Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
July 22-28, 2017
Ukrainian and US Marines take part in live fire training exercise during Exercise Sea Breeze 2017. Photo – US Marine Corps
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of July 21-27, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 13 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 131 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 30 times with heavy weapons.
2. US House, Senate overwhelmingly pass new Russia sanctions bill; send bill to President
The New York Times reported on July 26, “The House on Tuesday approved a sweeping package of sanctions against Russia, clearing a key hurdle in Congress’s effort – long opposed by the Trump administration – to punish Moscow for its aggression toward its neighbors and its interference in last year’s American presidential election.
The 419-3 vote brings President Trump one step closer to a choice he has strained to avoid: whether to sign legislation embraced by Republicans in both the House and the Senate that undercuts his attempts to ratchet down tensions with Moscow, or to veto the bill even as Russia-related scandal consumes his administration.”
Reuters reported on July 27, “The U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously on Thursday to slap new sanctions on Russia, putting President Donald Trump in a tough position by forcing him to take a hard line on Moscow or veto the legislation and infuriate his own Republican Party. […]
The Senate backed the bill, which also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea, by a margin of 98-2 with strong support from Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats.
The bill, which includes a provision that allows Congress to stop any effort by Trump to ease existing sanctions on Russia, will now be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto.”
The full text of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (HR 3364) is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/
3. US Envoy: US considering providing defensive weapons to Ukraine
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on July 25 that Kurt Volker, US special envoy to Ukraine stated in an interview that providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine would allow Kyiv to “defend itself if Russia were to take further steps against Ukrainian territory.” Volker said that the Trump Administration “is now reviewing where the Obama administration left it, considering whether we should provide defensive arms to Ukraine or not.”
Volker stated, “I hear these arguments that it’s somehow provocative to Russia or that it’s going to embolden Ukraine to attack. These are just flat out wrong. […] First off, Russia is already in Ukraine, they are already heavily armed. There are more Russian tanks in there than [tanks] in Western Europe combined. It is a large, large military presence. […] We see as many as 1,500 or more cease-fire violations every night. […] So this is a very hot conflict that’s going on and it has a terrible cost.”
4. IT sectors of Canada and Ukraine poised to benefit from free-trade deal
In the Globe and Mail, Nataliya Mykolska, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, wrote about IT opportunities arising out of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA). The CUFTA comes into force on August 1. Mykolska stated, “Canadian businesses are uniquely positioned to benefit from the opportunities offered by the CUFTA and the vibrant Ukraine IT sector. Building on the existing ties, Canada and Ukraine can greatly strengthen their relationship for mutual benefit.” The full article is available here: https://www.theglobeandmail.
com/report-on-business/rob- commentary/it-sectors-of- canada-and-ukraine-poised-to- benefit-from-free-trade-deal/ article35820692/
5. Atlantic Council: Reform in Ukraine – Surpassing Expectations and Public Perceptions
John Herbst, Director of the Dinu Particiu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and former US Ambassador to Ukraine (2003-06) writes about the progress on reforms in Ukraine since the Revolution of Dignity. To read the article, please click herehttp://www.atlanticcouncil.
org/blogs/ukrainealert/reform- in-ukraine-surpassing- expectations-and-public- perceptions
6. Combat first aid training in Ukraine
Combat first aid training, Yavoriv, Ukraine. Video – US 7th Army. To view video, please click on image above
US Army Europe reported, “Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have taken yet another step toward accomplishing the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine mission-the first entirely Ukrainian-led, -planned and -coordinated combat first aid course is currently being conducted at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine.
Over the past seven months, the 45th IBCT and allied forces have trained and mentored Ukrainian Observer Coach Trainers through the CFA course, helping them to train more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers.
Ukrainian OC/Ts at Yavoriv CTC have worked diligently with their foreign partners within the JMTG-U for the last two years to incorporate their battlefield medical knowledge and techniques into a training plan that works well for the Ukrainian army.
‘Their qualification standards come from a hodgepodge of American, British and Canadian standards,’ said Canadian Armed Forces Warrant Officer Tim Stackhouse, a medic with 1 Field Ambulance, based out of Edmonton Alberta, Canada deployed to Ukraine with Operation Unifier. ‘They take the best of what they view; it’s not our combat first aid, it’s not American combat life saver training, it’s Ukrainian combat first aid.’ […]
‘This is the first rotation that [the Ukrainians] are leading,’ said Sgt. Chad Kopensky, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 279th Inf. Regt. ‘They are taking the lead on all the instruction and hands-on training. We’re just making sure all the bullet points are being hit, so far they are doing excellent.'”