Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
1 December, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists, for the third day in a row, attacked Ukrainian positions at the Donetsk airport. According to operational information, Russian special forces took part in the attacks; the airport remains under control of Ukrainian forces. Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions towards Donetsk, Luhansk, the Bakhmutivka highway, Debaltsevo, and Mariupol with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers), artillery, mortars and small arms. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, 3 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 14 wounded. The RNBO reported that on 30 November, the eighth so-called “humanitarian convoy” illegally entered Ukrainian territory from the Russian Federation totaling 106 trucks. The RNBO stated that in Rostov oblast, Russian Federation, there are growing redeployments of Russian military equipment without insignia being moved towards the Ukrainian border and army transport planes are moving Russian troops into Taganrog, Russia (near the border).
2. NATO Secretary General Statement ahead of NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting
NATO Foreign Ministers will meet in Brussels on 2 December. NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated, “2014 has been a year of aggression, crisis and conflict. But NATO stands strong. Russia’s aggressive actions have undermined Euro-Atlantic security. While efforts for lasting peace continue, we see a significant military build-up in and around Ukraine. Large transfers of Russian advanced weapons, equipment and military personnel to violent separatists. And a major increase in Russian military activity around Europe and beyond.” Stoltenberg stated that he sees four concrete outcomes from tomorrow’s meetings, among which is, “Strong political and practical support for Ukraine.”
3. European Investment Bank signs two loans with Ukraine
The European Investment Bank signed two loans with Ukraine: 150 million Euro loan to upgrade gas transmission infrastructure on the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhorod pipeline and an 85 million Euro loan to upgrade storage and food-processing infrastructure of the MHP group, modernizing production capacity. The loans were signed during the visit of EIB President W. Hoyer to Kyiv for meetings with President Poroshenko and PM Yatseniuk. Hoyer stated, “The EIB is committed to supporting priority projects in Ukraine so it can better face its recent challenges. The EU bank stands ready to sign more than EUR 1 billion in total loans for this year, as part of the EUR 3 billion package targeted for 2014-2016.”
4. Putin says Russia will scrap South Stream pipeline; Ruble falls to new low
According to the Associated Press, Russian President V. Putin said Russia will scrap the building of the South Stream pipeline, because of the EU’s opposition to the project. The pipeline was to be built from Russia under the Black Sea into Bulgaria and further to southern Europe. The ruble fell today by some 6%, to almost 54 rubles/USD recovering by the end of the day to about 52 rubles/USD. The Wall Street Journal reported that traders said the recovery “seemed to be the result of intervention by the (Russian) central bank.” The ruble is down almost 40% against the USD this year.
5. Prosecutor investigating 2 former MPs for role in organizing vote for 16 January dictatorship laws
The General Prosecutor of Ukraine opened an investigation against I. Kaletnik (formed deputy speaker of Parliament) and V. Oliynyk (former head of the parliamentary “counting” committee) for “abuse of power or position” and “forgery by an official” under the Criminal Code, for their role in the organization of vote for the 16 January 2014 dictatorship laws.