Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 October 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 yesterday, Russian-terrorist forces did not violate the ceasefire. No Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in combat. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and one was wounded in a land mine explosion at Novotroitske, Donetsk oblast.
- S & P raises Ukraine’s credit rating
Standard & Poor’s raised Ukraine’s credit rating to B- from SD, after Ukraine’s government reached a restructuring agreement with creditors, Bloomberg reported. S & P stated, “We view the risk of another default in the next two to three years as diminished due to the Ukrainian authorities’ commitment to the reforms set out in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program […] An improvement in security conditions will likely fuel a potentially stronger economic recovery in 2016.” Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance welcomed the decision, stating, “This is a direct and positive effect of the approval of Ukraine’s restructuring by holders of 13 out of 14 series of Ukraine’s Eurobonds at the meetings of bondholders held on 14 October 2015. This represents the first step in the return of Ukraine to international capital markets and will facilitate financing by international financial institutions and export credit agencies. It will also facilitate international financing of Ukrainian companies and banks.”
- President urges Government and Parliament to accelerate visa liberalization plan with EU
At a meeting of the National Council of Reforms, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko “emphasized the need for accelerating the fulfillment of the Plan of Actions on the liberalization of visa regime with the EU. […] He also urged the Government and [Parliament] to ensure the implementation of commitments undertaken by Ukraine in this context.” Poroshenko noted that the EU expert mission on the progress of Ukraine concluded that Ukraine has fulfilled the criteria of the second phase of the implementation plan in border governance, document security, migration, and the struggle against money laundering and funding of terrorism. “Poroshenko emphasized the importance of completing work in the areas where there is still a backlog in the fulfillment of recommendations of the European Commission: struggle against corruption and organized crime, issues of discrimination, amendments to the Labor Code,” Poroshenko’s press service reported.
- General Prosecutor sends indictments to court in case of former head of Party of Regions faction
The Office of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine reported that they have concluded the investigation into O. Yefremov, former head of the Party of Regions faction in Parliament, S. Hordienko, and O. Stoyan, for their role in falsifying the vote in parliament for the January 16, 2014 “dictatorship laws” that significantly curtailed civil rights. The prosecutor has send the indictments to the Kyiv Pechersk district court. Former deputy speaker I. Kaletnik, and Party of Regions MP V. Oliynyk are wanted on similar charges.
- NATO Dep Secretary General: First and foremost challenge is an assertive and unpredictable Russia NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow stated, “After a long and relatively benign period following the Cold War, matters of European security are once more front page news. The picture is complex and appears to change daily. First and foremost, to my mind, is the challenge of dealing with an increasingly assertive and unpredictable Russia. Russia now occupies parts of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and is still supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine with men, weapons and command-and-control. Now they have entered the war in Syria on the side of Assad, adding fuel to the fire of an already complex and highly dangerous situation.”