Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 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 and 3 were wounded. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense stated at 9:25 AM Kyiv time that during the night, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions with mortars, grenade launchers and small arms 9 times. The Ministry of Defense reported at 7:30 PM Kyiv time that during the day, the situation in the zone of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) zone did not change. After 2 PM, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions near Debaltsevo, Nikishino and Chermalyk with small arms. The RNBO reported that at 2:30 AM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed terrorists detonated a railway bridge on the Mariupol-Sartana line in Donetsk oblast. There were no injuries.
2. Ukrainian Parliament abolished non-aligned (non-bloc) status of Ukraine
Ukrainian Parliament passed the Law “On changes to certain laws of Ukraine regarding the refusal of Ukraine in implementing policies of non-alignment.” 303 MPs, a constitutional majority, voted for. The law states that the “national interest priorities” of Ukraine are “integration of Ukraine in the European political, economic and legal structure with the goal of EU membership and in the Euroatlantic security structure.” The law also states that the “basic principles” of Ukraine’s foreign policy are “increased cooperation with NATO with the goal of meeting criteria necessary for attaining membership in this organization.”
3. Ukrainian President speaks with German, French, Russian leaders: Minsk talks to resume tomorrow
On 22 December, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor A. Merkel, French President F. Hollande and Russian President V. Putin. The leaders agreed that a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine-OSCE-Russia) will take place in Minsk on 24 December and 26 December.
4. Government submits drafts of reforms to budget and tax codes, as well as 2015 budget to Parliament
Ukraine’s Government submitted a package of 44 draft reform bills (reforms to the budget code, and tax code) and the draft bill on the 2015 budget to Parliament. The bills will go to committee and Parliament will vote on the budget on 30 December. Speaking to Parliament, Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk stated, “The Budget can be voted only after you support all previous legislative initiatives, as it was drafted just basing on a new tax basis, on the new fiscal relations, the legalization of shadow income, on de-shadowing business, taxation of large business and new approaches to the social benefits.”