Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 22, 2019, 11 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on April 21 one service member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire twice on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk sector. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed one and wounded three enemy troops on April 21.
On April 19 and 20 the Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 20 times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors, using heavy weapons eight times. The Ukrainian Armed forces suffered no casualties on Friday and Saturday. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed seven and wounded seven enemy troops on April 19 and 20.
2. Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau Congratulates Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his election victory
On April 22, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has issued the statement congratulating the Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He commended millions of Ukrainian citizens who exercised their democratic right to cast their vote for the new leader of the state. “In casting their ballots, Ukrainians have inspired people across the region and around the world,” noted Prime Minister Trudeau.
In addition, Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized that Canada was providing funding for projects that were aimed at supporting transparent and legitimate elections in Ukraine as well as deployed hundreds of election observers to Ukraine through its Mission Canada 2019 under the leadership of the honourable Lloyd Axworthy.
While remaining “a steadfast partner of the people of Ukraine,” Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized the importance of reinforcing Ukraine’s reform achievements and helping the “country set a clear path for its democratic future of the third Ukraine Reform Conference” that will take place in Toronto this July.
Read the full statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau here
3. CANADEM: Ukraine Concludes Free and Fair Presidential Election
On April 22, Mission Canada 2019 issued its second Preliminary Statement of Findings of the 2019 Presidential Election in Ukraine reporting on the electoral process, voting and counting procedures on Election Day.
“Ukrainians have affirmed their commitment to democratic development and have now chosen their new president in a democratic election,” stated the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Head of Mission.
The mission found that the campaign was peaceful, and the overall coordination on election-related security matters between law enforcement agencies continued effectively.
Some of the concerns mentioned by Mission Canada were hybrid warfare, the spread of disinformation, and the use of “black PR” by competing candidates’ teams as well as low number of women in politics, campaign financing, disregard for the quiet period by one of the candidates and issues associated with participation of 1.6 million internally displaced persons and the changing of temporary voting address.
Read the full Mission Canada 2019 statement
4. BBC Ukraine: What Zelenskiy Can and Cannot Do in the First Month
There are a lot of expectations as to what the new president of Ukraine can and cannot do after being elected. BBC News Ukraine offers an overview of the tools and options that are available for the new leader of Ukraine.
First of all, a president needs to have a support of 226 MPs in the Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian Parliament], to change the government or appoint individual ministers. As of now President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy does not have his party or a faction in the Parliament.
President can appoint and dismiss the head of Presidential Administration and everyone within that administration, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, one of the three auditors of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, and the Chief of General Staff but not the Minister of Defence.
The Head of State has the authority to appoint judges but there are no vacancies at the moment.
The President of Ukraine also has the authority to appoint and dismiss the half of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Council, and appoint half of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine.
In addition, president has the exclusive right to sign or veto laws passed by the Verkhovna Rada, as well as to proclaim a referendum on the amendment to the Constitution or based on “people’s initiative”. However, Ukraine has no law regulating the conduct of referendums.
President of Ukraine requires help of the parliament to appoint and dismiss the Minister of Defence, the Foreign Minister, Prosecutor General, Head of the NBU, Head of the State Security Service (SBU). In order to appoint/dismiss governors a president needs the approval from the prime-minister.
Click here to read the BBC News article [in Ukrainian]
5. Ukrainian World Congress: 2019 Presidential Elections in Ukraine Meet International Standards
On April 22, Eugene Czolij, Head of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) observer mission to Ukraine’s presidential election 2019 and Andrew Futey, Head of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Mission confirmed that presidential elections in Ukraine were in line with international standards for holding democratic elections. The turnout was over 62% meaning that Ukrainian people felt confident in their electoral system, as was stated by Czolij.
Having 337 short-term observers the two missions monitored the electoral process in 19 oblasts of Ukraine and in Ukrainian diplomatic missions in 25 countries.
Observers recorded a small number of violations that included the access of the elderly and people with disabilities to the polls, however they did not affect the election results, stated heads of missions.
“The biggest obstacle to these elections was the brutal hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” emphasized Eugene Czolij.
The UWC mission suggested some changes to improve the electoral process in the future: to hold the debates of candidates for the President of Ukraine at least one week before the day of the voting; to abolish the “silence day” as an outdated procedure, which in particular does not take into account the significant role of social networks that are not limited in space; to provide for judicial appeals against decisions of election commissions to be completed so that the CEC can fulfill its obligations under the electoral law; to ensure the creation of equal conditions for candidates for the President of Ukraine in the media space, which would include the same time and a uniform representation of candidates.