Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
October 28-November 3, 2017
Ukrainian army training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of October 27-November 2, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and fourteen Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 110 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors of the front, including at least 24 times with heavy weapons.
2. Ukraine’s Prime Minister meets with Canada’s Prime Minister
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman met with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 31. Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers stated, “Ukraine and Canada have a strategic partnership based on enduring friendship, strong political dialogue, commitment to democratic values and prospects of joint implementation of projects in the most promising sectors of the economy today.
For this reason, Ukraine is counting on the enhancement of the political dialogue and the expansion of the free Trade Agreement. Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman made this statement in the course of the meeting with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. The negotiations became one of the key events of the visit to Canada. […]
The Prime Minister of Ukraine emphasized that the development of mutually beneficial cooperation with Canada both at the geopolitical level and in the trade and economic sphere is a top priority. […] The cooperation in the international political arena is efficient as well. The issues at stake are countering Russian aggression and […] sanctions policy.
The Heads of Government discussed priorities pertaining to Canada’s G7 presidency in 2018. It was agreed that during the forthcoming G7 summit in June 2018, the Ukrainian issue will be considered both in the context of strengthening security and peace as well as in the coordination of international support for the implementation of reforms.
The interlocutors also discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine and the possibilities for the deployment of a peacekeeping operation under the auspices of the United Nations in Donbas.”
3. US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations interview with Hromadske
US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker was in Ukraine recently, where he was interviewed by Hromadske TV. The interview can be viewed here:
4. 4th Canadian Division troops begin new training cycle as part of Operation UNIFIER
Operation UNIFIER training, Yavoriv, Ukraine.
Photo – Joint Task Force – Ukraine
An update on Operation UNIFIER published by Canada’s Department of National Defence stated, “With the arrival of the fifth rotation of Operation UNIFIER troops in September, a Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) Battalion has deployed to the International Peace Support Centre (IPSC) ready to receive training from a US and Canadian training battalion.
Members from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based in Petawawa, are responsible to teach alongside UAF instructors as they run a Rotational Training Unit (RTU) through a 55-day training cycle. The aim is to improve training delivery among the UAF instructor cadre, build relationships among international partners, and further UAF and NATO compatibility.
The Canadian Staff are prepared to provide the expertise aimed at advancing UAF training delivery methods. Through and with Ukrainian instructors, Canadians will train UAF at the individual and collective levels. The training begins with first aid, military planning, small arms handling and firing, armour vehicle training, and subsequently collective training. It culminates with a battalion-level field exercise. Canadians are willing to learn as well, and look forward to hearing about the tactics that UAF are employing in operations.
These efforts also include working with UAF to determine what institutional changes are needed to move closer to NATO compatibility. ‘This is a challenging task, as language barriers, tactical practices and equipment differences all combine to force Canadian instructors and staff to think of creative ways to convey ideas and concepts,’ explained Maj Pat Newman, Officer in Charge of Line of Effort 1.
‘Additionally, building positive relationships is a facet to Canadian success. The relationships that are forged with the incoming unit will be key in overcoming the challenges in the coming months.’
The goal of this training mission remains to enable the UAF to be able to instruct, deliver and evaluate all of its units that come to the IPSC for training. This change has begun to be implemented and will continue throughout until mission success.”
5. National Bank of Ukraine upgrades GDP growth forecasts
On November 2, the National Bank of Ukraine upgraded GDP growth forecast for 2017 from 1.6% to 2.2%, “due to the positive effect of both internal and external factors, reflected in better results of economic activity in most industries in the second-third quarter of the year than previously expected.
The National Bank forecast GDP growth for 2018 at 3.2% and for 2019 at 3.5%. Private consumer activity will remain the main driver of economic growth over these years due to higher wages and pensions, higher consumer confidence and increased consumer lending,” the Bank stated.
6. Atlantic Council: Pragmatism prevails over populism in Ukraine
On November 2, Atlantic Council senior non-resident fellow Brian Mefford stated, “Successful politics is about getting things done. By that standard, October was a successful month. Not only did the government pass sweeping healthcare reform, pension reform, and judiciary reform, it also staved off populist protests. In short, pragmatism prevailed over populism.
Each of the reforms passed was significant, but healthcare reform was the most far-reaching. […] The overall effect will be substantial: patients will receive better healthcare, the state will provide a safety net, and medical professionals will be able to earn a normal salary based on the number of patients they treat rather than receive a fixed subsistence salary from the state.
Pension reform creates an understandable and transparent system to allow workers to ‘catch up’ after years of not paying into the system; more important, it raises pensions in the short term. […]
Judicial reform is more technical in nature, but ultimately, the legislation makes the Supreme Court the venue for appeals, modernizes the system through the adoption of e-governance, and increases the role of official court fees in financing the system.
Were the reforms perfect? No, but they will positively and concretely improve the lives of ordinary Ukrainians. Were compromises made to achieve passage of the reforms? Yes, but pragmatic leaders know the importance of winning a partial battle today to achieve a full victory tomorrow. […]
November is a new month with other challenges, but last month, Ukrainian leaders showed they are capable of delivering concrete, important results to the Ukrainian people.”
The full article is available here: Pragmatism prevails over populism in Ukraine