Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 05, 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 4, one service member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire ten times on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk and Luhansk sector using heavy weapons eight times.
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence report four invaders were killed and two were wounded as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on April 4.
2. Ukraine Tests Vilkha M Missile System with Increased Target Range
Ukraine successfully tested the new modernized Vilkha M system which can destroy targets 130 km away. This is twice the range it had before, according to Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov’s statement that he made at the testing range in Odesa region on April 4.
Ukraine started the serial production of the Vilkha missile system which had target range of 70 km last year.
3. National Post: After Returning from Ukraine, Ex-Foreign Minister Warns Russian Disinformation will be Factor in Canadian Election
Lloyd Axworthy, former Liberal foreign minister and head of Canada’s election monitoring mission to Ukraine made a statement warning that Canadians would be vulnerable to Russian disinformation during the federal contest scheduled for this October.
“There’s some lessons to learn for Canadians. I think Ukraine’s on the front line, and there’s a wake-up call that anybody’s election, including ours in six months, could be altered, disrupted or problems could be created in terms of disinformation if you’re not very watchful about it,” he said in an interview with the National Post on Thursday.
Commenting on Russian interference in Ukraine’s elections he said that Ukrainians “did a very effective job and there weren’t a lot of disruptions.”
Read the full interview of Lloyd Axworthy here
4. PBS News Hour: As NATO turns 70, Alliance Increases Aid to Ukraine to Confront Russia
On April 4, in a meeting in Washington, D.C., NATO foreign ministers approved a series of measures aimed at countering Russia in the Black Sea region and agreed to provide Georgia and Ukraine with increased maritime co-operation, patrols and port visits. They also renewed demands for Russia to end its annexation of Crimea, release Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized in a confrontation last year in the Sea of Azov and respect the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Kurt Volker, former ambassador to NATO and current special representative for Ukraine and Nick Schifrin with PBS News Hour discuss NATO’s major steps to support Ukraine, including stepped-up presence of NATO ships, surveillance of the Russian navy, and training of Ukrainian troops, $250 million of assistance in the U.S. defense budget, as well radar systems, refurbished Coast Guard cutters, and tactical vehicles.
In addition, they also talk about the unification of NATO, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, consequences of “poking the Russian bear”, a threat to security in Europe as a whole and Ukraine’s presidential candidates.
Click here to watch the interview (5:48)
In the meantime, Ukraine and NATO will carry out joint actions to strengthen the military presence in the Black Sea region, as well as monitor freedom of navigation through the Kerch Strait, regardless of the opinion of the Russian Federation, stated Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
5. Canada, EU and Ukraine Launch “On the Road to Toronto” Conference in Brussels
On April 5, the Mission of Canada to the EU and the European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine, in cooperation with the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, European Endowment For Democracy and the ULEAD with Europe project, were co-hosting the “On the Road to Toronto” conference, as reported by the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine.
The discussion was the lead-up to the Third #UkraineReformConference in Toronto scheduled for 2-4 July 2019. In view of Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda, the participants discussed the two critical elements – a strong civil society and a resilient information space. The discussion included activists’ assessment of the 5 years since Maidan and their expectations for the upcoming period, women’s involvement in civil society, building Ukraine’s resilience through independent media and countering disinformation, as well as visions of how to maintain reform momentum.
6. Ukraine calls on OSCE to Pay More Attention to Release of Kremlin’s Ukrainian Political Prisoners
Ukraine has called on Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on the implementation of the peace plan in eastern Ukraine, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, to pay more attention to the issue on the release of Ukrainian political prisoners illegally convicted in Russia.
“We urge to pay special attention and to ensure discussion within the TCG and its humanitarian working group in a trilateral format of the issue on the exchange of Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia and Russian citizens convicted in Ukraine for committing serious crimes against the state and sovereignty,” said in Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, in his address to the OSCE Permanent Council April 4.
In the meantime, two Ukrainians get 14-year sentences for refusing to cooperate with Russian FSB
Oleksiy Bessarabov and Volodymyr Dudka have been sentenced by a Russian-controlled Sevastopol court to 14 years’ imprisonment on entirely fabricated ‘sabotage’ charges, reports Halya Coynash of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. She explained the steep sentence by the refusal of the political prisoners to cooperate with the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).
Follow the link to read more about the details of detention, the torture, the “confession”, gross falsifications and the charges against Volodymyr Dudka, a 54-year-old retired naval captain and 43-year-old Oleksiy Bessarabov, an academic.
7. StopFake: Always Blame the West! – and Six Other Disinformation Trends
This week’s special from StopFake.org is the detailed explanation of seven narrative templates that the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine uses for different stories and adapts to different audiences. “These categories range from the usual – “The West did it!” and “It wasn’t us!” – to the outrageous “I can’t believe I’m reading this”, which contains lies so blatant that even the most hard-boiled disinformation aficionado might need to take a seat,” reads the website.
Check the details at StopFake.org
8. Canadian Mint Selects Melnychuk’s “Eternal Blessing” Design for the First All-Gold Pysanka Coin
Ukrainian Museum of Canada Ontario Branch has extended the greetings to Dave Melnychuk whole design “Eternal Blessing” was chosen by the Canadian Mint for their first all-gold pysanka coin.
Under the special features the Canadian Mint mentions that this item commemorates a “celebration of Ukrainian-Canadian culture, this Easter egg-themed piece is our first all-gold (99.99% pure) pysanka coin.