Ukraine: Daily Briefing – February 22, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
February 22, 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 21 three Ukrainian service member were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 7 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors, including 4 times using heavy weapons.
2. Countering Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine
Photo – website screenshot
 
Kurt Volker, an American diplomat who previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to NATO and now serves as the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine shared a link to “Countering Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine” website. In addition to the intro the website consists of six sections: the conflict, hybrid threats, OSCE, daily life, infrastructure, and sanctions.
The website carries videos from the war zone, maps and graphics from the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, plenty of statistical data and a lot of photo images related to Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine as well as its involvement in hybrid warfare against Ukraine.
In his message he invites everyone to visit the website describing it as “an innovative attempt to use satellite imagery, maps and statistics to provide detailed information on the impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine.” The story map was produced by the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations of the U.S. Department of State.
3. Ukraine: Looking forward, five years after the Maidan Revolution
Steven Pifer. Photo – Youtube
The Brookings Institution has just published an article by one of its senior fellows, Steven Pifer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who worked more than 25 years at the State Department focused on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe, as well as arms control and security issues.
Pifer tells the story of Ukraine since 2014 from the strategic political perspective. In view of the upcoming elections in Ukraine that are scheduled for March 31 and Russia’s perspective he offers the following: “Senior Russian officials have made clear that they want Poroshenko to be a one-term president. Beyond that, Moscow has not endorsed anyone-a smart move, because a Russian endorsement would be the kiss of death for any Ukrainian candidate. Moscow also will wait to see what results the Rada elections produce and may employ covert ways to influence the vote.”
As to the nearest future he contemplates that “the more interesting question will come at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020. When Putin recognizes that the Ukrainian president will not-and, given public attitudes, could not-take a more Russia-friendly approach, and if the sanctions continue to bite, will he decide it is time to seek an exit route from the Donbas?”
He does mention the U.N. peacekeeping force with a robust mandate as an option that “could provide the vehicle for Russian withdrawal and the transition to restored Ukrainian sovereignty.” This correlates to the request President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko made during the General Assembly meeting at the United Nations on February 20.
The Brookings Institution is a U.S. based nonprofit public policy organization that conducts researches with an aim to solve problems facing the society at the local, national and global level.
Read more here
4. Growing Support for Peacekeeping Mission in Ukraine
James Bezan. Photo – cbc.ca
James Bezan, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Defense, issued a statement in support of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko’s request to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly for a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.
“Conservatives have always stood with Ukraine even in the face of ongoing aggression from Russia. As President Poroshenko reiterated yesterday, a UN peacekeeping mission would go a long way to making sure that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is safe from further aggression from Vladimir Putin’s regime. […]
The defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty should be a priority for Canada’s government on the international stage.”
Read the full address here
This past summer Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan amplified that the Canadian government was fully committed to providing assistance to Ukraine, helping to preserve and protect its sovereignty through Operation UNIFIER and through Canada’s defence reform assistance efforts. “Today Canada remains a stead-fast ally of Ukraine as the country works to advance democracy, the rule of law and sustainable economic development. As a representative of the Canadian government and as the Minister of National Defence in Canada, I’m here to tell you that Canada will always stand with Ukraine,” said Sajjan in Toronto on August 29, 2018.
“A peacekeeping force that helps to solve the problem in the Donbas will do its job, and will be acceptable to Canada, only if those peacekeepers are at the Ukrainian border,” said Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Foreign Minister, in an interview with Maclean’s on November 28, 2017.
Earlier that year, namely on November 9, Chrystia Freeland said “around the world Canada has been leading conversations with a number of countries about the viability and utility of peacekeeping and policing in Ukraine,” making a significant diplomatic push to gather international support behind Ukraine’s UN peacekeeping plan.

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