Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
January 6-12, 2018
For a report from the Canadian Armed Forces on improvised explosive device removal training during Operation UNIFIER, please click on above image
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that during the week of January 5-11, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 14 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 32 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 16 times with heavy weapons.
2. Court remands suspect in murder of Ukrainian activist lawyer
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on January 10, “A Ukrainian court has arrested a suspect in the killing of activist lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska that sparked public outrage and underscored concerns about the justice system in Ukraine.
The Kyiv region’s Vyshhorod district court on January 9 placed Yuriy Rossoshanskyy, 64, in custody for 60 days without the possibility of bail. During the hearing, Rossoshanskyy admitted the slaying and said that nobody exerted pressure on him to commit the crime.
He is the father of Dmytro Rossoshanskyy, who was convicted of causing the death of Nozdrovska’s sister when he hit her with his car while driving drunk in 2015.
On January 8, a week after Nozdrovska was found dead, police announced the detention of a suspect, who was not named at the time.
The court’s order came after mourners paid their last respects to Nozdrovska, who was buried next to her sister, Svitlana Sapatanyska. People placed flowers in the yard outside Nozdrovska’s family home in Demydiv, a village in the Kyiv region, before she was laid to rest at a local cemetery on January 9.
Nozdrovska went missing on December 29, after she helped ensure that the man convicted of causing the death of her sister was not released from prison.The 38-year-old lawyer’s body was found in a river not far from Demydiv on January 1, and police later said she died of multiple stab wounds.
Nozdrovska had been the target of threats for her efforts in the case of Dmytro Rossoshanskyy, the nephew of a district judge in the Kyiv region.On December 27, amid efforts by Nozdrovska to raise public awareness about the case, judges rejected an appeal by Rossoshanskyy to overturn his seven-year prison sentence.”
3. World Bank forecasts Ukraine GDP growth of 3.5% in 2018
In its Global Economic Prospects Report published January 9, the World Bank forecasts real GDP growth of 3.5% in Ukraine for 2018. The World Bank forecasts 4% real GDP growth in Ukraine for 2019 and 2020.
4. Russia is destroying 16th Century Crimean Tatar Khan’s Palace in occupied Crimea
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “There are compelling grounds for fearing that Russia’s so-called ‘restoration work’ on the world-renowned Khan’s Palace in Bakhchysarai could forever destroy this vital monument of Crimean Tatar cultural heritage. […] Photos smuggled out of the site are alarming, as is the lack of any experience in restoration work of the construction company and Moscow architectural firm commissioned to carry out the work.
The Khan’s Palace in Bakhchysarai was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List back in 2003, but the necessary work for establishing its international status was unfortunately not completed. According to Edem Dudakov, the former head of the Crimean Committee on Inter-Ethnic Relations and Deported Peoples, if the work now underway continues, the complex which includes the Palace itself, a hall for receiving visitors, two mosques, a harem and other buildings, will lose any chance of gaining UNESCO recognition in future.
It is also a major attack by an occupying force on a monument of considerable historical and cultural importance for the Crimean Tatar People and for Ukraine. The complex was built as the main residence of the monarchs of the Crimean Khanate – the state of the Crimean Tatar people – and was the political, religious and cultural centre of the Crimean Tatar community until the collapse of the Khanate in 1783. […]
Well-known Crimean Tatar rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov announced recently that their team of lawyers and legal experts were planning a legal battle to protect the Khan’s Palace from what he called an ‘unjustified attack on the historical heritage of the Crimean Tatars, a site of cultural heritage.’ […]
Kurbedinov noted the obvious hypocrisy if one compared this situation with the excuses given for throwing the Mejlis [representative assembly] of the Crimean Tatar People from the building they had always occupied in Simferopol.” The full report from KHPG is available at Russia is destroying 16th Century Crimean Tatar Khan’s Palace in occupied Crimea
5. US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff report details two decades of Putin’s attacks on democracy
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated on January 10, “A Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff report released Wednesday and commissioned by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Committee’s ranking member, details Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nearly two decades-long assault on democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law across Europe and in his own country.
The report comes one year after Senator Cardin introduced the Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, which served as the basis for the sanctions package signed into law last August, and makes a series of recommendations to adequately bolster U.S. and European defenses and counter the growing Kremlin threat to democratic institutions. […]
Across eight chapters and several appendices, the report meticulously details the tools the Russian government has repeatedly deployed from its asymmetric arsenal, and how the Kremlin has learned and perfected its techniques attacking democracy both internally and abroad. Such tools – drawn largely from a Soviet-era playbook, but updated with new technologies – include military incursions, cyberattacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponization of energy resources, organized crime and corruption.
Putin first developed his techniques at home, against his own people. In Russia, he repressed independent civil society, journalists, and the political opposition, while manipulating cultural and religious institutions, the media, and fueling a corrupt kleptocracy to bolster his regime and increase his net worth. Putin’s increasing aggression abroad is directly related to his need to maintain power at home. As he looks to maintain power in Russia, he is likely to step up his attacks on democracies around the world.
Some European countries have shored up their democracies with a strategic, whole-of-government approach: publicly warning Moscow of consequences if it meddles; mobilizing various sectors of society to neutralize and push back against Kremlin disinformation; and confronting Russian efforts to use corruption as a tool of influence. It is time for the United States to take similar actions. The report includes more than 30 recommendations for the U.S. and its allies.”
The report is available here: Putin’s Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for US National Security
6. Lithuania urges Canada to join long-term investment drive for Ukraine
The Globe and Mail reported on January 7, “Lithuania is urging Canada to sign on to a long-term package of support for Ukraine that would funnel more investment into the Eastern European country and strengthen its ties with the West […]
The Lithuanian government in concert with Ukraine is championing what is provisionally called a ‘European Plan for Ukraine’ and would disburse an estimated $7.47-billion annually to Ukrainian recipients for a period of 10 years.
Lithuania remains concerned about Russia’s continuing efforts to destabilize Ukraine and the idea, spearheaded by former Lithuanian prime minister Andrius Kubilius, has been likened to the Marshall Plan aid initiative that helped rebuild Western Europe after the Second World War.
A key goal would be to replacing aging Soviet-era infrastructure in Ukraine and make other highly visible investments that demonstrate to Ukrainians the West is playing a key role in their recovery and help prevent the rise of anti-European politicians. The disbursement of capital for investment projects would be linked to further reforms of governance and Ukraine’s investment climate.
This proposal remains in the formative stages and financing and partners are still being assembled. A Lithuanian government delegation, which visited Washington and Ottawa near the end of 2017 to press its case, hopes that Canada, which will serve as chair of the Group of Seven countries throughout 2018, can make Ukraine a priority for its tenure. […]
Canada, the United States and other potential donors and international financial institutions, from the European Union’s European Investment Bank to the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. to Scandinavia’s Nordic Investment Bank, have been invited to an ‘Invest Ukraine’ conference in Brussels early this year to discuss the project including the establishment of a central agency to manage this initiative.”