Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
4 February 2016, 7PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska and Tryokhizbenka with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Kirov and Pervomaisk with mortars. Along the Svitlodarsk-Pisky line, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms and grenade launchers. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka. At Krasnohorivka, Rusian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions along the Hnutove-Lomakyne line (east of Mariupol) with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s President, PM, Parliamentary speaker meet with G7 and EU Ambassadors
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko, PM A. Yatsenyuk, and Parliamentary speaker V. Groysman met with G7 and EU ambassadors. Poroshenko’s press service reported, “The President emphasized that he was strongly determined to continue reforms awaited by Ukrainian society. [A] Rapid reload of the Government is essential for that. At the same time, the President believes that the ministers-reformers and their teams should stay. The ambassadors underlined the importance of preserving unity of the Ukrainian authorities in complicated conditions of the Russian aggression. The parties discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements. President Poroshenko informed on their constant non-fulfillment by the Russian side and urged the states-partners to continue imposing pressure on Russia via sanctions.”
3. Kononenko steps down temporarily as deputy faction head of Poroshenko bloc
I. Kononenko announced that he is stepping down as deputy head of the Poroshenko bloc parliamentary faction until the completion of the investigation launched yesterday by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Yesterday, A. Abromavicius, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, resigned from office and accused Kononenko of abuse of power. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau has opened a criminal investigation.
4. European Parliament calls for Russia to begin negotiations to re-establish Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea
The European Parliament passed a Resolution, in which the Parliament “recalls its severe condemnation of the illegal annexation by Russia of the Crimean peninsula and the commitment of the EU, its Member States and the international community to implement fully the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea; highlights also that the restoration of Ukrainian control over the peninsula is one of the prerequisites for re-establishing cooperative relations with the Russian Federation, including the suspension of related sanctions […] Strongly condemns the unprecedented levels of human rights abuses perpetrated against Crimean residents, most notably Crimean Tatars, who do not follow the imposed rule of the so-called local authorities […] Welcomes the Ukrainian initiative to establish an international negotiation mechanism on the reestablishment of Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea in the ‘Geneva plus’ format, which should include direct engagement by the EU; calls on Russia to start negotiations with Ukraine and other parties on the de-occupation of Crimea.” The full resolution is available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/
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5. US Mission to OSCE: sanctions against Russia linked to full implementation of Minsk and an end to occupation of Crimea
At a meeting of the Permanent Council of the OSCE, US Charge-d’Affaires K. Byrnes stated, “The United States is not alone in making clear that sanctions are linked to the full implementation of Minsk and an end to the occupation of Crimea. Russia’s failure to remove its forces, stop interference against the SMM, lift restrictions on humanitarian aid, engage in the political process, and release Ukrainian hostages has only served to reinforce the international consensus against its actions. We again underscore that in its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, both in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Federation violates its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum, the Helsinki Final Act, and the UN Charter to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”
6. NATO Office to be established in Ukraine
Ukraine’s Parliament ratified an agreement between Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers and NATO to establish a NATO Office in Ukraine. The agreement formalizes the diplomatic status of the Office, which will consist of a Liaison Office and a Center for Information and Documentation. The Office will “help expand and strengthen Ukraine’s participation in all activities within the framework of agreements signed with NATO.”