Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 24, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 34 times, including at least 10 times with heavy weapons – mortars and artillery. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 2 and wounded 2 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. Ukraine urges Council of Europe not to lift Russia ban
The Telegraph reported on June 23, “Ukraine has warned that the Council of Europe will lose all legitimacy if it restores voting rights to Russia, in what would be the first case of penalties on Moscow being lifted since the annexation of Crimea.
The Strasbourg-based body, which upholds human rights laws in Europe, is expected to vote to let Russia back into the fold on Monday, when members of the parliamentary assembly (PACE) will give a final decision.
The Telegraph understands that both France and Germany are in favour of Russia being handed back its voting rights, which were stripped after the 2014 annexation amid an international outcry.
But Kyiv is increasingly concerned that restoring voting rights to Russia would amount to a whitewashing of its conduct and undermine the Council of Europe. ‘I cannot go into the details, but if this happens Ukraine will consider the Council of Europe as a discredited institution that has lost its authority to mentor member states, and to mentor Ukraine,’ Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s envoy to the Council of Europe, told the Telegraph. ‘What we have here is not diplomacy, it is the surrender of the Council of Europe.’
It comes after foreign ministers from the Council of Europe’s 47 member states reached agreement to end the years-long dispute with Russia in May, with the vote at the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg the last remaining hurdle. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, raised the issue with French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month.
However, both countries have indicated that they would prefer the Council of Europe to reinstate the voting rights of Russia, which currently sits only as an observer. Russia’s parliamentary delegation to PACE was stripped of its voting rights in April 2014 following the annexation of Crimea. Moscow responded to the suspension of voting rights in 2017 by halting its membership payments, which left a sizeable hole in the Council of Europe’s budget.”
3. Thousands march in Ukraine’s largest ever Pride parade
Reuters reported, “Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching in a gay pride parade in Kyiv on Sunday. […]
Crowds of people, many dressed in bright colours, paraded along streets in the centre of the Ukrainian capital, holding up banners saying ‘Diversity is beautiful’, ‘Human rights = happy country’, ‘No violence – yes rights!.’
They were flanked by a thick cordon of police in helmets but there was no sign of violence despite the presence of a few hundred protesters. Sunday’s march in Kyiv was part of ‘Pride Month’ celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ2) people around the world.”
4. Ukraine in “very active” talks with IMF over longer aid program
Bloomberg reported, “Ukraine is ‘in very active discussions’ with the International Monetary Fund over a new loan program as the country gears up for a snap general election, according to Finance Minister Oksana Markarova. […]
The IMF agreed on a $3.9 billion loan in late 2018 to get Ukraine through this year, though aid has been frozen until a new government is in place. When that happens, a new program is likely. Markarova sees it lasting three years. She didn’t specify the size.
‘This program that we have right now, we’ve designed it as the breach program to cover Ukraine through two elections,’ Markarova said Saturday in an interview in Skopje, North Macedonia. ‘In a sense, this program has done what it had to do.’
IMF aid, which has been accompanied by World Bank loans and bilateral assistance from the U.S. and the European Union, was often delayed as past governments failed to implement required reforms, especially on corruption. Zelenskiy has said he wants to install a pro-reform cabinet, assuming his poll–leading party triumphs in the July 21 election.
With investors keen on Ukraine’s domestic bonds, the government probably won’t sell more debt on international markets in 2019, Markarova said. It sold 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) of debt this month.”
5. Ukraine-NATO Inter-Parliamentary Council meeting begins in Lviv
Ukrinform reported, “The meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Inter-Parliamentary Council has begun in the city of Lviv, according to the press service of the Lviv Regional State Administration.
Among participants of the meeting are President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Madeleine Moon, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy, Head of the Verkhovna Rada’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Oksana Yurinets, and acting Head of the Lviv Regional State Administration Rostyslav Zamlynsky.
According to Madeleine Moon, the fact that the committee and the Parliamentary Assembly have gathered in Lviv city today and will work tomorrow, as well as the fact that the Parliamentary Assembly will again come to Ukraine next year is ‘a clear signal that we are with Ukraine.’
Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy, in turn, said: ‘The Parliamentary Assembly shows full support for Ukraine. We’re living in a difficult time, in the time of change, and many people have fears and concerns in their hearts whether the Euro-Atlantic course changes, the direction of Ukraine’s accession to NATO. I’m deeply convinced that this is a key issue of Ukraine’s foreign policy, which will ensure security of the state and of all our citizens.’ The meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Inter-Parliamentary Council will last until June 25.”