Ukraine: Daily Briefing
January 22, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukraine celebrates centenary of the Day of Unity. To view report from UATV, please click on image above
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense 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 opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk sector of the front 2 times in total. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 1 and wounded 1 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. Ukraine, Israel sign Free Trade Agreement
President Poroshenko meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu. To view video, please click on image above
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on January 21, “In the framework of the official visit of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to the State of Israel, the Free Trade Agreement was signed between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the State of Israel.
The signing ceremony took place after the bilateral meeting of the Head of State with Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.
The document was signed by the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv and acting Minister of the Economy and Industry of the State of Israel Eli Cohen.
The purpose of the Agreement is to create the legal basis for the liberalization of the markets for industrial and agricultural products of the parties.
The Agreement will promote the development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the countries, allow domestic producers to benefit from the liberalization of the goods market of the State of Israel, open up opportunities for both expansion of markets and development and modernization of production of the Ukrainian business.”
3. EU sanctions Russia GRU leadership for use, proliferation of chemical weapons
The European Council reported on January 21, “The Council imposed today sanctions on nine persons and one entityunder the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.
These designations include the two GRU officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018.
Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities. These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.
Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.”
4. Ukraine-EU Russia trilateral talks on gas transit
Ukraine Business News reported, “A new Russia gas contract with Ukraine should be for more than 10 years, with commercially viable volumes to attract ‘a European company with high reputation,’ Maros Sefcovic, European Commision vice president for Energy, said after Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks in Brussels on Monday. He gave Russian and Ukrainian negotiators a proposal with specific volumes, tariffs and investment levels and asked both sides to return to talks in May. Ten European companies and one US company are interested in operating the pipeline. None want to buy it.
With the existing 10-year contract due to expire at the end of this year, Ukrainian negotiators say Russia’s strategy is to spin talks out as long possible. Ukraine’s presidential elections in April and European Commission elections in May could win Russia allies. ‘Gazprom is delaying real talks in terms of transit in order to build Nord Stream 2 and then to have a different negotiating position,’ Yuriy Vitrenko, Naftogaz deputy CEO, tells Reuters. ‘Then they will say, ‘We are okay without any Ukrainian transits at all’.
Without a contract, ‘there will be no transit of gas through Ukraine,’ Vitrenko said. Unlike the Russian gas shutoffs of 2006 and 2009, Ukraine will be able to meet its gas needs from other sources, he said. ‘This, first of all, an economic problem,’ he said. ‘There will be no income from transit, which is about $3 billion a year.'”