Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
September 2-8, 2017
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of September 1-7, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 220 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 10 times with heavy weapons.
2. During annual address to Parliament, Ukraine’s President addresses question of possible UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine
In his annual address to Parliament on September 7, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko addressed the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko emphasized that Russia continues provocations, obstruction of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, supply of mercenaries and weaponry to Ukrainian territory.
“In such conditions, deployment of the Blue Helmets in the whole occupied territory of Donbas would become a real breakthrough in the process of peaceful settlement and a powerful factor of de-escalation. Certainly, this would create favorable conditions for the achievement of progress on the political track of peaceful settlement in Donbas […] Today, we achieved a very important result – we have a common position of our partners who support the Ukrainian initiative. We finally heard the reaction from the other side of the frontline. Although, we clearly realize that the devil is in the details. Certainly, Russia’s proposal to deploy the UN mission solely for the purpose of protecting the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission is at least strange. Moreover, it is the Russian militants that are the main threat to the security of the international observers,” Poroshenko stated.
The President noted that Ukraine is willing to have a meaningful discussion at the UN Security Council on the issue, and outlined several important elements. First, the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission must be on the whole of the territory of the Donbas. “It must be aimed not at the conservation of Russian occupation and the legalization of Russian military presence, but at the maintenance of sustainable peace in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as full restoration of our country’s territorial integrity,” the President stated.
Second, the future UN Mission must be deployed all over the occupied territory, including the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border. “Third, the Mission must meet the key principles of the UN peacekeeping operations, which excludes the participation of representatives of the country-aggressor or the party to the conflict. Fourth, no coordination of parameters of the future UN Mission with Russian militants,” Poroshenko stated.
Moreover, the work over the UN Mission cannot be a reason for the abolition of the existing international sanctions against Russia.
Poroshenko said that he would attend the UN General Assembly later this month. “I am confident that we will establish peace, return all the occupied territories, restore Ukraine’s sovereignty jointly, especially with the assistance of Germany, France and USA,” the President concluded.
3. Ukraine’s PM on eve of new parliamentary session: This is our chance to change Ukraine
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman stated in a televised address on September 4 that the fall session of Parliament, which starts today, can become a groundbreaking step towards systemic change and fundamental reforms.
Groysman stated, “Results are already apparent. First and foremost these are economic stabilization and economic development. We are introducing decentralization, launching large-scale road construction, reviving the industry. But that’s not enough to really succeed. Hence, it is precisely at this parliamentary session, we are capable to take initial steps forward in order to build a successful country. […]
We must put into a practice a far-reaching educational reform. We need to retrofit the health care system and to approve a number of important bills that will have an impact on business development. What do we need today? The responsibility of each political force and every lawmaker will enable this session be successful and gives the opportunity to continue the transformations, thereby people will feel these changes. I would like Ukraine to be a country of successful people. We have to put our differences aside and serve for the greater good of the country and citizens.”
4. Bloomberg: Debt Crisis a Fading Memory as Ukraine Said to Plan Bond Return
Bloomberg reported on September 6, “Ukraine is taking advantage of a surge in appetite for high-yield debt to make its first return to Eurobond markets since a $15 billion restructuring in 2015.
The eastern European nation has mandated JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BNP Paribas SA for the sale of dollar-denominated sovereign bonds, according to three people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be cited because details are private. Rothschild & Co. is advising on the deal, the people said.”
Ukraine “relied heavily on foreign funding to finance its debt until a revolution and military conflict in 2014 curbed its market access and drained reserves, forcing the country to ask creditors for debt relief. Bondholders including Franklin Templeton accepted a 20 percent writedown and a four-year freeze on repayments in 2015.
That makes the timing for Ukraine all the more important because it has more than $1 billion a year of debt to service between 2019 and 2027. The International Monetary Fund, which has been giving the country installments in a $17.5 billion bailout since 2015, foresees the nation selling $1 billion of bonds this year, $2 billion in 2018 and $3 billion in 2019, according to a staff report published in April.
‘Investors are eager to see Ukraine using the window of opportunity to lengthen the maturity of its short-term debt,’ said Simon Quijano-Evans, a strategist at Legal & General Investment Management Ltd. in London. ‘Ukraine Eurobond issuance is probably the most anticipated by the market this year,” Bloomberg reported.
5. EU agrees to extend Russia sanctions
Reuters reported on September 7, “The European Union agreed on Wednesday to extend for another six months its blacklist of 149 Russian nationals and Ukrainian separatists, as well as 38 entities, for their role in the turmoil in Ukraine, sources in Brussels said.
During a weekly meeting in Brussels, representatives of the 28 EU states agreed on the roll over, which will formally be adopted on Sept. 14, and prolong the visa ban and asset freeze list until mid-March.”
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