Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – February 10-16, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
February 10-16, 2018
Ukrainian army artillery training exercises.
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of February 9-15, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 68 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 29 times with heavy weapons – artillery and mortars.
2. US delivers 2500 night vision devices to Ukraine’s Armed Forces
US Ambassodor Yovanovitch and Chief of Ukraine’s General Staff General Muzhenko at transfer ceremony. Photo – US Embassy Kyiv

On February 14, the United States delivered 2500 night vision devices to Ukraine’s Armed Forces. At the transfer ceremony, Marie Yovanovitch, US Ambassador to Ukraine, stated, “Those opposition forces who would threaten the sovereignty of Ukraine can no longer hide under the cover of darkness. We have already seen night vision devices being put to good use defending Ukrainian territory in the east, and improving the training capacity of the Armed Forces.
           These Night Vision Devices are critical to building Ukraine’s capacity but they are really only a small part of the over $850 million in security assistance the United States has provided to Ukraine since 2014. […]
           The United States provides this assistance because we are committed to helping Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. That means helping to increase the capacity of Ukrainian Armed Forces. That means helping to train and equip the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It also means helping Ukrainian Armed Forces to reform itself.
           At the strategic level, this means a continued focus on reforms that bear concrete results. This includes adopting a law on national security that strengthens civilian and democratic oversight in the defense and security sectors in line with Euro-Atlantic principles.
          It means implementing a capabilities based planning system to ensure Ukraine builds a professional, sustainable defense force capable of fully protecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity;
         It means creating transparence and accountability in the defense sector through the implementation of internal control systems to manage risk; And it means reforming Ukraine’s defense industry to ensure that it operates in line with international standards of corporate governance and transparency. […] Дуже дякую. Слава Українi!”
3. February 26 – Worldwide Day of Action for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia
Video by PEN America on Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia. To view video, please click on image above
Video by PEN America on Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia. To view video, please click on image above
PEN America reported, “Ukrainian writer, filmmaker, and 2017 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Awardee Oleg Senstov, an outspoken critic of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and takeover of Crimea, is serving a 20-year sentence in a penal colony with notoriously harsh conditions after his arrest on terrorism charges that have been condemned by human rights groups as fabrications by a Russian government intent on silencing dissent.
           On February 26, the Day of Crimean Resistance to Russian Aggression, PEN America and a number of partners around the world will express their support for Sentsov with readings, rallies, and special events across the globe. Follow the hashtag #FreeSentsov to learn more about these events.” To learn more, please see here
4. Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approves Annual National Program NATO-Ukraine cooperation
On February 14, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “approved the Annual National Program (ANP) NATO-Ukraine cooperation for 2018 and also adopted a respective draft presidential decree for the further introduction of an act for signature by the head of state.
           ANP is the principal program document directing and regulating NATO-Ukraine cooperation activities. The program for 2018 includes 444 actions with involvement of 58 ministries and departments.
          The program is the main strategic document of planning of internal national reforms in the framework of NATO-Ukraine cooperation. It is aimed at preparing for membership in NATO.
          ‘According to its form and content, the transformed and modernized ANP 2018 is becoming similar to current strategic documents. The annual increase of activities proves the positive dynamics of cooperation, expansion of interaction,’ Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush Tsintsadze underlined,” the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers stated.
5. NATO chief: Issue of Ukraine’s NATO membership will be assessed based on progress Ukraine is making
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. Photo – NATO

Speaking ahead of the NATO Defence Ministerial on February 14, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “NATO and Ukraine we have a very strong partnership. And NATO provides strong political support, strong practical support to Ukraine. And NATO Allies also provide support on a bilateral basis. And we encourage and we welcome all that.
           So we’ll continue to strengthen our partnership, we’ll continue to work with Ukraine. And the focus now is on reforms. And I welcome that Ukraine has so clearly stated that their focus now is on reform, and then based on the progress they’re making on reform, then of course the issue of membership will be assessed based on the progress Ukraine is making.”
6. Army Guard chaplain shares American experience in dealing with post traumatic stress with Ukrainian experts
NY National Guard Chaplain Major Andrew Ayers and Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain Captain Humberto Lopes. Photo – JMTG-U

US Army Europe reported, “New York Army National Guard Chaplain (Major) Andrew Ayres, the chaplain for the Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine was on hand to share the American military’s experience in coping with post-traumatic stress as Ukrainian medical professionals, psychologists, chaplains, and lawyers hosted a round-table symposium focusing on the issue here, Feb. 7. […]
           As the number of PTSD and combat stress cases increase, the Ukrainian military is striving to provide Soldiers and their families with much needed assistance.
          As part of the initiative, medical professionals, military officers, lawyers, psychologists, and religious leaders gathered together to collaborate on different actions to take to best address this growing concern. […]
         Representatives from the Lviv Regional Hospital spoke at the conference and indicated that during an experiment conducted, 43 out of 110 veterans (39.1%) were found to have some sort of psychological disorder. […]
         Canadian military members – part of the Canadian Operation Unifier–Capt. Maurice Ennis, the unit’s physician, and Capt. Humberto Lopes the unit’s chaplain, also took part in the conference, as did New York Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Burton, the JMTG-U chaplain’s assistant.”
The full article is available here
7. US State Department on third anniversary of Minsk Agreements
The US State Department stated on February 13, “Yesterday marked the somber third anniversary of the signing of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Sadly, Russia continues to disregard its commitments under the Minsk agreements, stoking a hot conflict in Ukraine that has cost over 10,000 lives, including more than 2,500 civilians, and has displaced 1.6 million Ukrainians.
           Russia continues to deny its direct involvement, while Russian-led forces intimidate and deny secure access to unarmed OSCE monitors and suppress the work of independent media and civil society. Ukraine has passed legislation-including amnesty for anti-government forces and special status for the Donbas-indicating Ukraine’s desire to implement the Minsk agreements.
          Working closely with France and Germany, the United States continues to urge the Russian government to cease its aggression in Ukraine. The United States takes this opportunity to reiterate that our sanctions will remain in place until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements. Our separate Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine.”

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