Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 6 July 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
6 July 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
 
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and ten Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Novooleksandrivka. Towards Donettsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Mayorsk with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers). Near Avdiyivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positons with mortars. Near the Donetsk airport, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy mortar and artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Maryinka and Starohnativka with artillery and mortars, and fired on Ukrainian positions at several locations.

2. Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approves finalized Canada-Ukraine FTA for signature
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved the finalized the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) for signature, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine stated. The Cabinet also approved the order of the President of Ukraine authorizing First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine S. Kubiv to sign the CUFTA on Ukraine’s behalf.

3. Ukraine’s international reserves grow for third straight month
The National Bank of Ukraine reported that Ukraine’s international reserves stand at 13.9 billion USD equivalent, having grown by $452 million (3.3%) in June 2016 (the third straight month of increase). Over the past 12 months, Ukraine’s international reserves increased by 36.3%, the National Bank stated. “The increase in reserves in June was primarily due to the purchase of foreign currencies by the National Bank to smooth excessive fluctuations in the interbank market and replenish reserves,” the National Bank stated.

4. National Post: Canadian soldiers pass on life-saving tips to Ukrainian troops
Writing in the National Post, M. Fisher stated, “Seven thousand kilometres from Quebec, but only 10 hours by road from the bloody battlefields of eastern Ukraine, about 200 soldiers mostly from Canada’s storied Royal 22nd Regiment, the Vandoos, are helping to prepare Ukrainian infantry, medics and combat engineers to defend their country. […] ‘They are very highly motivated,’ said Maj. Bruno Turmel, deputy commander of the Vandoo company which has been here since January. ‘What they are learning is to be inter-operable with us and the Americans and all the other partners that are here and to build their war fighting capacity and capability.’ Turmel, who served twice as a military trainer to Afghan security forces, said he had learned ‘a lot from the Ukrainian officers and soldiers. They are patriotic and many of them have combat experience.’ The Canadians have seven different “lines of effort” taking place simultaneously at several locations around the country. […] The longest course offered by the Canadians lasts 55 days. It teaches basic and small unit fighting skills to infantry. There are also leadership courses for senior non-commissioned officers, courses for military police and anti-mining training. One of the key areas is teaching Ukrainian medics battlefield emergency treatment practises. Such skills are urgently needed as the brutal war in the east grinds on. […] One of the goals of the 13 NATO nations training Ukrainian forces is to wean them from their top-down Soviet-style leadership and delegate more decisions to junior officers and sergeants.” The full article is available at http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/canadian-soldiers-pass-on-life-saving-tips-to-ukrainians-fighting-russian-backed-separatists

5. Ottawa Citizen: Ukraine’s uneasy past is belied by its determination to have a future
Writing in the Ottawa Citizen, Andrew Cohen stated, “Ukraine defies easy characterization. But one thing is certain: The country that Justin Trudeau will see next week – he makes an official visit here July 11 and 12 – is not some beleaguered, misbegotten backwater. In fact, Ukraine is lively, plucky and ambitious. It is an imperfect but committed democracy. It bravely resists an expansionist Russia that has annexed Crimea, lays violent claim to the Donbass region in the east and wants to see the whole enterprise fail. […] Yet for all those challenges of recent years, Ukraine survives. That’s the story here – and why Ukrainians deserve our respect and our support. […] More than ever, Ukraine needs friends in the West who understand its story, its struggle and its promise. As the prime minister’s timely visit suggests, Canada is one.” The full article is available at http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/cohen-ukraines-uneasy-past-is-belied-by-its-determination-to-have-a-future

6. US Secretary of State to travel to Kyiv on July 7
US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Kyiv on July 7, where he will meet with Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko, PM V. Groysman and other Ukrainian leaders “to discuss progress on reforms, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and other issues,” the US State Department reported.

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