancing needs, especially in 2019-2021, loom large. […] The stable outlook reflects our view that over the next 12 months the Ukrainian government will maintain access to official creditor support by pursuing fiscal, financial, and economic reforms.”
5. US Mission to OSCE on Russia’s ongoing violations of international law in Ukraine
The US Mission to the OSCE stated on November 9, “The United States notes with great concern that the fighting fomented by Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine is again on the verge of causing a significant humanitarian disaster. […]On the evenings of November 2, 3, and 4, the Donetsk Water Filtration Station was damaged by shelling. These attacks were not random. At one point, the effects of the fire that resulted ruptured a chlorine gas pipe. Only by a stroke of luck was the pipe not in use at the time, preventing a chlorine gas leak. […]
          The United States reiterates its calls on Russia and the anti-government forces it continues to arm, train, lead, and fight alongside, to obtain serious commitments to a full ceasefire. […]
          In Crimea, the serious abuse faced by Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and any groups or individuals that the Russian Federation suspects of opposing its occupation, continues unabated. […] The United States reiterates, once again, its calls for the release of all Ukrainian citizens illegally held or sentenced in Russia. […]
          The United States fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders. We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. Crimea-related sanctions on Russia will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine. We join our European and other partners in restating that our sanctions against Russia for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will remain until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements.”

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