Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
27 March 2015, 8 PM Kyiv time
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PMKyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and one was wounded. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported at 7 PMKyiv time that between 5 AM and 6 PM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 12 times with mortars and grenade launchers and 14 times with small arms.
2. Canada signs disbursement of $200 million low interest loan to Ukraine
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Rob Nicholson met with Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Oleksiy Pavlenko. “Canada announced the official signing of the disbursement of Canada’s second $200-million low-interest loan to Ukraine, bringing the total value of Canada’s loan agreement with Ukraine to $400 million since the beginning of the Putin regime’s aggression against Ukraine and occupation of Crimea. The loan will help stabilize Ukraine’s economy and support programming consistent with Canadian development priorities.” Minister Nicholson stated, “We stand resolutely alongside the people of Ukraine as they courageously seek peace and freedom, and we stand with our allies in calling for Russia to stand by its Minsk commitments. The measures announced today will contribute to Ukraine’s efforts to stabilize its economy, promote social stability and drive economic prosperity.” To view the article on the Foreign Affairs website click here: http://www.international.gc.
3. US Mission to OSCE: Russian military forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine
US Charge d’Affaires K. Byrnes stated at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 26 March, “Unfortunately, the past week has continued to show a stark disparity between what Russia and the separatists it backs say they are doing in eastern Ukraine, and what they are actually doing. They claim to be honoring the ceasefire, but in reality they are violating it on a regular basis. […] The Russia-backed separatists also claim to have fully withdrawn heavy weapons from the contact line, but, despite their public claims, we can confirm that pro-Russia separatists maintain heavy weapons near the front line in violation of the Minsk agreements. […]In contrast to Russia and the separatists it backs, we see the government of Ukraine making great efforts to implement its responsibilities under the Minsk agreements. Ukrainian government forces are withdrawing weapons and observing the ceasefire. When they fight, they do so in response to separatist provocations and in defense of themselves and Ukraine’s territorial integrity. […] We know that Russian military forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine, where they provide command and control support, operate air defense systems, and fight alongside pro-Russia separatist forces. Russia has also continued to transfer military equipment to pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.”
4. Nadiya Savchenko thanks supporters
In a letter released today by her lawyer, Nadiya Savchenko thanked those who came to yesterday’s Moscow court hearing to support her. She wrote, “When they were taking me back to detention, in the police van, I heard you yelling, ‘Nadya! Nadya!’ Then the driver turned on the sirens, to drown out your voices. Even through walls, I’ll hear your voices! But I ask you to be careful. I really don’t want to hear your voices in the neighbouring cell.” On 26 March, Moscow’s Basmanny Court agreed to call an additional charge in her indictment a “technical mistake.” Savchenko, “looking dangerously fragile, was brought to the court on March 26 after protesting over plans to keep her away and instructing her lawyers to not take part in any court hearing in her absence. After a 10-day break, Savchenko has resumed her hunger strike which she began on Dec 13, 2014,” the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reported. Savchenko, a Ukrainian air force pilot, who was serving in eastern Ukraine, was abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in mid-June and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. She was elected an MP of Ukraine’s parliament in October and appointed a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in January.
5. President signs decree establishing working group on returning funds to Ukraine stolen by former high-ranking officials
On 26 March Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko signed a decree “On the interagency working group on coordinating the return to Ukraine of funds, obtained in a criminal manner by former high-ranking officials of Ukraine.” According to the decree “the interagency working group has two months to work out mechanisms for effective interaction between the law enforcement bodies and central authorities on issues of return of these funds to Ukraine.”Deputy General Prosecutor Vitaliy Kaska was appointed the head of the working group. The working group must also “analyze the legislation of Ukraine in the field of regulation of financial services, foreign trade, combating corruption and money laundering in order to identify regulations that hinder the return of funds to Ukraine and elaborate proposals to improve the relevant rules of law.”