Ukraine: Daily Briefing – January 14, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
January 14, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time
Image – Andriy Yermolenko
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.
2. Ukraine procures military drones from Turkey
To view video from Ukroboronprom, please click on image above
To view video from Ukroboronprom, please click on image above
Ukraine’s state defense concern, Ukroboronprom, reported, “State company Ukrspetsexport, a part of Ukroboronprom, signed an agreement with Turkish company Baykar Makina on the procurement of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles.
           According to the agreement, the Ukrainian military will soon receive a shipment of Bayraktar TB2 drones, a significant stock of precision and regular armaments for the drones, training services for operators and technical personnel, and warranty service for several years.”
          Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “As we agreed with Turkish President Erdogan, an agreement was signed for the purchase of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones for the Ukrainian army. These drones can be equipped with high-precision missiles that can destroy armored vehicles, fortifications, as well as marine targets.”
3. U.S. warns German companies of possible sanctions over Russian pipeline
Reuters reported, “The United States has warned German companies involved in the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that they could face sanctions if they stick with the project.
           U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Germany of being a ‘captive’ of Moscow because of its reliance on Russian energy and urged it to halt work on the $11 billion gas pipeline.
          The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, has also been criticized in some quarters because it would deprive Ukraine of lucrative gas transit fees, potentially making Kyiv more vulnerable in the future.
          U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell addressed the issue in a letter sent to several companies, the U.S. Embassy said on Sunday.
         ‘The letter reminds that any company operating in the Russian energy export pipeline sector is in danger under CAATSA of U.S. sanctions,’ the embassy spokesman said, adding that other European states also opposed the planned pipeline.”
4. Far-Right German journalist implicated in firebombing of Hungarian Center in Ukraine
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “A Polish man accused of involvement in the firebombing of a Hungarian cultural center in western Ukraine last year says he received instructions on the attack from a German journalist who has worked as a consultant for a German parliament deputy with the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
          Michal Prokopowicz, 28, told a Krakow court on January 14 that German journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter provided instructions for the February 4, 2018, attack on the headquarters of the Hungarian Cultural Association in Uzhhorod, the capital of the Zakarpattya region in western Ukraine. A representative for Ochsenreiter called the claim ‘false.’
         No one was injured in the attack, but the incident — and another fire attack on the building weeks later — exacerbated already strained relations between Kyiv and Budapest. […]
         Prokopowicz is one of three Polish suspects with links to far-right movements who went on trial in Krakow on January 14 for the attack. Ukrainian authorities investigated the case and passed it along to their counterparts in Poland, where the three men were subsequently detained. Polish public broadcaster TVP reported on January 5 that the authorities were investigating a German journalist in connection with the attack but did not identify the individual.
        Ochsenreiter, 42, has ties to Polish right-wing activists, including Mateusz Piskorski, founder of the pro-Russian Change (Zmiana) party who was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of spying for Russia and China. […]
        Ochsenreiter, editor of the right-wing German magazine Zuerst!, has been a frequent commentator in Russian state media over the past five years, voicing support for Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and denouncing what he calls the Western media’s anti-Moscow bias.
         He has also worked in recent months as a consultant for Markus Frohnmaier, a member of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, from the AfD and a strong proponent of lifting EU sanctions imposed on Russia over its aggression in Ukraine. Frohnmaier did not immediately respond to a request for comment on January 14. […]
        There was no immediate indication that Ochsenreiter had been charged with any crime by Polish authorities. Prokopowicz went on trial alongside two other suspects — 25-year-old Tomasz Szymkowiak and 22-year-old Adrian Marglewski. All three are charged with promoting fascism, as well as endangering lives or property with fire. Prokopowicz has also been charged with financing terrorism.
        Following the February 4 attack and a second firebombing of the Hungarian cultural center with Molotov cocktails three weeks later, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin suggested that Russia was behind both incidents. […]
        Prokopowicz said in court that the goal was to frame Ukrainian ultranationalists for the February 4 attack by painting Nazi-related symbols on the façade of the Hungarian cultural center. He claimed he agreed to an offer by Ochsenreiter to carry out the attack because he disliked nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine.”

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