Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 28, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 28, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Student at Yavoriv Combat Training Center briefs fellow students before situational training exercise. PHOTO -US Army Europe
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 three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Avdiivka with artillery. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk, and Horlivka. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line. At Vodyane and Hnutove, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska. At Katernivka and Krymske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars.
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko meets with RNBO Secretary Turchynov and Prosecutor General Lutsenko. 
PHOTO – Presidential Administration of Ukraine
2. $1.5 billion from arrested Yanukovych accounts transferred to State Budget
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported, “Today, the court decision to transfer to the State Budget of Ukraine 1.5 billion US dollars, arrested on the accounts of the former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage, came into force. This was reported by Secretary of the RNBO Oleksandr Turchynov and Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko at a briefing in ‘Oschadbank’, where the bank’s management was being informed about this.” Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “”What does it mean? It means that justice is restored. For every kopeck of these 40 billion hryvnias has been stolen from every citizen of our state and this moment is an act of justice on the return of these funds to the people of Ukraine.”
3. OCT Academy: Building the Backbone of the Combat Training Centre
US Army Europe reported on April 25, “the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine graduated 14 Ukrainian soldiers from the Observer Controller Trainer Academy at the Combat Training Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine. ‘The course teaches the Ukrainian instructors the basic functions of an OCT team and familiarizes them with NATO training standards,’ said Maj. Khalid Hussein, the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s CTC development officer in charge. Two main goals of JMTG-U are to establish a CTC and to professionalize the Ukrainian army – the OCT academy works to accomplish both. Military units go to combat training centers, such as the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California or the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany, to evaluate their readiness for combat. […] Before a unit ever arrives at a training center, OCTs create the training scenario, establish exercise parameters, conduct rehearsals, identify hazards, and implement control measures to mitigate unnecessary risk, explained Hussein. During the training rotation, he continued, OCTs observe and evaluate the rotational unit’s actions. After the rotation is complete, OCTs analyze the unit’s performance, identify areas that need improvement, and capture lessons-learned through a process known as the after-action-review. Currently, both U.S. and Ukrainian cadre teach the 12-day leadership course, but by the end of the year it is expected that the program will be entirely Ukrainian-led. Ukrainian instructors taught three out of 11 classes the first time the academy was held, now they have the personnel and the experience to teach eight of the classes and chip-in during the others, said Staff Sgt. Kevin Lawson, the 45th IBCT’s OCT development noncommissioned officer in charge.”
4. Former US Ambassador to NATO calls for provision of defensive weapons to Ukraine
Testifying at the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearings on Countering Russia: Further Assessing Options for Sanctions, former US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns stated, “The United States should maintain sanctions on Russia due to its continued aggression in Ukraine. The Congress and the Trump Administration should now also consider additional sanctions over the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russia is the most dangerous U.S. adversary in the world today. For more than a decade, Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the power of the Russian state to undermine American interests in Europe, the Middle East and now in the heart of our democratic system here in the U.S. […] Putin has acted to undermine neighboring states and to gain effective control over their futures so that they may not seek closer ties to either the European Union or NATO. He wants to attain what the Tsars and Stalin sought in the past-strategic depth along his borders to separate Russia from the West. In this regard, he views the United States as his most serious competitor for power and influence in Europe. […] Sanctions have not been sufficiently robust to cause the Russian government to withdraw its military forces from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. But, the sanctions have isolated Russia internationally and have been a unifying factor in galvanizing western opposition to Putin and in ensuring non-recognition of Russia’s land grab in Ukraine. The fact that Putin and his government have worked so hard to have the sanctions lifted is an indication that they are a cause of great concern for Moscow. The Russian government continues to attempt to divide the European Union on this issue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the key leader in insisting that Russia meet all of its Minsk agreement commitments before sanctions can be lifted. She deserves our full support in maintaining unanimity within the EU in the months ahead. […] The U.S. must now mount a renewed strategy to combat this dangerous Russian campaign. The first step is for the Administration to maintain and possibly increase sanctions on Russia. A second step is for Congress and the Administration to agree to provide lethal defensive arms to Ukraine so that it can defend its people and its borders. A third step is to make permanent the recent stationing of NATO military forces on the territory of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Finally, the Trump Administration should also continue the policy of President Obama to rebuild the strength and armored capacity of U.S. military forces in Europe as a deterrent to Putin’s truculent behavior.”


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