Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
17 March 2015, 6:30 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that Kremlin-backed terrorists are most active in the Donetsk area. Anatoliy Stelmakh, ATO spokesman reported that irrespective of the (Minsk 2) agreement, Kremlin-backed terrorists “keep firing at the ATO forces’ positions in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In the last day, the ceasefire was violated 30 times.” The Kremlin-backed terrorists fired at Avdiivka on 3 occasions with 122-mm artillery, and also fired at the town from tanks and from mortars. In the last day, Pisky and Opytne were fired upon with small arms and automatic grenade-launchers,” specified the ATO spokesman. Stelmakh noted that towards Mariupol, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired at Shyrokyne town 4 times from small arms and mortars. In the last day, the ceasefire was violated by the Kremlin-backed terrorists who used mortars and artillery 19 times, artillery 3 times, tanks 4 times and small arms 7 times. According to the ATO Staff, starting from 00:00 on 17 March separatists stopped firing at the positions and territories controlled by the ATO forces.
2. Ukrainian President: Elections in Donbas to be held under Ukrainian law with International observers
Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko said the elections in Donbas must be held according to Ukrainian legislation. “Ukraine’s position is that we will deal [only] with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk who are elected legitimately, according to the Ukrainian legislation, in a process that will meet the international standards, including the OSCE, ODIHR standards, in elections that will be recognized by the entire civilized world,” Poroshenko told a press conference after negotiations with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday.
3. President of Ukraine and German Minister of Defense agree on assistance in the treatment of Ukrainian military wounded
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko visited a military hospital in Germany and met with the German Federal Minister of Defense U. von der Leyen. President Poroshenko visited the emergency medical care hospital and examined the treatment of Ukrainian ATO forces. Poroshenko expressed gratitude to Germany for the assistance to the wounded Ukrainian servicemen and Maidan activists. “We have agreed […] on regular trips of German doctors who will define wounded Ukrainian servicemen who need qualitative medical aid abroad. Our cooperation on transfer of medical equipment to Ukrainian hospitals will also be efficiently continued,” the President noted. According to the German Minister, German doctors arrived to Ukraine on March 15 to select wounded Ukrainian soldiers that will be sent to Germany for treatment. “We are doing everything to pay tribute to the struggle of Ukraine for its independence and freedom,” she said. Overall, 44 Ukrainian citizens wounded on Maidan or in the ATO area were undergoing treatment in Germany. Transportation in both directions as well as treatment and rehabilitation were held at the cost of German party.
4. President of Ukraine and Federal Chancellor of Germany: Sanctions against Russia will be enhanced in case of gross violations
On 16 March, during a joint media availability, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko noted that the fulfillment of the Minsk II agreements should be an indicator for the abolition or intensification of sanctions against the Russian Federation. German Chancellor A Merkel emphasized that “sanctions against Russia will be enhanced in case of gross violations”. Merkel stressed that the issue of annexation of Crimea remained open. “I’d like to remind that a year ago, in violation of the international law, Crimea was annexed. I want to emphasize that we do not forget about that, for it has questioned the European and world order,” she said.
Poroshenko emphasized that the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements should result in the establishment of control over the Ukrainian-Russian border, withdrawal of all foreign troops, liberation of all hostages and normalization of humanitarian situation.
5. Brief by Danylo Lubkivsky, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine
D. Lubkivsky, Advisor to PM A.Yatseniuk reported on the progress made by the Government of Ukraine on its first 100 days in the office. Lubkivsky highlighted the achievements of the government during an invasion by external forces and highlighted measures aimed at preserving statehood and unity. He noted that the Government is comprised of professionals who with Parliament and the President are committed to changing the country.
Despite the war, he highlighted that Ukraine has achieved quite a lot including the ratification of Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, the implementation of three austerity packages and a realistic budget of 2015, including IMF assistance. He also highlighted reform and anti-corruption measures. His presentation may be found at: