Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 6, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 6, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
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, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions and residential areas of Avdiivka with mortars. A civilian was injured as a result of the shelling by Russian-terrorist forces. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian position at Zaytseve and Pisky. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars at Krasnohorivka. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Stanytsia Luhanska with mortars. Near Novooleksandrivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers.
2. European Parliament approves visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens
European Parliament approved visa-free travel for citizens of Ukraine today. The Parliament stated, “Under the new law, Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport will be able to enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes. […] The legislation, approved by 521 votes to 75 with 36 abstentions, still needs to be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers. It is likely to enter into force in June, 20 days after it is published in the EU Official Journal.”
3. US Mission to OSCE: Ukraine is defending itself against a campaign of aggression by Russia
Speaking at the Special OSCE Permanent Council Meeting on Russian Aggression against Ukraine on April 5, US charge d’affaires Kate M. Byrnes stated, “As Secretary Tillerson said at NATO, we note with alarm the escalating violence along the line of contact and the repeated targeting of civilian infrastructure by Russia-led separatist forces. We call on Russia to exercise its influence over the separatists to put a stop to the violence, end the campaign of attacks and intimidation against OSCE monitors, and facilitate the access they need to do their job. […] Colleagues, we must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of moral equivalency. Ukraine is defending itself against a campaign of aggression by Russia. Ukraine has lost over 1,600 square kilometers of territory since combined Russian-separatist forces signed the Minsk Package of Measures in 2015. Combined Russian-separatist forces continue to make claims on territory beyond the line of contact. As Secretary Tillerson said at NATO, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has shaken the very foundations of security and stability in Europe, and compromises our shared vision of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace. The United States affirms its staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders. We do not, and will not, accept Russian efforts to change the borders or territory of Ukraine. As Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed, U.S. sanctions will remain in place until Russia reverses the actions that triggered them.”
4. Ukraine’s President: A secure Ukraine means a secure Europe
Speaking at the Kyiv Security Forum, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, the “crisis in Europe is a fight of two opposite ideas of Europe: freedom or tyranny.  And only one of these ideas will prevail in the end. […] Ukrainians always looked at the world through the lens of universal ideas of liberation, freedom, human dignity and the rule of law. We still do. This is how we see our future – the European one. And that is the difference between Ukraine and Russia. Russia seeks its future in its imperial past. […] In the past of oppression and imperial expansion. That is what they practiced before. That is what they practice now. […] The more hesitant we are today – the greater challenge we get tomorrow. We have to take a proactive approach, instead of reacting to another provocative step of Moscow. […] We have all tools in our disposal to restrain Russia’s aggressive behavior. The price of aggression has to grow, until Moscow respects international rules.  Sanctions is the very instrument to contain Kremlin and reverse its behavior. […]As well as, we need our resolve to tighten sanctions every time Russia crosses another red line. Russia has already dispelled the illusions about its good will. The West has to acknowledge that today a secure Ukraine means a secure Europe, and, if broader – a secure transatlantic community. Stronger defense alliance with Ukraine should be our joint response. Improving defense capabilities of Ukraine equals to strengthening the West itself. Providing Ukraine with modern equipment, including radio-electronic and anti-radar systems, is investment in our common security […] Today our struggle is not only a fight for Ukraine’s independence but for the future of the Free World. […] Just a few days ago, Ukraine and Canada signed a defense cooperation agreement that sets a framework for joint research and production. A right step in a right direction, in a right time, in a right place.” More information on the Kyiv Security Forum is available at

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