Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
28 May 2015, 9 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that at Shyrokyne and Mykolaivka (near Mariupol) Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars and artillery. Towards Donetsk, several exchanges of fire with Kremlin-backed terrorists took place north and south of the city. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions along the front from Popasne to Shchastya, including with artillery and armored vehicles. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded.
- Atlantic Council Report: Conflict in Ukraine’s east is a Kremlin manufactured war
The Atlantic Council published a report, Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine, which details Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The report states, “Russian propaganda frames the Ukraine crisis as a civil war. In reality, the conflict in Ukraine’s east is a Kremlin manufactured war—fueled by Russian-made military equipment, fought by Russian soldiers, and supported by Mr. Putin. […]Russia is at war with Ukraine. Russian citizens and soldiers are fighting and dying in a war of their government’s own making. President Vladimir Putin continues to deny Russian involvement in the fighting, but the evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. Drawing upon open source information that is ‘hiding in plain sight,’ this report provides irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine.” The complete report is available athttp://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/reports/hiding-in-plain-sight-putin-s-war-in-ukraine-and-boris-nemtsov-s-putin-war
- Russian President suppresses Russian military losses in peacetime “classified as state secret”
Russian President V. Putin signed a decree that classifies military losses during the conduct of special operations in peacetime. The decree amends a 1995 presidential decree on data considered a state secret. Before the amendments, only information on Russian military losses during wartime were considered to be a state secret. The disclosure of state secrets is punishable by up to 7 years in prison in the Russian Federation.
- Reuters: Russia amassing heavy firepower on border with Ukraine
On 27 May, Reuters published an exclusive report in which they stated, “Russia’s army is massing troops and hundreds of pieces of weaponry including mobile rocket launchers, tanks and artillery at a makeshift base near the border with Ukraine, a Reuters reporter saw this week. Many of the vehicles have number plates and identifying marks removed while many of the servicemen had taken insignia off their fatigues. […]The scene at the base on the Kuzminsky firing range, around 50 km (30 miles) from the border, offers some of the clearest evidence to date of what appeared to be a concerted Russian military build-up in the area. […]The amount of military hardware at the base was about three times greater than in March this year, when Reuters journalists were previously in the area. At that time, only a few dozen pieces of equipment were in view. Over the course of four days starting on Saturday, Reuters saw four goods trains with military vehicles and troops arriving at a rail station in the Rostov region of southern Russia, with at least two trainloads traveling by road to the base.”
- Ministry of Finance of Ukraine to issue US-guaranteed bonds worth $1 billion
The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine stated that it has authorized the issuance of bonds worth $1 billion, fully guaranteed by the United States, and therefore priced on the basis of US government rates. “The issuance of the bonds comes in the wake of a series of recent positive developments reflecting the growing international support and acknowledgment of Ukraine’s efforts to return to economic growth in 2016. The bonds, alongside the recent EU macro financial assistance, are intended to replace existing debt with more serviceable and less expensive international obligations,” the Ministry stated. The face value of each bond is $200,000, with a coupon of 1.847% per year.
- Minister of Social Policy announces end to special pensions for MPs, other officials
Effective 1 June, Ukraine’s Pension Fund will stop the allocation of special pensions to MPs, Ministers, judges, prosecutors, customs and tax officials, and other officials, the Minister of Social Policy, P. Rozenko announced. “There will be no more compromises regarding the existence of the shameful system of VIP-pensions,” Rozenko stated
- NATO Deputy Sec. Gen: Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is part of broader destabilizing behaviour
Addressing the Kyiv Security Forum, NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow stated, “Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea marked the first time since the Second World War that one European nation took part of another by force. In doing so, Russia has undermined decades of work by the international community to create a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. NATO will never accept or recognize the annexation of Crimea. But of course it didn’t stop there. By supporting the separatists with weapons – including sophisticated heavy weapons – with soldiers and with training, Russia has helped to bring war to Eastern Ukraine, at the cost of more than 6,000 lives. […] Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine are only one part of a broader picture of destabilizing behaviour – behaviour that threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours, in violation of the commitments Russia made in the early 1990s. […] Essentially, it wants carte blanche with regard to its neighbours. I had hoped that we had consigned such notions – and their dire consequences – to history. Alas, that appears not to be the case.”