Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
September 8-14, 2018
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises.
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported that during the week of September 7-13, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 214 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation headquarters reported that returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 11 and wounded 27 enemy combatants in the last week.
2. Russia confirms 12-year sentence against Roman Sushchenko for being Ukrainian and a journalist
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported on September 12, “Russia’s Supreme Court has, as feared, upheld the internationally condemned 12-year maximum security prison sentence against Ukrainian journalist and Ukrinform Paris correspondent Roman Sushchenko.
He has vowed to continue the struggle for justice at the European Court of Human Rights, though also says that he is hoping an exchange of prisoners will secure his release.
Everything about the arrest and ‘trial’ of Sushchenko has followed the pattern set in trials of Ukrainians since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the fact that the Supreme Court on 12 September made no change to the Moscow City Court’s 4 June sentence was no surprise. Courts in Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea have consistently passed huge sentences against Ukrainians on clearly fabricated charges […]
There have been repeated calls for Sushchenko’s release from international bodies and numerous governments, and he was recently honoured ‘For Courage’ by the Andrei Sakharov Committee on Journalism as an Act of Conscience. Now that the sentence has come into force, Sushchenko may be sent any time to a Russian harsh-regime prison.”
The full report from KHPG is available here – Russia confirms 12-year sentence against Roman Sushchenko for being Ukrainian and a journalist
3. EU signs 1 billion Euro in Macro-Financial Assistance to support reforms in Ukraine
The European Commission stated, “The European Commission has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine in Kyiv for Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) of up to 1 billion Euro in the form of medium- and long-term loans.
With this assistance, the EU will continue to support economic stabilisation in the country, including through structural and governance reforms.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-President responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the European Union. He said: ‘Europe strongly supports Ukraine on its path of economic recovery and reform. The new programme of EU macro-financial assistance will help Ukraine reduce its economic vulnerabilities and enhance stability. At the same time, by implementing important reforms related to the new MFA operation, especially in the area of the fight against corruption, Ukraine needs to deliver on the expectations of its citizens and send a strong signal to its international partners and investors.’
The proposed new Macro-Financial Assistance complements three previous MFA programmes, through which the EU has supported Ukraine with a total of €2.8 billion since the onset of the crisis in 2014, and a programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The funds of the new assistance programme will be disbursed in two instalments of up to €500 million. Each disbursement is conditional on the implementation of specific policy measures agreed between Ukraine and the EU in the Memorandum of Understanding. The agreed policy programme covers in particular the fight against corruption, public finance management, governance of state-owned enterprises and banks as well as key social policies.
The programme is consistent with the reform path agreed between the EU and Ukraine in the context of the Association Agreement.”
4. EU prolongs Russia sanctions until March 2019
The European Council stated on September 13, “The Council has prolonged the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 March 2019. The measures consist of asset freezes and travel restrictions. They currently apply to 155 persons and 44 entities.
An assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime. The relevant information and statement of reasons for the listing of these persons and entities were updated as necessary. The legal acts were adopted by the Council by written procedure. They will be available in the EU Official Journal of 14 September 2018.
Other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis include: economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2019; restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2019.”
5. Constantinople Patriarchate appoints envoys to Ukraine in next step to granting Autocephaly
The Kyiv Post reported, “The Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church, or the Constantinople Patriarchate, based in Istanbul, has appointed official representatives in Ukraine, reads a statement posted on its Facebook page on Sept. 7.
‘Within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada as its Exarchs in Kyiv,’ reads the message published by the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod on Sept. 7.”
6. Operation UNIFIER assists the National Guard of Ukraine to define NCO corps
Photo – CAF Operations
Writing for the Maple Leaf, Major Jan Kool, Joint Task Force-Ukraine Liaison Officer to the National Guard of Ukraine stated, “Since the beginning of July 2018, a small team from Operation UNIFIER-Canada’s military contribution to whole of government support in Ukraine-has been working diligently with officers and senior Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU) to help them define the future of their NCO corps.
The project sprung from a visit to the guard’s NCO Academy in the small town of Zolochiv, in western Ukraine. There, NCOs, instructors, and specialists are trained and developed. The Operation UNIFIER leadership found that while the quality of instruction and students were excellent, the Academy needed assistance creating the foundational concepts and documents typically found in a NATO-standard school: general specifications, qualification standards, and training plans. Following the visit, Canadian Armed Forces members developed a plan to bring in a Training Development Officer and pair him with an experienced NCO from Joint Task Force-Ukraine to help the NGU create these documents.
The project took place over a six week period from June to August with a group of senior Ukrainian NCOs and officers pairing with Operation UNIFIER staff, as well as representatives from the US Army. They applied the NATO Systems Approach to Training to create two foundational documents for the NGU: a Non-Commissioned Member General Specification, and a Qualification Standard and Training Plan for the Basic Leader Course.
The general specification dictates the selection, desired attributes, and development system for NCOs in the national guard, includes an NCO creed, and specifies the specific performance requirements for NCOsat every rank and development level. The plan lays out the course structure, teaching points, references, standards, assessments, and timetable of the new Basic Leader Course, which focuses on teaching Sergeant-candidates practical leadership skills and abilities, as well as knowledge in basic mission planning. […]
Chief Warrant Officer James Hebert, Operation UNIFIER’s former Task Force Sergeant Major and Canadian lead on NCO Development in Ukraine, thinks that the work completed so far is exactly what is required. He gives credit to the Operation UNIFIER team, but even more credit to the committed group of Ukrainian officers and NCOs on the writing board. ‘The NGU has demonstrated pride and passion towards developing a strong NCO Corps that will strengthen them for the future,’ he stated. ‘What they have achieved in a short amount time is nothing less than revolutionary for their organization.'”