Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 13, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 13, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
 
Canadian troops training Ukrainian snipers #OpUNIFIER. 
Photo – CF Operations
 

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, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrianian positions at Avdiivka with mortars. Near Svitlodarsk, Zaytseve, and the Donetsk airport, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupo, Russian-terrorist force shelled Ukrainian positions at Hnutove, Maryinka, and Vodyane with mortars. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novooleksandrivka with mortars. Near Popasne, Troitske and Krymske, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions.
Photo – Naftogaz Ukrainy
2. Naftogaz Ukrainy posts first profit in five years, will pay $500 million in dividends
On April 12, Naftogaz Ukrainy, Ukraine’s state gas company, released its audited financial statements for 2016. Naftogaz stated, “The company has generated net profit – UAH 26.5 billion (US$ 1.0 billion) – for the first time in the last five years. In 2015, the company has posted a net loss of UAH 27.7 billion (US$ 1.3 billion). The company intends to pay UAH 13.3 billion (US$ 492.1 million at the current exchange rate) in dividends (50% of 2016 profit) to the government. A further UAH 2.4 billion (US$ 88.8 million) is planned to be paid as advance profit tax. Naftogaz’ sole shareholder (the Ukrainian government) will decide on the final amount of dividend to be paid by 30 April 2017.These payments are planned on the assumption that the necessary legislation and decisions will be approved by the Government and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine under the government’s Corporate Government Reform Action Plan for Naftogaz. […] In 2016, Naftogaz paid UAH 16.3 billion (over US$ 638.0 million) in taxes and other duties to the state budget as a stand-alone entity and became Ukraine’s second largest tax payer after Ukrgazvydobuvannya, also part of Naftogaz Group. […] For the first time in the last ten years, Naftogaz has received no support from the state budget.”
 
3. Heritage Foundation Report: The Trump Administration and the 115thCongress Should Support Ukraine
On April 11, the Heritage Foundation published its report, “The Trump Administration and the 115th Congress Should Support Ukraine.” The report states, “To put it bluntly, Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia illegally occupies Crimea. Russia provoked and now supports a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that did not previously exist. Russia is the aggressor, and Ukraine is the victim. Modern Ukraine represents the idea in Europe that each country has the sovereign ability to determine its own path and to decide with whom it has relations and how and by whom it is governed. No outside actor (in this case Russia) should have a veto on membership or closer relations with organizations like the European Union (EU) or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In many ways, the future viability of the transatlantic community will be decided in the Donbas, the region in eastern Ukraine where the fighting has been taking place. It is in America’s interest that Ukraine remains independent and sovereign and maintains the ability to choose its own destiny without outside interference. […] The U.S. can and should help Ukraine by continuing (and expanding when necessary) economic sanctions against Russia over its ongoing aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea; continuing military training programs and providing advanced weaponry to the Ukrainians; providing diplomatic support by issuing a nonrecognition statement, based on the 1940 Welles Declaration, on Russia’s annexation of Crimea; pressuring Russia to live up to its commitments under the Minsk II cease-fire agreement; and helping Ukraine to uproot entrenched corruption and cronyism within the economy and government system. […] The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 authorized up to $350 million in security assistance to Ukraine through the end of 2018. The Administration should use a healthy portion of the authorized security assistance to provide weaponry to Ukraine. The exact types of weapons needed are best determined by experts on the ground with detailed knowledge of the local security situation, the capabilities of the Ukrainian military, and the capabilities of both the separatists and the Russian forces supporting their attacks. In general, the following defensive capabilities are urgently needed by the Ukrainian military: Anti-tank/armor weapons (especially on account of the continued use of Russian T-72BM tanks by the separatists); Counter-battery radars. These would allow Ukrainian forces to determine the origin of artillery strikes so that they can respond quickly and accordingly. Some have been provided, but more can be done in this area; Increased secure communications equipment and unmanned aerial vehicles. These would significantly improve situational awareness on the battlefield and the coordination of effective military actions.” The full report is available at http://www.heritage.org/global-politics/report/the-trump-administration-and-the-115th-congress-should-support-ukraine

 


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