Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
14 September 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday combat on the eastern front significantly intensified. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Popasne. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with heavy weapons at several locations on the front. At Luhanske village and Pisky, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy mortar shelling of Ukrainian positions. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Zaytseve and Avdiyivka with mortars and artillery. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Lebedynske and Berdyanske with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positons at Maryinka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s RNBO – 2017 Budget to dedicate 5% of GDP to defense, security
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) directed the Cabinet of Ministers to dedicate not less than 5% of GDP to finance the defense and security sector in the 2017 state budget. Ukraine’s Prime Minister V. Groysman stated at a Cabinet meeting today that the Government will approve a draft 2017 budgettomorrow and submit it to Parliament.
3. Ukraine’s Cabinet approves special confiscation bill, sends to Parliament
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a draft of a special confiscation bill and sent it to Parliament for approval. The draft legislation would amend legislation to allow for the seizure of assets obtained illegally by former high-ranking officials, and the return of the funds to the State Budget. Introduced by the Ministry of Justice, the bill creates mechanisms to allow law enforcement agencies to confiscate $1.5 billion and return it to the State Budget. Ukraine’s Prime Minister V. Groysman stated, “This issue must be put to an end. Funds that were stolen from Ukrainian citizens must be returned to the State Budget. And legal mechanisms must be created to do so.”
4. Ukraine institutes arbitration proceedings against Russia under UN Convention on Law of the Sea
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “”Ukraine has instituted arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to vindicate its rights as the coastal state in maritime zones adjacent to Crimea in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait. Since the Russian Federation’s illegal acts of aggression in Crimea, Russia has usurped and interfered with Ukraine’s maritime rights in these zones. Ukraine seeks to end the Russian Federation’s violations of UNCLOS and vindicate Ukraine’s rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait, including Ukraine’s rights to the natural resources offshore Crimea which belong to the Ukrainian people. Despite Ukraine’s protests, the Russian Federation has persisted in illegal actions in Ukraine’s maritime zones. Accordingly, Ukraine is compelled to resort to arbitration under the UNCLOS procedures. In joining UNCLOS, Ukraine and the Russian Federation agreed to settle disputes through binding arbitration. Ukraine has asked the arbitral tribunal to enforce its maritime rights by ordering the Russian Federation to cease its internationally wrongful actions in the relevant waters, to provide Ukraine with appropriate guarantees that it will respect Ukraine’s rights under UNCLOS, and to make full reparation to Ukraine for the injuries the Russian Federation has caused. On 14 September 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine officially served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation with a notification of arbitration and statement of claim instituting ad hoc arbitral proceedings under Annex VII of UNCLOS.”