Ukraine: Daily Briefing
January 25, 2018, 6 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian and Canadian soldiers at Operation UNIFIER training exercises. Photo – CAF Operations
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 and Donetsk sectors of the front 3 times in total.
2. US Envoy: US position is that Moscow withdraw its forces and allow for a UN peacekeeping force
US Special Envoy Kurt Volker interviewed by RFE/RL
On January 24, US Special Envoy for Ukraine Negotiations was interviewed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
RFE/RL reported, “In his meeting with Surkov, set for January 26 in the Persian Gulf city of Dubai, Volker said he was planning to reiterate the U.S. position on the Ukraine conflict: that Moscow withdraw its forces and its ‘proxy entities,’ allow for a UN peacekeeping force, help create security on the ground, and then help fulfil the Minsk accords.
‘I think the Minsk agreements contain all the elements necessary for this to be resolved. What is lacking is not the content, what’s lacking is political will,’ he said. […] It has been a Russian command and control of forces there. It’s not incorrect to call that at least informally an occupation invasion […] It just is saying what we can see with our own eyes. […]
This is an issue where people are still dying every week right on Europe’s doorstep, and it is involving Russia conducting warfare, taking territory by force, which is something that really challenges the basis of European security as a whole,’ he said.”
3. Ukraine’s President meets with IMF Managing Director
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko met with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on January 24. Following the meeting, Lagarde stated, “I had a good and constructive meeting with President Poroshenko and his team, during which we discussed recent economic developments and prospects for Ukraine, as well as the implementation of measures that will pave the way for the completion of the pending review under the IMF-supported program.
I reiterated that the IMF stands ready to continue to support Ukraine, along with other international partners, in its reform efforts. I also highlighted that Ukraine should take advantage of the current favorable external environment to accelerate reforms and transition to stronger growth, which is needed to improve people’s living standards in a sustainable manner.
I also welcomed that a nomination has been made for the appointment of a fully independent and permanent Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine.”
4. Atlantic Council: What Lavrov’s lies mean for Ukraine
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, stated, “Voltaire reportedly said that those who can persuade one to believe absurdities will lead one to commit atrocities. In contemporary politics Russia’s stance on Ukraine represents a cardinal example of the enduring validity of his remark.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently restated three lies: there are no Russian troops in the Donbas, the conflict in eastern Ukraine is a civil war, not a Russian invasion, and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 had nothing to do with Russian forces. All of these are bold-face lies. No amount of prevarication can obscure fact, although the Kremlin has tried mightily. […]
Lavrov’s and his government’s continuing mendacity are so relentless that many have come to take for granted that Russia as a state is defined by its habitual lying. And along with it goes the never-ending refrain that Russia is always the victim of others’ nefarious activities, never the author of its own misfortunes. […]
At the heart of this crisis is the fact that Russia still cannot accept Ukraine’s de jure independence as a sovereign and separate state. In Moscow, power rests on the notion of an imperial state to whom all other members of the former Warsaw Pact must surrender part of their sovereignty.
The claque of Western writers arguing that Russia is somehow entitled to its desired sphere of influence or that Western advances into Central and Eastern Europe are the root cause of this crisis overlook two critical facts. First, since 1991 Russia has never had the capability to dominate Eurasia by peaceful or democratic means. […]
Second, there was no unilateral Western advance into some land that Russia believes somehow or by its history belongs to a Russian sphere. Instead every government has welcomed the West, either as NATO or as the EU, and exercised its own sovereignty in doing so. If this be empire, it is an empire by invitation. […]
So it is not surprising that a regime, acutely aware of the possibility that without empire its autocracy is at risk, resorted to violence when challenged by an expression of popular democracy in Ukraine. […]
Ukraine can survive for a very long time, even in its currently truncated borders. But Russia cannot have peace and Ukraine, and it can only dream of empire by annexing Crimea and the Donbas. […]
Since Lavrov’s and Putin’s lies show that they refuse to accept that empire is beyond their reach, they are only hastening what will eventually be the crash of their entire project, and more likely than not, it will be a violent crash.” The full article is available here: What Lavrov’s lies mean for Ukraine