Ukraine: Daily Briefing
June 21, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three 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 30 times in total, including at least 4 times with heavy weapons – mortars and artillery.
2. Ukraine’s Parliament passes Law on National Security of Ukraine
For the statement by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko following the adoption of the Law on National Security, please click on image above.
Ukraine’s Parliament passed the Law on National Security of Ukraine, with 248 MPs voting in support. Ukrinform reported, “The draft law regulates the fundamentals and principles of state policy in the field of national security and defense, taking into account the acquisition of membership in the EU and NATO, the mechanisms for improving democratic civilian control over the security and defense sector, the system of management of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in particular, the division of tasks, functions, powers, responsibilities and accountability of the management of the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces.”
3. Former NATO Deputy Secretary General: NATO can help itself by pulling Ukraine closer now
In an article for RealClear World, former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow stated, “NATO is gearing up for its next summit. The Alliance’s Brussels summit in July will take place against the backdrop of growing Transatlantic strains. […]
There is one concrete initiative that can unite allies across the Atlantic and bolster our collective security: strengthening NATO’s partnership with Ukraine. Ukraine wants to join NATO. This is not immediately possible given the current security situation and the status of Ukraine’s defense reforms, although it must remain on the table. For now, the Alliance can increase its cooperation with Ukraine independently of the membership question. While not a replacement for membership, inviting Ukraine to become an Enhanced Opportunities Partner is the natural next step in Kyiv’s relationship with NATO. […]
The list of designated countries remains small, comprising Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden. Ukraine does not count among them, but Kyiv has more than met the criteria needed to earn this designation. First of all, Ukraine pulls its weight in NATO missions. […]
Ukraine currently contributes 5 percent of its gross domestic product to defense, more than any NATO ally. Four years of war against Russian-backed forces in the Donbas have forged the most battle-hardened troops on the European continent and bolstered a significant military-industrial sector. Ukrainian capabilities, knowledge, and technical expertise would be of significant value to the Alliance. No one else has as much knowledge of Russia as Ukraine, nor as much practical expertise in combatting Russian use of cyber-attacks, disinformation, and other forms of ‘hybrid warfare’ aimed at undermining our democracies. Ukraine will also play a major role in Alliance efforts to strengthen its security in the Black Sea in order to protect NATO’s southeastern flank.
EOP status would recognize that special relationship and take the partnership to the next level. It would bring Kyiv into more political consultations with NATO at the ambassadorial and working level, would grant it more access to exercises, and would increase information sharing. Far from being a one-way relationship, it would also significantly enhance NATO’s expertise and operational skills. Some allies may be reluctant to support this step, but strong U.S. leadership could make it happen. […]
The Trump administration has shown that it is willing to support Ukraine’s security, not least through the recent decision to supply Javelin anti-tank missiles. Now Washington can show that it can unite NATO allies by further strengthening the Alliance’s partnership with Ukraine, the main victim of Russian aggression. Ukraine has shown itself to be worthy of taking the next step in its relations with NATO. Granting Ukraine EOP status would not only be a symbolic reward for its hard work in support of the Alliance, but a boost for NATO’s own security as well.”
4. US State Department on Ukraine’s anti-corruption court legislation
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert stated on June 20, “The United States commends Ukraine for adopting a law to establish an independent anti-corruption court. We were pleased to see this important piece of legislation passed with broad support in the Verkhovna Rada. With this move, Ukraine took an important step towards achieving the European future its people demanded during the Revolution of Dignity.
We welcome the International Monetary Fund Managing Director’s statement. She and President Poroshenko have agreed the Rada should quickly amend the law so the proposed court will be able to hear all cases under its jurisdiction, including existing corruption cases, and pass supplementary legislation to formally establish the court. These steps will ensure the court is able to help roll back the corruption that threatens Ukraine’s national security, prosperity, and democratic development.”