Ukraine: Daily Briefing – June 21, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 21, 2019, 5 PM Kyiv time
Ukrainian artillery training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense

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 four Ukrainian soldiers were 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 18 times in total, including at least 6 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 2 and wounded 3 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. US House of Representatives approves bills on $700 million assistance to Ukraine
Ukrinform reported, “The lower house of the US Congress approved the bills on appropriations to US government agencies, which generally provide up to $700 million in aid to Ukraine in the next financial year.
          ‘The House of Representatives of the US Congress approved the bills on financing the Pentagon, the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and related programs for 2020, which provide for the allocation of nearly $700 million in assistance to Ukraine,’ the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States reported on Thursday.
           In particular, the bill on appropriations for the needs of the US Department of Defense for 2020 provides for assistance to Ukraine in field of security and defense to the tune of $250 million. This amount includes $50 million exclusively for the provision of lethal defensive weapons.
          In addition, the bill provides for the allocation of $445.7 million for Ukraine within the scope of appropriations to the Department of State, the USAID and related departments in the Foreign Military Financing program.
          For final approval of all budget expenditures, similar bills must be approved by the Senate. Afterwards, according to the procedure, both chambers of Congress must agree on their final wording, which will be submitted for signature to the US President.”
3. EU extends sanctions on Russia over war in Ukraine
The EU extended economic sanctions against Russia for another six months over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. An EU spokesperson stated on June 20, “Russia sanctions are unanimously extended for another six months because of a lack of Minsk Agreements implementation.” Separate EU sanctions banning European business and investment in Russian-occupied Crimea were extended for another year.
4. Protesters prevent Yanukovych ally Portnov’s appointment to university
Protestors at Kyiv University. Photo – Kyiv Post

The Kyiv Post reported, “Dozens of protesters rallied on June 20 against the appointment of Andriy Portnov, an ally of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, as a professor at the Kyiv National University’s law faculty on June 14. As a result of the protest in front of the university, the appointment was canceled by the university’s management.
          Portnov became controversial when he was a deputy chief of staff for Yanukovych in 2010 to 2014. He was in charge of judicial reform and was accused of heavily interfering in the judiciary, which he denies.
         He fled Ukraine in February 2014 after Yanukovych was ousted due to the EuroMaidan Revolution. He returned to Ukraine on May 19 after comedian Volodymyr Zelensky’s victory in the April 21 run-off.”

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