Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 23, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Officers and enlisted soldiers prepare for a battalion field training exercise, Yavoriv Combat Training Center, Ukraine.
Photo – US Army Europe
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 30 times in total, including at least 7 times with heavy weapons.
2. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister warns G7 of Russian threats to Western democracy
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin meets with G7 Foreign Ministers, Toronto
The Canadian Press reported on April 22, “Russia is using Ukraine as a test ground for its information war against Western democracy, Ukraine’s foreign minister told G7 ministers meeting here on Sunday.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland wants the disruptive influence of Russia on the West to be a top agenda item, and she set the table – literally – for Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin to deliver that message to her G7 counterparts. Freeland invited Klimkin to be part of Sunday’s talks, hosting him and other ministers at her home for a traditional brunch that was prepared by her own children.
‘It was amazing how she organized it, in the sense of creating this friendly atmosphere of hospitality with ministers sitting around the table with her kids what they had personally prepared,’ Klimkin told The Canadian Press in an interview Sunday afternoon.
Their conversation was decidedly less festive, with Klimkin pressing the G7 to make a strong, unified stand against what he described as Kremlin efforts to destabilize democracy through election interference and other cyber-meddling.
He said the petri dish for that strategy remains his country, which Russia invaded in 2014, annexing Crimea and occupying its eastern Donbass region.
‘Fundamentally, Ukraine is perceived by many and also by Russia as a sort of test range for testing Russian nonconventional warfare – hybrid war,’ Klimkin said. He called this part of a bigger war ‘against the democratic transatlantic community.’ Supporting Ukraine, he said, should be seen ‘as a part of a bigger pattern.’
‘Fighting along with Ukraine would give an immense asset to the whole democratic community in the sense of understanding Russian efforts to destabilize the western world.’ […]
Klimkin said all G7 ministers are committed to protecting democratic institutions. […] Klimkin said he had a ‘great meeting’ in Toronto on Saturday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. ‘We have clear, consistent bipartisan support on (Capitol) Hill. We have such support from the administration.'”
3. Ecumenical Patriarchate starts procedures required to provide Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported, “The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate accepted for consideration the appeal of the President of Ukraine to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada’s resolution on its support (the Appeal), as well as the corresponding appeals of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches.
Also, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to initiate the procedures necessary for the provision of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. In particular, other local Orthodox churches will be informed accordingly.
Pursuant to the instruction of President Petro Poroshenko, on April 20, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Rostyslav Pavlenko visited Istanbul and handed over to His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the Appeal of the President of Ukraine on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
He also handed over the Verkhovna Rada’s resolution on the support for the President’s Appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also received the appeals of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
4. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister meets with US Acting Secretary of State
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert stated, “Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on April 21, on the margins of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Toronto, Canada.
The Acting Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. He urged Ukraine to redouble reform efforts and adhere to IMF programs by adopting legislation to establish a truly independent anti-corruption court and raising gas tariffs to import parity levels.
Acting Secretary Sullivan and Foreign Minister Klimkin called on Russia to finally fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements and end its occupation of Crimea.”