Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
19 March 2015, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that Kremlin-backed terrorists attackedUkrainian forces and shelled Ukrainian positions 8 times and used tanks on 4 occasions. In the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian serviceman was wounded and the Ukrainian Armed Forces didn’t suffer any casualties. Ukraine’s spokesman A. Lysenko stated that the Kremlin backed terrorists are regrouping, massing ammunition and troops by rail; conducting recruitment drives in schools and colleges, and commencing intensive training. Military hotspots include Shyrokyne, Donetsk airport, outskirts of Horlivka, areas north of Debaltseve.
2. U.S. to train 780 National Guard, deliver armored vehicles in late March
US Vice President J Biden and Ukrainian President P Poroshenko spoke by telephone today. Vice President Biden pledged training for Ukrainian soldiers to begin soon. The US Vice President said that training for 780 Ukrainian National Guard soldiers would begin in the very near future and that the promised delivery of American military vehicles would take place in the coming weeks.
3. Polish President: EU Council set to prepare ground for new sanctions against Russia
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski stated that he believes the EU Council will maintain sanctions against Russia which were implemented due to Russian aggression in Ukraine. ‘I think there is a high chance the sanctions will stay,‘ stated Komorowski in an interview. A meeting of EU Council of member state leaders will take place on March 19-20 in Brussels. Komorowski predicted that the EU Council will […] prepare the ground for additional measures, stating that everything would depend on the development of Ukraine-Russia relations and the sustainability of the shaky ceasefire currently in place in east Ukraine.
4. IMF predicts return to Ukrainian economic growth in 2016 if reforms take root
The International Monetary Fund’s official representative in Ukraine has predicted that the country could return to economic growth as soon as next year. In a media interview, IMF official J. Vacher said he expected the economic recovery to begin by the end of 2015, with the Ukrainian economy registering modest growth in 2016. Vacher stated: “In many ways, the engine of this growth will be investments. The Ukrainian economy has great potential. Ukraine has great human capital, and the situation is very favorable to develop export potential. If the reforms are carried out properly, especially in a business environment, we will see progress quickly.”