Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
28 July 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 shelled Ukrainian positions near Shchastya with grenade launchers. West of Shchastya, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Near Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions with mortars at Avdiyivka. Ukrainian forces repelled an attack by Russian-terrorist forces at Avdiyivika. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Horlivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka with mortars, and at Starohnativka with tanks. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Vodyane and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.
2. US Mission to OSCE: Russian actions in Ukraine are a clear violation of Russia’s international obligations
Speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, US Ambassador D. Baer stated, “the situation in eastern Ukraine remains grim. Combined Russian-separatist forces have claimed the lives of more than 63 Ukrainian soldiers and wounded some 327 more since June 1 – that’s less than two months ago. Over 20 were killed since the start of last week alone. The fighting is spilling out of long-standing hotspots near Avdiyivka, Horlivka, and Donetsk city and into new communities, such as Semyhiria, Kodema, and Vodiane. […] Combined Russian-separatist forces have launched a series of provocations, regularly firing mortars and heavy weapons from residential areas, and then withdrawing, in an attempt to discredit Ukrainian forces for firing back. This is a pattern we’ve seen in SMM reporting over the last several weeks. For at least the second time this year, combined Russian-separatist forces also advanced across the contact line and attempted to establish new positions – this time in Stanytsia Luhanska. While this advance provoked Ukrainian forces to respond to prevent further encroachments, not once have Ukrainian forces established positions across the contact line. […] Political progress cannot be made as threats and violence loom – as people continue to die. Instead, Ukraine needs a lasting calm that shows peace is possible. […]Sanctions related to Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea will remain in place until the occupation ends and Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine. We also join the European Union in recalling that sanctions imposed for the aggression in eastern Ukraine will also remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments. Russian actions against its neighbor are a clear violation of Russia’s international obligations and OSCE commitments, and demonstrate the Russian government’s disregard for the principles that underpin European security.”
3. Ukraine cuts interests rates for fourth month as inflation slows
Bloomberg reported, “A surprisingly low inflation reading allowed Ukraine’s central bank to trim borrowing costs for a fourth month, affirming its pledge to continue monetary easing if the price trend persists. The bank lowered its key policy rate to 15.5 percent from 16.5 percent, according to a statement Thursday. ‘June inflation slowed more than forecast,’ the central bank said in its statement. ‘Should risks to price stability further abate, the national bank will continue to ease monetary policy. This will gradually help to cut credit costs and speed up economic growth.'[…] Gross domestic product grew at a faster pace in the second quarter than the first, central bank Governor Valeriya Gontareva told reporters in Kyiv, the capital. GDP edged up0.1 percent from a year earlier between January and March, the first expansion in nine quarters on an annual basis.”