Ukraine: Daily Briefing
May 1, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
|Ukrainian Army training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense|
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 and four Ukrainian soldiers were 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 44 times in total, including at least 6 times with heavy weapons.
2. Russia denies medical care to Ukrainian political prisoner illegally imprisoned in Russian-occupied Crimea
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “Volodymyr Balukh, a pro-Kyiv activist jailed by the Russia-imposed authorities in Crimea, has been on hunger strike for 43 days and his health is reportedly in decline.
Akhtem Chiygoz, deputy chairman of Crimean Tatars’ Mejlis self-governing body, told RFE/RL on April 30 that Balukh has been on hunger strike since March 19.
Lyudmyla Denysova, the human rights ombudswoman for Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, said on April 30 that Balukh needed an urgent medical examination and that his health was deteriorating with each passing day. She said a court of the Russia-imposed authorities in Crimea had denied a request by Balukh’s lawyers that he be afforded medical care.
Balukh was sentenced in January to three years and seven months in a penal colony […]
Balukh is one of dozens of Crimeans prosecuted by Russia in what rights groups say has been a persistent campaign to silence dissent since Moscow annexed the Ukrainian region in March 2014.
He was arrested in December 2016, after the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said explosives and 90 bullets were found in the attic of his home. The search was conducted shortly after Balukh planted a Ukrainian flag in his yard and affixed a sign to his house that read Heavenly Hundred Street, 18.”
Russia has ignored repeated calls by the international community for the immediate release of Ukrainian political prisoners illegally imprisoned in Russia, Russian-occupied Crimea and Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
3. Ukraine’s President confirms delivery of US anti-tank Javelin missiles to Ukraine’s Army
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the delivery of US anti-tank Javelin missiles to Ukraine’s Army. President Poroshenko stated, “I can confirm that the weapons were delivered to the Ukrainian Army. And have significantly strengthened the deterrent effect of our battle-readiness, and European security. We continue to work on strengthening our defense capacity with the goal of repelling Russian aggression.
I am sincerely grateful for President Trump’s just decision in support of Ukraine, in defense of freedom and democracy. Washington not only fulfilled our agreement but has demonstrated leadership and an important example.
I count on the strong position of all of Ukraine’s partners – in the first place the countries of the G7: the price of Russia’s continuing aggression against Ukraine must continue to grow for the Kremlin.”
4. Ukraine, Israel initial Free Trade Agreement
Ukraine Business Journal reported, “Ukraine and Israel have completed talks on the signing of a free trade area agreement and technically initialed it, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Trade Representative of Ukraine Natalia Mykolska has announced.
According to UNIAN, it foresees ‘the annulment of import duties for 80% of industrial goods from Ukraine to Israel and some agricultural products within quotas.’ For its part, Ukraine ‘will open 70% of the industrial goods market for Israeli producers and also abolish duties on a number of agricultural products.’ It will partially reduce tariffs for certain seasonal vegetables and fruits from Israel.”