Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
3 March 2015, 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 Kremlin-backed terrorists are redeploying forces and preparing offensive operations with the support of Russian armed forces units towards Artemivsk, Donetsk, Volnovakha and Mariupol. On 2 March, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 20 times. The RNBO stated that in the last 24 hours, 3 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 9 were wounded.
2. Parliament passes government’s amendments to 2015 budget
On 2 March, Ukraine’s Parliament passed a series of amendments to the 2015 state budget proposed by the Government. On 2 March Parliament also passed amendments to pension legislation, which are part of pre-conditions to obtain IMF financing. The IMF Executive Board is scheduled to meet on 11 March on Ukraine’s loan request under the Extended Fund Facility Program. Ukrainian and IMF officials reached a staff-level agreement on a $17.5 billion four-year program in February. IMF Managing Director C. Lagarde stated on 12 February that together with other bilateral and multilateral financing, as well as consultations with holders of Ukraine’s sovereign debt, “a total financing package of around $40 billion is estimated over the four-year period.”
3. Ukrainian President signs decree establishing Constitutional Commission
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko signed a decree establishing a Constitutional Commission which will submit proposals on constitutional reform. According to the decree, the President proposed that the head of the Commission be the speaker of Parliament. The decree proposes that parliamentary factions (parliamentary groups), the Cabinet of Ministers, higher specialized courts, the Council of Judges of Ukraine, local-self government associations, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Legal Studies, higher legal educational institutions, civil society law organizations, relevant international organizations submit proposals for candidates for membership in the Commission by 12 March. “I have no doubt that the decision to enhance the judicial power and its independence, the decision on anti-corruption steps must be accompanied by a very important component – local government reform and decentralization reform […]We must preserve unity and integrity of Ukraine. We should leave no chances to those who wanted […] so-called federalization, which is in fact the split of Ukraine,” Poroshenko stated.
4. Ukraine MFA on Savchenko: In these conditions, the absence of any reaction by the Russian authorities is criminal
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that according to information from the lawyer of Nadiya Savchenko (who is in the 81st day of a hunger strike in protest of her illegal imprisonment by the Russian Federation), she is suffering from serious health problems, specifically with her gallbladder and stomach. She continues to drink only water and tea, and despite appeals by the Ukrainian consul, her lawyers and human rights activists, she refuses to stop her hunger strike. A Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson stated, “In these conditions, the absence of any reaction from the Russian authorities to this situation is criminal. All responsibility for the life of Nadiya, we repeat, completely and solely lies with Russia, which cynically abducted Nadiya Savchenko on Ukrainian territory, and for over eight months, arbitrarily, without providing any evidence of a crime, is holding Nadiya hostage.” 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 and imprisoned since that time. She was elected MP to Ukraine’s parliament in October. 5. Ukrainian President speaks with German, French, Russian leaders
On 2 March, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko held a phone conversation with German Chancellor A. Merkel, French President F. Hollande and Russian President V. Putin. According to Poroshenko’s press service, “The parties have endorsed the Ukrainian proposal to send the OSCE observers to all locations of the ceasefire regime violation, particularly to begin with 10 inhabited localities: Shchastya, Popasna, Stanytsia Luhanska, Krymske, Avdiivka, Volnovakha, Hranitne, Luhanske, Shyrokino and the area of Donetsk airport.”
6. US President, European leaders hold video conference on Ukraine
US President B. Obama held a video conference with UK PM D. Cameron, French President F. Hollande, German Chancellor A. Merkel, Italian PM M. Renzi and European Council President D. Tusk to discuss Ukraine and global security.