Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
1 September 2016, 7 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported that yesterday, August 31, towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Stanytsia Luhanska. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiyivka with mortars. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions at Mayorsk and Verkhnotroitske. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist attacked a Ukrainian position near Bohdanivka. Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions at Starohnativka. Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Maryinka, Dokuchayevsk and Shyrokyne. The RNBO reported that on August 31, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.
2. Ukraine’s President: ceasefire in eastern Ukraine holding since midnight, Kyiv time
Ukraine’s President P. Poroshenko stated just after 12PM Kyiv time that a ceasefire has been holding on the eastern front since midnight on September 1, Kyiv time. President Poroshenko’s press service reported, “The Head of State reiterated the position of Ukraine on mandatory implementation of the security components of the Minsk agreements, fulfillment of the ceasefire regime, withdrawal of artillery and tanks. […]The President noted that Ukraine demanded liberation of Ukrainian hostages detained in Russian prisons and in the occupied territory, provision of unhindered access for the OSCE SMM representatives, creation of all necessary security conditions for the introduction of the political package of the Minsk agreements.” President Poroshenko stated, “The key condition is to ensure peace in Donbas – 409 km and 300 m of the border with Russia must be taken under control by representatives of the OSCE armed police mission with Ukrainian security officials and border guards joining them afterwards.”
3. US Treasury expands Russia sanctions list
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated 37 individuals and entities under three Executive Orders related to Russia and Ukraine. The Department of the Treasury stated, “Today’s action is part of OFAC’s ongoing efforts to counter attempts to circumvent sanctions on Russia, to assist the private sector with sanctions compliance, and to foster a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. The action demonstrates Treasury’s steadfast commitment to maintain sanctions until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements, including a comprehensive cease fire, the withdrawal of all weapons and military personnel, and the restoration of Ukraine’s control over its side of the internationally recognized border. It also underscores the U.S. government’s opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and our firm refusal to recognize its attempted annexation of the peninsula. These sanctions follow the recent extension of European Union sectoral sanctions, and together these steps demonstrate continued international unity in opposing Russia’s actions in Ukraine.” Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith stated, “Russia continues to provoke instability in eastern Ukraine despite its Minsk commitments. Treasury stands with our partners in condemning Russia’s violation of international law, and we will continue to sanction those who threaten Ukraine’s peace, security, and sovereignty.” The list of individuals and entities designated can be found athttps://www.treasury.gov/
4. IMF “very close” to concluding Ukraine review
The IMF is “very close” to concluding its latest review of Ukraine’s Extended Fund Facility, and expects its board to consider the release of the next tranche of funds in the second half of September, Reuters reported. “IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a regular news briefing that some technical issues related to the timing of further actions to be taken by Ukraine’s government to meet program requirements still needed to be worked out,” Reuters reported.
5. Latvian Foreign Minister: Ukraine is a litmus test for OSCE effectiveness
The Foreign Ministry of Latvia stated, “On 1 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in an informal meeting of foreign ministers from the participating States of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Potsdam. In his statement, the Latvian Foreign Minister emphasised that the primary criterion for the effectiveness of the OSCE will be its ability to find solutions to the crisis in Ukraine. The Foreign Minister pointed out that the OSCE has a significant role to play in conflict prevention and resolution and that the organisation has the necessary set of tools in its possession. However, the OSCE participating States have a fundamentally divergent understanding of basic principles and values, which is evidenced by the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Ukraine by Russia, developments in the east of Ukraine, the state of affairs in the field of human rights and democracy, and the use of the media as a weapon in information warfare. Therefore, it is important that all OSCE institutions are strengthened, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR), the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. […] In a discussion on preparations ahead of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg this December, Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasised that the debate should focus on ending Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”