Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 15, 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 14 Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire four times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors using heavy weapons once.
According to military intelligence one invader was wounded as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on March 14.
2. Stoltenberg: NATO Again Confirms Chances for Ukraine to Join Alliance
|Jens Stoltenberg at the launch of his Annual Report for 2018_ screenshot from Youtube|
On March 14, NATO issued its annual report, reconfirming the prospect of the future membership for Ukraine in the Alliance. The presentation of the annual report by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The section, titled “NATO’s Open Door,” says “In light of Ukraine’s restated aspirations for NATO membership, Allies also stand by their decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit and subsequent Summits.”
In its report NATO recognizes “Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, its destabilizing military behavior and use of hybrid actions against nations across the Euro-Atlantic region [that] have significantly altered the international security environment – reducing stability and security, and increasing unpredictability.”
It also highlights Russia’s use of military force against three Ukrainian naval vessels in international waters in the Black Sea, near the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait calling to release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it had seized.
NATO has increased its support of Ukraine throughout 2018. “NATO’s commitment to assisting Ukraine’s security and defence sector reforms through the Comprehensive Assistance Package – including 10 Trust Funds – remains high.” The main avenues of NATO’s support to Ukraine include the “development and implementation of the framework Law on National Security, medical rehabilitation of wounded soldiers and support to Ukraine’s medical institutions, resettlement programme for former military personnel, assistance to Ukrainian military personnel to manage the psychological injuries caused during the conflict as well as new NATO Science for Peace and Security project to enable real-time detection of explosives in public transport.” Cyber defence and radioactive waste disposal project as well as the ones aimed to enhance secure and safe storage of ammunition are upcoming.
Read the NATO Secretary General’s Annual Report 2018 (PDF)
3. EU Slaps Sanctions On Russians Involved In Seizing Ukrainian Naval Vessels, Crew
Picture – Marietje Schaake
The European Union has expanded the sanctions list against Russia by adding the names of eight officials for their involvement in the attack and seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and detention of 24 crew members near the Kerch Strait in November 2018. Now the sanctions list includes Sergei Stankevich, a high-ranking Federal Security Service (FSB) officer in Crimea, his deputy Andrei Shein, as well as Colonel General Aleksandr Dvornikov who is the head of the Southern Military District of the Russian armed forces as well as three naval commanders and two captains.
The EU imposed sanctions after Russia seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and shortly thereafter it launched the invasion of eastern Ukraine which leaving over 13,000 people dead, over 30,000 wounded and 1.5 million displaced since April 2014. The EU sanctions list now includes 170 individuals and 44 entities.
4. Canada Announces Comprehensive New Sanctions in Response to Russia’s Aggressive Actions
On March 15, Canada announced a large list of new sanctions in response to Russia’s aggressive actions in the Black Sea and Kerch Strait and Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Canada’s black list has been increased by 114 individuals and 15 entities under the Special Economic Measures Act according to the Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“Today’s sanctions demonstrate that Canada and the international community are ready to impose costs on Russia when it ignores international law and the rules-based international order,” noted the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The sanctions list is a coordinated effort with the European Union and the United States. It “underscores continued transatlantic unity in responding to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and its violation of international law,” reads the release.
In addition, Canada, calls on Russia to immediately release the 24 detained Ukrainian servicemen and return the seized vessels as well as allow free and unhindered passage through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.
Read the full release here with the list of sanctioned individuals and entities.
5. Op-ed: EU must get real on Russia
Photo – bphope.com
Today’s EUObserver published an opinion piece by Ariana Gic, Hanna Hopko, and Roman Sohn who talk about Russia’s elaborate measures to many tricks including the disinforming and manipulative narrative to disguise its aggression against Ukraine. Those measures include “covert and overt military aggression; diversionary operations… terrorist attacks; economic pressure; cyber attacks (including on critical infrastructure); hate propaganda; political subversion and assassinations; interference in electoral processes; and diplomatic pressure in international fora.”
“While Ukrainian voices trying to communicate the truth about Russia’s war were largely dismissed, Moscow’s lies successfully polluted Western mainstream media and expert opinion, influencing political decisions. Russia’s denials were afforded more credibility than observable facts,” contemplate the authors. The world’s response to Russia’s aggression in their opinion has been largely inadequate
Gic, Hopko and Sohn emphasize that peace in Ukraine is impossible without acknowledging the fact that Russia has been waging interstate war. The authors are convinced that the “EU has the tools to respond to Russia’s violations of international law and to thwart Moscow’s aggressive policies, but it lacks the political will and leadership to invoke them.”
Click here to read the full article
6. Canada to Host 2019 Ukraine Reform Conference in July
On July 2-4, 2019, Canada will host the 2019 Ukraine Reforms Conference, bringing together foreign ministers from the European Union, the G7 and NATO countries to support Ukraine in ongoing democratic and economic reforms. The event will take place in Toronto, ON.
The decision to host the Conference was announced on June 27, 2018, during the last year’s Ukraine Reform Conference, hosted by Denmark, in Copenhagen. Minister Freeland, who made the announcement, stated, “I am delighted to announce that Canada will host the Ukraine Reform Conference next year. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Canada to convene international partners and advance our unwavering commitment to Ukraine. Together, we can build the future that the people of Ukraine deserve and desire.”
7. NEW: UCC: Presidential Elections Updates
In view of the upcoming presidential elections the Ukrainian Canadian Congress offers weekly updates on the presidential race in Ukraine on Fridays (for those who receive only daily bulletins) and Saturdays (for those who receive weekly bulletins), including the latest polling results. For your convenience we have put together links to the most up-to-date information available on the candidates and polling results.
This week the top running candidates are the current President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and comedian and political novice Volodymyr Zelensky.
Graphic Summary of the polling votes for the top 3 candidates
Who is who in Ukraine’s presidential race with key dates and top contenders
CNBC: Ukraine elections: What’s going on and why it matters
Bloomberg: Ukraine’s Election Wildcard Assembles a Team to Match His Ambition
Democratic Initiatives Foundation: The presidential campaign in Ukraine: new front-runners and old challenges
The latest polling results are available here
How the Presidential Candidates Want to Reform Law Enforcement Agencies and Criminal Justice: Program Analysis – Yevhen Krapyvin