Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
12 September, 11PM Kyiv time
1. Russian invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported at 12PM Kyiv time that the conditions of the ceasefire were adhered to, but that there were sporadic violations of the ceasefire. Donetsk airport was shelled with mortars and artillery. 57 Ukrainian soldiers, held hostage by Kremlin-backed terrorists, were freed. The RNBO stated that soldiers of the Russian armed forces have ceased exiting Ukrainian territory. The RNBO reported at 5PM Kyiv time that during the day the situation in the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) zone did not change significantly. Kremlin-backed terrorists continued to shell positions of Ukrainian armed forces. In particular, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian checkpoints near Nyzhna Krynka, Mariyinka, Petrivsek, Zhdanivka, and Debaltseve in Donetsk oblast and Chernukhino in Luhansk oblast. According to several media reports, a Russian “humanitarian aid” convoy, of some 35 trucks, crossed into Ukrainian territory late on 12 September. There has been no official confirmation as of 11PM Kyiv time.
2. EU, Ukraine delay application of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement
The EU and Ukraine delayed application of the Association Agreement until 31 December 2015. The EU stated, “EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Klimkin and Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Ulyukayev agree on the importance of promoting trade liberalisation in support of growth and greater prosperity, in line with their WTO obligations. They concur on the necessity to ensure that the EU-Ukraine AA/DCFTA and the CIS FTA both contribute to a more integrated economic space in the region. To be able to fully support the stabilisation of Ukraine, the Commission is ready, in the event that Ukraine ratifies the Association Agreement with the EU, to propose additional flexibility. Such flexibility will consist in delaying until 31 December 2015 the provisional application of the DCFTA while continuing autonomous trade measures of the EU to the benefit of Ukraine during this period. Parties will continue to consult on how to address concerns raised by Russia. The progress of these consultations will be reviewed at Ministerial level trilateral meetings.”
EU, US implement additional sanctions against Russian Federation
More EU sanctions against Russia have come into effect. They are aimed at stopping what the EU sees as Russia’s destabilization of the situation in Ukraine. The sanctions target Russian oil, defense firms and banks. The sanctions target access to capital, defense, sensitive technologies and dual use goods. Russia’s top oil producers and pipeline operators Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom are on the list of Russian state-owned firms that will not be allowed to raise capital or borrow on European markets. In addition the sanctions targeted 24 more officials with travel bans and asset freezes, including leading politicians, Duma deputy speaker Igor Lebedev and nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The United States implemented new sanctions against the Russian Federation targeting Russia’s largest bank, a major arms maker and arctic, deepwater and shale exploration by its biggest oil companies. The sanctions target companies including Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, Rostec, a conglomerate that manufactures military and automotive equipment, by limiting their ability to access the U.S. debt markets – they also bar U.S. companies from selling goods or services to five Russian energy companies to conduct deepwater, Arctic offshore and shale projects. The Russian firms affected are Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegas and Rosneft.
4. Ukrainian President to visit Canada on 17 September
Canadian Prime Minister S. Harper announced on 11 September that Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko will visit Canada on 17 September. Poroshenko will speak to a joint session of the House of Commons and Senate. The UCC invites all Canadians to a rally, #UnitedforUkraine, which will take place on Parliament Hill, from 2-4PM on 17 September.