Ukraine: Daily Briefing – May 9, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 9, 2017, 5 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, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and nine Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 50 times in total, including at least 23 times with heavy weapons. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka with artillery and mortars. At Zaytseve and Verkhnotroitske, Russian-terrorist forc es shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Maryinka and Krasnohorivka with mortars. On the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Hnutove with artillery. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Novozvanivka with artillery. At Krymske, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars.
2. Bipartisan group of US Senators call on President Trump to engage with Ukraine and other longstanding allies before engaging with Russian President
US Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Casey (D-PA), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wrote to President Trump on May 8 “encouraging him to prioritize meeting with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 conference in July.  Identifying the importance of engaging longstanding American allies as a priority for the foreign policy agenda of the new Administration, the letter also recommends increased support for institutions and European governments that help preserve the international order.” In the letter, the Senators stated, “As your Administration continues to formulate policies to promote American national security and foreign policy interests, we are writing to strongly encourage you to engage our traditional allies and prioritize meeting foreign leaders representing countries with whom we share historical ties, democratic values, and mutual interests.  […] Many of our allies in Europe are anxiously awaiting policy direction from your Administration about our commitments to NATO and other institutions that preserve the international order that has served as the framework for international stability and security since the end of the Second World War. Specifically, along with our most stalwart allies in Europe, we remain concerned about Russia’s continued military aggression in Eastern Ukraine and ongoing occupation of Crimea. Because of Russia’s destabilizing influence, approximately 10,000 people have been killed, over 20,000 wounded, and nearly 2 million internally displaced since 2014. This kind of instability can have far-reaching consequences for our allies and our interests in the region. In this vein, we strongly encourage you to meet with senior leaders from Ukraine, including President Petro Poroshenko, in advance of any official meetings with senior Russian officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting with democratically elected representatives from Ukraine would send a strong signal that the United States continues to prioritize our relationship with longstanding allies, and will continue our commitments to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing aggression.” The full text of the letter is available at
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former 
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
3. Former NATO Secretary General calls on US to provide lethal weapons, Major Non-NATO Ally status for Ukraine
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (2009-2014) met with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Copenhagen. Rasmussen reported on the meeting, “Ahead of the NATO leaders’ mini-summit on May 25th, we discussed the role NATO can play in fighting terrorism and I set out some thoughts on how the alliance could be more active in training forces in Iraq to build local capacity in the fight against Daesh. We also talked about Russia, where it is clear the United States continues to take a firm stance towards Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, and its ongoing efforts to destabilise western institutions – including NATO. I asked for Washington to step up its support for Ukraine through the delivery of lethal weapons to act as a deterrent, and the granting of a Major Non NATO Ally (MNNA) status for Ukraine to underline Washington’s commitment to the US-Ukraine security partnership.”

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