UAF and CAF instructors talking. Photo courtesy of Joint Task Force-Ukraine
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on May 15 the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russia-led proxy forces opened fire 24 times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors using heavy weapons nine times.
According to the Ukrainian Military Intelligence one enemy soldier was killed yesterday as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In addition, the enemy lost one UAV.
2. Inauguration of Ukraine’s President-Elect Zelenskyy Set For May 20
May 16 vote of Ukrainian MPs on setting the inauguration day for President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Photo by Valenty Ogirenko/Reuters
On May 16, 315 Ukrainian lawmakers voted to set May 20 as the inauguration day of the President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s Parliament] Andriy Parubiy, the parliament has received several draft resolutions on setting the inauguration date on May 17, 19, 20, 26, 28 and June1. The MPs voted for each of the resolutions until they had enough votes to approve the one on May 20.
Notably, on May 10, President-elect Zelenskyy posted a video where he demanded that Ukrainian MPs set the date for his inauguration for May 19. However, May 19 is the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions, and therefore some politicians, historians, activists insisted that this is an ill-omened date for the inauguration of the newly elected head of state, as reported by Ukrainian media.
3. Rock Star Vakarchuk Enters Race for Ukrainian Parliament
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk speaks at a panel during the Yalta European Strategy conference in Kyiv on Sept. 15, 2018. Photo by Volodymyr Petrov
Famous frontman of the popular Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy Svyatoslav Vakarchuk announced that he would run for the Ukrainian parliament as the leader of the new Voice [pronounced as Holos in Ukrainian. Ed] party which means both voice and vote in Ukrainian. He also presented a few members of his campaign team: “Yulia Klymenko, a former deputy economy minister; Solomiia Bobrovska, a former deputy governor of Odesa; Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the former director of Transparency International Ukraine; Andriy Sharaskin, a Donbas war veteran and defender of the Donetsk airport; and Yuriy Sokolov, a prominent cardiologist.”
Vakarchuk’s party is expected to challenge the old political elite in the Ukrainian parliament, continuie Ukraine’s pro-European course and hold the authorities accountable to the public.
4. (Blog) Atlantic Council: Even if Ukraine’s Reformers Unify, So What?
May 10. From left to right: Oleksandr Danchenko, formerly with Sampomich, Artur Gerasymov with the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, Mikhail Lev with Civic Position, independent Hanna Hopko, Mustafa Nayyem with Dii z nami, Maksym Nefyodov with Lyudi Vazhlyvi, and Olexiy Ryabchyn with Fatherland at Stanford University
In her recent blog Melinda Haring, editor of the UkraineAlert blog at the Atlantic Council offers a brief overview of the political situation in Ukraine and what’s to come using the latest conference organized by the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program at Stanford University. Haring moderated the panel which included seven politicians from Ukraine’s leading reform-focused political parties and civic movements.
“Ukraine’s reformers know what they need to do to make Ukraine a decent, normal, European country, but they can’t even form a single party,” wrote Haring. Then she takes a bit skeptical stance saying that “even if a miracle happens and Ukraine’s reformers unify, at best they get 8-10 percent of the vote. None have access to the major television networks. […] Even at 10 percent, there won’t be enough of them in the next parliament to make a difference.”
5. Military Times: Russian Units Could Defeat the U.S. Army in key Eastern European States
Picture is a screenshot from the Military Times video
In his latest article Todd South reviews the report by military experts which stipulates that U.S. and NATO forces may be too slow to respond to Russia’s conventional fight tactics that it currently employs in Ukraine.
“Experts interviewed by Military Times said that in a long, drawn-out conflict the United States and NATO allies would likely win over Russia if there was a major land grab on the eastern European border,” wrote South. However, he mentioned that if Russian forces were to move quickly grabbing pieces of territory entrenching themselves deeply enough then the assistance from the U.S. and NATO forces would arrive too late.
Click here to read more about the Russian tactics.
On another note, according to the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States the U.S. Congress has started the formal process of approving a draft 2020 defense budget foreseeing USD 250 million in assistance for Ukraine. “Of this amount, USD 50 million is proposed to be sent solely to shipments of lethal weapons for defense,” the embassy said.
6. UIA Doubles Kyiv-Toronto Flights Frequencies
Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) will increase the frequency of flights and the number of passenger seats on the route Kyiv-Toronto-Kyiv in peak summer season as reported by the airlines. UIA will operate up to four flights a week between Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine and Toronto, the largest city of Canada using Boeing 777-200ER. Before yesterday UIA operated two flights a week. Starting May 15 the airlines will have flights between Kyiv and Toronto on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. On June 13 UIA will add Thursdays to their flight schedule.
Notably, in March, 2019, the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine allowed UIA to increase the frequency of flights on Kyiv-Toronto route up to five flights per week.
7. MP Larry Maguire Recognizes Vyshyvanka Day in the House of Commons
MP Larry Maguire
In celebration of the traditional Vyshyvanka Day here is the link to a video of Conservative MP Larry Maguire recognizing Vyshyvanka Day in the House of Commons on May 15, 2019.