Ukraine: Daily Briefing – June 7, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 7, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 25 times in total.
2. Ukrainian lawmakers pass legislation to create anticorruption court
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “The Ukrainian parliament has passed a bill on a long-awaited anticorruption court, whose creation is a key condition in order for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to distribute more aid to the country.
           Lawmakers stood up and applauded in the Verkhovna Rada on June 7 after 315 of them backed the draft law, which describes the Supreme Anticorruption Court as a permanent ‘higher specialized court’ to be located in the capital, Kyiv. The court’s jurisdiction would be applicable to the entire territory of Ukraine, it also says.
           ‘Today we have completed the formation of anticorruption infrastructure,’ President Petro Poroshenko tweeted after the vote. ‘I want to emphasize the resolve of the Ukrainian authorities to fight corruption.’ […]
           The IMF has said an anticorruption court will be a ‘benchmark’ of Ukraine’s progress toward Western legal standards, and that it would help ease the release of its loans in the future. The United States has also highlighted the importance of establishing an independent anticorruption court in Ukraine.”
3. Bipartisan Resolution condemning Russian transgressions against international law during the 2018 FIFA World Cup introduced in US House of Representatives
On June 6, Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) “introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Russian transgressions against international law and FIFA values during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This includes Russia’s history of violent and illegal action, like the invasion of Ukraine, as well as their well-documented human rights violations and the jailing of activists and journalists.
           ‘As the world turns its eyes toward the World Cup in Russia, with billions of viewers across the world, our resolution makes it clear that Congress has not forgotten Russia’s continued campaign of disinformation and electoral meddling, human rights abuses and violence across the world,’ said Congresswoman Kaptur. ‘We must stand united against forces of tyranny, not undermine global sanctions against Russia by providing them with a windfall of tourism, likely to only benefit Putin’s rich oligarch friends.’ […]
           Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said, ‘We need to ensure we hold the Putin regime accountable and urge FIFA to reform its guidelines so dictators are no longer rewarded with prestigious events to give their kleptocracies a patina of legitimacy.’
          The Members were joined in support for the resolution by Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY).
         ‘When it comes to our shared experiences through the world’s most popular sport, we can do better than to reward Russia’s dangerous and reckless behavior with the honor of hosting the World Cup. The spirit of the game of soccer deserves better,’ said Congressman Engel, Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee. ‘This bipartisan resolution makes it clear that Russia’s violent and aggressive actions will not be forgotten or glossed over. The international community must stand up against Putin and his cronies.’
         The resolution details how Russia’s actions not only fly in the face of international norms, but they also go against FIFA’s statutes, which state that ‘discrimination of any kind against a country… is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.’
            The Resolution goes on to urge the international community to continue to hold Russia to account, and not reward its malign behavior with the benefits of hosting the World Cup and hold FIFA to a higher standard in future bidding processes to ensure fairness and transparency,” Kaptur’s office reported.
4. Prime Minister of Canada speaks with Ukraine’s President
The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada reported on June 6, “Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The leaders discussed Canada’s hosting of the upcoming G7 Summit, as well as issues of shared interest including commercial relations, matters of security in eastern Ukraine, energy security and democratic interference. The leaders also welcomed the inauguration of Air Ukraine’s direct flights to Canada. Both leaders emphasized the need to continue to work together to safeguard the rules-based international order, and highlighted the warm and unwavering relationship between the two countries.”
5. UK calls on Russia to release Ukrainian political prisoners
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated on June 6, “Four Ukrainian nationals currently in Russian detention are on hunger strike in protest against Russia’s treatment of Ukrainian political prisoners.
           The four men were detained by the Russian authorities for expressing opposition to the illegal annexation of Crimea, and given lengthy jail sentences following trials which appeared to fall well short of international standards. These cases, including over 70 others against Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, underline the Russian Federation’s systematic persecution of those who voice their opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
           A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: ‘We are deeply concerned about the welfare of the four Ukrainian nationals held by Russia, who are on hunger strike in protest against Russia’s continued detention of Ukrainian political prisoners. Their imprisonment, and that of many more Ukrainians who have been jailed by Russia, appears politically motivated. We call on the Russian authorities to release them immediately.
         Russia’s control over Crimea remains illegal and illegitimate, and is a flagrant violation of a number of Russia’s international commitments.’
         The four Ukrainian nationals who are on hunger strike while being detained by the Russian authorities are :Oleg Sentsov; Oleksandr Kolchenko; Oleksandr Shumkov; Volodymyr Balukh.”

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