Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 22, 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 one Ukrainian soldier was 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 12 times in total.
2. British PM speaks with Ukraine’s President
The Office of the Prime Minister of the UK reported, “The Prime Minister spoke to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, today. President Zelenskyy thanked the Prime Minister for his unwavering and unflinching support for the people and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The Prime Minister reiterated that he would not yield on the issue of Ukrainian sovereignty, and gave his full support to President Zelenskyy in his efforts to end the conflict in the Donbas.
The Prime Minister underlined his message in Berlin yesterday: Russia’s readmission to the G7 and to the wider international community should not be considered until they have stopped their destabilising behaviour. He pointed to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and last year’s chemical attack on the streets of Salisbury as clear examples.”
3. Ukrainian Congress Committee of America responds to President Trump: Russia does not belong in the G7
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) stated on August 21, “In responding to a question raised by the media, President Donald Trump gave the wrong answer when asked if Russia should be reinstated into the group of the world’s largest advanced economies, the G7.
Speaking in the Oval Office while seated alongside President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, President Trump announced that ‘it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in [the G7] …. I could certainly see it being the G8 again. And if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.’
The UCCA, the representative organization for over 1.5 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, once again strongly denounces the suggestion that Russia be allowed back into the G7. UCCA denounced similar proposals made by President Trump in 2018, which were met with rejection by the leaders of Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France at the 2018 G7 summit, as well as Senators John McCain, Ben Sasse, and Chuck Schumer among other leaders in Congress.
In proposing this change in United States policy, President Trump either disregarded, or was unaware that in 2014, the G7 canceled their planned summit in the Russian city of Sochi, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula – the first forced annexation Europe had seen since the Second World War. Along with canceling the planned summit, the G7 countries issued the Hague Declaration, which unequivocally tied Russia’s expulsion from the G7 to its actions in Ukraine: ‘We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution. We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations. We do not recognize either…Today, we reaffirm that Russia’s actions will have significant consequences.’
Since that declaration, Russia has only increased their transgressions, while continuing to undermine democracy in Europe. ‘To be clear, it would not be ‘more appropriate to have Russia in’ the G7,’ stated UCCA President Andriy Futey. ‘Until the Russian Federation ceases its actions in Ukraine, and removes itself from all internationally recognized Ukrainian territory, Russia must remain suspended from membership in the group of the world’s largest advanced economies, as its actions in Ukraine contravene the principles and values on which the G7 operate,’ Futey concluded.
The United States, as the bastion of democracy in the free world, and the President, as its Executive, must take the lead in promoting international norms, defending basic human rights and freedoms, and charting a course of geopolitical stability. The President could start by visiting Ukraine in the coming months and see first-hand why Russia does not belong in the G7.”
4. Ukraine’s Parliament to approve composition of new government at first sitting
Ukrinform reported, “The newly elected Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will consider a large number of issues at its first sitting and will work until it forms a new government and appoints a new Prime Minister.
‘Very interesting [decisions]. I think that journalists should get ready to work round-the-clock on August 29 as the country is waiting for changes and news. There will be much news,’ member of the National Investment Council, newly elected MP from the Servant of the People party David Arakhamia said about the decisions to be taken at the first parliament’s sitting.
Arakhamia also confirmed that the lawmakers intended to approve the new composition of the government and appoint its leader.
Answering the question whether someone from the previous government team will remain at the post, Arakhamia noted: ‘I know for sure that one [person] will definitely remain [at the post].’ At the same time, the lawmaker-to-be did not confirm or deny that he meant Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
As reported, the Verkhovna Rada of the ninth convocation will gather for its first sitting on Thursday, August 29.”
5. New President of World Bank arrives in Kyiv
Ukraine Business News reported, “Creation of a farmland market in Ukraine will be a major topic for David Malpass, the new president of the World Bank Group, who arrives in Kyiv today. Malpass, an American, meets Friday with President Zelenskyy. For the last two years, the World Bank has advised Ukraine on creating a market for farmland sales. Zelenskyy promises to win Rada approval of a land market this fall and to start farmland sales next year.”