Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
5 February 2016, 7PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday the situation in eastern Ukraine escalated. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 81 times – the highest single-day total since August 2015. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the entire front throughout the day. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve and Mayorsk with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Maryinka with grenade launchers. A civilian was seriously injured. On the Hnutove-Talakivka line Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours one Ukrainian soldier was killed and three were wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s Military Intelligence confirms death of 627 Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory in January-September 2015
The Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirmed that 627 soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were killed on Ukrainian territory in the Donbas, and 2155 were wounded from January-September 2015. A spokesperson for the Intelligence Department stated, “I underline that the Russian army sustained significant casualties after the signature of the Minsk agreements and the continuation of aggression by Russian occupying armies on the territory of our country.
3. Ukraine’s Cabinet announces principles of further work
Following an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, Ukraine’s government announced principles of further work – “inadmissibility of pressure from parties, [parliamentary] factions, and individual MPs, maximum transparency of government, a fair working wage for public servants, public and transparent state procurement, unequivocal support for the reforms program, cooperation with the IMF on the part of the parliamentary coalition, no political intrusion in changes to the leadership of the top 60 state companies.” Ukraine’s Minister of Finance N. Jaresko stated, “I call on all politicians in the country to defend the state, reject personal interest, fight for our future together and speed up the reforms that we are undertaking.” Four Ministers who had previously submitted their resignations recalled their resignation – Health Minister O. Kvitashvili; Agriculture Minister O. Pavlenko; Infrastructure Minister A. Pyvovarsky and Information Minister Y. Stets.
4. Abromavicius will not change decision to resign
A Abromavicius, Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, who resigned on 3 February citing high-level interference in the reforms process, stated on twitter, “I am not changing my decision, I’m not recalling my [resignation]. I’ve thought everything through very well.”
5. IMF Managing Director concerned about Abromavicius resignation
On 4 February, IMF Managing Director C. Lagarde stated, “Minister Abromavicius, while in his position as Minister of the Economy, had conducted some really good and solid reforms, to make sure that direct investment would be welcome in Ukraine, to sanitize the environment to the extent that he could, and I would like to pay tribute to his efforts. His recently announced resignation is of concern. If the allegations that he makes in his resignations are correct, then it is obviously an indication that the anticorruption measures that were committed to by the Government are not yet working. And there is more progress to be had in that area. We’ve known that all along. Clearly, the first step was to stabilize the fiscal situation of the country, to make sure that it was not losing its reserves as it did at the time, to adjust the price of energy, and all those steps were taken. But we have known all along that in relation to corruption a lot of work needs to be done, and it has to be implemented and forced rigorously, because the authorities are accountable, not only for the Ukrainian people, but also to the international community.”
6. First deputy parliamentary speaker initiates end to visa free regime between Ukraine and Russia
First deputy parliamentary speaker A. Parubiy registered a draft parliamentary resolution that would nullify the visa-free regime agreement between Ukraine and Russia, the BBC’s Ukraine service reported. Parubiy stated,”We don’t have the right to even allow for the possibility that because of the visa regime hostile agents and sabotage groups end up on our territory. Therefore, we will hold the front, strengthen combat capabilities, and introduce visas.”
7. US Mission to OSCE on Russia’s abduction and detention of Ukrainian citizens
On 4 February at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, US Charge d’Affaires K. Byrnes stated, “The United States condemns the continued detention of Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksander Kolchenko, Stanislav Klikh, Mykola Karpyuk, Akhtem Chiygoz, and all other Ukrainians unjustly held in Russia and in Russian-occupied Crimea. Human rights groups estimate that there are currently at least 20 such cases. The United States continues to monitor Ms. Savchenko’s trial closely. On February 1, Ms. Savchenko, who continues her hunger strike in protest of her illegitimate and ongoing imprisonment and prosecution, testified in her own defense. She implicated a former employee of the Russian presidential administration and the former head of the so-called ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ by name as having abducted her from Ukraine in June 2014. These serious charges should be fairly considered and all evidence examined. However, the judges have refused a defense motion to summon these individuals to testify and have shown contempt throughout the trial for their obligation to ensure a fair, equal, and transparent process. […]These cases raise serious concerns about Russia’s respect for the rule of law and its international obligations and commitments. The abrogation of commitments has deprived Savchenko, Klikh, Karpyuk, and Chiygoz of their fundamental rights. The charges against Ukrainian citizens held for politically-motivated reasons should be dismissed. These individuals should be released immediately and, in the case of those being held within Russia, be allowed to return to Ukraine.”