Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
23 January 2017, 6 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 and Novozvanivka. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Pisky with mortars. At Avdiyivka, Zaytseve and other locations along the Donetsk sector of the front, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka, Shyrokyne and several other locations. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.
2. Kyiv Urges US President to Keep Sanctions on Russia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak has urged US President Trump to continue providing Ukraine “with political and military assistance, urging Trump to continue sanctions against Russia to deter ‘further escalation’ of the war in eastern Ukraine by the Kremlin.In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL on January 21, a day after Trump’s inauguration, Poltorak said it is ‘very important for Ukraine to have the political backing of the United States’ and for Trump to ‘keep sanctions imposed against Russia in place, as this is one of the major aspects that is deterring any further escalation on the part of President [Vladimir] Putin.’ Poltorak said lifting sanctions would send a dangerous signal to Russia and other countries that violate international law – — possibly bringing ‘chaos to the world’ — because it suggests they will likely face minimal consequences for future illegalities.”
3. US Senator to introduce bill limiting President’s ability to ease Russia sanctions
Bloomberg reported, “Democrats have bipartisan support for proposed legislation to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to reduce sanctions on Russia, said Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. The bill would require that any changes to sanctions against the country be put to a vote in Congress, restricting the president’s ability to act unilaterally. In a statement on Sunday, Schumer said the bill is similar to legislation introduced by Republicans in 2015 to limit the president’s ability to ease sanctions against Iran. That bill passed easily with bipartisan support. […]Bottom of FormSenator Ben Cardin of Maryland, a co-sponsor of the bill, said he’s worked with colleagues across the aisle to ‘fashion a series of additional steps the president can take,’ to increase penalties on Russia for aggression against the U.S. and other countries. Schumer said the bill will be introduced this week and already has the support of Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.”