Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 29, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 29, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian soldiers practice what they learned during Combat First Aid Training they received from Canadian Armed Forces medics during Operation UNIFIER.
Photo – Joint Task Force-Ukraine
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 27 times in total on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front.
2. US Secretary of State: The US and Europe recognizes the active threat of a resurgent Russia
Speaking at the Wilson Center on November 28, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated, “Over the past 10 months, we have embarked on a new strategic policy that bolsters European and American security: namely, a recommitment to Europe in the wake of the failed ‘Russia reset;’ a new effort to adapt security institutions to combating emerging threats like terrorism, cyberattacks, and nuclear proliferation; and an expectation that European nations accept they are more secure when they contribute more toward their own defense. […]
           Russia continues aggressive behavior toward other regional neighbors by interfering in election processes and promoting non-democratic ideals. We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia. […]
           The EDI also includes $150 million to help Ukraine build its capacity for defending its territorial integrity. The United States recognizes that the war in Ukraine – in which people are still dying every day – must come to an end. We have repeatedly urged Russia to begin the path to peace by honoring its commitments under the Minsk agreements. Any resolution of the war that does not entail a fully independent, sovereign, and territorially whole Ukraine is unacceptable.
           Russia chose to violate the sovereignty of the largest country in Europe. The United States and Europe have stood shoulder-to-shoulder since 2014 in confronting this Russian aggression with a coordinated sanctions policy. Our transatlantic unity is meant to convey to the Russian Government that we will not stand for this flagrant violation of international norms.
           We hope Russia will take steps to restore Ukraine’s full sovereignty and territorial integrity and fully implement its Minsk commitments, allowing us to begin then the process of restoring normal relations. But let me be clear, Minsk-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia reverses the actions that triggered them. We are committed to the success of an independent and whole Ukraine. […]
           Russia has often employed malicious tactics against the U.S. and Europe to drive us apart, weaken our confidence, and undermine the political and economic successes that we have achieved together since the end of the Cold War. Playing politics with energy supplies, launching cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns to undermine free elections, and serially harassing and intimidating diplomats are not the behaviors of a responsible nation. Attacking a neighboring country and threatening others does nothing to improve the lives of Russians or enhance Russia’s standing in the world.” Secretary Tillerson’s full remarks are available here: The US and Europe: Strengthening Western Alliances
3. Meeting of Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council 
UNIC co-chairs Senator Raynell Andreychuk and Iryna Gerashchenko. Photo – NATO

The Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council (UNIC) met on November 28 in Brussels. Following the meeting, UNIC co-chairs Senator Raynell Andreychuk (Canada) and Iryna Gerashchenko (Ukraine) stated, “During our meeting today, we reaffirmed our commitment to support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration through parliamentary cooperation. The Annual National Programme (ANP) and Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) provide tailored tools for extensive NATO-Ukraine cooperation.

           Their scope extends not just to security and defence matters, but also to the broader political, economic and legislative framework needed to ensure that the reform of Ukraine’s security and defence sector is sustainable and affordable, and incorporates best practices of civilian control as well as democratic and parliamentary oversight.
           In this sense, NATO-Ukraine cooperation supports Ukraine’s broader reform efforts, as well as the goals set in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
We urge Ukrainian authorities to use the full potential of the ANP and the CAP, maintain the coherence and pace of reforms, and focus on the implementation of agreed priorities. […]
           In turn, we urge Allied governments to deliver on the assistance pledged to Ukraine, and increase their support for Kyiv’s efforts towards maximum institutional rapprochement with NATO. To this end, we urge Allies to maintain the pace and intensity of the NATO-Ukraine political dialogue and cooperation at all levels. […]
           As we have again today, we continue to condemn Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and direct support for members of the illegal armed groups operating in the region, as well as its use of cyber and information warfare and other destabilising actions. We remain firm in our support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. The full implementation of the Minsk agreements through the consolidation of the Normandy format and other mechanisms remains the best way forward in the occupied part of Donbas.”
4. US Diplomat says Nord Stream 2 probably won’t be built
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “A U.S. diplomat has dismissed the idea that the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline will ever be built.
Speaking to European journalists in a telephone briefing on November 29, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John McCarrick said that U.S. officials ‘don’t see the possibility that Nord Stream 2 can be built.’
           ‘That is not something we are going to assume is going to happen,’ said McCarrick, who works at the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources.
When pressed for details, McCarrick responded that ‘there is a variety of reasons why it shouldn’t happen…. The bottom line is we are against this. We don’t see this happening, so why would I entertain any other sort of option or possibility?’
           Earlier this year, the United States introduced sanctions that call for penalties against European companies that participate in the Nord Stream 2 and other Russian energy projects in Europe. […]

Several EU members in Central and Eastern Europe have expressed concern that the project would strengthen Moscow’s hand by increasing European reliance on Russian natural gas.”

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