Ukraine: Daily Briefing
February 6, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
|Ukrainian soldiers participate in training exercises.
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed or wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front four times in total.
2. Human Rights Group: OSCE should boycott Russian ‘election’
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) reported, “There are several reasons why the event on March 18 which will give Vladimir Putin his fourth official term as Russian President can only loosely be termed an ‘election’.
There is one reason, however, that surely invalidates any outcome since Russia is insisting on holding the elections in illegally occupied Ukrainian Crimea. Even if the OSCE’s acceptance of Russia’s invitation to observe the presidential elections was made with the proviso that it would only be deployed in Russia, the OSCE’s very presence is effectively recognizing that the elections are at least legal.
The event has been scheduled for 18 March, with this timing no accident. The date marks four years since Russia tried to formalize its illegal annexation of Crimea, and Putin is presumably hoping to win ‘votes’ by hearkening to this illegal land-grab. It is likely that most Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians in occupied Crimea will boycott these ‘elections’, and so should the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Back on 27 March 2014, the vast majority of democratic states endorsed a UN General Assembly Resolution ‘calling on States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such.’ […]
The International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor has already recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea as an international armed conflict, falling under its jurisdiction.
All democratic states recognise that Crimea is occupied territory, with this meaning that all parties are bound by the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Russia should not be imposing its laws on Crimea, and should not be treating the Crimean population as voters in a Russian election.
The grave deterioration in human rights under Russian occupation, including enforced disappearances, politically-motivated arrests and ongoing terrorization and intimidation of Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians, have all been documented by the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Council of Europe and human rights NGOs. […]
Since the OSCE mission cannot observe Russian elections on occupied Ukrainian territory, Russia will doubtless invite its own trusted ‘observers’ from among far-right and other pro-Kremlin parties who can be relied upon to find these the most democratic elections they have seen. During the pseudo-referendum on 16 March 2014, there was an obvious attempt made to pretend that the motley group of such ‘observers’ assembled were linked to the OSCE. Now, it seems, they almost won’t have to try.”
The full report from KHPG is available here
3. Ukraine food exports to EU grow by 37% in last year
Ukraine Business Journal reported that Ukraine’s food exports to the EU grew by 37% last year, more than twice as fast as the 16.3% global growth of Ukraine’s food exports. “Food sales to the EU amounted to $5.8 billion last year. In addition to big ticket staples — cereals – $ 1.7 billion, cooking oil – $ 1.4 billion – processed exports experienced high growth. Poultry doubled to $134 million. Confectionery products almost doubled to $38 million. Flour products rose by one third to $96 million. Juices rose by one third to $71 million. And honey rose by one quarter to $99 million,” the UBJ reported.
4. IMF on Ukraine’s draft law on anti-corruption court
International Monetary Fund spokesperson William Murray stated, “As far as the law in the Anti-Corruption Court, we look forward to working together with the authorities and international partners to address concerns regarding the current draft law on the Anti-Corruption Court and bring it fully in line with Ukraine’s commitments under the IMF program and the recommendations of the Venice Commission.
As we have noted previously, the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Court consistent with the Venice Commission’s recommendations is an essential component of the IMF supported program with Ukraine.”