Ukraine: Daily Briefing – July 10, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 10, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian Armed Forces 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 23 times in total.
2. Joint Statement following EU-Ukraine Summit
Following the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit on July 9, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, issued as joint statement, in which they stated, “We, the leaders of the European Union and Ukraine, gathered today to reaffirm our continuous commitment to strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union, on the basis of the Association Agreement and our common values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
           We have reaffirmed our attachment to international law. The EU reiterated its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process, which is essential both to meet the demands of Ukraine’s citizens and to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience to the external challenges it faces. […]
          We acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomed its European choice, as stated in the Association Agreement. We welcomed the results already achieved in the implementation of the Association Agreement including the DCFTA, and reconfirmed our commitment to accelerate these efforts. […]
          The EU reaffirmed its continued support for Ukraine’s reform efforts, linked to effective implementation of reforms and policy measures. We welcomed the adoption of the decision 3 of the EU to provide Ukraine with further macro-financial assistance of up to EUR 1 billion to underpin the economic stabilisation of the country, conditional on progress on reforms, in particular in the area of fight against corruption. […]
          We reiterated our strong condemnation of the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. […] We remain committed to fully implement our respective non-recognition policies, including through restrictive measures. […]
          We called for the immediate release of all illegally detained and imprisoned Ukrainian citizens in the Crimean peninsula and in Russia, including Crimean Tatar activists as well as Oleg Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Shumkov and Roman Sushchenko. […]
         We deplored the continuation of violence in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and its heavy toll on the civilian population and its dire consequences for the human rights situation. [….] The EU recently again renewed its economic sanctions on Russia, the duration of which remains clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. […]
         We recalled the tragic downing of flight MH17, paying tribute to the victims, looked forward to the effective prosecution of those responsible for this tragedy, and called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability.”
The full joint statement is available here: Joint statement following the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit
3. Funeral for Levko Lukyanenko held in Kyiv
Levko Lukyanenko, Soviet-era Ukrainian dissident, founding member of the Ukrainian Helskinki Group, and former Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, passed away at the age of 89 on July 7.
          For his unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s independence, Lukyanenko was arrested for the first time in 1961, persecuted by Soviet authorities and spent over 25 years in Soviet prisons, labour camps and exile. He was one of the last political prisoners released from the Soviet Gulag, in 1988. Lukyanenko was one of the authors of Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence in 1991. Lukyanenko’s funeral was held today in Kyiv. The requiem was conducted at St. Volodymyr Cathedral by Patriarch Filaret.
          Speaking following the ceremony, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “It is a great tragedy and great sorrow when the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian people lose such personalities as Levko Lukyanenko, who demonstrated with his life the invincibility of spirit and patriotism of the Ukrainian people.”
         For an obituary of Levko Lukyanenko by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG), please see here – In Memory: Levko Lukyanenko, Founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group
4. Exercise Sea Breeze 2018 begins
For a report from Ukraine's Armed Forces TV on the start of Sea Breeze, please click on image above
For a report from Ukraine’s Armed Forces TV on the start of Sea Breeze, please click on image above
The US Navy 6th Fleet reported, “The 18th iteration of exercise Sea Breeze kicked-off following opening ceremonies in Odesa and Shiroky Lan training range, Ukraine, July 9, 2018. Sea Breeze is designed to enhance interoperability among participating nations and strengthen regional security by focusing on a variety of warfare areas.
         ‘This annual multinational maritime exercise has enhanced our interoperability and capabilities among participating forces,’ said Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore of Task Force 65. “The exercise seeks to build combined capability and capacity to ensure regional security and foster trust among participating nations.”
          Some of the training areas include maritime interdiction operations, air defense, antisubmarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue and amphibious warfare.”
5. UK Defense Minister: Russian attack led to death of woman from Novichok nerve agent
Reuters reported on July 9, “Russia has committed an attack that resulted in the death of a Briton, defense minister Gavin Williamson said on Monday, linking Russia to the incident after a 44 year-old woman who was poisoned by nerve agent Novichok died. Williamson was asked in parliament about the threat facing people in Britain after the death of Dawn Sturgess on Sunday.
           ‘The simple reality is that Russia has committed an attack on British soil which has seen the death of a British citizen,’ Williamson said. ‘That is something that I think the world will unite with us in actually condemning.’
           Police have said Sturgess handled an item contaminated by Novichok, a few miles from where Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked with the same poison in March.

It was unclear if Williamson was referring to the attack on the Skripals or a new attack. […] Earlier on Monday, Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer said detectives were unable to say if the Novichok that poisoned Sturgess and a man who is in critical condition in hospital was from the same batch that struck down the Skripals.”

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