Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
1 June 2016, 7 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 Stanytsia Luhanska. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Luhanske village, Avdiyivka and Opytne with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the Krasnohorivka-Shyrokyne front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours one Ukrainian soldier was killed and three were wounded in action.
2. German Chancellor sees no reason to roll back sanctions against Russia
A German government spokesperson stated that German Chancellor A. Merkel “sees no reason at all now to roll back sanctions against Russia,” Reuters reported. Government spokesperson C. Wirtz stated, “I can only tell you that the Chancellor is in talks with the Foreign Minister and that both agree that the Minsk peace process needs to be continued and the chancellor currently sees no reason at all for rolling back the sanctions,” Reuters reported.
3. Atlantic Council: Europe still in denial as Russia ushers in the age of hybrid hostilities
Writing for the Atlantic Council, P. Dickinson stated, “European leaders will gather in June to discuss whether to extend sanctions against Russia over the Kremlin’s hybrid war in Ukraine. The current sanctions regime will likely remain in place, but the mere fact the subject is up for debate is evidence of Europe’s alarming refusal to acknowledge the new security reality facing the continent. Many inside the EU seem unwilling to admit the twenty-five year honeymoon period of European peace and prosperity since 1991 is over. They cling to the idea of a return to the old ‘business as usual’ status quo, and appear to believe Russian aggression is only an issue for Moscow’s immediate neighbors. This policy of obstinate denial is not only morally bankrupt-it also encourages the Kremlin to escalate a hybrid war campaign designed to reverse the results of the Cold War and break up the European Union itself. […] It is now obvious the Russian invasion of Crimea in February 2014 marked the end of the post-Cold War era. By marching into another country and seizing its territory, Russian President Vladimir Putin was effectively tearing down the entire security architecture of modern Europe. In retrospect, this was the appropriate moment for an overwhelming international response. Instead, EU leaders expressed their customary ‘grave concern’ but essentially did nothing. Unsurprisingly, this only served to encourage the Kremlin. […]The Kremlin’s military plans in Ukraine ultimately ran aground thanks to stronger than expected Ukrainian military resistance and weaker than anticipated local support for Putin’s vision of a wider Russian World. Nevertheless, the hybrid war continues. […]Russia’s hybrid war tactics are rooted in the assumption that modern Europeans have no stomach for geopolitical confrontation and will always back down when faced with the prospect of having to pay a price for their principles. Ukrainians are already paying this price on a daily basis. Unless the rest of Europe is prepared to foot at least part of the bill, the outcome may well prove disastrous for the entire continent.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.
org/blogs/new-atlanticist/ europe-still-in-denial-as- russia-ushers-in-the-age-of- hybrid-hostilities
4. PACE President calls on Ukraine’s Parliament to pass judicial reform
Ukraine’s Parliament is expected to vote on constitutional amendmentsrelating to the reform of the judiciary this week. The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) P. Agramunt stated, “The Assembly has repeatedly stressed that reform of the judiciary is needed to consolidate the rule of law in Ukraine and to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions. Its success is essential for the effective completion of reforms in other sectors, as well as to restore public confidence in the work of judges and the courts. The successful completion of judicial reform cannot be achieved without a solid constitutional framework. Ahead of the announced vote in the Verkhovna Rada, I call on all members of the Rada, across the board, to approve the constitutional amendments relating to the reform of the judiciary prepared by the Constitutional Commission and supported by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.”