Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – February 24-March 2, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
February 24-March 2, 2018
Ukrainian army sniper training, photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of February 23-March 1, one Ukrainian soldiers was killed and 5 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 41 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 25 times with heavy weapons – artillery and mortars.
2. US approves sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated on March 1, “The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Ukraine of Javelin Missiles and Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs) for an estimated cost of $47 million.  The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
           The Government of Ukraine has requested to buy two hundred ten (210) Javelin Missiles and thirty-seven (37) Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs) (includes two (2) Javelin CLUs to be used as spares).  Also included are Basic Skill Trainers (BST); United States Government and contractor technical assistance, transportation, training and other related elements of logistics and program support.  The total estimated cost is not to exceed $47 million.
          This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of Ukraine.  The Javelin system will help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements.  Ukraine will have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces. […]
         The prime contractors will be Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture of Orlando, Florida and Tucson, Arizona.  However, these missiles are being provided from U.S. Army stocks and the CLUs will be obtained from on-hand Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF)-purchased stocks.”
3. Operation UNIFIER Joint Task Force Commander on Canada’s military training mission to Ukraine
Lt. Col. Kristopher Reeves, Commanding Officer, Joint Task Force Ukraine, speaks about Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission to Ukraine, and reforms in Ukraine’s military. To view video, please click on image below.
4. Naftogaz wins gas transit arbitration with Gazprom. Gazprom must pay $2.6 billion to Naftogaz
Naftogaz Ukrainy stated on February 28, “The Stockholm Arbitral Tribunal today found in favour of Naftogaz on most major issues in the dispute with Gazprom. The Tribunal found that Gazprom had defaulted on its obligations regarding volumes to be transited and awarded damages of USD 4.63 billion.
           The award means that Gazprom will have to make payments to Naftogaz in the order of USD 2.56 billion after residual payments for gas delivered in 2014 and 2015 have been settled.
          ‘We are pleased that we won the arbitration case on major accounts. This is an important day for the people of Ukraine and for the future of European gas markets’, says Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev.
5. Ukraine and Poland sign contract on gas supplies after Gazprom refuses delivery
Naftogaz Ukrainy reported on March 2, “Naftogaz and Poland’s PGNiG have signed a contract for urgent gas supplies following the yesterday’s Gazprom’s decision to refuse starting supply of gas to Naftogaz, which happened a day after the announcement of the award of the Stockholm Tribunal.
           The contract with PGNiG is effective until the end of March 2018. The contracted volume totals over 60 mcm. The delivery started today at 6 a.m. through Hermanowice node that connects Polish and Ukrainian gas transmission systems.
          ‘The current situation around gas supply proves that our focus on diversification of supplies was the right decision. Thanks to our Polish partners, yet another attempt of Moscow to use gas as a political weapon against Ukraine has failed. I hope that the EU and governments of the relevant member states will consider this case when making their final decision on Nord Stream 2,’ commented Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev.
6. Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act introduced in US Senate
On February 27, US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “introduced bipartisan legislation to support Ukraine’s cyber infrastructure as it faces continued cyberattacks from the Russian government. Brown’s bill, the Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, directs the U.S. State Department to help Ukraine secure its government networks by reducing reliance on Russian technology and expanding its capacity to respond to cyber threats.
           ‘Russia’s cyber aggression against Ukraine cannot stand unchecked,’ said Brown. ‘We must support Ukraine’s efforts to defend against these harmful cyberattacks and stand up to Russian aggression.’ […]
           Ukraine has been the target of Russian attacks on the country’s cyber infrastructure, including attacks on Ukraine’s electric grid. Brown’s bill calls for the U.S. to support Ukraine’s efforts to enhance existing cyber capabilities by bolstering Ukraine’s cyber security and expanding existing technology to fight against cyberattacks. The bill also requires the State Department to report to Congress within 180 days on the state of Ukrainian cybersecurity.
           Brown’s bill is also cosponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Lindsay Graham (R-SC),” Senator Brown’s office stated.
           The US House of Representatives passed the Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act on February 7.
7. Ukraine’s Parliament adopts bill on anti-corruption court in first reading
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on March 1, “Ukraine’s parliament has approved legislation creating an anticorruption court. […] The bill passed with support of 282 deputies in its first reading on March 1. Ahead of the vote, Verkhovna Rada speaker Andriy Parubiy called on the lawmakers to support the proposed law, saying its text could be amended before the second and final reading. […] The IMF has called the establishment of an anticorruption court a ‘benchmark’ of Ukraine’s progress toward Western legal standards, and has said it would help ease the release of loans in the future.”
8. Ukraine industrial output grows 3.6% in January
Ukraine Business Journal reported on February 27, “Ukraine’s industrial output surged 3.6% yoy in January, the State Statistics Service reports. Manufacturing accelerated by 9.7%. The manufacturing jump was due to machinery – up 22.1%; metallurgy – up 8% ; chemicals – up 6%; and food – up 3%. Growth was the strongest in Lviv – up 18%; Mykolayiv – up 16.5%; and Chernivtsi – up 16%.”
9. NATO: Russian threats are unacceptable
The Associated Press reported on March 2, “NATO says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to target its members are unacceptable and that the military alliance will continue using its armed forces to deter aggression.
            NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Friday that ‘Russian statements threatening to target allies are unacceptable and counterproductive.’ […]
            Noting Russia’s ‘aggressive actions’ in Ukraine and military buildup around Europe, she said: ‘NATO is pursuing a twin-track approach to Russia: strong deterrence and defence, combined with meaningful dialogue.'”

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