Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
5 May 2016, 6 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka with grenade launchers and small arms. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Hnutove with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Novotroitske, Vodyane, Hranitne and Shyrokyne. 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 and two were wounded.
2. IMF to send mission to Ukraine on 10-18 May
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission will be working in Kyiv on 10-18 May. The mission will “continue policy discussions with the Ukrainian authorities in the context of the 2nd review of the Extended Fund Facility,” the IMF stated.
3. US-EU Energy Council underlines support for continuing reform of Ukraine’s energy sector
The seventh US-EU Energy Council met in Washington, chaired by US Secretary of State J. Kerry, US U.S. Secretary of Energy E. Moniz, EU High Representative/Vice President F. Mogherini, European Commission Vice President M. Sefcovic and European Commissioner M. Canete. The Council “stressed the role of Ukraine as an important natural gas transit country to the EU. Ensuring sufficient and diversified fuel supplies, including in the electricity sector, for Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and other vulnerable countries, remains a key priority for the United States and the European Union, and the Council welcomed their efforts to this end. The Council welcomed the close cooperation among the United States, the European Union and Canada to support Ukraine in developing a winter contingency plan, as well as the medium- and long-term efforts to improve Ukraine’s energy security. The Council underlined its support for the continuing reform of Ukraine’s energy sector, and for enhancing and making more transparent the legal, fiscal and policy framework and improving transparency in the context of the progressive integration of Ukraine into the European energy market. The Council noted the importance of Ukraine’s maintaining reform momentum and strengthening the implementation of energy sector reforms in line with its commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the Energy Community.”
4. US at OSCE on Russia’s ongoing violations in Ukraine
At a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, US Ambassador D. Baer stated, “We call on Russia to halt the resupply of weapons and equipment into Ukraine, which only risks provoking renewed, full-scale fighting. We also call on combined Russian-separatist forces to abide by the ceasefire fully, so we do not lose this important opportunity to make real progress on Minsk implementation. […] Despite restrictions that combined Russian-separatist forces have imposed on the [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission – SMM], monitors have found clear evidence of violations of the Minsk agreements, including an alarming trend in which combined Russian-separatist forces place heavy weapons in civilian areas, including near schools and hospitals. The SMM reported the presence of a growing arsenal of heavy weapons in separatist-held Luhansk city, including tanks, howitzers, armored combat vehicles, and surface-to-air missile systems. At the same time that combined Russian-separatist forces threaten civilians by using residential areas as firing positions, they bar humanitarian organizations from delivering aid to people living in the territory they control. […] Fear and intimidation must not prevail in the separatist-controlled parts of Donbas or in Russia-occupied Crimea. We repeat, once again, the United States’ strong condemnation of the decision by the Russian Federation to ban the Crimean Tatar Mejlis on the basis of alleged ‘extremism.’ Russia’s systematic campaign of oppression and discrimination against the Crimean Tatar community, or any who dare to voice their disagreement with the de facto authorities, stands in clear contravention of Russia’s OSCE commitments. U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation related to its occupation of Crimea will remain in place until the occupation ends and Russia returns that land to Ukraine. We join the EU in recalling that sanctions imposed upon the Russian Federation for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will also remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments.”