Ukraine: Daily Briefing
August 23, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
On August 23, Ukraine marks National Flag Day. For a report on the ceremony from Dnipro from Channel 5, please click on the above image.
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that this morning at about 6 am Kyiv time, Russian-terrorist forces attacked Ukrainian positions near Krymske, Luhansk oblast. In a five-hour battle, Ukrainian forces repelled the attack. The Ministry of Defense reported that four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the battle, and seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated that Ukrainian forces killed 8 enemy combatants and wounded more than 11. Poroshenko stated, “From the report of General Nayev, commander of the Joint Forces, the situation has been stabilized and Ukrainian land has been defended.” On other sectors of the Luhansk and Donetsk front, in the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 24 times in total.
2. Credit Suisse freezes $5 billion of Russian money due to U.S. sanctions
Reuters reported on August 22, “One of Switzerland’s largest banks, Credit Suisse, has frozen roughly 5 billion Swiss francs ($5 billion) of money linked to Russia to avoid falling foul of U.S. sanctions, according to its accounts, further increasing pressure on Moscow.
The move by Credit Suisse, which owned aircraft surrendered by Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska and had lent money to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg before the sanctions, underscores a widespread fear among banks of reprisals from Washington for working with targeted Russian individuals and entities. For Russia’s elite, such steps could close off an important avenue for finance as well as a safe haven for billions of rubles of their wealth.
‘Credit Suisse works with international regulators wherever it does business to ensure compliance with sanctions, including compliance with sanctions involving Russia,’ said a spokeswoman for the bank, which did not identify the owners of the money.
Long popular with wealthy Russians for its combination of bank secrecy, political stability and glitzy ski resorts such as Zermatt and St. Moritz, Switzerland has become one of the most important destinations for money leaving Russia.
Roughly $6.2 billion, or 14 percent of total Russian cross-border outflows, went to Switzerland in 2017 – almost three times as much as went to the United States, according to Russian central bank data.
The latest round of sanctions was announced in April by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to penalize Russia for its annexation of Crimea, involvement in the war in Syria and ‘attempting to subvert Western democracies.’ […]
While U.S. sanctions do not apply to neutral Switzerland, its banks are obliged to follow suit because they depend on access to the dollar and could be blackballed by the United States for any missteps.”
3. Ukraine will receive nearly $ 78 million from the U.S. government to increase transparent governance and ensure sustainable economic development
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers reported, “On August 22, the Government endorsed a decision on signing additional agreements to the Agreement on the fulfillment of tasks in the sphere of development between the Governments of Ukraine and the United States signed on September 17, 2014 to step up transparent governance and to ensure sustainable economic development. The relevant documents were drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine in connection with the intentions of the U.S. government to provide additional funds for the implementation of the goals enshrined in the Agreement.
Thus, the total amount of technical assistance targeted for the above said targets as part of the agreement, taking into account additional funds, will make up more than $139 million.
An additional agreement on assistance in reforming governance will ensure the allocation by the U.S. government of additional funds in the form of technical assistance worth over $23.6 million. Financial assistance will be aimed at improving the legislative environment in line with European standards, improving civil oversight and citizen participation in governance processes, and as well as increasing the level of accountability of the Government to Ukrainian citizens and the rule of law.
The total amount of technical assistance under this agreement, taking into account additional funds, will be to the tune of $62 million.”