Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
1 April 2015, 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 four were wounded. ATO Spokesman Andriy Lysenko reported that the Kremlin-backed terrorists are “still using some of the heavy weapons including tanks and mortars whose withdrawal was mandated under the cease-fire agreed in the Minsk accord”.
2. Poroshenko speaks with Merkel
Ukrainian President P Poroshenko held a phone conversation with German Chancellor A. Merkel. President Poroshenko thanked Merkel for the ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU in German Bundestag. The leaders discussed the situation in Donbas and stated that Russian-backed militants should comply with the ceasefire regime and fulfill all items of the Minsk agreements, including the liberation of hostages. Poroshenko and Merkel agreed to hold a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Normandy group in the nearest time to negotiate issues on the further implementation of the Minsk agreements and the organization of a peacekeeping mission in Donbas.
3. Head of Ukraine’s Security service: Terrorist attacks in Ukraine coordinated by Russian special forces
The Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, stated that Russian special forces and their representatives have set up headquarters in Luhansk and Donetsk and are coordinating the preparation and execution of terrorist attacks in Ukraine, in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government
and not controlled by it. “All terrorist attacks that take place in Ukrainian territory (controlled and not
controlled by us) are prepared and executed under the supervision of Russian special forces. Currently, the most dangerous terrorist groups are operating in Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They are receiving money and weapons from Russia. They are the ones to carry out the attacks in the south and east of the country by using modern mines… and other explosives,” Nalyvaichenko said in an interview with Denh newspaper.
4. World Bank Says Russia’s Economic Outlook Worse Than Thought
The World Bank predicts Russia’s economy will shrink more than previously forecast in the next two years as the effects of low oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s interference in Ukraine take hold. In a report released on April 1, the World Bank predicted that Russia’s GDP will decline by 3.8 percent in 2015 rather than the 2.9 percent forecast in January. The report said that “the oil price slump and stricter sanctions came late in 2014, so that their impact only began to affect the economy in the final quarter of 2014[…] the effects are likely to be more profound this year and in 2016.” The World Bank forecast inflation in Russia at about 10 percent and capital flight amounting to some $80 billion. It said capital flight came to $151 billion in 2014.
5. Russia shutters Crimean Tatar news outlet
On 1 April, Russia’s occupying authorities in illegally annexed Crimea shut down a television channel for Crimean Tatars, which broadcast in Russian, Tatar and Ukrainian. ATR television channel was forced off air after Russia’s state media regulator refused to give it a broadcasting license. The closure of a media outlet that served the Crimean Tatar community for nearly a decade is the latest salvo in Russia’s crackdown on the Tatar community that has also included harassment and raids on the channel’s offices.