Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
6 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 at Luhanske village with high-calibre machine guns. Near Horlivka, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions with small arms, grenade launchers and mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near the Donetsk airport. There was no combat on the Luhansk or Mariupol sectors of the front. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.
- Atlantic Council: 10 reasons to be optimistic about Ukraine’s economy in 2016
Atlantic Council Senior Fellow A. Aslund wrote, “The outlook for the Ukrainian economy in 2016 is positive. Many important reforms were carried out in 2015. […]Now is the time to move forward with more structural reforms. […] Energy reform has been one of the greatest achievements in 2015 and it needs to be completed. From April 1, 2016, all energy prices should be unified to avoid further privileged arbitrage for certain insiders […] A mission from the International Monetary Fund is likely to come in mid-January and clear Ukraine for a major disbursement in early February. Yet it will be a challenge for the government to keep the IMF happy as populist pressures persist. On the monetary side, everything looks promising. Most of the bank closures have been carried out, and the international reserves have risen from $5 billion in March to currently $13 billion, which is sufficient to keep the exchange rate stable. […]Ukraine’s economy is set to grow more than Russia’s in 2016. After two quarters of stabilizing output, 2016 is likely to see economic growth, and when growth starts it is usually higher than expected (currently 2-3 percent) because so many resources are underutilized after a big output fall. […] The EU Association Agreement is now fully in force. That means that the EU is obliged to provide more effective assistance to Ukraine. […]My outlook is quite optimistic because so many reforms have been implemented in 2015, and Ukrainian politics have hung together. Now the public concerns about corruption need to find constructive outlets so that corruption really declines.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/ten-reasons-why-i-m-optimistic-about-ukraine-s-economy-in-2016
- Washington Post: Putin’s anti-Obama propaganda is ugly and desperate
Writing in the Washington Post on 4 January, Paula J. Dobriansky, former US Undersecretary of State for global affairs and David B. Rivkin Jr, wrote, “While Soviet-era anti-American propaganda could be sharp, it did not employ slurs. But in recent years racist and scatological salvos against foreign leaders have become a staple of official Russian discourse.[…] The ugliest vilification campaign, however, has been reserved for President Obama. […] Nobody in Russia gets to freelance propaganda-wise. Thus, anti-Obama rants, even when coming from prominent individuals outside government, have Putin’s imprimatur. […]This despicable onslaught is not just the random venting of a narcissistic Kremlin leader but also an indispensable component of Putin’s efforts to mobilize domestic support for his policies and enhance his standing. […] Putin’s propaganda campaign also bespeaks of certain desperation. The Russian economy is in free fall, buffeted by both falling oil prices and Western sanctions. Fuel shortages and the resulting disruption of deliveries of key commodities pose a particular challenge to the Kremlin. Corruption and mismanagement are rampant and have drawn the ire of the Russian people. […]Against this backdrop, and lacking either democratic or ideological legitimacy, Putin’s government is increasingly brittle. As the Kremlin doubles down on its aggressive foreign policy and increases domestic repression, it has also intensified its global propaganda efforts. […] Winning the global battle of ideas is an essential part of fostering a stable democratic world order. Consistent with our core values, the United States must lead in challenging Moscow’s racist propaganda and highlighting the moral narrative of democracy, tolerance, human rights and rule of law.” The full article is available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/putins-anti-obama-propaganda-is-ugly-and-desperate/2016/01/04/57647c48-b0c4-11e5-b820-eea4d64be2a1_story.html