Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 December, 8 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 the situation in the zone of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) remained unchanged, and that Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to violate the ceasefire. The RNBO stated that no Ukraine soldiers were killed, and one was wounded in the last 24 hours. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 9:15 AM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists violated the ceasefire 26 times in the last 24 hours, firing on Ukrainian positions with artillery, mortars, grenade launchers and small arms.
2. Ukrainian President speaks with German, French, Russian leaders, agrees to meeting of Contact Group by end of week.
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko had a phone conversation with German Chancellor A. Merkel, French President F. Hollande and Russian President V. Putin. According to Poroshenko’s press service, the leaders agreed to hold a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine-OSCE-Russia) by the end of the week “to ensure progress in the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements.”
3. Ukrainian President to submit to Parliament draft bill on abolishing non-aligned status
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko stated that he intends to submit to Parliament a draft bill on abolishing Ukraine’s non-aligned (non-bloc) status, immediately upon his return from his state visit to Poland (17-18 December). Speaking at a joint session of the Sejm and Senate of Poland, Poroshenko stated, “We cannot deny the fact that the non-aligned status of Ukraine declared in 2010 has failed to guarantee our security and territorial integrity. That’s why today I have decided to declare the return to the course of integration to the Euro-Atlantic security space.”
4. UK PM: Russia can’t be part of international financial system and opt out of rules-based international legal system
Speaking in British Parliament, UK Prime Minister D. Cameron stated, “We should stand up very firmly against the Russian aggression that has taken place, and we led the way in Europe in making sure that there were sanctions. What the combination of the lower oil price and the sanctions is showing is that it is not possible for Russia to be part of the international financial system but try to opt out of the rules-based international legal system. That is what is being demonstrated, and we should keep up the pressure.”
5. Ukraine at the European Council meeting 18-19 December
The European Council, the EU heads of state or government, will meet in Brussels on 18-19 December. A release issued by the European Council stated that the heads of state or government will discuss the situation in Ukraine involving Russia as well as EU support for the reform process in Ukraine. “The European Council is expected to evaluate the situation in Ukraine and have a strategic discussion on the implications of the Ukraine crisis and how this relates, in terms of EU policy, vis-à-vis Russia and the Eastern Partnership. […]Ahead of the summit, the Council is expected to adopt additional sanctions in view of the continued illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.”
6. Ukrinmash signs contract for purchase of Counterfire radars from US company
Ukrinmash, a subsidiary of state concern Ukroboronprom, signed a contract for the purchase of
AN/TPQ-49 Counterfire radars with the American “Defense Technologies, Inc.”, Ukroboronprom reported. The AN/TPQ-49 Counterfire radars provide early warning of incoming rocket, artillery and mortar fire. Ukroboronprom stated that the radars will be delivered at the beginning of 2015.