Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 May 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists are firing on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol) with a wide range of weapons, including artillery. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists opened heavy fire on Ukrainian positions with artillery, mortars and tanks. Clashes continue on the western and eastern outskirts of Horlivka, where Kremlin-backed terrorists opened heavy fire on Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Luhansk, clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists continue near Zolote, Shchastya and Stanytsia Luhanska. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and twelve were wounded.
- EU Eastern Partnership Summit concludes in Riga
The EU Eastern Partnership Summit, attended by the leaders of the EU states as well as Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, in Riga concluded today. According to the joint declaration, “Summit participants reaffirm the sovereign right of each partner freely to choose the level of ambition and the goals to which it aspires in its relations with the European Union. It is for the EU and its sovereign partners to decide on how they want to proceed in their relations […] The scope and depth of cooperation are determined by the EU’s and partners’ ambitions and needs as well as the pace of reforms. […]Summit participants look forward to the provisional application of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Ukraine starting on 1 January 2016 and the positive impact its implementation will bring about. […]The Summit participants reconfirm that enhanced mobility of citizens in a secure and well managed environment remains a core objective of the Eastern Partnership […] They warmly welcome the progress made by Georgia and Ukraine respectively in the implementation of their Visa Liberalisation Action Plans as described in the latest Progress Reports by the European Commission. They look forward to completion by Ukraine and Georgia of the implementation of the 2nd phase of their Visa Liberalization Action Plans once all benchmarks are fulfilled through the implementation of all required reforms, and welcome the Commission’s readiness to do its utmost to support Ukraine and Georgia in the implementation of their VLAPs and its intention to report on progress by Ukraine and Georgia respectively by the end of 2015. Fulfillment of all benchmarks would allow to conclude the VLAP process and the Commission to propose to the European Parliament and to the Council to exempt Ukrainian and Georgian citizens respectively from the visa requirement.”
- Ukraine and EU sign Memorandum of Understanding for 1.8 Billion Euros in financial assistance
Ukraine and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding and loan agreement for the third EU Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme to Ukraine, which set out conditions for 1.8 billion Euros in EU financing. “The Memorandum of Understanding includes a policy programme drawing from the ambitious reform agenda of the Ukrainian authorities. It covers important economic and structural policy measures in six areas: public finance management; governance and transparency; the business environment; the energy sector; social safety nets; and the financial sector,” the EU stated.
- US Mission to OSCE: Russia must act, not just talk
On 21 May, at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, US Ambassador D. Baer stated, “There is no denying that there is a substantial Russian presence in eastern Ukraine. The reported capture of two Russian military personnel in Shchastya, on the Ukrainian-controlled side of the ceasefire line, serves as additional evidence that the Russian military and separatists are working together, training together, and operating with the same command and control systems. We welcome the assurances from the Ukrainian government that these Russian military personnel are being treated humanely and that the SMM was granted access to visit them, which it reported on yesterday. Let’s be clear about several facts about the situation in eastern Ukraine, each element of which has been corroborated or reconfirmed by recent SMM reporting: Russian troops are there. Russian tanks are there. And an advanced Russian missile system is there. […] In the last ten days, President Putin, Chancellor Merkel, President Poroshenko, and Secretary Kerry each reiterated that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements serves as the basis for reaching a peaceful resolution to this crisis. Russia must now live up to the agreements it signed in Minsk. Russia must act, not just talk.”