Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – May 13-19, 2017

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
May 13-19, 2017
Marksmanship train, Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine 
PHOTO – US Army Europe

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of May 12-18, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 23 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 336 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 127 times with heavy weapons – mortars, artillery and tanks.
2. Four civilians killed in Avdiivka as result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces
Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that on the evening of May 13, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residential areas of Avdiivka, Donetsk oblast. Three civilian women and one man were killed as a result of the shelling by Russian-terrorist forces. One civilian was injured and has been hospitalized.
3. Address by President of Ukraine on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko addressed the Requiem on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People, May 18. In 2015, Ukraine’s Parliament recognized the 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatar People by the Soviet regime an act of Genocide, and established May 18 as the Day of Remembrance. President Poroshenko stated, “Today, we commemorate the 73rd anniversary of deportation of Crimean Tatars from their historic homeland – Crimea. We remember with compassion other ethnic groups of Crimea that faced this challenge: Germans, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Karaites and others. […] Deportation is a crime without a statute of limitations and criminals who cold-bloodedly planned this act of genocide are not eligible for forgiveness. […] In 2014, shortly before the seventieth anniversary of deportation, post-Soviet but still authoritarian Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea. Thousands of Crimean Tatars were forced to leave their home again. Invaders do everything to squeeze the freedom-loving people out of their native land. Isn’t it a new undeclared, deviously hidden deportation. […]The sacred right of Crimean Tatars to live freely on their native land will be restored – finally and irreversibly. Due to all possible means and mechanisms approved in a civilized world. […] Crimea is Ukraine, and Ukraine is Europe. Part of the civilized world that values human dignity and sovereign rights of nations.”
4. 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 on May 17 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.”
5. 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.”
6. 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.”
7. Government to support Magnitsky bill in Canada
The Globe and Mail reported on May 17, “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the Liberal government will support a Senate bill that would establish Magnitsky-style sanctions against human-rights abusers in Russia and around the world, following in the footsteps of the U.S. and Britain. The announcement comes a month after the House of Commons foreign affairs committee urged the Liberal government to expand Canadian sanctions legislation to include human-rights abusers, freezing their assets and denying them visas. U.S.-born financier and anti-Putin campaigner Bill Browder has led the international effort to sanction human-rights abusers worldwide, in memory of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was murdered in 2009. Mr. Browder has made many trips to Ottawa in recent years, pressing both the former Conservative and current Liberal government to implement a Magnitsky Act. ‘In Canada and around the world, the issue of human-rights sanctions and in particular the case of Sergei Magnitsky have drawn strong interest, and rightly so,’ said Ms. Freeland in a speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday night. ‘However, there is no current Canadian law that authorizes the imposition of sanctions specifically for violations of international human rights obligations in a foreign state or for acts of corruption.’ Ms. Freeland specifically expressed support for Bill S-226, tabled by Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk. The legislation, essentially modelled on the Magnitsky Act that passed in the U.S. Congress in 2012, passed the Senate in April. […] Ms. Freeland said the government will work with parliamentarians to bring forward some ‘some technical amendments to strengthen the bill,’ but did not say what those amendments will look like.”

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