Ukraine: Daily Briefing – May 17, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 17, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
Signing ceremony for EU visa liberalization legislation for Ukrainian citizens, Strasbourg. Photo – Presidential Administration of Ukraine

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka with mortars and tanks. Near Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Krasnohorivka with mortars. On the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zhovte and Troykhizbenka.
2. Legislation granting Ukrainians visa-free travel to EU signed
The legislative act of the European Union granting visa-free travel to the EU for Ukrainian citizens was signed today in Strasbourg by the President of the European Parliament and the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela. Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports will be able to enter EU states (not including the UK and Ireland) for up to 90 days without a visa. The visa-free travel also applies to Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which are not members of the EU. Visa-free travel is scheduled to enter into force June 11. At a press conference following the signing ceremony, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “Today is a historical day for Ukraine, for my 45 million nation. And I am absolutely confident that this is a historical day for the EU. Ukraine returns to the European family. Ukraine says final farewell to the Soviet and Russian empire.”
3. Ukraine’s President on sanctions against Russian social networks, search engines: After the last Russian soldier leaves Ukraine, we will be ready to revise this decision
On May 16, Ukraine imposed sanctions on several Russian social networks and search engines, including VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Yandex and, and ordered the limitation or termination of access to the sites in Ukraine. Asked about these sanctions, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “An important part of this war for Russians is hybrid war waged by information troops of Russia. Enormous budgets are spent for propaganda to destabilize the situation in both Ukraine and Europe. […]I can emphasize that immediately after the termination of Russian aggression against Ukraine, immediately after the last Russian soldier leaves sovereign and independent territory of Ukraine, we will be ready to revise this decision. […] Today, one cannot differentiate cybersecurity and Russian interference with democratic processes all over the world, as well as its propagandistic efforts made using, inter alia, social networks.”
4. US Army Europe trains Ukrainian soldiers on tactical operations centers
US Army Europe reported, “U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine demonstrated a NATO-style tactical operations center for staff officers from Ukraine’s 79th Air Assault Brigade at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center on May 12. ‘Today was a demonstration of a tactical operations center at the battalion level,’ said Capt. Kurt Jarvis, JMTG-U’s simulations mentor who led the demonstration. Jarvis, an officer with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Edmond, Oklahoma, said Ukrainian TOCs are traditionally smaller than NATO-based operations centers and this display shows the number of people it takes to run a larger TOC effectively. The demonstration provided both the 79th Air Assault Brigade, whose 1st Airmobile Battalion is at the CTC training, and the CTC staff a look at how a NATO-based TOC functions, a key element in building interoperability with NATO forces. This provides the CTC with a better understanding of the NATO style TOC, enabling their trainers to teach the structure and staff functions to future battalions that will train at Yavoriv, Jarvis explained. […] At the center of the action was the battle NCO. Jarvis said the demonstration was designed to highlight the importance of having an NCO in the operations center to assist the battle captain, the officer in charge, in filtering information and making decisions. As information came in through radio calls, the battle NCO took that information and provided it to the battle captain while updating maps and critical information tracking sheets and took direction from the battle captain on what actions needed to be taken.”

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