Ukraine: Daily Briefing – May 19, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 19, 2017, 6 PM Kyiv time
Marksmanship training, Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine. 
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 near Avdiivka with artillery and mortars, firing over 80 shells. Russian-terrorist fired on Ukrainian positions near Svitlodarsk, Zaytseve and the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Berdyankse village (east of Mariupol) with mortars, destroying two homes. No civilians were injured. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka and Maryinka. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions on the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line with mortars and artillery. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrosit forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Krymske and Popasne.
2. Canada’s Senate unanimously adopts CUFTA Implementation Act
On May 18, Canada’s Senate unanimously adopted Bill C-31, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. Senator Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, stated, “The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement builds on a longstanding history of engagement and support between our two nations. The unanimous passage of Bill C-31 marks yet another important milestone in Canada-Ukraine bilateral relations.With the ratification of this agreement, Canada will become the first country outside of Europe and Central Asia to sign a formal trade agreement with Ukraine. In doing so, Canadian businesses will be granted unparalleled opportunities in Ukraine across all sectors. This agreement underscores Canada’s support for advancing democracy in Ukraine amid recurring threats to the country’s sovereignty and independence.”
3. Ukraine’s Parliament fails to vote on healthcare reform legislation package
On May 18, Ukraine’s Parliament failed to vote to include the healthcare reform legislation package to the voting agenda. The legislation package has the support of G7 Ambassadors to Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ministry of Health sated, “Today Parliament did not vote to include in the agenda draft laws No. 6327, 6328, 6329, 6347, which are to lead to a revolution of dignity in the healthcare system in Ukraine. Today’s system has been neglected for 25 years and is mired in corruption. It does not meet the needs of patients. Ukrainian medicine – is ill. It is necessary to build a new healthcare system, which will meet international standards. So long as changes are postponed, our children, parents and Ukrainian soldiers who are endangering their health defending Ukraine in the east, will suffer. The medical reforms being implemented by the Government together with the Ministry of Health have the support of patients’ organizations, international partners, G7 Ambassadors, leaders of religious organization, the medical community and civic activists. Will he change the healthcare system? – This is a question of dignity. This is a test of the maturity of society and responsibility of political elites for the life and health of citizens. […] The patient must be at the centre of attention. A simple example – Members of Parliament who did not vote today – go abroad for medical treatment, where there are international protocols of treatment – a guarantee of quality. The average Ukrainian cannot afford treatment abroad. Moreover, according to research people are afraid to see a doctor, because they fear the high costs associated with treatment. In case of serious illness, this means the financial collapse of the entire family. Implementing international protocols of treatment in Ukraine will guarantee the quality of medical service. And public insurance will protect Ukrainians from financial risks in the event of illness. We will not give up, and we ask you to remind your Members of Parliament about real priorities. Connect with your MPs and publicly express your support for important changes. Ukraine can’t wait another five years for an honourable health care system.”
4. US Mission to OSCE on ongoing violations of international law by Russia in Ukraine

Speaking at the OSCE Permanent Council on May 18, US Charge d’affaires Kate Byrnes stated, “We are into the third year of the Russian initiated conflict in eastern Ukraine, where conditions continue to deteriorate and human casualties mount. Although there is a path to peace in the form of the Minsk agreements, Russia refuses to acknowledge its role in the conflict, flouting its commitments and fueling the violence with personnel, money, and weapons. The United States is shocked by the mounting death toll of civilians. Since the start of the year, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has corroborated over 163 civilian casualties, including 32 people killed. On May 14, the SMM reported four people were killed after an artillery shell – fired from an area under Russian-led separatist control – exploded on a house in Avdiyivka. Tragically, this latest instance of Russian-led forces shelling civilian targets left two small girls orphaned. […] We call on Russia to stop attacks on the civilians and end this senseless violence. […] According to Crimean Tatar leaders, approximately 20,000 Tatars have fled Crimea since the occupation began. We remain deeply disturbed by the unsolved, enforced disappearances of Tatars like Ervin Ibragimov, the criminalization of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the banning of Crimean Tatar media outlets, the ongoing baseless prosecution of Crimean Tatar leaders Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, and the politically-motivated trials and convictions of dozens of other Crimean Tatars who oppose Russia’s occupation. […] It is astonishing that Russia is resurrecting the worst excesses of its sordid Soviet history of persecution of the Tatar peoples of Crimea. Crimea remains an integral part of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. […] Sanctions will remain in place until Russia ends its occupation of Crimea and returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine. We join our European and other partners in restating that our sanctions against Russia for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will remain until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements.”

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