Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
8 June 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol) with mortars and artillery throughout the day. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists moved tanks and armored vehicles to the contact line. The heaviest shelling by Kremlin-backed terrorists in this sector of the front was at the northwest outskirts of Horlivka. Towards Luhansk, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions with mortars and small arms at several locations. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten were wounded. The press center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported that throughout the day on 8 June, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka with anti-tank weapons, automatic grenade launchers, small arms and mortars. Residential areas of Maryinka were hit with mortars.
- G7 Leaders “ready to take further restrictive measures” should Russia’s actions so require
In the Leaders’ Declaration following the G7 Summit on 7-8 June, the leaders of the G7 countries stated, “We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation and reaffirm our policy of its non-recognition. We reiterate our full support for the efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine […] We recall that the duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty. They can be rolled back when Russia meets these commitments. However, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require. ”
- Ukraine Minister of Defense: Combined Russian and Kremlin-backed terrorist forces total over 42,500 personnel
Speaking at the Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council, Ukraine’s Minister of Defense S. Poltorak stated, “It is vital to underline, that the Russian Federation remains the main organizer and sponsor of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. While declaring their interest in a peaceful settlement of the conflict and attempting to distance itself from the processes taking place in the region, Russia in fact continues to maintain the self-declared entities.” Poltorak stated that the combined forces of the “armed forces of Russia and illegally armed groups” total close to 42,500 personnel in Eastern Ukraine, with illegally armed groups at more than 33,000.
- Canada’s PM visits Ukraine
On 6 June, Canada’s PM S. Harper visited Ukraine. He met with Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko and PM A. Yatsenyuk. Harper “reaffirmed that Canada would continue to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression and support Ukraine’s economic and democratic reforms.” Harper announced that Canadian negotiators will return to Ukraine on 15 June with the aim of concluding negotiations on a Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement “as soon as possible.” Harper also announced that Canada will deploy up to ten police officers to help reform Ukraine’s security sector under a Canadian police arrangement with the RCMP, and $5 million to Agriteam Canada to support the reform of patrol police in Ukraine. More information on Harper’s visit can be found at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2015/06/06/pm-wraps-successful-visit-ukraine
- European Council President: If anyone in EU wants to debate changing sanctions regime against Russia, discussion could only be about strengthening it
Speaking ahead of the G7 Summit in Germany, European Council President D. Tusk stated on 7 June, “I want to underline that already in March the European Council took a political decision of linking our sanctions regime on Russia with the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. My intention is that today we re-confirm the G7 unity on the sanctions policy. So let me state clearly, given the current situation, if anyone wants to start a debate about changing the sanctions regime, the discussion could only be about strengthening it. The European Union, as the entire G7, continues to stand firm in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.”
- 6. Ukraine Ministry of Finance: International commercial creditors’ position on debt talks remains unchanged
Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance stated after a call on 5 June with the ad hoc Committee representing Ukraine’s international commercial creditors, “The Ministry regrets that the Committee’s offer to Ukraine remains unchanged. The Committee’s proposal to offload their sovereign claims into the books of the National Bank of Ukraine is unacceptable as it assumes using the National Bank of Ukraine’s reserves, in clear violation of Ukrainian law, and more generally in clear contradiction with Central Banks best practices. […] The Minister expressed a willingness to meet directly with the creditors and encourages the Committee to remove artificial and counterproductive barriers to more constructive dialogue.”