Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
26 May 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
- 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 to shell Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol) with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists are shelling Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport and in the western suburbs of Horlivka. Despite attempts by Kremlin-backed terrorists to advance in the area, Ukrainian forces are holding the line. Towards Luhansk, battles with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place near Shchastya and the eastern and northern outskirts of Pervomaisk. Near Syze (towards Stanytsia Luhanska), Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on a Ukrainian forces ambulance and shelled Ukrainian positions with tanks and mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and twelve were wounded.
- Court in Russian-occupied Crimea extends detention of Crimean Tatar leader
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported that the supreme court in Russian-occupied Crimea refused to release the Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis (representative assembly), Akthem Chiygoz. Chiygoz has been held in detention for 3 months. Nariman Dzelyal, First Deputy Head of the Mejlis, stated after the hearing, “The judge, after listening to all sides, withdrew for literally 2-3 minutes and returned with a prepared ruling, reading it out. The court secretary did not even go out with him which indicates that the ruling had been prepared and stamped before the hearing. We didn’t expect anything else”, KHPG reported. “This ‘case’ is by definition absurd and seems an overt attempt at organizing a show trial against the Mejlis and terrorizing Crimean Tatars into silence or exile,” KHPG stated.
- Ukraine’s third largest bank reaches deal with creditors on $1.5 billion Eurobonds
Ukraine’s third-largest bank, Ukreximbank, concluded negotiations with creditors, including 7 year maturity extensions on 2015, 2016, and 2018 Eurobonds. The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine welcomed the deal, stating it will “result in total savings to Ukraine’s balance of payments of up to US$1.5 billion for the 2015-2018 period. […]We look forward to continuing negotiations with the debtholders of other instruments included in the perimeter of Ukraine’s debt operation. The Ministry of Finance underlines that the sovereign debt restructuring will also need to reduce debt levels and debt service to meet the three IMF-agreed targets. The Ministry aims to complete the debt restructuring operation by the first review of the IMF-supported program scheduled for June in order to provide support for the disbursement of the second tranche.”
- French-Russian Mistral warship deal terminated
The Deputy Head of Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission has stated that Russia is terminating the $1.5 billion deal for two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships from France, and that the only discussions are about the sum of money that should be returned to Russia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. In September 2014, French President F. Hollande stated that the warships would not be delivered to Russia because of Russia’s “recent actions in Ukraine.”
- US President meets with NATO Chief; discuss Russia’s “increasingly aggressive posture”
US President B. Obama met with NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg. President Obama stated, ““We had a chance to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the increasingly aggressive posture that Russia has taken. […] We also reaffirmed the importance of implementing the Minsk agreement and ensuring that Ukraine is able to enjoy the same territorial integrity and sovereignty as any other country,” the Wall Street Journal reported.