Speaking yesterday in Kyiv, US Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland stated, “I had a chance to de-brief the President and the Foreign Minister on President Obama’s meetings in Hannover, his bilateral meeting with Chancellor Merkel, and his broader meeting with Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, and Prime Ministers Cameron and Renzi, including on the issue of Ukraine and our unified commitment to keep sanctions on Russia in place until it meets all of its Minsk obligations. One of the decisions made at Hannover is that the United States will now accelerate its own diplomacy, in close coordination with the Normandy format leaders — with Germany and with France — to see Minsk implemented. This will require restoring security and OSCE access across the Donbas, the return of hostages, preparations for real, Ukrainian elections in Donbas that meet international standards and that accord with your constitution, and of course, the withdrawal of all weapons and foreign forces, and a return of sovereignty over your border to Ukraine. […] We have put no date on when elections need to happen. We’ve made absolutely clear that Minsk requires that there be sufficient security, and OSCE access, and the ability of candidates to ballot, and the ability of citizens to hear from candidates before you can have an election. That’s what Minsk says — it’s logical — as in any country. So even as the Ukrainian government works on preparations for an election and works in the Normandy format to prepare for them, the first priority is security, end the killing on the line, and access for the OSCE throughout the Donbas, which is not possible now. And U.S. financial assistance to Ukraine and technical assistance to Ukraine is tied to Ukraine staying on the reform course, tied to it staying inside the IMF program, pursuing judicial reform, anti-corruption reform, energy reform, not to Minsk.”
Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
28 April 2016, 3 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 near Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve and Avdiyivka with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the entire Mariupol sector of the front. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka and Shyrokyne with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action.
2. Presidential Administration: Ukraine-EU Summit postponed until September; will not affect establishment of visa-free regime with the EU
The Presidential Administration of Ukraine stated yesterday that the 18th Ukraine-EU Summit will be postponed from May 19 until September, according to an arrangement between President Poroshenko, European Council President D. Tusk and the European Commission. The new date for the Summit will be agreed during meetings between Poroshenko and EU leaders at the end of June. Deputy head of the Presidential Adminstration K. Yelisieiev stated, “I am confident that reformist efforts of the new Government of Ukraine chaired by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in the first 100 days of its activity will increase the efficiency of the Summit for Ukraine in the form of financial aid packages and signature of strategically important agreements.” Yelisieiev emphasized that there was no connection between the date of the Summit and the introduction of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU.
3. Nadiya Savchenko’s sister at border, not allowed to leave Russia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, “Ukrainian diplomats say they are working for the return of the sister of jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko after she was prevented from leaving Russia at the end of a visit related to her sister’s case. Vira Savchenko was reportedly stopped and detained by Russian border guards who seized her passport as she attempted to return to Ukraine in a Ukrainian diplomatic car on April 27. The younger Savchenko was later released and taken to the Ukrainian consulate in Rostov-on-Don, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s representative to the Council of Europe, said on Facebook on April 28. Kuleba said Vitaliy Moskalenko, Ukraine’s consul-general in Rostov-on-Don, negotiated Vira Savchenko’s release after ‘a heated debate with the Russians.’ Moskalenko was sent to the border by Kyiv to aid Vira Savchenko. Vira Savchenko’s passport had been returned to her, Kuleba added.”
4. US Assistant Secretary of State: No date set on when elections in Donbas need to happen