Ukraine: Daily Briefing – July 9, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 9, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian Armed Forces armored units training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’ s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was 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 21 times in total.
2. 20th EU-Ukraine Summit in Brussels
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko_ President of the European Council Tusk and President of the European Commission Juncker at EU-Ukraine Summit, July 9.
 Photo – Ukraine’s Presidential Administration
The 20th EU-Ukraine Summit is being held today in Brussels. The EU stated, “EU and Ukraine leaders will exchange views on the next steps in the implementation of the association agreement and its free trade area. The agreement has been applied since 2016 and has delivered positive results on EU-Ukraine trade as well as on the country’s economy.
          They will also discuss progress on the Ukrainian reform agenda and the EU’s support to this process. On 29 May 2018, the Council agreed on a new package of macro-financial assistance of €1 billion for Ukraine.
           In addition, leaders will touch upon crisis and conflict-related matters as well as regional and foreign policy issues, such as: relations with Russia; energy security; the follow-up to the 2017 Eastern Partnership summit
As regards the ongoing Russian aggression and conflict in eastern Ukraine, the summit will reaffirm the EU’s support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
          Leaders will stress the need for full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all sides, underlining the responsibility of Russia in this context. In the absence of progress, EU leaders decided last week at the June European Council to approve the prolongation of economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy.”
3. US welcomes Ukraine’s Law on National Security
The US State Department stated on July 6, “The United States welcomes Ukraine’s new Law on National Security, adopted by the Rada June 21 and signed by President Poroshenko July 5. The law is consistent with Western principles and provides a framework for increasing the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ NATO interoperability. Full implementation of the law, including the establishment of a Rada oversight committee for the security sector and a new law on the Security Service of Ukraine, will further deepen Ukraine’s Western integration. The United States stands ready to continue supporting Ukraine’s defense and security sector reforms to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity.”
4. Naftogaz refers transit tariff revision claim to arbitration in Stockholm
Naftogaz Ukrainy reported on July 6, “Naftogaz submitted a claim for revision of the tariff in its transit contract with Gazprom to arbitration in Stockholm. The transit contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom allows the parties to request a revision of the tariff in case of significant changes in the European gas market and if the tariff does not correspond to the level of tariffs in Europe.
          In the Award rendered by a Stockholm tribunal on 28 February 2018, Naftogaz’s claim for tariff revision was rejected for procedural reasons, and Naftogaz’s substantive right to a revision of the tariff was therefore not decided in that Award. Naftogaz submitted a request for revision of the tariff to Gazprom in March 2018, triggering negotiations pursuant to the contract.
          The reasons for the request are significant changes in the European gas market, in particular the rules for setting transit tariffs, after the contract was concluded in January 2009, and the fact that the tariff level does not correspond to the European level. Gazprom has not been constructive in the negotiations, compelling Naftogaz to refer the matter to arbitration as provided for in the contract. Naftogaz requests a revision of the tariff with effect from March 2018, and has preliminarily estimated the monetary value of the claim at USD 11.58 billion, excluding interest.”
5. USS Porter arrives in Odesa for exercise Sea Breeze 2018
USS Porter arrives in Odesa port. Photo – US 6th Fleet
The US 6th Fleet reported, “The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Odesa, Ukraine, July 8, 2018, for a scheduled port visit. Strengthening alliances during the port visit to Odessa demonstrates the shared commitment we have to promote security and stability within the region, while seeking opportunities to enhance our interoperability with our NATO allies and partners in the Black Sea. […]
          While in Odesa, Porter is scheduled to participate in exercise Sea Breeze 2018. Sea Breeze is an annual exercise held in the Black Sea which is co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States. The exercise will focus on a variety of warfare areas including maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue and amphibious warfare.
           USS Porter entered the Black Sea to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the collective defense of our NATO allies and partners. All Department of Defense efforts in support of our NATO allies in Eastern Europe fall under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
          The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law. The ship’s operations in the Black Sea are meant to enhance maritime security and stability, as well as the combined naval capability and capacity among our allies and partners.”

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