Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 02, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on April 1, three service members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 18 times on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk and Luhansk sector using heavy weapons in 5 instances.
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence report two invaders were killed and six were wounded as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on April 1. In addition, the Ukrainian military destroyed the enemy armored personnel vehicle.
2. CBC: Comedian Who Played Ukraine’s President on TV in The Lead to Become Actual President
More than 5.6 million people, or 30% of voters, supported political novice and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy during the Sunday, March 31 presidential election, according to the Central Election Commission of Ukraine.
One of Zelenskiy’s advisors is Aivaras Abromavicius, Ukraine’s former economic development minister, who spoke to CBC Radio’s As It Happens host Carol Off about his boss’ presidential campaign.
In his interview Abromavicius emphasized that Ukraine was no different from Brazil or Lithuania or even Slovakia where the voters were desperately seeking new faces, being fed up with politicians. In his analysis of Zelensky’s geopolitical preferences Abromavicius is convinced that he would carry on with Ukraine’s European integration, amplifying that unlike the current traditional politicians his boss remains a mystery for President Putin.
Since none of the candidates won majority of the votes the top two – Zelenskiy and Poroshenko – advance to the second round that will culminate on April 21.
Click here to listen to the interview
3. Globe & Mail: Russia Abusing Rights of Ukrainian Voters, Charges Head of Election Monitoring mission
Lloyd Axworthy, who is leading the 160 Canadian volunteers monitoring Ukraine’s presidential elections stated in his interview with the Globe and Mail that Russia was abusing the human rights of people living in Crimea and other Kremlin-backed parts of eastern Ukraine by using landmines, border delays and online propaganda to discourage them from voting in the Ukrainian election.
The former Liberal cabinet minister confirmed that the presidential election met international standards in most of the country, but expressed concerns about the situation in Russian-controlled regions where people were unable to vote. “There were no voting stations for Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, and the Russian-controlled parts of the eastern Donbass region,” he said amplifying that “Ukrainians in those areas should be allowed to cross the border to vote, but Russian occupiers have employed aggressive tactics to prevent them from doing so.”
“The land-mines issue is particularly important to Mr. Axworthy. When he was Canada’s foreign affairs minister in 1997, Mr. Axworthy spearheaded the Ottawa Treaty, a United Nations convention aimed at eliminating anti-personnel landmines around the world,” as reported by the media.
“Russia should also be “called to account” for using online propaganda to tell Ukrainian citizens in the Russian-controlled regions the election is not legitimate. He said the Russian interference is a “wake up call” to other democracies, including Canada.
When asked about the current leader of presidential election Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Lloyd Axworthy commented that [Zelenskiy] “won’t make promises so that he doesn’t have to break promises.” He also highlighted that Ukraine was a country at war. “If he gets elected, what will he be able to do to deal with some of the really serious issues?” commented Dr. Axworthy. “It’s a country that’s being highly pressured by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russians. […] They need a strong president,” he concluded
4. Reuters: Ukraine’s Naftogaz Gets Chinese Backing for $1 Billion in Loans and Investment
Naftogaz, Ukraine’s largest gas producer [accounts for 75 percent of Ukraine’s total gas production] will be able to borrow $160 million from China’s Sinosure to buy Chinese drilling equipment and services. “At the second stage, another $800 million is planned for additional Naftogaz group projects that will be agreed upon with China in the near future,” Naftogaz said, noting the deal with Sinosure did not require a sovereign guarantee.
5. Ukraine’s Presidential Election 2019 Updates
As of April 2, 2019, Central Elections Commission has gone through 99.8% of the ballots.
Below is the graph of the top three candidates and their support among the voters
Here is the link to Interactive Map of Presidential election in Ukraine 2019