Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 30, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 30, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
image – Kyiv Post
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 14 times in total, including at least 6 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 3 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. 24 Ukrainian sailors in Russian captivity on sham charges
The Kyiv Post reported, “A court in the Russian-occupied Crimea put 22 Ukrainian Navy sailors and two intelligence agents in pre-trial detention for two months on sham charges.
          The Ukrainians were on board of three Ukrainian Navy vessels that Russian coast guard ships attacked and captured in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait on Nov. 25. The Ukrainians were accused of illegally entering Russia’s territorial waters and face up to six years in prison if found guilty.
         The accusation is based on Russia’s claim that the sea near Crimea is Russian territorial waters. However, international law and the international community doesn’t recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and sees the peninsula – and the waters around it – as Ukrainian.
         Since the Ukrainians haven’t broken any laws, they must be treated as prisoners of war, according to Gyunduz Memedov, chief prosecutor of the Crimean Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine operating in exile.
Instead, the prisoners are being tried as civilians, said Edem Semedliayev, a lawyer who agreed to defend Ukrainian sailors in courts.
         Additionally, Russia is not letting International Red Cross representatives visit the imprisoned sailors, Lyudmila Denysova, Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman, said on Nov. 28. […]
        Russia holds 70 Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar political prisoners in custody. Now the number has grown to 94 prisoners. Russian authorities used the presence of two officers of the Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, aboard with Ukrainian sailors as evidence of an orchestrated provocation that aimed to justify the imposition of martial law in Ukraine.
        The SBU responded by saying that the counterintelligence officers had been ‘carrying out duties to repel Russian aggression for over four years, alongside their comrades from the Armed Forces, the National Guard, and the State Border Guard Service.'”
3. Lawyers say unknown number of 24 captured Ukrainian sailors transferred to Moscow
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “An unknown number of 24 sailors from three Ukrainian naval vessels captured by Russia in the Sea of Azov last weekend have been transferred to a detention center in Moscow, one of their lawyers says.
            Dzhemil Temishev wrote on Facebook on November 29 that his ‘colleagues’ in the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow had informed him that some of the Ukrainian sailors had been brought there.
           ‘They are being taken to Moscow’s Lefortovo prison,’ Temishev said. Emine Avamilyeva, another lawyer defending the sailors, said the Ukrainians were ‘taken by plane’ to Moscow. The lawyers could not say if all or only some of the sailors were being transferred.”
4. G7: “There is no justification for Russia’s use of military force against Ukrainian ships and personnel”
The Foreign Ministers of the G7 stated, “We, the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, express our utmost concern about Russia’s actions against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait and surrounding waters, which have dangerously raised tensions. There is no justification for Russia’s use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel.
           We urge restraint, due respect for international law, and the prevention of any further escalation. We call on Russia to release the detained crew and vessels and refrain from impeding lawful passage through the Kerch Strait.
           We, the G7, once again reiterate that we do not, and will never, recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and we reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
5. Canada’s PM speaks with Ukraine’s President
The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada reported on November 29, “Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine. The leaders discussed Russia’s actions on November 25th in the Strait of Kerch and Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated Canada’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and navigational rights.
           The leaders discussed further cooperation with like-minded partners to press Russia to de-escalate immediately, to avoid provocative acts and to release Ukraine’s captured crew and vessels.”
6. EU approves disbursement of 500 million Euros in Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine
The European Union reported, “The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has today approved the disbursement of the first €500 million of the new Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme to Ukraine. With this disbursement, the total Macro-Financial Assistance extended to Ukraine by the EU since 2014 will reach €3.3 billion, the largest amount of such assistance directed at any non-EU country.
          Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-President responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The European Union has shown constant political and financial support to Ukraine. Today’s European Commission decision on disbursement comes at a crucial moment when Ukraine and its people face a new aggression from Russia and need to see solidarity from international partners.      Such aggressive behaviour is not acceptable in today’s Europe.”  […]
         Under the new MFA programme approved by the European Parliament and the Council in July 2018, up to €1 billion is available to Ukraine. The programme helps Ukraine cover its financing needs and supports the implementation of a wide-ranging structural reform agenda.
         The MFA funds are available in the form of low-interest long-term loans, conditional on the implementation of specific policy measures agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding.
         Ukraine has fulfilled the policy commitments agreed with the EU for the release of the first payment under the programme. These included important measures to step up the fight against corruption, improve transparency of company registers, enhance the predictability of the tax environment and strengthen the governance of state-owned enterprises.”

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