Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
4 January 2016, 5 PM Kyiv time
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Novhorodsk and the Donetsk airport. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Shyrokyne with grenade launchers. There was no combat on the Luhansk sector of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.
- EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area enters into force
On 1 January, 2016 the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCTFA) entered into force. The EU stated, “The application of the DCFTA of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement constitutes a milestone in the bilateral relationship, as it will offer new economic benefits to both sides. Ukrainian businesses receive stable and predictable preferential access to the largest market in the world with 500 million customers, while EU businesses will be able to benefit from easier access to the Ukrainian market and build new relationships with Ukrainian suppliers and cooperation partners. […] By its ambitious goals of approximation to EU legislation in areas such as competition, government procurement, and protection of intellectual property rights, the agreement will contribute to the modernisation and diversification of the Ukrainian economy and will create additional incentives for reform, notably in the fight against corruption. The DCFTA will thus offer an opportunity to Ukraine to improve its business climate and to attract foreign investment, helping Ukraine to further integrate with the world economy.”
- Ukraine’s PM: Ukraine is leaving free trade zone with Russia, raising duties on all Russian products and imposing trade embargo on several Russian products
In response to the entry into force of the EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, Russia imposed a trade embargo against Ukraine. On 3 January, Ukraine’s PM A. Yatsenyuk stated, “Our response is the following. Ukraine is leaving the free trade zone with the Russian Federation, raising duties on all Russian products and imposing a trade embargo on all Russian food products as well as car building and engineering products. We are taking countermeasures. We didn’t start this war.”
- Dutch Prosecutors to study report identifying Russian soldiers implicated in shooting down MH-17
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Dutch prosecutors have stated they will “seriously study” a report by investigative journalist group Bellingcat that identifies Russian soldiers implicated in shooting down Flight MH-17 in July 2014. A spokesman for the Dutch Prosecutors’ Office stated that they received the report just after Christmas. In an interview with Dutch TV channel NOS on 3 January, Bellingcat founder Elliot Higgins stated that the group has identified 20 soldiers in Russia’s 53rd anti-aircraft brigade, and that a redacted version of Bellingcat’s report would be published shortly, AFP reported.
- Ukraine confident of success in lawsuit over Russian-held debt
Ukraine’s Finance Ministry stated it was confident of success in court following Russia’s decision file a lawsuit over the $3 billion Eurobond held by Russia, issued in December 2013, Reuters reported. The Ministry stated, “The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine takes note of the apparent decision by the Russian Federation to initiate legal action against Ukraine. Ukraine is ready to defend itself against any claim that may be brought against it, and is confident in all the circumstances of doing so successfully,” Reuters reported.