Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 16, 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 15, the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 12 times on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk and Luhansk sectors using heavy weapons four times.
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence report six Russian proxy troops were killed and three were wounded as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on April 15.
2. April 19 Debate Between Top Presidential Candidates
The parties representing the incumbent President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the political novice Volodymyr Zelenskiy who is leading after the first round of election have signed an agreement with “Olimpiyskiy” stadium to rent the venue for the April 19 debate.
Prior to the debates the parties should agree on the time and format of the debate. According to Ukrainian media Zelenskiy’s team wants to hold the debate as a show whereas Poroshenko’s team insists on a conventional comprehensive discussion. According to the law presidential debate should be televised. Currently, the parties negotiate who should be moderating the debates.
President Poroshenko has rebooted his campaign after the leading candidate Zelenskiy won nearly twice as many votes in the first round of the election on March 31, reaching out especially to younger voters disillusioned with corruption and the slow pace of change. The second round which will take place on April 21 is to show whether Ukrainian voters believed in his apologies for past mistakes and promises to be more transparent in communicating decisions.
3. (Opinion) The Globe and Mail: A Storm of Misinformation is Coming. Our Federal Election Could be at Risk
The likelihood of foreign operators meddling in Canada’s federal elections is high, suggests Eric Jardine, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The scale of influence may be different compared to the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States or Britain during the Brexit campaign, writes Jardine; and that may have to do with relatively small population and “marginal power in comparison to the U.S and the UK.”
According to Jardine it would be a mistake to think that there is something unique about Canada or Canadians that would make it resilient to disruptive foreign influence. The restriction of information via online platforms has also proven to be ineffective. Instead, the author suggests to “have a frank conversation about what it means to be Canadian. We need to talk openly about what we want our politics to look like, what issues we consider socially relevant and how we want to confront the myriad other challenges.”
The full opinion piece here
Suffice it to say that during the recent G7 ministers’ meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland stated “I think our judgment is interference is very likely and we think there has probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy.”
4. Geneva Arbitration Court Orders Russia to pay $44,4 Million to Ukrnafta
On April 12, 2019, the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva has ordered the Russian Federation to pay USD 44.4 million [CAD 59.3 million] in favor of Ukrainian public joint-stock company Ukrnafta as compensation for the seizure of the company’s assets in annexed Crimea. The decision stipulates that Russian is also obligated to pay the accrued interest which is estimated at over USD 5.5 million [CAD 7.35]
Suffice it to say that in April 2014, shortly after the invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, illegal armed forces of the aggressor state seized administrative offices and 16 gas stations of PJSC Ukrnafta. “In October 2014, PJSC Ukrnafta, following Part 1 Article 9 of the Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the Russian Federation on the encouragement and mutual protection of investments (the agreement), informed the Russian Federation of violation of the rights of PJSC Ukrnafta,” as reported by Ukrainian media.
Ukrnafta is the largest oil producing company in the country. NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy owns 50 percent + one share of Ukrnafta. The rest of the shares belong to private investors including the former owners of Privat group.