Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 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 in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded. There were, however, violations of the ceasefire by Kremlin-backed terrorists. At the Donetsk airport, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 9 times, and attacked Ukrainian positions once with sniper fire, small arms and grenade launchers. The attack was repelled. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 9: 15 AM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 6 times with small arms and mortars throughout the night.
2. Ukraine MFA on continued illegal detention of Nadia Savchenko by Russian Federation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, expressed its deep concern over the continued illegal detention of Nadia Savchenko in Russia. A Russian court decision extended her illegal detention today “Despite the deterioration of her health, and the evidence collected by the defense that confirms her innocence, and also agreements on freeing all illegally held persons, on 22 December 2014, the Russian side did not change its decision on her continued detention in custody. In connection to this, the Ukrainian side repeats its demand regarding the release of N. Savchenko and all citizens of Ukraine, illegally detained on the territory of the Russian Federation.” Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in mid-June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained an imprisoned since that time. She was elected to Ukraine’s parliament in October. She is currently on a hunger strike in protest of her illegal imprisonment.
3. Canada, US announce further sanctions
On 19 December, Canada announced further sanctions on the Russian Federation, including restrictions, which “prohibit the export, sale, supply or shipment of a specified list of goods to Russia, or any person in Russia, for use in the following: (a) deep water oil exploration and production; (b) Arctic oil exploration and production; or (c) shale oil exploration and production. These restrictions will also prohibit the provision to Russia, or any person in Russia, financial, technical or other services related to the prohibited goods.” Canada also announced travel bans and economic sanctions against 11 Russian officials and 9 “representatives” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” and occupying “authorities” in Crimea. Prime Minister S. Harper stated, “Canada will not accept the illegal occupation of Crimea and persistent, provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine. […]Canada will stand in steadfast support of the Ukrainian people as they continue to struggle for peace and freedom against the Putin regime. We stand ready to take further proposed measures with our allies and partners if required.” The United States also imposed additional sanctions on 19 December; US President Obama issued an Executive Order (E.O.) “Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine.” “The E.O. prohibits the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea. The E.O. also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in Crimea. The E.O. is intended to provide clarity to U.S. corporations doing business in the region and reaffirm that the United States will not accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.”
4. European Investment bank provides 600 million Euros in loans to Ukraine
The European Investment Bank (EIB) provided 600 million Euros in loans to Ukraine under the EIB’s 2014-2016 3 billion Euro lending plan to Ukraine. 200 million Euros is provided under the Ukraine Early Recovery loan, which “focuses on investments in the Ukraine Government-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk Regions and the surrounding areas of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia. It [Ukraine Early Recovery loan] will back undertakings to re-establish and improve public service delivery of water and sanitation, electricity, and heating. It also covers repairs to roads and railways and the reconstruction of destroyed bridges and the refurbishment of damaged public buildings, including administrative buildings, schools, health centres and hospitals, postal services, and other social infrastructure.” 400 million Euros is provided to support investment by SMEs and midcaps, and is “intended to address the scarcity of long-term funding in the private sector in Ukraine which has been aggravated by the current political and economic unrest.”
5. US President: Putin presiding over collapse of currency, huge economic contraction
In an interview with CNN on 21 December, US President B. Obama stated, “This was said about Mr. Putin, for example, three or four months ago. There was a spate of stories about how he was the chess master, outmaneuvering the West, and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama, and this and that and the other. And right now, he’s presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction. That doesn’t sound like someone who has rolled me or the United States of America.”