Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
5 October 2015, 6 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 towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with a grenade launcher. There were no violations of the ceasefire at the Luhansk or Donetsk sectors of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded.
- Ukraine’s President on Paris talks
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke to Ukrainian media on the results of his 2 October meeting in Paris with the German Chancellor and French and Russian Presidents. According to Poroshenko’s press service, Poroshenko stated that the main result on the Paris meeting is the “transition from ceasefire regime to the regime of truce after the withdrawal of troops […] the next steps, and we begin to believe they are possible, are to return Ukraine to Donbas. […] Without elections under the Ukrainian legislation, without political solution, withdrawal of troops, return of Ukrainian media and Ukrainian parties, it is impossible to return Ukrainian sovereignty to Donbas. As guarantor of the Constitution and as President of Ukraine, I will severely fight for every scrap of Ukrainian land. Donbas first, then – Crimea […] if any item of the Minsk agreement is not fulfilled, there will be responsibility – sanctions, their strengthening and continuation. The President emphasized that despite the attempts of Russian media and the ‘fifth column’ in Ukraine to promote certain theses about the possibility of amnesty for all militants and their participation in elections, as well as the necessity of making amendments to the law on special regime of local self-government before the elections, the position of Ukraine and its partners in the course of the negotiations had remained unchanged. ‘Jointly with its partners from Germany and France, Ukrainian delegation in Paris clearly emphasized that there will be no amendments to the Minsk agreements,’ He added that the ‘withdrawal of troops must be held regardless of elections’. This position is clearly confirmed by the leaders of France and Germany and the Russian party was notified about that.”
- Ukraine begins withdrawal of tanks from contact line in Donbas
On 4 October, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense stated that Ukrainian forces will begin withdrawing tanks (T-64 and T-72); anti-tank guns (D-48 and D-44) and 2B-982 mortars 15 km from the contact line on 5 October. The first phase of withdrawal will be in the Luhansk sector of the front; the withdrawal will take place in two phases and will last 41 days, the Ministry of Defense stated.
- World Bank: Reforms in Ukraine helped stabilize economy, but continued and faster reforms are key
In its Ukraine Macroeconomic Update, the World Bank projected that real GDP in Ukraine will fall by 12% in 2015, with gradual recovery starting in 2016. The World Bank stated, “The macroeconomic policy mix adopted by the authorities proved to be effective in mitigating a much more painful impact on the country’s economy, but the on-going conflict in the east has made stabilization more difficult. Coupled with an unfavorable global economic environment, it has led to a much sharper contraction in the economy. Ukraine’s economic recovery depends on whether the authorities continue implementing much-needed macroeconomic and structural reforms, even as periodic flaring up of conflict adds to uncertainties. If reforms continue, a gradual recovery is possible starting from 2016. It is expected to be driven by net exports, capital investment and privatization. […] ”Despite lower GDP growth in 2015, the country’s general fiscal and budget performance has so far been better than anticipated.” The Ukraine Macroeconomic Update is available at http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/pubdocs/publicdoc/2015/10/914911444031216750/UA-Macroeconomic-Update-Oct-2015-en.pdf
- Ukraine, IMF hold discussions on second review of Extended Fund Facility Arrangement
An IMF mission was in Kyiv from 22 September-2 October for discussions on the second review of the Extended Fund Facility Arrangement with Ukraine. IMF mission chief for Ukraine N. Gueorguiev stated on 3 October, “The mission held constructive discussions with the authorities on policies needed to complete the second review under the EFF arrangement. Understandings were reached on most issues. However, as the authorities still need more time to fully flesh out their policy proposals for 2016 in some areas, discussions will continue in the coming weeks. […] The authorities recognize that a decisive implementation of economic reforms is indispensable for entrenching macroeconomic stability and restoring growth. They are committed to ensuring fiscal stability through reaching the program’s deficit target of 3.7 percent of GDP for 2016. […] The authorities are moving ahead decisively with the rehabilitation of the banking system. While steps have also been taken to improve the business environment, promote privatization, and improve governance, considerable further efforts in these areas remain critical for restoring robust and sustainable economic growth. The authorities are looking forward to the broad participation of Eurobond holders in the recently launched debt exchange. This will ensure that public debt is sustainable with high probability and the program remains fully financed.”
- Russian combat aircraft violate Turkey’s airspace
NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg stated that today he met with the Foreign Minister of Turkey F. Sinirlioglu “to discuss the recent military actions of the Russian Federation in and around Syria. Including the unacceptable violations of Turkish airspace by Russian combat aircraft. I made clear that NATO remains strongly committed to Turkey’s security. I will convene a meeting of the North Atlantic Council later today to discuss the situation. Russia’s actions are not contributing to the security and stability of the region. I call on Russia to fully respect NATO airspace and to avoid escalating tensions with the Alliance.” Following consultations of the North Atlantic Council, NATO allies stated, “Allies strongly protest these violations of Turkish sovereign airspace, and condemn these incursions into and violations of NATO airspace. Allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behaviour. They call on the Russian Federation to cease and desist, and immediately explain these violations. […] The security of the Alliance is indivisible, and Allies stand in strong solidarity with Turkey.”