Ukraine: Daily Briefing – March 1, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 1, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
Sniper training. Photo – JMTG-Ukraine
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on February 28 Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 13 times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors. In 16 cases the enemy used heavy weapons.
According to military intelligence, one invader was killed and three were wounded, as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on February 28.
2. Reuters: Ukraine President Tries to Salvage Corruption Law as Tough Election Looms
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko proposed new legislation on February 28 aimed at fighting corruption, following a ruling of the constitutional court of Ukraine cancelling the previous anti-graft law, which raised concerns that the country was moving backwards on the issue.
“Ukraine passed a law criminalizing illicit enrichment in 2015 as a condition of it receiving bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund that kept the country afloat during a steep recession. It was also a precondition for the European Union to grant visa-free travel to Ukrainians. But the constitutional court overturned the law this week on the grounds that it contravened the presumption of innocence, sparking concern in the EU and among anti-corruption campaigners and the anti-corruption bureau,” reads the article
Because of the court ruling the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) halted 65 criminal investigations of top officials and will not be allowed to resume these investigations even if the new bill is approved by the parliament.
 
3. Forbes: As Russia Closes In On Crimea’s Energy Resources, What Is Next For Ukraine?
Photo – oilgas.org
With thousands of lives lost, and millions of lives disrupted because of Russia’s aggression, Ukraine has also experienced tremendous economic losses since 2014. According to the Ukrainian Energy Ministry, Ukraine lost 80% of oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea and a significant part of the port infrastructure due to the annexation of Crimea.
The Black Sea contains enough hydrocarbon resources to last for decades for Ukraine at the current rate of production according to numerous reports by BNP and Deloitte. By grabbing onto them Russia has gained new supply and cut Ukraine’s resources.
“Moscow’s intent to exploit Ukraine’s natural gas deposits is not just idle speculation; it is currently underway. When Russian forces annexed Crimea in 2014, they seized subsidiaries of Ukraine’s state energy conglomerate Naftogaz operating in the Black Sea. The Kremlin appropriated these companies – and billions of dollars of equipment – and delivered them to Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant. In one fell swoop, Russia ended Ukraine’s offshore oil and gas operations and bolstered its own,” writes Ariel Cohen with Forbes.
Read the full article here
4. Ukraine’s Athletes Shine Through National Gloom
Photo – guideme.com.ua
Despite the fact that for the last five years Ukraine has experienced the annexation of Crimea, invasion by the Russian Federation and war in the east, economic hardships and political instability, the country has become a leader in sports.
“Ukrainian athletes have given their compatriots a renewed sense of pride and optimism during this difficult period,” writes Mark Temnycky in the Atlantic Council.
The author highlights achievement of Ukrainian athletes since 2014 talking about the tennis star Elina Svitolina, who defeated world-renowned Serena Williams at the 2016 Olympic Games, and boxing champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who holds the WBA (Super), WBO and Ring magazine lightweight titles, and is ranked as the world’s best active boxer, pound for pound. Ukraine was able to collect fourteen medals over the span of three Olympic Games.
“Overall, Ukrainian athletes have performed extraordinarily well since the start of the Euromaidan and the Donbas conflict. Their success has brought a sense of national pride to their homeland, giving people a sense of hope for Ukraine’s future. Sports will not resolve the Ukraine crisis, but it has demonstrably improved the mindset of Ukrainian citizens and their confidence in their country. And this has made a difference,” concludes the article
Read the full article here
5. Ukraine to conduct trial census in late 2019 – State Statistics Service
Ukraine’s State Statistics Service will conduct a trial population census in December 2019, reported its head Ihor Verner. This will be a preparatory stage for the All-Ukrainian population census in 2020 and will be held in one or several administrative territorial units of the country. The State Statistics Service has expressed its concern related to the participation of citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories in the All-Ukrainian population census in 2020.
Although Ukrainians have not been counted in the last 17 years, the State Statistics Service continued to provide annual population numbers. According to their data, the population of Ukraine has been declining ever since 1994. The sharp decline took place in 2014 when the country’s reports excluded almost 2.5 million people, as occupied Crimea and part of Donbas were no longer included in the statistics.

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