Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – November 18-24,2017

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
November 18-24,2017
CAF personnel mentor Ukrainian soldiers on IED removal training, Operation UNIFIER. Photo – Joint Task Force-Ukraine
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of November 17-23, seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 16 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 126 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 50 times with heavy weapons.
2. Veteran Crimean Tatar Activist Dies After Associates Detained by Russia
Crimean Tatar leader Vedzhie Kashka. Photo – RFE/RL
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on November 23, “An elderly Crimean Tatar activist has died after her associates were detained by Russian security officers in Crimea amid continuing pressure on a group that has broadly opposed Moscow’s 2014 seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula.
           Vedzhie Kashka, 83, became unwell and was taken away by ambulance in the Crimean city of Simferopol on November 23 after several fellow activists were detained by Russian officers. […] Kashka subsequently died, according to sources in a local hospital and fellow Crimean Tatar activists. […]
           Edem Semedlyayev, an attorney who has represented Crimean Tatars in the annexed Ukrainian region, told RFE/RL that Kashka was taken from the scene of the detentions by ambulance. […]
           Kashka’s death triggered an outpouring of outrage and grief among fellow Crimean Tatars. ‘They’ve come for our elders,’ journalist Aidar Muzhdabayev wrote on Facebook, adding that it’s ‘impossible to hold back tears.’
           Muzhdabayev and others said Russian security officers had planned to detain the veteran activist as well before she fell ill. That could not be immediately confirmed, and Russian authorities did not immediately release an official statement on the matter.”
           In an official statement, Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, stated, “Today, November 23, 2017, in several regions of Crimea, searches were conducted in the homes of Crimean Tatars and activists of the national movement were detained. […] Activists of the national movement Bekir Degermenji, Kurtseit Abdullayev, Asan Chapukh, Ruslan Trubach and Kazim Ametov have been detained. […]
           Later, we received news from Crimea about the death of a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, the legendary Vedzhie Kashka, who became ill during a search of her home. Vedzhie Kashka died in the ambulance.
           Analysis of the information coming from Crimea indicates a large-scale special operation conducted by the FSB of Russia in occupied Crimea, the goals of which are the arrest of more activists of the national movement and compromising the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People.”
3. Heritage Foundation: It’s time for the US to provide weapons to Ukraine
In a report published November 22, the Heritage Foundation stated, “In the coming weeks, President Donald Trump will decide whether to approve the sale of U.S. weapons, including advanced anti-tank weapons, to Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia illegally occupies Crimea. Russia provoked and now supports a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that did not previously exist. Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine is the victim.
           Every country has the right to self-defense. The people of Ukraine have shown a commitment to the transatlantic community, and the U.S. should provide advanced weapons and other tactical enablers, such as secure communications, to the Ukrainians.” The full report is available here: It is Time for the US to Provide Weapons to Ukraine
4. EU’s Tusk: There should be doubt that our common future lies in the EU’s readiness to open up EU policies for our neighbours
European Council  President Donald Tusk speaks at Eastern Partnership Summit. To view video please click on image above
European Council President Donald Tusk speaks at Eastern Partnership Summit. To view video please click on image above
Speaking at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit on November 24, European Council President Donald Tusk stated, “It is only eight years ago that we launched the Eastern Partnership at a summit in Prague. I remember it well, because as the then Prime Minister of Poland I was one of the initiators. The reason for launching it was simple: we wanted to bring our European neighbours from the East closer to the EU. […]
           But while there are indeed good prospects for the future, frozen and armed conflicts continue to prevent development and create hardships in Eastern Partnership countries. The death of five Ukrainian servicemen yesterday is just the latest proof of the tragic consequences of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The EU condemns Russia’s aggression and will never recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea.
           There should be no doubt that our common future lies in the EU’s readiness to open up EU policies for our partners. And I can reconfirm that we are ready to do that. It is also the sovereign right of each of our European neighbours from the East to choose the level of ambition, and the goals they aspire to, in their relations with the EU. And for me the key sentence of the Association Agreements still is the one which says that ‘the European Union acknowledges the European aspirations’ of its associated countries, that is Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and ‘welcomes their European choice.’ And all choices remain open. […]
           Today we have adopted a joint declaration, which is, as always, a compromise. I would prefer that the wording of the declaration were more ambitious. But we all decided that the demonstration of our unity is the most important objective.”
The Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit is available here
5. Ukraine’s President holds meeting of the Military Cabinet
Photo – Ukraine’s Presidential Administration

Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on November 21, “Given the escalation of the situation in certain districts of Luhansk region, President Petro Poroshenko held an extraordinary meeting of the Military Cabinet of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
          The Head of State heard the report on the recent developments from the senior military officials, particularly as regards the illegal crossing of the Ukrainian border in Krasnodon district of Luhansk region by Russian tanks, as well as the increasing frequency of provocations by militants.
           ‘Given the increasing number of Russian servicemen and intensification of the mercenaries’ activities, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready for any developments to guarantee security of civilians,’ Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
The Head of State also instructed the Ukrainian representative in the Joint Control and Coordination Center for the issues of ceasefire and stabilization of the delimitation line to intensify interaction with the OSCE SMM and inform our western allies.”
6. Ukraine’s Government approves Naftogaz Supervisory Board members
On November 22, the Ukrainian government has approved the new Naftogaz Supervisory Board, with four independent members, from the UK, France, the United States and Canada, and three representatives of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers stated, “The approved Supervisory Board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine is completely independent, serving the aim to improve corporate governance, thereby increasing the company’s competitiveness, investment attractiveness, and providing an opportunity to more effectively address the challenges in the process of securing energy independence of the State and to de-monopolize the gas market to ensure that consumers have the lowest possible market prices and are protected by receiving uninterrupted gas supplies.”
            Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Waschuk stated on twitter, “Welcome the appointment of new slate of Directors to Naftogaz board, and Cabinet commitment to energy sector reform. Four distinguished Euro-Atlantic independents including Alberta oil and gas geologist and stakeholder management expert Steve Haysom.”
            The US Embassy to Ukraine stated on twitter, “Congratulations on appointment of qualified, reputable new members of Naftogaz supervisory board! Key for good governance and reform in energy sector and state owned enterprises.”

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