Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 11 July 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
11 July 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
 
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
  The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday shelling by Russian-terrorist forces increased substantially. Towards Luhansk, a firefight between Ukrainian forces and Russian-terrorist forces took place at Stanytsia Luhanska. At Popasne, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars and artillery. At Troitske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with artillery, and attacked Ukrainian positions. The attack was repelled. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces carried out heavy artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions west of Horlivka. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka and Opytne. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at several locations along the frontline with mortars. In total, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 94 times in the last 24 hours.  The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours one Ukrainian soldier was killed and ten Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action.

2. Canada’s Prime Minister begins official visit to Ukraine 
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began an official visit to Ukraine (July 11-12). Prime Minister Trudeau met with Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko, Prime Minister V. Groysman, and Parliamentary Speaker A. Parubiy. At a press conference following his meeting with President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Trudeau stated, “It’s also clear on the security side of the Minsk implementation, Russia has not been a positive partner. They have not been moving responsibly or appropriately on things like (the) ceasefire and international observers. […] We will stand with our NATO partners, and push on, as you’ve seen, our friends and partners to continue to be steadfast in support of Ukraine. Not just because Ukraine is a good friend to Canada, but because of the values and principles that we stand for as a country,” the CBC reported. Prime Minister Trudeau announced $13 million in additional Canadian humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, the CBC reported.
3. Canada, Ukraine Sign Free Trade Agreement
During Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to Ukraine, Canada and Ukraine signed the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. “The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement represents a significant milestone in the relationship between Canada and Ukraine. It will bolster our economies, spur innovation, and lead to long term benefits for the middle class and those working hard to join it,” Prime Minister Trudeau stated. The release from the Prime Minister of Canada on the signature of the CUFTA is available at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/07/11/canada-signs-landmark-free-trade-agreement-ukraine
4. NATO leaders confirm strong support for Ukraine
 At the Warsaw Summit on 9 July, in a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, the 28 leaders of NATO states met with Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko. The leaders welcomed the Ukrainian government’s plans for reform and endorsed a Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) for Ukraine.  J. Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, stated, “an independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. […] NATO is committed to helping Ukraine achieve that goal.” A joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Heads of State and Government stated, “Despite repeated calls by the Alliance and the international community on Russia to abide by international law, Russia has continued its aggressive actions undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, in violation of international law.  These developments have serious implications for the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. […] We call on Russia to reverse its illegal and illegitimate self-declared ‘annexation’ of the Crimean peninsula, which we do not and will not recognize. […] Russia continues to foment a persistent state of instability in eastern Ukraine, which has led to the loss of nearly 10,000 lives in the Donbas […] We call on Russia to stop its political, military and financial support to the militants and to implement its commitments under the Minsk Package of Measures including the withdrawal of its forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine and to allow Ukraine to reinstate full control over its state border.  […] The Ukrainian people have expressed their desire to see their country firmly anchored among European democracies.  Ukraine remains committed to the implementation of wide-ranging reforms towards European and Euro-Atlantic standards […] As set out in the CAP, we will continue to work together to advance and implement strategic reforms.  The CAP contains more than 40 areas where NATO will support Ukraine in reforms conducted by the Ukrainian government. […] We reiterate our firm commitment to further develop the Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine which will contribute to building a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe.” The full Joint Statement is available at http://nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_133173.htm

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