Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
13 May 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) stated at 12:30 PM that in the last 24 hours, Kremlin-backed terrorists moved artillery, tanks and other heavy weapons to the contact line, which, together with the increasing number of armed provocations “leaves no doubt that the enemy wants to destroy the ceasefire.” Towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists carried out a series of armed provocations at Shyrokyne, including shelling with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists are engaging in attacks in the area of the Donetsk airport, along a line from Kransohorivka to Adviyivka. In this area, Kremlin-backed terrorists are shelling Ukrainian positions with artillery. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukraine positions with small arms near Shchastya and Stanytsia Luhanska. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten were wounded.
2. NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Turkey
NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting in Antalya, Turkey, 13-14 May. NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated, “The main message is that the Minsk agreements have to be implemented in full. The cease-fire has to be respected. Heavy weapons have to be withdrawn. And we call on Russia to stop supporting the separatists and to withdraw all its forces from Eastern Ukraine […] actions speak louder than words […] now is the time to act.” US Secretary of State J. Kerry stated, “I think there was strong agreement among all of the NATO members that this is a critical moment for action by Russia, by the separatists, to live up to the Minsk agreement. […] We need to see the full implementation of Minsk, and I think everybody here is united in the notion that our preference is not to have sanctions, but the sanctions will be there in an effort to try to secure the peace that everybody wants in Ukraine.”
3. NATO-Ukraine Commission meets in Turkey
NATO Foreign Ministers met with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister in a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. The NATO Foreign Ministers “reconfirmed their full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and have called on Russia to cease its destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine.” Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal, illegitimate and “we do not and we will not recognize it,” NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg said, and on behalf of all Allies, “called on Russia to stop destabilising eastern Ukraine; withdraw its support for the separatists; withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukraine and along the border; and fully support a political solution.” Stoltenberg stated that “our close cooperation will strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself[…] we have stepped up our support to Ukraine on command and control; logistics; cyber defence; and rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.” He added that the Alliance has strengthened its office in Kyiv, and provided advisors to the Ukrainian government. “Ukraine will host a NATO-led exercise on disaster response this autumn. […]Our partnership is strong, and getting stronger,” Stoltenberg stated. The Joint Statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission is available at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/
4. Ukrainian President meets with German Chancellor
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko met with German Chancellor A. Merkel in Berlin. Poroshenko emphasized that Ukraine is an “absolutely firm supporter” of the implementation of all 13 points of the Minsk agreements. “Unfortunately, today we are forced to state that there is no ceasefire. Every day, Ukraine loses its finest sons.” The President stated that “more than 400 hostages remain in inhuman conditions, in conditions of a humanitarian disaster, in captivity of the militants. More than 30 Ukrainian are imprisoned in the Russian Federation. We insist and emphasize that Minsk must be fulfilled unconditionally and our citizens must be released as soon as possible, including Nadiya Savchenko.”
5. Ministry of Finance of Ukraine concerned about approach of creditors to negotiations
On 12 May, The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine stated that it is “concerned about the approach taken by the creditors’ committee representing the country’s external debtholders and their lack of willingness to engage in negotiations. An alternative to a negotiation cannot be in the interests of the bondholders. […]Despite numerous requests from the Ministry’s side, the committee refuses to reveal its membership, a highly unusual departure from standard practice in similar situations, and in stark contrast with IIF transparency and disclosure principles. […]Even though Ukraine and the IMF have repeatedly said that the three targets for the debt operation (liquidity, sustainability and payment capacity) have to be met, the committee in its public statements focuses exclusively on the liquidity aspect, and refuses to acknowledge the debt sustainability objective. […] Ukraine and its debtholders need to agree on a sustainable debt level and debt service objectives meeting the targets of the IMF supported program by June. The Ministry remains convinced that a deal can be reached and that it is in the best interests of all parties to do so to ensure the country’s financial stability and debt sustainability. The Ministry is committed to transparency, responsiveness and good faith negotiations and expects the creditors’ committee to do the same.”
6. General Prosecutor asks Parliament to remove immunity from 2 MPs
On 12 May, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine sent two appeals to Parliament to remove immunity from prosecution from MP Serhiy Kliuyev, who is suspected of fraud, misappropriation, embezzlement and abuse of power or position, and MP Serhiy Melnychuk who is suspected of several crimes, including racketeering.