Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – February 17-23, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
February 17-23, 2018
February 26 is the Worldwide Day of Action for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia. The Worldwide Day of Action is organized by PEN America and international partners. For a video by Babylon 13, please click on image above #FreeSentsov
February 26 is the Worldwide Day of Action for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia. The Worldwide Day of Action is organized by PEN America and international partners. For a video by Babylon 13, please click on image above #FreeSentsov

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of February 16-22, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 20 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 108 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 49 times with heavy weapons – artillery and mortars.
2. President of Ukraine signs law on reintegration of the Donbas
Ukraine's President speaks on the law on reintegration of the Donbas. To view video, please click on image above
Ukraine’s President speaks on the law on reintegration of the Donbas. To view video, please click on image above
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on February 20, “During the meeting of the Military Cabinet, President Petro Poroshenko signed the law on peculiarities of the state policy on ensuring the state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. […]
‘We shouldn’t think that Russia’s goal was Crimea of the east of our state. I am sure that the goal is still the whole Ukraine. Of course, the aggressor didn’t expect the resistance organized from the first days of the aggression by the Ukrainian people, volunteers who ruined the plans elaborated in the top offices of the Kremlin,’ the President noted.
‘This Law, on the one hand, reflects my strategy on the return of the occupied territories under the Ukrainian sovereignty. In this Law, we qualify the Russian state as an aggressor state. And this is enshrined at the legislative level. In this Law, it is legally determined that it was the Russian Federation that occupied our territories. This Law substantially strengthens the legal basis for the use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other forces for the defense of our state,’ Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
At the same time, according to him, this Law establishes the basic parameters of protection of civil rights and freedoms of the civilian population. ‘And it is very important that this Law provides a legal mechanism for the return of these territories. Inter alia, in a political and diplomatic way,’ Petro Poroshenko emphasized.”
3. US State Department on Fourth Anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity
On February 20, the US State Department stated, “Four years ago, Ukrainians from all walks of life and all regions of the country came together on the Maydan, Kyiv’s central square, to demand their government recognize the choice of the citizens of Ukraine to join Europe. Scores of Ukrainians-the “Heavenly Hundred”-gave their lives on the Maydan for the dream of a better Ukraine. The United States will continue to stand by Ukraine as it faces ongoing Russian aggression, which has claimed over 10,000 lives and displaced more than 1.6 million Ukrainians.
Ukraine has taken important steps over the past four years, yet there is still more work needed to fulfill the promise of the Maydan and unlock Ukraine’s potential. The United States calls on Ukraine’s leaders to redouble their efforts to implement the deep, comprehensive and timely reforms that are necessary to build the stable, democratic, prosperous, and free country Ukrainians deserve. We are proud to work with the people of Ukraine to honor the sacrifices made four years ago for Ukraine’s European choice.”
4. IMF calls for expeditious consideration of draft law on anticorruption court
On February 20, Ukraine Business Journal reported, “After an IMF team spent last week [in Ukraine], Resident Representative Goesta Ljungman released a statement Monday: ‘It is now important that the authorities move expeditiously with parliamentary consideration of the draft law on the anticorruption court, while ensuring that the necessary amendments are adopted during the parliamentary process to make the approved law fully consistent with program commitments and the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.'”
5. GE signs $1 billion deal with Ukraine to supply freight locomotives
On February 22, Reuters reported, “General Electric Co’s transportation unit said on Friday it signed a $1 billion deal to supply 30 freight locomotives to Ukrainian Railways.
Under the agreement, the unit will also supply additional locomotive kits over 10 years, rehabilitate locomotives in the railway’s legacy fleet and provide long-term maintenance services.
Production is expected to begin in the United States in early 2018, with the first deliveries slated for this fall, the company said.”
6. American Foreign Policy Council Senior Fellow: Ukraine’s war is our war
Writing for the Atlantic Council, American Foreign Policy Council Senior Fellow Stephen Blank stated, “Nothing would comfort Moscow more than to believe that for the West, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is merely a minor concern. That would make the tasks of obstructing the implementation of the Minsk accords and steadily undermining Ukraine through military pressure, economic warfare, terrorism, and information warfare much easier. […]
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was the most naked form of aggression in Europe since World War II and globally since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, and it must be acknowledged as such. Western support for Ukraine that includes weapons assistance must continue, along with constant Western pressure on Ukraine to live up to its goals of democratic reform, without which it would be vulnerable to Russian pressure. As everyone west of Russia recognizes, an independent democratic Ukraine secure in its 1991 borders is not a threat to anybody. In fact, as Sherman Garnett wrote a generation ago, Ukraine is ‘the keystone in the arch’ of European security.
These considerations lead to a second conclusion. This confluence of events-the activities in Munich and the recent indictments-shows that Ukraine’s war is our war, indeed that Moscow is still at war with the West. The Mueller indictments reveal that the actions under review there began in 2014; they grew out of the Western reaction to Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. […]
As the indictments and testimony by US intelligence agency leaders make clear, Russia’s war on the United States and Europe continues, just as it does against Ukraine. This fact obliges both the US and European governments not only to forge a durable, credible, and multi-dimensional strategy against Russia but also to assist Ukraine in achieving the same. […]
Therefore, both the United States and Europe must emphasize that Ukraine is not an afterthought, and that they embrace Ukraine’s cause, no matter how difficult that may be, by simultaneously pressuring it to reform, providing it with the means of self-defense, and insisting that Russia abide by the Minsk accords and pull out of the Donbas and Crimea. Only when that happens might Moscow realize that it cannot continue to threaten Western security without risking a much greater disaster at home. And only then may it actually seek to repair some of the damage it has created.” The full article is available here

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