Ukraine: Daily Briefing – July 12, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 12, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
 
Press conference of President of Ukraine and NATO Secretary General. To view video, please click on image above
Press conference of President of Ukraine and NATO Secretary General. To view video, please click on image above
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 17 times in total.
2. Chairman’s statement on NATO-Ukraine following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Georgia and Ukraine at the Brussels Summit
NATO reported, “NATO Heads of State and Government met today with the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, to reaffirm their joint commitment to further develop their Distinctive Partnership and its contribution to a peaceful, stable and undivided Europe.
They discussed the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where, for more than four years, Ukraine has defended itself against Russia’s aggressive actions. Allies expressed their unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and its right to decide on its future and foreign policy course free from outside interference, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act. NATO and Ukraine continue to call on Russia to reverse its illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which they do not and will not recognize. NATO and Allies remain committed to providing continued support to Ukraine’s reform agenda in the security and defence sector, including through the Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP).
In light of Ukraine’s restated aspirations for NATO membership, NATO stands by its decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit and subsequent Summits. Allies encouraged Ukraine to make the best use of the tools available under the NATO-Ukraine Commission, in particular the Annual National Programme (ANP). They welcomed significant reform progress already made, in particular with the recent adoption of the Law on the High Anti-Corruption Court and the Law on National Security. The latter Law is a welcome and important step forward in bringing Ukraine’s security and defence sector closer to Euro-Atlantic standards and practices. […]
Heads of State and Government welcomed progress in the implementation of the CAP over the last two years and its contribution to improving Ukraine’s defence capacity and interoperability. […]
Allies and Ukraine condemned the human rights abuses and discrimination practices by the Russian de-facto authorities against the residents of the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, including the Crimean Tatars, as well as Ukrainians and persons belonging to other ethnic, political and religious groups. […]
The ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, instigated and perpetuated by Russia, remains a major challenge to Euro-Atlantic security, and has produced a humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbas. This has led to the loss of more than 10,000 lives and displaced over 1.5 million Ukrainian citizens. […]
            NATO highly values Ukraine’s significant contributions to Allied operations, the NATO Response force and NATO exercises.  Allies welcomed Ukraine’s decision to increase its contribution to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the NATO Response Force.  These contributions testify to Ukraine’s continued commitment to Euro-Atlantic security and increase the level of interoperability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with NATO. […]
An independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to security in the Euro-Atlantic area, of which – as stated in the Charter on Distinctive Partnership – Ukraine is an inseparable part.”
3. Canada, U.S. express concern at NATO over Russian pipeline into Germany
The Canadian Press reported on July 11, “The Trudeau government and the Trump administration have found a rare patch of common ground at the NATO summit in Brussels — shared concern about a proposed Russian pipeline that would cross through the Baltic Sea into Germany.
           Canada has ‘significant concerns’ with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would bring gas from Russia to the Baltic coast of Germany, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday. She said she has discussed the issue with Ukraine, which opposes the pipeline because of the leverage it would give Russia over European countries.
          At the summit’s opening, U.S. President Donald Trump railed against what he characterized as a ‘massive gas deal’ between Germany and Russia, calling it inappropriate. He said the deal makes Germany ‘captive’ to and ‘totally controlled’ by Russia, and he urged NATO leaders to take a closer look at it. […] Trump arrived in Brussels lashing out at Canada and other allies for not spending enough on defence. But he quickly honed on in Germany in a terse face-to-face exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
          ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,’ Trump told Stoltenberg. ‘And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened,’ he added. ‘We’re supposed to be protecting you from Russia, but why are you paying billions of dollars to Russia for energy?’ Trump didn’t identify Nord Stream 2 by name.
          But Freeland elaborated on Canada’s concerns with the project, saying she had discussed it as recently as last week at a conference in Copenhagen on economic reforms in Ukraine.
          ‘When it comes to Nord Stream, Canada has significant concerns about that project,’ she said. ‘Canada has been clear in our international conversations with many countries.’ […]
          Several eastern European countries oppose the pipeline, saying it would give the Kremlin greater sway over the energy needs of the entire continent. […]
‘We discussed it with Ukraine,’ Freeland said. ‘So, Canada is clear with our partners about the concerns that we have with Nord Stream.'”
4. Ukraine’s Economic ministry improves forecast GDP growth
Ukraine Business Journal reported, “The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has projected economic growth at 3% in 2019.  It has also upped its forecast of the country’s GDP growth in 2018 from 3% to 3.2%. Forecasts are 3% in 2019, 3.8% in 2020, and 4.1% in 2021. However, the inflation outlook for 2018 worsened from 9% to 9.9%. Prices may rise by 7.4% in 2019 and drop by 5% in 2021, UNIAN reports.”

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