Ukraine: Daily Briefing – February 21, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
February 21, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
Photo – JMTG-U
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on February 20 one Ukrainian service member was killed in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 13 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors, including 11 times using heavy weapons.
According to intelligence reports, one invader was killed and another two were wounded, reported the press center of Ukraine’s Joint Operation Forces.
2. Ukraine Security Service Accuses Russia of Meddling in Election
Photo – State Security Service
Today, Ukraine’s State Security Service [SBU] accused Russia of meddling in the electoral process in Ukraine by creating illegal schemes to help guarantee victory for a certain candidate, as reported by Reuters. Russian authorities denied any interference in Ukraine’s election campaign.
SBU deputy head Viktor Kononenko told at a news briefing that a group of Russian citizens and their Ukrainian collaborators as well as citizens of other countries had used financial bribes to set up a network of [about 680,000] people ready to vote for a certain candidate and to influence public opinion. […]
It is unclear as to who exactly out of 44 registered candidates stood to benefit from the scheme on the election day, March 31.
3. President Poroshenko Presses UN for Peacekeeping Force in Ukraine
President Poroshenko Photo –  UNIAN
Speaking at the United Nations, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine was ready to discuss a UN-mandated peacekeeping operation with a clear objective to end the Russian aggression and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty effectively ending the conflict in the east with Russian-backed separatists, as reported by CBC news.
Ukraine’s Head of State said it was time for the international community “to put Russia in its place,” starting by depriving Moscow of its Security Council veto on issues “related to the Russian aggression against Ukraine” expressing regret that “not much progress has been made.
“Ukraine’s leader recalled that in March 2015 he had asked the Security Council to deploy a UN peacekeeping operation in the east, but the initiative was blocked by Russia, a permanent veto-wielding council member.  Poroshenko said the mandate for any peacekeeping operation in the east must extend “over the entire occupied territory, including (the) border, and provide for withdrawal of Russian troops and their weaponry from our territory, as well as dissolution of all illegal bodies and structures.”
Notably, last week, UN officials told the Security Council that a 2015 agreement to bring peace to Ukraine’s volatile east remains largely unimplemented, and civilians are paying the highest price.
4. Constitutional Amendments Confirming Ukraine’s Path Toward EU, NATO Enter into Force
Ukraine`s Constitution. Photo – Ukranews
Amendments to the Constitution securing Ukraine’s aspiration to become a member of the European Union and NATO are coming into force today. Amendments have been made to three articles of the Constitution – Art. 85, Art. 102, and Art. 116 – as well as the preamble, and transitional provisions. The document establishes in the Constitution “the European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine.”
The document states that the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian parliament, defines the foundations of domestic and foreign policy, the president of Ukraine is the guarantor of the implementation of the state’s strategic course, while the Cabinet of Ministers ensures its implementation.
President Poroshenko signed a law amending the Constitution on the strategic course of the state to acquire full membership in the European Union and NATO on January 19. Parliament adopted the relevant law on February 7.

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