Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 4, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 4, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Honour Guard for the arrival of Ukraine’s Defence Minister Poltorak to Ottawa. Photo – DND

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka and Pisky with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Novhorodsk with mortars. Towards Mariupol, as a result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces at Maryinka, a 15-year old boy was injured. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions on the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krymske with mortars.
2. Canada, Ukraine sign Defence Cooperation Arrangement
On April 3, Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan and Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Stepan Poltorak signed the Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Arrangement. The Government of Canada stated, “This bilateral arrangement further exemplifies Canada’s commitment to Ukraine by identifying areas of mutual cooperation such as defence policy; defence research, development, and production; and military education. The Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Arrangement is a key part of the Canadian Government`s multifaceted support for Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, security, and stability. This arrangement is focused on providing a framework for cooperation on important defence-related issues.” Minister Sajjan stated, “Today’s signing of the Defence Cooperation Arrangement shows Canada’s steadfast commitment to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. It strengthens the ties between our two nations and helps us continue to develop our rich, mutually beneficial relationships.  Canada remains fully committed to providing assistance to Ukraine, helping to preserve and protect its sovereignty through Operation UNIFIER, and to supporting the implementation of key reforms.”
3. IMF Executive Board approves disbursement of $1 billion to Ukraine
On April 3, the IMF Executive Board completed the third review of Ukraine’s program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), enabling the disbursement of $1 billion US, which would bring total disbursements to about $8.4 billion US. David Lipton, IMF First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated, “The Ukrainian economy is showing welcome signs of recovery. Growth is returning, inflation has been brought down, and international reserves have doubled. This progress owes much to the authorities’ decisive policy actions, including sound macroeconomic policies. The recent stabilization provides a promising basis for further growth. […] A start needs to be made with privatization and developing a market for agricultural land. Corruption needs to be tackled decisively. Despite the creation of new anticorruption institutions, concrete results have yet to be achieved. Notwithstanding the large fiscal adjustment, public debt remains high. The urgency of structural fiscal reforms to ensure medium-term sustainability has increased, as pressures to raise wages and pensions are building. […]Impressive progress has been made in rehabilitating the banking system, but efforts need to continue to restore banks’ soundness and reinforce their ability to support growth.”
4. Russia taken to European Court of Human Rights over illegal ban of Crimean Tatar Mejlis
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “Russia’s ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis [representative assembly] has been formally challenged at the European Court of Human Rights, with the Mejlis represented by prominent Ukrainian and Russian human rights groups and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre [EHRAC]. Russia’s ban as ‘extremist’ on the self-governing body of the main indigenous people of Crimea has been described as an act of war against the entire Crimean Tatar people and internationally condemned.  Mere expressions of indignation are, however, insufficient, when Mejlis leaders have been banished from their homeland, jailed or facing criminal charges for opposing annexation.  The Mejlis has therefore turned to the Court in Strasbourg, citing a number of rights which Russia’s ban violates. The Mejlis and its leaders will be represented by the British-based European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) and the Russian Memorial Human Rights Centre. All of them have considerable experience in successfully representing applicants before the European Court of Human Rights. The Mejlis will be arguing that its designation as an extremist organisation and the suspension of its activities is a violation of the right to freedom of association, under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); and that it has been banned – and its members persecuted – to punish them for their political position (in violation of Article 18). They also complain that the Russian Courts disregarded their status as a representative body of the indigenous people of Crimea, violating the prohibition of discrimination (Article 14). They further allege that they did not have access to a fair trial (Article 6 ECHR), and they could not have anticipated that their activities would be in violation of anti-extremist legislation (Article 7 ECHR).The Mejlis made its opposition to Russian occupation of Crimea clear from the outset, and the repressive measures began soon after it called on all Crimeans to boycott Russia’s pseudo-referendum on March 16, 2014.”
Image: CUTIS
5. Ukraine’s President signs law on ratification of Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement
On April 3, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed the Law “On Ratification of the Free Trade Area Agreement between Ukraine and Canada,” which was passed by Ukraine’s Parliament on March 14. Canada’s legislation on the implementation of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) is currently in committee in Canada’s Senate.


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