Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 8, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, attacks by Russian-terrorist forces on Ukrainian positions escalated. 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 37 times in total, including at least 8 times with heavy weapons – artillery, tanks and mortars.
2. Ukraine acting finance minister hopes for deeper cooperation with IMF
Reuters reported, “Ukraine’s acting finance minister on Friday said she hopes to have deep cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and would prioritize macroeconomic stability, reducing fiscal risks and ensuring efficient budget spending and economic growth.
Oksana Markarova, who took over after her predecessor was fired on Thursday following a public spat with the prime minister, said the economic situation and Ukraine’s finances were under control.
In an interview with the TV channel 112, she said she wanted ‘a deepening of cooperation with all our international partners – the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund.'”
On Thursday, Ukraine’s Parliament voted in support of Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman’s motion to dismiss Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk. The Cabinet appointed Oksana Markarova acting Finance Minister.
Ukraine Business Journal reported that Markarova “has been Deputy Finance Minister since March 2015 and Government commissioner on investments. Markarova has a solid academic record both in Ukraine and the USA, of work in NGOS, government and the investment sector. She is a member of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy Advisory Board, the Ukrainian Catholic University circle of friends, and international Young Presidents Organization.”
3. NATO agrees to “Four Thirties” plan to counter Russia, other threats
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, press conference, Brussels. Photo – NATO
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL reported, “NATO defense ministers have agreed to moves to protect the alliance and its allies against increased threats from Russia and to bolster combat readiness by easing the transport of troops across Europe in the event of a crisis.
The measures agreed to on June 7 in Brussels would reinforce NATO’s presence in a potential European crisis with the deployment of 30 troop battalions, 30 squadrons of aircraft, and 30 warships within 30 days — the so-called “Four Thirties” plan.
NATO defense ministers also set staffing levels of more than 1,200 personnel for new commands covering the Atlantic Ocean, handling logistics during any conflict on mainland Europe. They will be based in Norfolk, Virginia, and Ulm, Germany.
Full details were not revealed of the U.S.-designed plan, set to be in place by 2020. ‘We have decided further steps to strengthen our shared security and boost defense and deterrence against threats from any direction,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.”
4. Canada’s Minister of Defence: Canada will continue to support Ukraine and increase assistance
Defence Ministers Sajjan and Poltorak
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported, “At NATO HQ, Minister of Defence of Ukraine General of the Army of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak held bilateral talks with Minister of National Defence of Canada Harjit Singh Sajjan. The parties focused on discussion of a decision related joint development of list of weapons, military equipment and armament required for the defence sector of Ukraine and development of capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
‘Canada will continue to support Ukraine and increase assistance,’ Harjit Singh Sajjan stressed, ‘I see progress in reforms of Defence Ministry of Ukraine, I am pleased with the result of trainings of Ukrainian service members conducted by Canadian instructors. I am sure we have to continue and develop cooperation, move forward and improve capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,’ the Canadian Minister said. General Poltorak thanked for assistance and valued all joint projects of the two countries.”
5. US Defense Secretary: “Successful implementation of defence reform in Ukraine is directly connected with our common security”
Defence Minister Poltorak and Defense Secretary Mattis
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported on June 7, “During a meeting of Minister of Defence of Ukraine General of the Army of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak with US, UK, Canada, Lithuania, and Poland Ministers of Defence in Brussels, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis valued great contribution of the Ukrainians to defence of territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.
‘Successful implementation of defence reform in Ukraine is directly connected with our common security – US and NATO nations security’, Secretary Mattis remarked.
Moreover, talks also dealt with recent decision to provide a new instalment of US assistance to Ukraine. This assistance will permit to enhance dynamics and content of the ongoing large-scale reform within the Defence Ministry of Ukraine.”