Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
25 March 2015, 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 Kremlin-backed terrorists continue attacks on Ukrainian positions near Shyrokyne (near Mariupol). Ukrainian forces are repelling the attacks. Near the Donetsk airport, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at Adviyivka with tanks. According to intelligence information, 20 train cars of ammunition arrived from the Russian Federation at the train station at Krasnodon. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four were wounded. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported at 7:00 PM Kyiv time that throughout the day Kremlin-backed terrorists violated the terms of the ceasefire 23 times.
2. Ukrainian President accepts resignation of Dnipropetrovsk governor
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko accepted the resignation of the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Administration (Governor) Ihor Kolomoyskyi and signed a decree to that effect. The President’s press service stated that Valentyn Reznichenko (currently governor of Zaporizhya oblast) will be appointed acting governor of Dnipropetrovsk.
3. Two high-ranking officials arrested at meeting of Cabinet of Ministers on corruption charges
Serhiy Bochkowsky, head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and his first deputy Vasyl Stoyetsky were arrested at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers. They are accused of corruption during procurement tenders – organizing criminal schemes whereby fuel was purchased at inflated prices and money diverted through offshore companies into their personal accounts. Ukrainian PM A. Yatseniuk stated that he will appeal to Ukraine’s American and European partners “to assist in tracking all financial transactions of companies nominally registered in the US and bank accounts in fact registered in Cyprus in order to ensure that the entire criminal scheme is revealed and the criminals punished.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that Zorian Shkiryak, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs has been appointed acting head of the State Emergency Service, and stated that reviews are underway at all territorial divisions of the State Emergency Service.
4. First delivery of armored Humvees arrives from US
The US delivered the first shipment of armored Humvees to Ukraine. 10 heavily armored vehicles were delivered today. According to Ukraine’s Presidential press service, the armored Humvees will be equipped by Ukraine with weapons, then 8 of them will be sent to airborne troop units and 2 will be sent to special units of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The Presidential press service stated that the US is planning to supply a total of 230 Humvees, 30 of which are heavily armored, and that the remainder will be sent within 45 days.
5. EBRD provides 65 million Euro loan to Ukrenergo
On 24 March, Ukrainian Minister of Finance N. Jaresko signed a 65 million euro loan agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Ukrenergo, the national electricity transmission network operator, for the construction of a 330kV Zahidna substation as well as the construction of two 330kV lines, which will connect the new substation to the grid. “The project should help Ukraine and Ukrenergo improve the security of electricity supply, increase energy efficiency, meet growing demand for power in the Ukrainian capital and tackle problems linked to power shortages and blackouts in the city of [Kyiv] and the region,” the EBRD stated.
6. EU report: Ukraine made good progress on democracy, human rights, freedoms
The report of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Ukraine Progress in 2014 and recommendations for actions was released today. The report states, “Ukraine made overall good progress on deep and sustainable democracy, on human rights and fundamental freedoms. […]The human rights situation deteriorated drastically for people living in Crimea and Sevastopol after the illegal annexation and in the areas controlled by illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine. Fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of the media were not guaranteed in these regions.” The report outlines EU recommendations for further reforms. The full report is available at http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/pdf/