Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 30 March 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
30 March 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Shchastya. Near Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers and small arms. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiyivka with mortars. At Zaytseve, Russia-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery and mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Starohnativka, Vodyane and Talakivka. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four were wounded in action.
2. German media exposes Russian shadow government of occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk oblasts 
The German media outlet Bild has published an exclusive report on the Russian shadow government of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, citing documents Bild has obtained. The report concludes, “The records of the ‘Inter-ministerial Commission for the Provision of Humanitarian Aid for the affected Areas in the Southeast of the Regions of Donetsk and Luhansk’ from 23rd October 2015 reveal what observers have long feared: The Russian government is steering all affairs of the ‘separatist areas’ in the east of Ukraine. […] Russia is planning a permanent stabilisation of the political, social and economic situation in the Donbass under its control. That will make the Donbass a puppet state of the Russian Federation, whose future is set to be decided exclusively in Moscow. This is confirmation of the failure of the Minsk Agreement, adherence to which by Russia is merely pretence. Furthermore, the west’s demand that Ukraine should enable democratic elections in the areas not under its control is taken to the absurd by [this] revelation. The political figures up for elections in such vote would not be the ones in charge for the development of the area. Those that hold on to power are located in Moscow.” The full report is available athttp://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/ukraine-konflikt/donbass-shadow-government-45102202.bild.html
3. UK Foreign Secretary: Russia represents a threat to all of us 
Speaking at a press conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, UK Foreign Secretary P. Hammond stated, “Russia ignores the norms of international conduct and breaks the rules of the rules-based international system, and that represents a challenge and a threat to all of us. What we all want is for Russia to play a constructive role in the international community. […] We can only work in partnership with countries which accept the international rules by which we all have to live. We can’t be working in partnership with a country one day and find that it is doing just exactly whatever it wants, in flagrant breach of international norms and rules the next day.”
4. Atlantic Council: Arming Ukraine is only way to secure durable peace
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Rutgers University professor A. Motyl stated, “Western policymakers who believe the Minsk accords would work if only Ukraine made the requisite constitutional and electoral concessions are missing a key point: that they, and Russia, forced Ukraine to make security its priority by violating the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. Russia brazenly invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine in complete violation of the memorandum. But the United States and the United Kingdom were also complicit in the breakdown of Budapest: their assurances of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity proved hollow. Sanctions are nice, but hardly an adequate response to Russian imperialism. […] Since the failure of Budapest means that formal international security assurances are effectively meaningless, Ukraine’s first priority has to be preserving its own security. No one can or will guarantee it, and even if they did, Ukraine would be crazy to believe a second Budapest. […]In a word, Ukraine will be secure only if it can guarantee its own security. Since nuclear weapons are out of the question, Ukraine’s security can be assured only if Ukraine has the requisite armed forces to guarantee its own security. […] The implications for the West are obvious. Only a secure Ukraine will put its name to grand bargains crafted by Russia and the West. And a secure Ukraine can only be a militarily strong Ukraine. No Western deal with Russia can possibly work if it fails to take Ukraine and its justified security concerns into account. Ukraine has already made enormous progress since the spring of 2014 when it had no more than 6,000 battle-ready troops to face Putin and his proxies. […] Now Ukraine needs to gain the capacity to stop a full-scale Russian invasion. Although a massive land war would produce savage Ukrainian partisan resistance and lead to enormous losses for Russia, it would be far better to deter Russia than to embroil it in a costly quagmire. And for Ukraine to deter Russia, it needs to have the clear ability to stop Russian air power and tanks. Arming Ukraine-building up its military to the point that it can defend itself, but not threaten Russia-is the only way to secure a durable peace there. The sooner the West learns this lesson, the sooner Budapest will fade as a bad memory-and the sooner Minsk or its successor will have a realistic chance of resulting in peace.”
5. Ukrainian-Dutch Business Forum opens in the Netherlands 
Ukraine’s Finance Minister N. Jaresko, together with Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands L. Ploumen opened the Ukrainian-Dutch Business Forum in the Netherlands today. Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance reported, “The Netherlands is de-facto the largest foreign direct investor in Ukraine. More than 350 Dutch companies operate, invest, and sell products in Ukraine, thereby creating jobs and contributing to the development of the Ukrainian economy.” A consultative referendum on the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will be held in the Netherlands on 6 April.

 


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