Ukraine: Daily Briefing
January 19, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian armor training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk sector of the front twice, with mortars.
2. Statement by the Governor General of Canada in Lviv
Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette and Chief of Defence Staff General Vance visit the Military Law and Order Service Academy in Ukraine
On January 18, during her visit to Ukraine, Governor General of Canada Julie Payette stated, “President Poroshenko – my sincere thanks for this warm welcome to your beautiful country.
Canada and Ukraine have been friends and partners for many years. We were proud to be the first Western nation to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991.
At the heart of our relationship are the 1.3 million individuals who comprise the vibrant Ukrainian-Canadian community in Canada – the second-largest Ukrainian population outside of Ukraine.
Ukrainian-Canadians and their descendants have left a profound mark on the development of Canada and continue to make contributions in all aspects of Canadian life. […]
Canada has been at the forefront of the international community’s support for Ukraine, because our countries share important values that include respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This is what we stand for as people, and this is why we work together as partners.
I am here, Mr. President, to reiterate Canada’s commitment to your sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. Our country will remain a close ally, including this year as we preside over the G7 Group. […]
And we are cooperating through our military in addressing security and defence challenges. Canada’s Operation UNIFIER, currently ongoing, provides tactical readiness and capacity building assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
We are particularly grateful for this relationship, because we have been learning a lot from you. It is an honour to have the opportunity to reaffirm our friendship. […]
May there be continued partnership between Canada and Ukraine for years to come.”
The Governor General’s full statement is available here
3. EU calls for the release of all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russian-occupied Crimea
The European Union External Action Service stated, “On 16 January 2018, Volodymyr Balukh, known to have opposed the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation, was sentenced to three years and seven months in a penal colony by a court in the peninsula, whose jurisdiction the EU does not recognise.
On the other hand, Crimean Tatar activist Bekir Dehermendzhy was detained on 23 November last year in Simferopol on dubious charges. In view of the critical medical condition he suffers, it is essential that he is immediately granted access to appropriate medical care.
International human rights observers must be granted full, free and unhindered access to the peninsula, and the European Union expects all illegally-detained Ukrainian citizens in the illegally-annexed Crimean peninsula and in Russia to be released as swiftly as possible.
The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.”
4. Ukrainian IT exports increase by 20% in 2017 to reach USD 3.6 billion
Business Ukraine Magazine reported, “A yearly IT sector overview released in January 2018 by the IT Ukraine Association highlights the robust performance of the country’s IT industry. Ukraine’s IT exports grew by 20% year-on-year in 2017 to reach a new record of USD 3.6 billion.
This figure is projected to increase to USD 4.5 billion in 2018, with the forecast for 2025 currently standing at USD 8.4 billion, or around 4.65% of anticipated GDP.
This strong upward trend is also serving to bolster Ukraine’s state coffers, with UAH 16.7 billion (approximately USD 580 million) paid by IT companies to the Ukrainian budget in 2017. Ukraine’s IT industry placed third among the country’s export revenue generators in 2016 behind metallurgy and the food industry. […]
There is no single regional focus within the sector and no indication that a geographically distinct Ukrainian Silicon Valley is likely to take shape. On the contrary, Ukraine has 16 IT clusters located in major cities and oblast centers throughout the country. Unsurprisingly, the current leader in terms of the number of specialists it boasts is the capital city Kyiv. Dnipro occupies the number two position, followed by Lviv and Kharkiv, with Odesa in fifth place.”
5. US Senators call on Administration to “continue aggressive enforcement of Russia sanctions programs”
In a January 17 letter, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “called on the Trump Administration to continue its aggressive enforcement of Russia sanctions programs.
The senators named [Russian Prosecutor General] Yuri Chaika and Alisher Usmanov – senior members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle – as examples of what Congress will be looking for in the Administration’s upcoming report required under the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.’
In their letters to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the senators outlined suspicious activities conducted by the two Russians that also involve U.S. persons and companies – raising the possibility of violations of the ‘Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.'”
The letter from the Senators can be read in full here