Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 7 April 2016, 3 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
7 April 2016, 3 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 shelled Ukrainian positions near Popasne with grenade launchers. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Horlivka, the Donetsk airport and Avdiyivka with mortars and artillery. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Krasnohorivka and Shyrokyne with mortars. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in action.
2. Dutch voters reject Association Agreement amid low turnout in referendum
In the advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, 61.1 % voted no, 38.1% in favor of the agreement, the BBC reported. Turnout was 32.2% – above the 30% threshold for the vote to be considered valid. The BBC reported, “The vote was widely seen in the Netherlands as a test of public opinion towards the EU. It was triggered by an internet petition begun by Eurosceptic activists […] The result creates a headache for the Dutch government, as the Dutch parliament approved the EU association agreement with Ukraine last year. All the other 27 EU member states have already ratified the deal.” Following the announcement of results, the Dutch government stated, “it is clear that ratification cannot just proceed as if nothing happened. The government will now deliberate on the outcome and consult with the Dutch parliament. Subsequently, the Dutch government will also speak to EU-partners and the government of Ukraine. This process will take time to be able to reach a solution that is acceptable to all parties.”
3. Ukraine’s President statement on Dutch referendum result
Following the announcement of the Dutch referendum result, Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated, “I would like to remind that the true goal of the organizers of this referendum is not the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. This is an attack on the unity of Europe, attack on the spread of European values. The discussion on the eve of the referendum is the evidence of that. I am grateful to everyone who voted ‘for’, to hundreds of thousands of supporters of Ukraine. I am grateful to everyone who took part in the promotion of Ukraine in the Netherlands: politicians, volunteers, prominent athletes and cultural figures. However, I would like to emphasize that this referendum has an exclusively consultative nature under the Constitution and legislation of the Netherlands. Now, the ball is in the court of the Dutch Government and Parliament. I am confident that this event is not a strategic obstacle for Ukraine on the path to Europe. I would like to emphasize that Ukraine will keep on implementing the Association Agreement and ensure the establishment of DCFTA with the European Union, for it is a way to modernize Ukraine and reinforce its independence. We will not turn off the road of European integration. Ukraine and freedom cannot be stopped.”
4. Lithuanian President: Ukraine has always been in Europe and will always stay in Europe
Following the Dutch referendum, Lithuanian President D. Grybauskaite stated, “Today we heard about the results of the Netherlands referendum. We all wished they were different. However, now is not the time to lose hope or question Ukraine’s European choice. No-one can stand in the way of Ukraine’s path to Europe. Because Ukraine has always been in Europe and will always stay in Europe. Provisions of the agreement on free trade are de facto already in force. The integration process may take more time than we thought, but the end result is clear. It was decided in Maidan. There is no doubt that the future of Ukraine is in the hands of every Ukrainian. [Continues in Ukrainian] Today we must become more united and decisive, ready for reform, integration and a new European Ukraine. Lithuania and all of Europe will be on your side. Glory to Ukraine!”

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