Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
20 November 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 towards Luhansk Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Novotoshkivske with small arms and an anti-aircraft gun. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve, Mayorsk and Novhorodsk with small arms and grenade launchers. Near the Donetsk airport, clashes with Russian-terrorist forces took place at Spartak and Opytne. Russian-terrorist forces shelled the village of Krasnohorivka with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) and mortars. There was no combat yesterday on the Mariupol sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded.
- US deeply concerned by mounting ceasefire violations & increased attacks by Russian-separatist forces
On 19 November, US Ambassador to the OSCE, D. Baer stated, “The United States is deeply concerned that ceasefire violations are again mounting in eastern Ukraine. […] Attacks by combined Russian-separatist forces all along the line of contact have increased. […]Russia and the separatists it backs must immediately stop further attacks, end their provocations and abide by the ceasefire. We call on the Russian Federation to reinforce its commitment to the ceasefire by moving all heavy weapons back into storage sites, removing personnel from the line of contact, and observing Minsk withdrawal lines. […] Let us not forget that as the initiators of this conflict, Russia and the separatists it backs have a clear responsibility: they must prove they have given up their military ambitions in Ukraine through complete and uncompromised Minsk implementation. Russia must also end its occupation of Crimea, which remains part of Ukraine and which Russia seized in violation of international law and in contravention of its OSCE commitments.”
- Moody’s upgrades Ukraine’s credit rating, rating outlook changed from negative to stable
Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Ukraine’s sovereign rating to Caa3 from Ca. The rating outlook was changed from negative to stable. The decision to upgrade Ukraine’s rating was based on “Settlement of the restructuring of USD15 billion in privately-held Eurobonds issued or guaranteed by the government, which eases Ukraine’s debt-service requirements and strengthens the country’s external liquidity; and progress in political and economic reform under the auspices of the IMF-led programme, supporting a rebalancing of the economy and a meaningful reduction in public and external financial deficits,” Moody’s stated.
- IMF mission concludes visit to Kyiv
The IMF concluded its second review mission to Kyiv (12-20 November) of the Extended Fund Facility (Arrangement). Ukrain Mission Chief R. van Rooden stated, “The mission continued constructive discussions with the authorities on policies that are needed to complete the second review under the EFF arrangement. Significant work at a technical level helped advance mutual understandings regarding the planned tax reforms and the implications for the 2016 budget. Accordingly, it is now important that the Government submits to Parliament a budget that is consistent with the program objectives of further reducing the budget deficit and public debt to safer levels, and that Parliament adopts such a budget.”
- White House: “no linkage” between efforts with Russia on Syria and sanctions on Russia
- Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor to the US President stated, “we do not in any way want to see any linkage of the Ukrainian issue to the situation in Syria. The fact of the matter is the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia are not because of Syria, they’re because of Ukraine and Russia’s persistent violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. So it’s very important that it be clear that even if we can pursue more constructive efforts with Russia on counterterrorism that we are going to have significant differences about the situation in Ukraine. Now, there, Russia does have an opportunity to fulfill the Minsk commitments that they have made and that the separatists have made. That is the pathway for Russia to begin to repair its relations with the United States and Europe over the situation in Ukraine.”