Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 3, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 1:00 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk and Luhansk sectors of the front 5 times in total, including 3 times with mortars. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed one enemy combatant in the last 24 hours.
2. US lawmakers introduce bipartisan legislation to combat Russian aggression in Ukraine
On May 31 the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) introduced the US-Ukraine Security Cooperation Enhancement Act.
The bill “Amends previous NDAA statute by increasing specific lethal military assistance to Ukraine; Provides anti-tank, anti-ship, and anti-aircraft defense systems to the Ukrainians, as well as other necessary defense articles to defend its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity against Russian aggression; Requests the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress that reviews U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, including areas of need for Ukraine to effectively deter Russian aggression; Advises the President to determine, if appropriate, whether Ukraine should be designated a Major Non-NATO Ally until it achieves accession as a NATO member state.”
Chairman Engel stated, “In the face of unrelenting Russian aggression, the Ukrainian people have shown extraordinary resolve and commitment to democracy. The U.S. must continue to support them with effective security assistance and tougher sanctions on Russia, Putin, and his oligarchs as long as these assaults against Ukraine continue. I’m pleased to join with Ranking Member McCaul on this legislation to enhance the U.S.-Ukraine security partnership.”
Ranking Member McCaul stated, “The United States must maintain a decisive and forceful approach to confront Putin’s belligerent behavior and send a strong message that we will not stand by while Russia threatens our allies. By continuing to provide security assistance to Ukraine that furthers its implementation of defense reforms and achievement of NATO interoperability, we can better equip our ally with sophisticated lethal weapons to defend itself and deter Russian aggression. As the world’s lead defender of freedom, the United States must employ all tools necessary to protect our shared values. I look forward to working with Chairman Engel and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation to support our ally Ukraine.”
The draft of the bill is available here: US-Ukraine Security Cooperation Enhancement Act
3. Former President Kuchma returns as head of Ukrainian delegation at Trilateral Contact Group
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported, “On June 5, the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbas will take place presenting concrete proposals of Ukraine. It was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the briefing on June 3 in Kyiv.
The Head of State reminded that he had met with representatives of the U.S., France, Germany and other countries of the European Union.
‘We have discussed a very important issue for every Ukrainian – ending the war in Donbas. We share a common position – restoration of negotiations on Donbas in the Normandy format and unblocking of the Minsk process. We do not have plenty of years to end the war. We have got concrete proposals and new solutions. I would like all the proposals to be combined with clear terms of fulfillment of this or that item. Nobody is going to trade the territory, sovereignty of Ukraine,’ Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
The President also expressed gratitude to Leonid Kuchma who took on leadership in the Ukrainian delegation of the Trilateral Contact Group. For his part, the former president noted willingness to contribute to the work of the TCG.”
4. Human Rights Group: Ukraine’s Supreme Court claims illegal Zelensky appointment is not its business
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Andriy Bohdan, the newly-appointed head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Administration is a man prohibited from holding public office, but Ukraine’s Supreme Court has refused to examine a complaint over the illegality of the appointment.
The Court claims that the only people entitled to appeal the decision are either Bohdan himself, or persons whose rights are directly affected by the appointment. The right of citizens to expect that elected representatives will comply with the law does not appear to count.
As reported, Bohdan twice held the post of government representative on ‘anti-corruption policy’ under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. He was first appointed, by close Yanukovych associate Mykola Azarov shortly after the latter became Prime Minister in an extremely dubious change of government following Yanukovych’s victory. Bohdan was also appointed Deputy Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers and continued to represent the government with respect to its cosmetic anti-corruption policy until 14 February 2011. He was reappointed to the same post on 11 July 2013 and only lost it after Yanukovych, together with Azarov and others, fled to Russia at the end of the Euromaidan protests.
Following his dismissal in March 2014, Bohdan became an adviser to Ihor Kolomoisky who was then Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast. He has since been Kolomoisky’s lawyer and was informally in charge of the Zelensky presidential campaign and his adviser on legal issues.
The Law on Cleaning up Government (or simply the lustration law) was adopted on 16 September 2014 in part to ensure that the people Yanukovych had installed and who had helped in the systemic degradation of most areas of government were prevented from holding office. […]
An application was made to the Supreme Court against Zelenskyy’s decree appointing Bohdan. Although the Supreme Court does not name the plaintiff, this appears to have been the Public Lustration Committee, an NGO. The application pointed out that Zelensky’s appointment was in breach of the lustration law, and that infringement of legislation ‘violates the public-legal rules of procedure for the function of bodies authorized to carry out the functions of the state, and infringes the latter’s legitimate interest in compliance with current legislation on cleaning up government…’
The Supreme Court reporte on 29 May that it has refused to initiate proceedings in this case for the above-mentioned reason, i.e. that an appeal must be from a person ‘whose rights, freedoms and interests it [the decree] directly concerns.'”