Ukraine: Daily Briefing – December 13, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
December 13, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises, OpUNIFIER. 
Photo – CAF Operations

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or 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 7 times in total. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces wounded 2 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. Meeting of Ukraine’s President and NATO chief: NATO to provide Ukraine secure communications equipment by end of year
To view the press conference with President Poroshenko and NATO Secretary Stoltenberg, please click on image above
To view the press conference with President Poroshenko and NATO Secretary Stoltenberg, please click on image above
NATO reported, “NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met on Thursday to discuss developments in and around the Sea of Azov and the Alliance’s strong support for Ukraine. Mr. Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, noting that NATO has stepped up its presence in the Black Sea region over the past few years and will continue to assess its posture.
           The Secretary General stressed that NATO Allies remain concerned by the heightened tensions in and around the Sea of Azov. ‘There can be no justification for Russia’s use of military force against Ukrainian ships and sailors,’ he said. He added that NATO condemns the building of the Kerch Straight bridge, which represents another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
           Mr. Stoltenberg affirmed that NATO will continue to provide Ukraine with strong political and practical support, including around 40 million euros pledged by Allies for NATO-Ukraine Trust Funds. He also announced that NATO will deliver secure communications equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of the year.
          Mr. Stoltenberg commended President Poroshenko for his commitment to the democratic process, stressing that good governance and reform will bring Ukraine closer to joining the Alliance. The Secretary General encouraged Ukraine to continue implementing key reforms, including toward greater civilian control over the security and intelligence services, anti-corruption and minority rights. ‘Allies recognise Ukraine’s aspirations to join the Alliance,’ he said.”
3. House of Commons Defence Committee recommends increasing sanctions on Russia; increasing NATO presence in Black Sea
In a report tabled on December 12, Responding to Russian Aggression against Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the Black Sea Region, the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence made several recommendations, including:
That the Government of Canada:
  • issue a notice of early renewal of Operation UNIFIER as a signal of continued support between Canada and Ukraine;
  • continue to provide effective and relevant military training to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and that it look for opportunities to expand the type of training and support provided by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) through Operation UNIFIER beyond March 2019;
  • increase sanctions under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) against those connected to the ongoing aggression against Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, and that it specifically list the Russian agents involved in the attacks against Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko and Sergei Viktorovich Skripal;
  • consider sanctions against Russia in the financial and energy sectors in response to its escalation of hostilities against Ukraine;
  • advocate for an increased NATO presence to respond to Russian escalation in the Black Sea;
  • support the aspirations of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to join the NATO alliance in due course.
The full report from the Defence Committee is available here: Responding to Russian Aggression against Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the Black Sea Region 
4. European Parliament calls for cancellation of Nord Stream 2 pipeline, condemns Russia’s aggression in Kerch Strait
On December 12, in a Resolution adopted 433-105, Members of European Parliament “acknowledged Ukraine’s positive reform track, while condemning Russia’s aggression in the Kerch Strait and the construction of Nord Stream 2. […]
            MEPs stress that Ukraine has reformed in areas such as energy, health, pensions, education, public administration and decentralisation, and also when it comes to defence and security, banking and macro-economic stabilisation. These reforms, however, have unfortunately been accompanied by drastic price increases, cuts in social benefits and a deterioration in access to social welfare systems.
           MEPs praise Ukraine for good cooperation in the energy sector and its achievements in the areas of energy efficiency and renewables, while pointing out the need to continue to reform, particularly in the gas and electricity market. With Ukraine playing a crucial role in the European energy supply network, MEPs condemn the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which bypasses Ukraine, ‘as it is a political project that poses a threat to European energy security.’ They therefore call for it to be cancelled. […]
          MEPs strongly condemn Russia’s recent aggression against Ukraine on 25 November in the Kerch Strait, and demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Ukrainian vessels and sailors. They are seriously concerned that the tension may constitute a creeping attempt to annex Ukraine’s sovereign rights in the Sea of Azov. Russia therefore has to guarantee the freedom of navigation through the Kerch Strait and in the Sea of Azov.
          The resolution calls on the EU and its member states to introduce targeted sanctions against Russia if the Ukrainian servicemen are not released and if there is any further military escalation.”

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