Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – May 5-11, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
May 5-11, 2018
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of May 4-11, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 24 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 433 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 115 times with heavy weapons – artillery and mortars. On May 8, Russian-terrorist forces shelled civilian areas of Loskutivka, Luhansk oblast with artillery, damaging 8 residential buildings. On May 7, Russian-terrorist forces shelled civilian areas of Zaytseve with artillery, firing 27 artillery shells into the town.
2. Bellingcat Full Report: Russian officers and militants identified as perpetrators of the January 2015 Mariupol artillery strike
A joint investigation released May 10 between Bellingcat and McClatchy DC “has determined the identities of eleven men, including nine Russian commanders and officers of the Russian Armed Forces, in the 24 January 2015 artillery attack on Mariupol, which killed at least 29 civilians and wounded more than 90. […]
           Our investigation used materials submitted by Ukraine as part of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) case, which were made available to a small group of investigators, including Bellingcat and McClatchy DC. […]
           Bellingcat has determined conclusively that the artillery attack in the Ukrainian town of Mariupol on 24 January 2015, which resulted in civilian loss of life, came from Russia-controlled territory. Bellingcat has also determined that the shelling operation was instructed, directed and supervised by Russian military commanders in active service with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Bellingcat has identified nine Russian officers, including one general, two colonels and three lieutenant colonels, involved directly with the military operation.
          Furthermore, Bellingcat has determined that two artillery batteries of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems were transported from Russia into Ukraine the day before the Mariupol operation. In the early morning of 24 January 2015, these batteries were deployed near the village of Bezimenne exclusively for the shelling of targets in and around Mariupol, after which they were repatriated back into Russia.
          In the course of analyzing the events in the eve of and on 24 January 2015, Bellingcat additionally identified two Russian generals involved with selection and assignment of Russian artillery specialists to commanding roles in Eastern Ukraine.”
3. Leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France discuss issue of prolonging sanctions
photo – Ukraine’s Presidential Administration
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on May 10, “During a working visit to Germany, President Petro Poroshenko held a trilateral meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.
‘We had a very ambitious agenda. We discussed the issue of prolonging sanctions. We expressed serious concern over the escalation of hostilities by the Russian Federation against Ukrainian troops. Last day in the Katerynivka area, we lost one Ukrainian hero, five were wounded,’ Petro Poroshenko noted.
           The President also noted that he had informed the leaders of France and Germany in detail about the situation in the Donbas. ‘We clearly emphasize and insist that the truce that was announced before Easter must be strictly followed by Russian terrorist troops,’ he stressed.
           The President said that he had discussed with the leaders of France and Germany the de-occupation of Crimea. ‘Obviously, we discussed the de-occupation and the imposition of sanctions for the illegal conduct of the elections. I spoke about it from the very beginning,’ Petro Poroshenko said.
           ‘We coordinate actions. The package of sanctions on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and cessation of Russia’s aggression in the Donbas is inextricably linked to the package of sanctions for the illegal annexation of Crimea,’ the Head of State emphasized.”
4. US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations testifies at US Helsinki Commission
Ambassador Volker, photo – US State Dept.
Ambassador Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, testified at the US Helsinki Commission on May 8. The Commission stated, “The Russian-manufactured war in Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people, injured at least 25,000, and created a humanitarian crisis endangering millions more. Amid daily ceasefire violations and threats to critical infrastructure, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the cost of the needless, four-year-old conflict.
            In July 2017, the U.S. Secretary of State appointed Ambassador Kurt Volker as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations. Volker has since repeatedly met with senior Russian counterparts to explore ways to end the conflict, including the possibility of an international peacekeeping mission.
At this Helsinki Commission briefing, Ambassador Volker explored the way ahead for U.S. and international policy on Ukraine in the wake of President Putin’s re-election.”
A video of the briefing is available here
5. US House Committee on Armed Services Committee on how Defense Authorization Act counters Russian aggression and influence

The US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee presented the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19 NDAA) on May 7.
The Committee stated, “Russia’s military and political strength grew to their present and increasingly-threatening state during the eight years of the Obama Administration, which scoffed at the idea of Russia as a geopolitical threat.”
The Committee outlined how FY19 NDAA confronts Russia:
Helps Our Allies Defend Themselves Against Russian Aggression
  • Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to increase engagement and military-to-military cooperation in the Western Balkans region.
  • Authorizes $250M for security assistance and intelligence support to the Government of Ukraine, including lethal defensive weapons.
  • Modifies the current Russia sanctions regime to allow countries that demonstrably reverse their relationship with Russia to do business with the United States–a change endorsed by Secretary Mattis.
Targets the Russian Arms Industry
  • Applies new sanctions to the Russian arms industry and anyone who does business with it, including sanctioning persons involved in the purchase of an advanced conventional weapon from the Russian arms industry.
  •  Requires a report on the supply chains for Russian arms sales programs.
Limits Contact and Assistance to Russia
  • Extends the limits on military-to-military cooperation with Russia.
  • Prohibits funds for atomic energy defense activities from being used to enter into a contract with, or otherwise provide assistance to, Russia.
Forces Russia To Comply with Treaties It Is Breaching
  • Cuts funding for the Open Skies Treaty, which Russia has been breaching, while simultaneously leveraging America’s Open Skies technology investments. Redirects Open Skies funding to other ISR platforms.
  • Funds research and development to counter non-INF Treaty compliant systems being deployed by Russia.”
6. Toshiba and Kharkiv’s Turboatom to sign cooperation agreement
Ukraine Business Journal reported on May 10, “The Energy and Coal Industry Ministry has announced that the Japanese Embassy has confirmed Toshiba’s readiness to sign a memorandum of understanding next month ‘to cooperate with Ukraine in modernization of equipment for the nuclear energy sector, in particular, production and modernization of turbines, including for nuclear facilities in third countries.’ The details of the agreement have not been disclosed.”

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