Ukraine: Daily Briefing – December 12, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
December 12, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
 
European Parliament film on 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate, Oleh Sentsov, Ukrainian political prisoner illegally jailed by Russia. To view video, please click on image above
European Parliament film on 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate, Oleh Sentsov, Ukrainian political prisoner illegally jailed by Russia. To view video, please click on image above
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 11 times in total. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 1 and wounded 5 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. Sentsov awarded 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by European Parliament
The European Parliament reported, “The 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded to Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleg Sentsov during a ceremony at the Parliament in Strasbourg on 12 December.
           Sentsov was not in the Parliament to collect the award in person, because he remains in prison in Siberia, serving a 20-year sentence for ‘plotting acts of terrorism’ against the Russian ‘de facto’ rule in Crimea. His cousin Natalya Kaplan and lawyer Dmitriy Dinze represented him during the ceremony in Strasbourg. […]
           Accepting the award, Natalya Kaplan described in a very vivid way Sentsov’s early life, his actions during the annexation of Crimea and the tortures and beating he went through when he was arrested and condemned for things he had never done. ‘Oleg is a person who cannot give up and just sit quietly,’ she said. ‘He is a fighter by nature.’
          Speaking of his hunger strike for the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners, she said: ‘During his 145-day hunger strike not a single political prisoner was released, but this doesn’t mean he lost. Thanks to his act the whole world spoke about Russian repressions: this is a victory.’
         She concluded by reading a message from Sentsov himself, which began: ‘I can’t be present in this room, but you can hear my words. Even if someone else is saying them, words are a person’s main tool and often his only one too, especially when everything else has been taken from him.'”
3. US House of Representatives passes resolution recognizing Holodomor as an act of Genocide against Ukrainians
On December 11, the US House of Representatives passed H.Res.931, which states that the House of Representatives “condemns the systematic violations of human rights, including the freedom of self-determination and freedom of speech, of the Ukrainian people by the Soviet Government; recognizes the findings of the Commission on the Ukraine Famine as submitted to Congress on April 22, 1988, including that ‘Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against the Ukrainians in 1932-1933;'” The full text of the H.Res.931 is available here
 In October 2018, the US Senate adopted a Resolution recognizing the Holodomor as an act of Genocide against Ukrainians.
4. US House of Representatives condemns Russian attack in Kerch strait; supports imposition of sanctions on Nord Stream II

On December 11, the US House of Representatives passed H.Res. 1162, in which the House:

            “(1) condemns the Russian Federation’s firing upon, ramming, and seizing Ukrainian vessels and crews attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, as violations of binding international norms and agreements;
             (2) calls on the Russian Federation to immediately return the Ukrainian vessels and their crews to Ukraine;
             (3) calls on the Russian Federation to cease its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and its efforts to prevent Ukrainian vessels from transiting the Kerch Strait, as is Ukraine’s right under international norms and agreements;
             (4) reaffirms the United States commitment to provide the people of Ukraine with political, economic, and security assistance to enable them to secure their independence, democracy, and prosperity; and
             (5) encourages the President and allies and partners of the United States to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its ongoing aggression against Ukraine.”
The full text of H.Res.1162 is available here
           The House also passed H.Res.1035, in which the House:
             “(1) finds that Nord Stream II is a drastic step backwards for European energy security and United States interests;
              (2) calls upon European governments to reject the Nord Stream II project;
              (3) urges the President to use all available means to support European energy security through a policy of diversification to lessen reliance on the Russia Federation; and
              (4) supports the imposition of sanctions with respect to Nord Stream II under section 232 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.”
The full text of H.Res.1035 is available here
5. EU transfers 500 million Euros of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine
Ukraine Business News reported, “The EU has transferred to Ukraine EUR 500 million, the first half of EUR 1 billion in financial aid approved last summer. Valdis Dombrovskis, the Latvian politician who is the European Commission’s vice president for Financial Stability, tweeted Tuesday: ‘Today the EU allocates 500 million euros of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. The EU continues its active work in Ukraine and supports its people.’ Next Tuesday, the IMF Board is to meet in Washington to review a $3.9 billion, 14-month standby program for Ukraine.”

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