2. US Mission to OSCE: The main obstacle to implementing Minsk is Russia’s unabated aggression against Ukraine
Speaking at the OSCE Permanent Council, US Permanent Representative D. Baer stated, “As the Secretary General warned last week, the [OSCE] Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is being subjected to a ‘deliberate effort to blind it.’ Within a single week, combined Russian-separatist forces shot down the SMM’s two long-range UAVs near Horlivka, and threatened to shoot down a mini-UAV sent by the SMM to search for wreckage of the downed UAVs. Combined Russian-separatist forces also sabotaged OSCE cameras outside of Donetsk, which are critical to monitoring volatile hot spots like the area between Avdiivka and Yasnyuvata, and they have refused to allow the SMM access to fix them. […] This deliberate effort to blind the SMM is intended to conceal from the international community the buildup of combined Russian-separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, the advanced Russian weaponry these forces have in their arsenal, and the military personnel and materiel that regularly cross the border from Russia into Ukraine. This calculated effort is part of a strategy of deception undertaken by the Russian Federation to cover up its ongoing aggression against Ukraine. We witness this strategy of deception during each Permanent Council, when Russia denies it is involved in the conflict – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – and seeks to distract us by blaming Ukraine for the failure to implement the Minsk agreements. Even the combined Russian-separatist forces’ calculated efforts to blind the SMM cannot conceal the scale and sophistication of weapons and equipment flowing into Ukraine from Russia. […]Russia has shown no signs of reversing its aggression; rather, it has raised the level of violence. In May alone, 31 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 116 were injured, the highest single-month casualty figures since August 2015. So far in June, three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 41 have been wounded. Let us be clear, the main obstacle to implementing Minsk is Russia’s unabated aggression against Ukraine. This is not a technical challenge, this is not a legislative challenge, this is a challenge rooted in the Kremlin’s ongoing support for conflict.”
3. World Bank forecasts GDP growth in Ukraine 2016-2018
The World Bank published its June 2016 Global Economic Prospects report on 7 June. The report states, “Ukraine returned to positive growth of 0.1 percent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2016, and the contraction of 9.9 percent in 2015 was not as severe as previously anticipated. Other data so far this year also suggest that the recession has bottomed out. Following steep price increases in 2014 and 2015 associated with the devaluation of the hryvnia and price reforms, inflation slowed as the currency stabilized, enabling a lowering of policy interest rates to 18 percent in May. […] In the absence of an escalation of conflict in the east, Ukraine’s economy could return to modest growth in 2016, helped by the real depreciation of the hryvnia, efforts to boost exports to the EU market, and banking sector reforms that will support a resumption of lending.” The World Bank forecast real GDP growth in Ukraine of 1% in 2016; 2% in 2017 and 3% in 2018. The full report is available at
4. European Parliament President: Ukraine has fulfilled all criteria for visa-free regime with EU
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko spoke with the President of the European Parliament M. Schulz, “in order to coordinate positions in the context of preparations to the Ukraine-EU high-level political consultations that will be held in Brussels onJune 27. The parties also discussed the prospects of introduction of the visa-free regime for Ukrainians. The interlocutors discussed the progress of Ukraine on the track of reforms. In this context, the President of the European Parliament congratulated the Head of State on the approval of constitutional amendments on justice […]. Martin Schulz reaffirmed that Ukraine had properly fulfilled all the criteria required for the introduction of the visa-free regime for Ukrainians by the EU. In this regard, he assured that he made every effort for the European Parliament to make a positive decision shortly,” Poroshenko’s press service reported.