Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – October 13-19, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
October 13-19, 2018
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported that during the week of October 12-18, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 166 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 34 times with heavy weapons. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation headquarters reported that returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 11 and wounded 24 enemy combatants in the last week.
2. Attack on college in Russian-occupied Crimea
An attack at a college in Kerch, in Russian-occupied Crimea, took place on the morning of October 17. According to unconfirmed reports, the perpetrator of the attack was a student at the same college, who killed himself after carrying out the attack. According to unconfirmed reports, the attacker set off an explosive device and began shooting in the college. According to unconfirmed reports, 19 people were killed and more than 40 injured.
           Hromadske reported, “Ukrainian president’s permanent representative in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Borys Babin, has expressed his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
          ‘These are our nationals,’ he said in a comment to Hromadske adding that carrying out investigations is ‘impossible’ in the occupied territory.”
3. Ukraine, IMF reach staff-level agreement on new Stand-By Arrangement
The International Monetary Fund reported on October 19, “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff and the Ukrainian authorities have reached agreement on economic policies for a new 14-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The new SBA will replace the arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), approved in March 2015 and set to expire in March 2019.
           The new SBA, with a requested access of SDR 2.8 billion (equivalent to US$3.9 billion), will provide an anchor for the authorities’ economic policies during 2019. Building on progress made under the EFF arrangement in reducing macro-economic vulnerabilities, it will focus in particular on continuing with fiscal consolidation and reducing inflation, as well as reforms to strengthen tax administration, the financial sector and the energy sector.
          The agreement reached today reflects the IMF’s commitment to continue to help Ukraine achieve stronger, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth. The new program has been developed in close coordination with the World Bank and the European Union, who have parallel operations to support Ukraine. The authorities’ steadfast and effective implementation will be critical for the program to achieve its objectives.
         The agreement is subject to IMF management approval and approval by the IMF Executive Board. Board consideration is expected later in the year following parliamentary approval of a government budget for 2019 consistent with IMF staff recommendations and an increase in household gas and heating tariffs to reflect market developments while continuing to protect low-income households.”
4. President on the decision of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church: The reaction of Russian spiritual and secular authorities shows that Ukraine is on the right track
photo – Ukraine’s Presidential Administration

Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on October 16, “In a meeting with the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine – Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in Canada and Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in the United States of America, President Petro Poroshenko once again thanked for the decision of the Holy Synod to provide autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
           ‘At the same time, at the behest of the Kremlin, the leadership of the aggressor country, the Russian completely dependent church authorities declared they will break off the Eucharistic communion with the Constantinople Mother Church. I am sure that such a reaction of the spiritual and secular Russian authorities, as well as of the church leadership completely dependent on the Russian authorities only confirms that we are on the right track,’ the Head of State emphasized.
           The President added: ‘Just as Russia has now opposed itself to the whole world in the issues of Russian aggression in the east of our state, illegal annexation of Crimea, position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, position on Transnistria and the rest, unfortunately, the Russian Church has also set itself on the path of self-isolation and conflict with the whole world Orthodoxy.’
          ‘I hoped this would not happen, but we should have been prepared for this process,’ he said. The President recalled that almost simultaneously with the meeting of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, on October 14, more than 30,000 Ukrainians took part in a grateful prayer on St. Sophia’s Square for the fact that the Lord provided autocephaly with the hands of His All-Holiness.”
5. Minister Carr hosts Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Joint Commission meeting
Minister Carr and Vice Prime Minister Kubiv. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade

Global Affairs Canada reported on October 19, “Canada and Ukraine are connected by deep and enduring people-to-people ties and growing commercial relations. The entry into force of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) in 2017 marked another milestone in a partnership that has been creating prosperity for citizens of both countries since Canada became the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991.
          Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, will host the first meeting of the CUFTA Joint Commission in Ottawa with Stepan Kubiv, First Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. At the meeting, Canadian and Ukrainian representatives will discuss progress on the implementation of the agreement to further increase trade opportunities in important sectors such as aerospace, agriculture and minerals.
         The Ministers will also formally sign the rules of procedure for the Joint Commission, which will provide guidance for future meetings. Moving forward, these meetings will take stock of progress in the successful implementation of CUFTA, with an emphasis on limiting any trade irritants and reducing red tape. Canada is committed to supporting Ukraine as it becomes a more secure, stable and prosperous country.”
           Minister Carr stated, “The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement will enhance economic prosperity and job creation for both countries. Canada is committed to working continuously with Ukraine to advance trade and investment opportunities for our respective businesses so they may better compete and succeed in global markets.”
6. Parliament passes draft 2019 budget in first reading

hoto – Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers

Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers reported, “Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman urged lawmakers to demonstrate a joint work on the draft state budget for 2019 which is timely submitted, balanced and preserved all priority programs launched by Government.
            The Head of Government stressed, commenting on the approval of the draft in the first reading. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved in the first reading the draft state budget for 2019 by 240 votes.
            The Prime Minister stressed that at present the task is to endorse a balanced budget when expenditures correspond to incomes.
           ‘We drew up a balanced budget. We are ready to work in synergy with the factions, committees on improving this document for the second reading,’ the Head of Government said. ‘Now we must unite to take another step towards development of a strong Ukrainian economy.’
          On the eve of vote for the draft budget, the Verkhovna Rada also approved in the first reading amendments to the Budget Code that regulate the formation of local budgets in terms of transferring part of the tax payments for the use of subsoil, issues of state guarantees and granting of subventions.”
7. EU paves way for Russia sanctions over chemical weapons
Deutsche Welle reported on October 16, “The European Union on Monday unveiled a legal framework to allow sanctions against the use of chemical weapons. The framework gives the EU the power to place restrictive measures on people or entities identified as being involved in the development or deployment of chemical weapons, regardless of their location or nationality, EU foreign ministers said in a press release.
           It is important ‘to make clear that something like this can’t be left unpunished,’ said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The measure would also apply to anyone helping or encouraging chemical weapons attacks, and includes the ability to impose travel bans, freeze assets, and ban EU citizens or groups from making money available to anyone on the sanctions list.
           ‘This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security,’ the ministers’ statement said.
            The new legal framework would allow the EU to sanction Russia for its reported role in a near-fatal nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury in March. Britain, along with countries such as Germany, France, Canada and the US, as blamed the attack on Russia, and in September, the UK accused two Russian intelligence officers of being responsible for the poisonings. […] British prosecutors charged the two suspects in absentia with conspiracy to murder and possession of a chemical weapon.”

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