Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 25, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
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, Russian-terrorist forces signficantly escalated attacks on Ukrainian positions. In the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eleven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 69 times on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 33 times with heavy weapons – Grad rockets, artillery and mortars.
2. Russian-terrorist forces shell civilian areas near Svitlodarsk with artillery, mortars
|Damage caused to civilian areas of Luhanske village as a result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces. Photo – Ministry of Defense of Ukraine|
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that yesterday, Russian-terrorist forces shelled residntial areas of Luhanske and Novoluhanske village (near Svitlodarsk) with artillery and mortars. The Ministry of Defense stated, “the enemy is deliberately shelling civilian buildings and objects of critical infrastructure in the area. […] The supply of electricity has been partially affected, as has natural gas supply.” No civilian casualties were reported.
3. Ukraine exports to EU increase
Ukraine Business Journal reported on April 24, “During the first two months of 2018, exports of Ukrainian goods grew to $7.4 billion, up 17.9% compared to last year, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman posted on Facebook. Exports to the EU shot up by 36.2% and totaled $3.3 billion. Exports to Singapore, Belarus, Turkey, Moldova and Iraq also increased.
Bilateral EU-Ukraine trade up by 27%. Ukraine and the EU are pleased with the bilateral trade growth rate stimulated by the implementation of the Ukraine-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA). First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade – Trade Representative of Ukraine Natalia Mykolska said this after a meeting with EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström in Brussels, Ukrinform reports. The agreement has brought the liberalization of free trade, entailing the mutual elimination of duties.”
4. US Senators push banks for information on Russian oligarchs
Reuters reported, “U.S. senators are pressing many of the world’s largest financial institutions to disclose any links between their companies and wealthy Russians allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a letter released on Tuesday.
Two Democratic senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Sheldon Whitehouse, have written to the banks, hoping to increase pressure not just on individuals on the U.S. Treasury’s so-called ‘oligarchs list,’ but also on financial institutions to closely consider those with whom they do business as Washington moves to impose sanctions on Moscow.
The Trump administration announced sanctions on Russia on April 6, largely responding to what U.S. intelligence agencies have said was Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, although Treasury painted them as a response to a series of adversarial actions by Moscow.
The letter was sent to three large U.S. banks – Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank [C.UL] – as well as Europe-based Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse.
As part of sweeping sanctions legislation President Donald Trump signed into law in August, the U.S. Congress required Treasury to create a list of wealthy Russians – the ‘oligarchs’ – with ties to the government who might later be targeted with sanctions such as asset freezes or denial of visas.
‘Given their wealth and relationship to the Russian state, many oligarchs in Russia either wield or are susceptible to considerable political influence,’ the two senators said in the letter, seen by Reuters, which also said oligarchs have used their wealth to shield the state from sanctions.
The letter asked each bank whether it had, within five years, conducted a review to determine if it had any accounts controlled by anyone on the list released on Jan. 29 of oligarchs or senior Russian political figures. […] If the banks do not provide the information, the senators plan to seek potentially more intrusive action, such as a government investigation.”
5. National Security and Defense Council: State tests of Vilkha missile successful
photo – National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported, “The state tests of the ‘Vilkha’ missile system were carried out today in the south of the Kherson region, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov informed.
According to Mr. Turchynov, all stages of the state tests were successful. ‘At each stage, various parameters of the tactical and technical characteristics of the missiles were checked for compliance, in particular, the precision of hitting the specified targets at the maximum and minimum ranges, the power and efficiency of destroying the target with the missile’s combat element, multiple destruction of long-distance targets, etc.,’ – Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine said.
Mr. Turchynov noted that according to the decision of the State Commission, the missile system would be put on armament, and this year its serial production would be launched.
‘This is a great joint success of Ukrainian scientists, designers, manufacturers, and military who managed to complete the most ambitious task within the shortest time possible,’ – he said.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, military leaders, experts, and military attaches from 7 countries who expressed their interest in negotiating the acquisition of new, powerful Ukrainian weapons, were present at the tests. ‘Despite the great interest of our foreign partners, – Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine underscored, – the priority for us is to provide the missile systems to our Armed Forces.’
Also, Oleksandr Turchynov reported about the ongoing active work on the implementation of the national missile program, ‘among the priorities of which, in particular, is the creation of new powerful cruise and antiaircraft missiles for our army.'”