Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 11, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
|UAF training Picture – JMTG-Ukraine video screenshot|
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on March 10, the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces have not opened fire on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors.
On March 8 and 9 the Russian-terrorist forces dramatically decreased the number of ceasefire violations, opening fire 4 times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors, including twice using heavy weapons. The Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties on Friday and Saturday last week.
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence report the Russian-terrorist forces have been fortifying the area around their front positions with anti-personnel mines to curb the increasing number of AWOLs that soared since the beginning of March.
2. US Officials Issue Sanctions Warnings to Europe Over Russian Gas
NS and NSII gas pipelines Picture – DW
European companies which participate in building the Nord Stream II gas pipeline will face sanctions, warned the U.S. officials during the Energy Conference that took place in Brussels.
The Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which is supposed to be completed by the end of 2019 will run 1,200 km connecting Russian Vyborg with German Lubmin bypassing Ukraine and Poland which house an alternative gas pipeline which currently carries Russian gas to Europe. The Central European governments fear that Russia builds Nord Stream II not for commercial but for political reasons, and once completed will have a great influence over the EU’s economic wellbeing. Ukraine, on the other hand is likely to lose up to 4% [gas transit fees] of its GDP if Russia decides to abandon Ukrainian pipeline.
3. Ukraine’s Navy Has Plans for 2035 Involving Russia and NATO
Mykola Bielieskov, deputy director of the Institute of World Policy in Kyiv, Ukraine, has analyzed Ukrainian Navy’s Strategic Plan 2035. According to Bielieskov it is a comprehensive set of actions to protect Ukraine’s interests in the Black and Azov seas. The plan includes an equipment component as well as infrastructure, procurement, and staffing requirements.
The strategy consists of three stages – 2019-25, 2025-30 and 2030-35, that were developed in accordance with NATO’s doctrine AJP-3.1 – the alliance’s naval operations. “The Ukrainian Navy’s strategy stipulates that by 2025 Ukrainian sailors will be prepared to act on the basis of this doctrine in cooperation with NATO forces. In essence, it is about implementing the key goal of Ukrainian foreign policy-namely joining the North Atlantic Alliance, including through increased interoperability. This development will be based on the experience and skills that have already been acquired within the framework of the international Sea Breeze exercises with NATO forces,” wrote Bielieskov.
Reportedly, the comprehensive plan outlined a step-by-step plan for developing the capabilities of the national fleet with priorities at each stage and provided an assessment of the cost – between US $70-90 million annually in the first stage, US $100-250 million in the second phase, and US $150-400 million in the third.
Read more about the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy here.
4. Ukraine Needs Political Support, Not War
The United States and its closest European allies need to come up with a Ukrainian version of a Marshall Plan, writes Peter Eltsov, professor at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University.
The author contemplates that Russia is likely to stop expanding and start crumbling if “the Russian people witness the creation of a successful Slavic nation in a country which many of them view as part of Russia, then they will question the effectiveness and legitimacy of their own political system. Ironically, the fact that the Kremlin reinforces the definition of Russia by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who believed that Ukraine was part of Russia, may backfire.”
While the author suggests that the military help should be limited to prevent Russia from expanding into Ukraine he still supports the idea of assistance to strengthen the Ukrainian army and continued supplies of lethal weapons.
Eltsov believes that the U.S. should help Ukraine set up a Russian-speaking ‘Voice of Ukraine’ to broadcast its narrative to for the Russian-speaking audience of the Russian Federation. “Its target audiences could be Russia’s most volatile and potentially separatist regions: Siberia, the Urals, Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Tuva, the Northern Caucasus, and even Saint Petersburg-the former capital of the Russian Empire, which has had its own separatist movement,” writes the author.
The author suggests that Ukraine needs full-scale political and economic support, including the influx of major foreign investments. “Helping to build an economically successful and ethnically inclusive Ukraine is a way to win this new cold war. A joint U.S.-Ukraine victory would pave a better future for all the peoples of Eurasia, including the Russians,” concludes the author.
Click here to read Peter Eltsov’s article
5. Ukrainian Pidruchnuy Wins First Gold for Ukraine at Biathlon World Championships
Picture – screenshot from award ceremony
Ukrainian Dmytro Pidruchnuy won the 12.5 km pursuit at the Biathlon World Championships 2019 in Östersund, Sweden. This is the first gold medal for Ukraine in the history of the competition. The Norwegian Boe Johannes Thingnes came in second, while Fillon Maillet Quentin from France was the second runner up. Another Ukrainian, Ruslan Tkalenko, ranked 38th.
The Biathlon World Championships consist of 12 competitions: sprint, pursuit, individual, mass start, and relay races for men and women, and two mixed relay races. The single mixed relay has been recently introduced and is the last addition to the program. All the events during this championships also count for the 2018-19 Biathlon World Cup season.
Prior to this historic victory, Ukrainian biathletes won only bronze medals – Andriy Deryzemlya in the 2007 World Cup sprint, relay team at the 2011 World Cup and Sergey Semenov in the sprint at the 2016 World Cup.