Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
15 December, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) stated at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that the tendency towards a diminishing frequency and intensity of shelling by Kremlin-backed terrorists of Ukrainian positions continued. In the last 24 hours, there were 7 instances of Kremlin-backed terrorists firing on Ukrainian positions – with mortars and small arms. There were no instances of shelling with artillery or rockets. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded. The RNBO stated that according to operational information, Kremlin-backed terrorists and units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation continue to transfer weapons and military equipment into Ukrainian territory.
2. NATO Secretary General to Ukrainian PM: NATO stands with you
Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk met with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. Stoltenberg stated, “We also very much appreciate that we are able to develop our partnership. And especially because the people of Ukraine have chosen the path of democracy and closer cooperation with Europe… and we underline that the decision by the people of Ukraine has to be respected. And NATO stands with you. […]Today we have also discussed Russia’s continued illegal actions to destabilise Ukraine… NATO fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We strongly believe that the Minsk agreements offer the best way to a peaceful solution. Ukraine has made real efforts to live up to those commitments. We call on Russia to do the same. And to respect the Minsk agreements. […]A sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. […]NATO will stand with you as you work towards those goals.”
3. EU Foreign Affairs Council: “agreement in principle” on additional sanctions in response to illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol
After a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, “The Council confirmed its agreement in principle to the High Representative’s proposal for additional EU restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Technical discussions on the proposal are ongoing.”
4. MFA of Ukraine Statement on the passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act 2014
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine welcomed the adoption by the US Congress of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act 2014 which, authorizes the US President to provide weapons to Ukraine, stating on 14 December, “We consider the adoption by Congress of the above-mention legislation as a clear signal of support from US legislators and the American people to Ukraine, and also a sign of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, in its quest to independently choose its own future.”
5. Ukrinmash signs contract with US company Barrett Firearms
The Ukrainian firm Ukrinmash, a subsidiary of the state concern Ukroboronprom, signed a contract with US company Barrett Firearms. “The weapons will supply the needs of the State Security Service and the National Guard of Ukraine. Delivery terms have been minimized,” Ukroboronprom reported on 12 December. Barrett Firearms is a US company manufacturing weapons, optical systems and ammunitions, specializing in large-caliber Anti-Materiel rifles.
6. Russian ruble drops almost 14% today
The Russian ruble closed at over 66 rubles to the USD, dropping almost 14%, from just under 58 rubles/USD. “Hit by capital flight, a sluggish economic performance and Western sanctions, the ruble has been depreciating steadily in the second half of this year. In January, one dollar bought 33 rubles,” the Wall Street Journal stated.