Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
16 October, 12 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reported that Ukrainian National Guard and Armed Forces units have conducted a joint operation to unblock the checkpoint at the intersection of roads Zolote-Khoroshe-Smile, where fighting was ongoing for two days. “Ukrainian military repelled a militant attack with artillery and heavy machinery. The enemy sustained significant losses in manpower and technology and was forced to retreat. Moreover, reinforcements came to the checkpoint of the ATO forces. Ukrainian military received ammunition and were provided with drinking water and food. The engineering equipment of positions is being reinforced,” stated RNBO spokesman Andriy Lysenko at a briefing today. It was reported that as a result of shelling during the past 24 hours, three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed, and nine more have been wounded.
2. Ukraine, Montenegro, Albania and Iceland joined the sanctions against Russia
EU candidate countries, including Montenegro, Iceland, Albania and Ukraine as well as Liechtenstein and Norway, have aligned themselves with the third round of EU sanctions against Russia. They confirmed the compliance of their national policies with the decision by the EU Council. An EU Council press release announced, “The Candidate Countries Montenegro, Iceland and Albania, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this decision,” the press release said in regards to the countries that have aligned themselves with the entire third set of sanctions against Russia. The third set includes sanctions against whole sectors of the Russian economy and measures, targeting certain individuals. The sanctions affect, among other, oil and defense sectors. The black list also includes five Russian banks. Besides the sectoral restrictions, the third round of sanctions includes asset freezes and travel bans of 24 individuals.
3. Law on lustration comes into force
The law on “Lustration” entered into force on October 16. The document sets out the legal and organizational principles of the procedure for depriving of power persons defined in this law, with the aim of establishing in society the supremacy of rule of law, legality, and improving the effectiveness of the fight against corruption. It is planned to organize the procedure for verifying and checking persons who are subject to checks regarding their compliance with the criteria set out in the law, in order to address the possibility of their further tenure in government posts. The ban to hold positions in government agencies applies to persons who occupied their posts for more than a year in the period from February 25, 2010 to February 22, 2014, as well as officials who occupied their posts in the period from November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014 and did not resign in this period. The Ukrainian government has made the first lustration decisions today, with 39 high level civil servants expected to be dismissed.
4. Putin to attend G20 meeting in Brisbane Australia next month
Vladimir Putin will attend the G20 summit in Brisbane despite Australia’s strongly articulated concerns about Russia’s aggression and foreign policy. The Australian government has said that Putin’s attendance at the meeting is a consensus decision for G20 attendees rather than an issue over which Australia, as host, has discretion. On Sunday both the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, confirmed Putin would attend the conference. “Russia is a member of the G20 and as such, we’re obliged to accept the Russian leader in this country,” Abbott told reporters in Brisbane. Labor leader Bill Shorten has previously indicated support if the government chose to prevent Putin attending the G20. “Obviously we had the MH17 atrocity earlier this year where 38 Australians were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment so there’s much to deplore in Russia’s foreign policy,” Shorten said.