Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
29 February 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Popasne with mortars. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Horlivka and the Avdiyvka-Pisky-Krasnohorivka line with mortars. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions on the Krasnohorivka-Maryinka and Hnutove-Talakivka line with mortars. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that yesterday Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions 71 times in total. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action.
2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine statement on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “On 20 February 2014, Russia launched an armed aggression against Ukraine by occupying the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. This aggression now continues in the Donbas. […] During these years of aggression, a 40 000-strong army has been built up in the Donbas financed, equipped and maintained by Russia and commanded by Russian officers […] Ukraine has been consistently implementing its commitments under the Minsk agreements on security, political, humanitarian and social-economic tracks. […] Russia has fulfilled none of its obligations under the Minsk Agreements. Russia and its proxies continue military provocations, including by using the weapons that should have been withdrawn under the OSCE monitoring and verification – multiple launch rocket systems, self-propelled artillery, 82mm and 120mm mortars. Russian troops in Donbas continue with unfettered rotation, training and supply through the uncontrolled sections of the state border. […] Russia and its proxies continuously obstruct releasing more than 130 Ukrainian hostages, while subjecting them to inhuman treatment and tortures and threatening the hostages with capital punishment based on the USSR criminal code. Russia continues political persecutions of Ukrainian citizens and refuses to release Ukrainian political prisoners Savchenko, Sentsov, Kolchenko and others, illegally detained in Russia. Russia and the militants are blocking delivery of Ukrainian and international humanitarian aid to the civil population and systemically impede activities of the international humanitarian organizations, including the ICRC. Ukraine urges all UN member states to demand from the Russian Federation to fulfill all its commitments under the UN Charter and international law, to implement the Minsk agreements in full and in good faith and to stop immediately all acts of aggression against Ukraine. We call on the international community to exert maximum pressure on Russia and maintain sanctions until Donbas and Crimea are de-occupied and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine is restored.” The full statement is available at http://mfa.gov.ua/en/press-
center/comments/5163- statement-of-the-ministry-of- foreign-affairs-of-ukraine-on- implementation-of-the-minsk- agreements
3. Date of verdict in Russia’s illegal trial of Nadiya Savchenko to be announced on 3 March
M. Feygin, attorney for Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko, stated that the date that the verdict will be pronounced in Russia’s illegal trial of Savchenko will be announced on 3 March, Radio Svoboda reported. Savchenko was serving in eastern Ukraine, when abducted by Kremlin-backed terrorists in June 2014 and taken to Russia, where she has been illegally detained and imprisoned since that time. Russia has ignored repeated calls from the international community for her immediate release.
4. Atlantic Council on Ukraine’s Booming Tech Sector
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Diane Francis, Editor at Large at the National Post, Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University, and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, wrote, that the IT sector in Ukraine has “become Europe’s largest software development industry. There are 100,000 Microsoft certified software professionals in the country and aggressive plans to double this number by 2020. […] Sanctions have cost Russia IT business and many have opted for Ukraine instead. In other words, Ukraine is winning the IT ‘war.’ Three recent and significant deals have turned the tech world’s attention toward Ukraine. In September, Snapchat paid $150 million to buy a two-year-old Ukrainian startup in Odesa called Looksery. The previous record was $45 million paid by a Google mobile division for Viewdle. In November, financier George Soros made a big bet when his Ukrainian Redevelopment Fund acquired a stake in Ciklum Holding Limited in Kyiv, a successful IT firm with 2,500 professionals. […] Analysts estimate that there are more than 2,000 startups in the country’s major cities. And some have already made their mark. Ukrainians are behind global success stories such as Grammarly, an online writing enhancement software, and Paymentwall, an online platform dedicated to selling digital goods and services.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.
org/blogs/new-atlanticist/ ukraine-s-booming-tech-sector- gets-international-attention- despite-war
5. Government establishes State Bureau of Investigation
Ukraine’s Government adopted a resolution establishing the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and approved six out of nine members for the Commission on selecting the SBI Director – three appointed by the Cabinet and three appointed by President Poroshenko. Ukraine’s Parliament is responsible for appointing the other three members of the selection commission. According to legislation, the Selection Commission can take decisions with five votes, meaning it can start its operations. Ukraine’s PM A. Yatsenyuk stated that the first meeting of the selection commission would take place 1 March. “This agency will take up most of the investigative functions that are now within the scope of jurisdiction of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine,” Yatsenyuk stated.