Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 December 2015, 6 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday, attacks by Russian-terrorist forces increased in both frequency and intensity. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions near Shchastya. The attack was repelled. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve with mortars and tanks. At Novhorodske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Near the Donetsk airport, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Pisky and Krasnohorivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, and shelled Ukrainian positions at Starohnativka and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded in combat.
- US expands sanctions list related to Russia and Ukraine
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “named 34 individuals and entities under Ukraine-related sanctions […] This includes 14 individuals and entities linked to those that have engaged in serious and sustained evasion of existing sanctions or are 50 percent or more owned by a designated entity; six separatists designated for threatening the security or stability of Ukraine; two former Ukrainian government officials for being complicit in the misappropriation of public assets and/or threatening the security or stability of Ukraine; and 12 entities for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine. OFAC also identified a number of subsidiaries that are owned 50 percent or more by the previously-designated VTB Bank, Sberbank, and Rostec. Today’s steps support the U.S. commitment to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine by maintaining our sanctions on Russia. Those sanctions will not begin to be rolled back until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk Agreements, including the return to Ukraine of control of its side of the international border with Russia. These steps also demonstrate our sustained commitment to a policy of non-recognition with respect to Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea, and our intent to maintain Crimea-related sanctions until Russia ends its occupation of the peninsula,” the US Department of the Treasury stated. The full list of the individuals and entities named today is available at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20151222.aspx
- G7 Ambassadors call on Ukraine’s Parliament to support Government budget
The Ambassadors of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) issued a statement calling on Ukraine’s MPs to support the Ukrainian Government’s 2016 State Budget and amendments to the Tax Code. The G7 Ambassadors stated, “We commend and fully support the efforts of the Government to achieve a workable deal that is in line with Ukraine’s reform commitments under its IMF program. Passing a fiscally sustainable budget is vital for Ukraine’s economic health and stability as well as the continuation of financial assistance from Ukraine’s international partners.G7 Ambassadors call on Rada Deputies to support the Government’s proposed package. The reforms to which Ukraine has committed in its IMF programme will be essential to restore economic stability and return Ukraine to a path to growth and prosperity. We call upon Rada Deputies to exercise their responsibilities carefully and not to jeopardise this programme.”
- Ukraine’s Parliament to consider draft 2016 budget on 24-25 December
Ukraine’s Parliament will consider the government’s proposed draft budget on 24-25 December, according to a resolution passed today by Parliament.
- Atlantic Council: Proposed Nord Stream-2 pipeline makes no sense and must be stopped
Writing about the proposed Nord Stream-2 pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow A. Aslund wrote, “This project makes no sense and should be stopped. The current European Commission’s most important project is the creation of a real energy market, a European energy union. This strategy has five related goals, namely energy security, market integration, energy efficiency, decarbonization, and research, innovation and competitiveness. Nord Stream 2 contradicts all these goals. […] Nord Stream 2 runs counter to the energy union’s ambition of diversification of transportation routes and supplies. Ten Eastern EU members have protested accordingly. […] Gazprom is no ordinary state corporation. In Eastern Europe, it has pursued Russia’s geopolitical goals, cutting supplies or raising prices whenever the Kremlin objects to a government. […]The facts are plain. Russia’s aim with Nord Stream 2 is to torpedo Europe’s attempt at an energy union. In this effort it has mobilized strong allies. The question is whether the European Union has sufficient strength to block this project.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/nord-stream-2-makes-no-sense-and-must-be-stopped