Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 April 2016, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Tryokhizbenka and Zolote. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces increased shelling of Ukrainian positions. The most intense shelling by Russian-terrorist forces took place north of Horlivka, near Yasynuvata, and west and south of Avdiyivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka. At Novohnativka and Vodyane, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one was wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s Parliament approves new PM, Cabinet of Ministers
Ukraine’s Parliament approved former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Groysman as the new Prime Minister of Ukraine, with 257 MPs voting in favor. Andriy Parubiy has been appointed Parliamentary Speaker. Parliament also approved a new Cabinet of Ministers, with 239 MPs supporting the motion, and voted to approve the new government’s program, with 243 MPs voting in support. In the new Cabinet the Minister of Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Justice retain their positions. Stepan Kubiv has been appointed first deputy PM and Minister of Economic Development. Oleksandr Danylyuk becomes Minister of Finance, and Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze becomes deputy PM for European and Euroatlantic Integration. The full list of the new Cabinet is available at http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/
3. Russian occupation authorities in Crimea suspend Crimean Tatar Mejlis
Russia’s occupation authorities in Crimea suspended the activities of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the Representative Assembly of the Crimean Tatar People. The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “The plans to criminalize [the Mejlis] by claiming it to be ‘extremist’, have been internationally condemned, with all Ukrainian and international observers clear that the planned criminalization is because of the Mejlis’s opposition to Russia’s occupation. Oliver Loode from the UN Forum on Indigenous Issues has put the situation in stark perspective: by this offensive against the Crimean Tatar people’s representative body, Russia is attacking the Crimean Tatars themselves.” The full report from KHPG is available athttp://khpg.org.ua/en/index.
4. EU remains committed to supporting Ukraine
Following the appointment of Ukraine’s new government, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner J. Hahn stated, “Today’s appointment of a new government in Ukraine, headed by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, is a crucial development at a time when new momentum in the country is badly needed. Having met Mr Groysman in his previous capacity as the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada many times, including very recently, we look forward to working with him to build a stronger Ukraine, on the basis of fundamental reform and accountable governance. Substantial efforts to implement reforms have been made in Ukraine since 2014. The momentum offered with the appointment of the new Prime Minister and government must be seized now, first and foremost to renew trust and ownership of Ukraine’s citizens. The European Union remains committed to supporting Ukraine politically and through financial and technical assistance in its efforts to implement key reforms, modernise the country and fight corruption. In this context, we will support the new government to ensure that key political and economic institutions function efficiently and transparently, and that the rule of law is strengthened. In this regard, prosecution structures genuinely committed to vigorous reform will be of utmost importance.”
5. NATO Deputy Secretary General: NATO stands with Ukraine
Speaking at the Kyiv Security Forum, NATO Deputy Secretary General A. Vershbow stated,
“Russia’s annexation of Crimea was the first time that a European country had taken part of another by force since World War II, and Russia continues to violently destabilise Eastern Ukraine. […] Forty years ago, the Helsinki Final Act set out the principles for better relations between East and West: respect for the sovereignty of nations, the inviolability of borders, and a commitment to settle differences through peaceful means. These are principles that have underpinned peace and security in Europe ever since – principles which the USSR and, later, the Russian Federation swore to uphold; principles which Russia has now summarily dismissed. We will never accept Russia’s military occupation of Crimea. […] The effects of Russia’s occupation of Crimea have been disastrous. […] And the conditions in Russian-occupied areas of Eastern Ukraine are even worse, with crumbling infrastructure, rampant corruption, and flagrant violations of human rights by the separatist leaders Moscow has installed. The people of free Ukraine have chosen a different path, aimed at building an open, prosperous and pluralistic society based on European values. Russian aggression has made Ukraine even more determined to strengthen its distinct national identity, and to consolidate its position as a modern European state. […] After two years of conflict, the defence forces of Ukraine have learned the hard way what it means to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. With the indispensable support of Ukraine’s activist civil society, they have defended the country against aggression. […] Our aim is to help make Ukraine more stable and more capable of defending itself. […] Ukraine’s leaders have set an ambitious course towards Euro-Atlantic values and standards; they must now deliver. But so must we. Allies will continue to support Ukraine, through NATO and bilaterally. And we will further improve our own coordination to make the most of the resources we have available for Ukraine. […] Until Russia implements its obligations under Minsk – and that includes the release of Nadia Savchenko and other prisoners – sanctions and other pressure on Moscow must be maintained. NATO will reiterate its insistence on full implementation of the Minsk Agreements when the NATO-Russia Council convenes next week.” Vershbow’s full remarks are available athttp://nato.int/cps/en/natohq/