Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 February 2016, 7PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske and Pervomaisk with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport with mortars and Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). North of Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka, Chermalyk, Shyrokyne and Krasnohorivka 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 Military Intelligence: Russia continuing to supply weapons, ammunition to Russian-occupied territories in Donbas
Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Department reported that on 15-16 February, a train from Russia arrived in Russian-occupied Makiyivka (Donetsk oblast) carrying artillery (122-mm howitzer D-30), 40 tons of ammunition and 60 tons of fuel. Five armored military vehicles, two Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) and two fuel trucks arrived in Kumachove, Donetsk oblast from Russia.
3. Ukraine’s PM, Cabinet survive non-confidence vote in Parliament
Ukraine’s PM and Cabinet of Ministers survived a non-confidence vote in Parliament on 16 February. 194 MPs voted for a resolution of non-confidence in the Cabinet. The minimum number of votes necessary to pass the resolution is 226. Today, Batkivshchyna leader Y. Tymoshenko announced that the Batkivshchyna faction (19 MPs) is leaving the ruling coalition.
4. Ukraine’s PM: It is necessary to reformat the parliamentary coalition and reorganize the Cabinet
Ukraine’s PM stated today that “I expect that Parliament will draw conclusions from yesterday’s vote. The government will also draw conclusions. […] It has become obvious that a reformatting of the Parliamentary coalition and changes to the coalition agreement are necessary. […]It is crucial to ensure that our political partners […] provide a clear list of names of those who will fill posts in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to continue reforms in the country.” Yatsenyuk stated that now the most important thing “is to achieve political stability, which is the key to economic and social stability in the country, to gain continued support for Ukraine from our western partners. All these factors will give confidence to the Ukrainian people that the Ukrainian political class, elected to Parliament two years ago, is capable of carrying out reforms, take full responsibility and preserve unity.”
5. Crimean Tatar leader calls on international community to strengthen sanctions on Russia
In response to the possible banning of the Mejlis (Representative Assembly of the Crimean Tatar People) by the Russian occupation authorities, R. Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis, stated, “Statements, declarations, and appeals will not stop the occupiers. It is necessary to move to strengthening international sanctions against Russia, to bring this question to the UN Security Council, in order to prevent an even greater crime,” Radio Svoboda reported.
6. General Prosecutor of Ukraine resigns
Ukraine’s General Prosecutor V. Shokin has resigned, according to several media reports. As of this writing, there is no official statement on Shokin’s resignation. On 16 February, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko called for Shokin to resign. US State Department deputy spokesperson M. Toner stated, “The announcement to replace [Shokin], we believe, is a signal of Ukraine’s seriousness about its reform process. It’s important to restore the confidence of the Ukrainian people in their justice system, but clearly, there’s an immense amount of work yet to be done in countering corruption, including in the prosecutorial service.”
7. Ukraine’s President signs law on public procurement
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko signed the Law On Public Procurement, adopted by Parliament in December 2015. The law establishes an e-procurement system for all public procurements above 200,000 UAH (about $10,000 USD). The e-procurement system be phased in starting 1 April, 2016. “The implementation of the given law will increase the degree of competition in public procurement and reduce the level of corruption,” Poroshenko’s press service reported.