Ukraine: Daily Briefing – July 26, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
July 26, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Canadian Armed Forces delegation headed by Lt. Gen. Michael Rouleau, Commander, Joint Operations Command, visit Ukraine and CAF personnel deployed on Operation UNIFIER. Photo – Ukraine’s National Army Academy

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 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 24 times in total.
2. United States Crimea Declaration
On July 25, US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo stated, “Russia, through its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea, sought to undermine a bedrock international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force. The states of the world, including Russia, agreed to this principle in the United Nations Charter, pledging to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. This fundamental principle – which was reaffirmed in the Helsinki Final Act – constitutes one of the foundations upon which our shared security and safety rests.
            As we did in the Welles Declaration in 1940, the United States reaffirms as policy its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over territory seized by force in contravention of international law. In concert with allies, partners, and the international community, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and pledges to maintain this policy until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored.
            The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea. As democratic states seek to build a free, just, and prosperous world, we must uphold our commitment to the international principle of sovereign equality and respect the territorial integrity of other states. Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community.”
3. United Kingdom supports US declaration on Crimea
Following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s reiteration of the US stance against Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson stated:
            “The UK echoes the United States’ firm statement of opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The UK position is clear: we condemn Russia’s continued breach of international law; Crimea is Ukrainian territory. We remain fully committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.
            The UK also remains deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Crimea, where we have seen the systematic persecution of minority groups and of those who voice their opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of the territory. We call again for Russia to release all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Crimea and in Russia, and to allow unrestrained access for international human rights monitoring bodies to the peninsula.”
4. IMF backs Ukraine anti-corruption court plan
Reuters reported, “The International Monetary Fund has given its backing to Ukraine’s revised plans for an anti-corruption court, fulfilling one condition for unlocking the next $2 billion installment of aid to Kyiv. The court is being set up as part of Ukraine’s $17.5 billion bailout package and has become a symbol of its efforts to stamp out high-level corruption that has blighted the country for decades.
            ‘The legislative framework for the High Anti-Corruption Court, once the recently adopted amendments are signed into law, will be consistent with the authorities’ commitments under Ukraine’s IMF-supported program,’ an IMF spokeswoman told Reuters.
            Ukraine’s parliament approved amendments to the new law needed to set up the court on July 12 after a previous version was deemed by the Fund to be too loose. […]
            A number of other issues remain to be resolved, however, before Kyiv finally receives the next installment of IMF money. There is a standoff over plans to raise gas prices as well as over implementing additional spending cuts or money-raising measures needed to plug some shortfalls in revenues earlier in the year.

Kyiv has received only half the $17.5 billion earmarked for its aid program which is due to run out next year. It has not had any fresh money since April last year and needs to repay around $15 billion of foreign currency debt over the next two years. ‘Discussions on other outstanding issues, including gas prices and the government budget, are ongoing,’ the spokeswoman said.”

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