Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
25 May 2015, 7 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that Kremlin-backed terrorists continue to shell Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne (near Mariupol) with artillery and mortars. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists are shelling Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport with tanks and artillery. Towards Luhansk, there were intense clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists near Shchastya and Stanytsia Luhanska. Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled residential areas in Stanytsia Luhanska. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and five were wounded.
- Ukraine PM on debt repayment
In an interview with the Financial Times published 22 May, Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk spoke about Ukraine’s debt repayment: “Let me put it this way: we would be happy to repay our debt. But on the terms and conditions that are offered by the Ukrainian government. And I ask our international creditors to be co-operative and collaborative. This is about justice. The Ukrainian people have sacrificed and paid too much. My job is to clean up the system, which is overloaded with a huge debt burden. For 2014, from all our international creditors — international support, the programme with the IMF — last year we received $9bn. […] And we paid back to our international creditors $14bn. […] When I was sworn in as Ukrainian prime minister, the external debt was about $72bn, so I reduced it in 12 months to $69bn. Look at the numbers for the next four years. Former president Yanukovych who fled the country — it’s amazing — in three years he [borrowed] $40bn. So international creditors were so generous and benign to president Yanukovych, knowing that he is definitely not the best guy in the world. But they offered to his dictatorship regime $40bn. And today we have to repay this debt. Under the IMF programme, we are to get $17.5bn, and $7.5bn from other international creditors. Only $15bn of this cash are we allowed to use to repay our international debt. But we have to repay back to our international creditors in the next four years $30bn, and an additional $17bn for the domestic debt. The overall number is $47bn, minus $15bn, so the negative margin is $32bn. […] The [parliament] passed the bill that allows the government to pass a moratorium. I believe that we will find a compromise with our creditors, and we will find a solution. But if not, I have no other option, other than to make this tough decision. […]I am talking about a moratorium. In order to hammer out the deal with our creditors.”
- Ministry of Internal Affairs summons Dmytro Firtash for questioning
On 23 May, the Main Investigative Department of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, stated that they have issued a summons to Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, in connection with an investigation into corruption schemes and theft of state assets by “Ostchem” companies. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has invited the FBI to participate in a joint investigation of the case. Firtash was indicted in the US for bribery. An Austrian court refused Firtash’s extradition to the US earlier this month.
- Democratic Initiatives Foundation Survey: Almost no support for so-called “Peoples’ Republics” in Donbas cities
The Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF) recently published a survey conducted in March-April in Starobilsk and Severodonetsk, Luhansk oblast. Most of the residents of the two cities see the future of their cities as part of Ukraine (64% in Severodonetsk; 67% in Starobilsk). The idea of independence of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” has virtually no support – less than 1% in both cities. Unity of the Donbas with the Russian Federation has only 2% support in Starobilsk and 5% in Severodonetsk.