Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 February 2016, 7PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Troitske and the Donetsk airport. At Krasnohorivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka with small arms and grenade launchers. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Vodyane village. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that in the last 24 hours Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 44 times in total. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two were wounded in action.
2. German, French Foreign Ministers visit Ukraine
German Foreign Minister F.W. Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister J.M. Ayrault are in Kyiv today on a joint visit. In a joint article marking the visit, they stated, “Ukraine is facing unprecedented challenges. Its sovereignty has been undermined by one of its neighbours in a way many in the Europe of the 21st century believed impossible. […]It is true that considerable progress has been made in the two years since the Revolution of Dignity. The reform of the energy sector has stemmed previous scandalous abuses. A complete overhaul of the police force is underway, and the banking system is being cleaned up. This progress can be felt by the people. A legal framework for fighting corruption is in place, and an electronic system for public procurement has been introduced. The legal and financial standing of the regions has improved. Anyone who looks closely can see that despite all the challenges there are also signs of an upturn. Agriculture, a key sector in Ukraine alongside industry, has seen positive development over the past two years. […] But the comprehensive modernisation of the country which the people want and voted for is a long road. […] The priority now must be to create the conditions for the continuation of IMF support so as to attain macroeconomic stability. The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which has been applied provisionally since the start of 2016, can be a crucial engine for reform and modernisation if it is implemented courageously and consistently. […] France, Germany, the EU and many other international partners are there to help Ukraine on its way to modernising its government, society and economy. In return for our solidarity and support, we expect a clear commitment from the key political forces in Ukraine that they will continue along the path of reform.” The full article is available at http://www.auswaertiges-amt.
de/EN/Infoservice/Presse/ Interview/2016/160222_FAZ_ Ukraine.html
3. US State Department statement on second anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity
On 20 February, the US State Department issued the following statement on the commemoration of the second anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, “Today, we join the people of Ukraine in honoring the memory of their Revolution of Dignity and those who gave their lives to build a more just, democratic, and European Ukraine. They braved sniper fire and three months in the bitter cold, and Ukraine got a second chance for freedom, justice, and a government that serves the people. Ukraine’s reformers have made substantial progress, but much more remains to be done. The United States calls on Ukraine’s leaders to honor the memory of the Maidan by working together, accelerating reform, and respecting the will of the Ukrainian people who want progress. That means fulfilling the conditions of Ukraine’s IMF program, rooting out corruption, and ending the oligarchic grip on politics and the economy. The Ukrainian people demand change, they deserve it, and the United States will continue to stand with them in support of their European choice.”