Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crisis in Ukraine - July 31 briefing from UCC

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
31 July, 7PM Kyiv time

1. Malaysian Aircraft shot down over eastern Ukraine
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission was able to reach the crash site of flight MH-17 today for the first time in almost a week. The Monitoring Mission was accompanied by four Dutch and Australian experts. Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the repatriation mission, stated that “In the coming days we will persist every day in trying to reach the crash site. This will only be possible to a limited extent during the first several days, on the one hand because we only have permission to have 40 to 50 experts in the area, and on the other hand because the logistic chain can only now be organised at our current location there.” Full statement is available at

2. Russia’s proxy war against Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
The active phase of the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. The National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) reports that near Moslyne, Donetsk oblast, over 50 Kremlin-backed terrorists were killed. The National Guard took control of three roadblocks previously controlled by Kremlin-backed terrorists near Debaltsevo, narrowing the circle around the Kremlin-backed terrorists grouping in Pervomaisk-Stakhaniv-Alchevsk. A battle to liberate Pervomaisk, Luhansk oblast, from Kremlin-backed terrorists is ongoing as of 12PM Kyiv time. The State Border Service of Ukraine reported that from 3:20AM-3:50AM Kyiv time on 31 July as a result of mortar and grenade launcher fire, 5 border guards were killed and 11 wounded near Vasylivka. The State Border Service stated that the Russian Federation continues to deploy forces to the border, and to supply heavy armored vehicles and weapons to Kremlin-backed terrorists.

3. Parliament reaffirms Yatseniuk as PM, passes budget and tax code measures

Parliament refused to accept the resignation of PM A. Yatseniuk, with only 16 deputies voting to accept the resignation, a clear vote of confidence in the PM. Parliament supported the Cabinet’s proposals to adopt changes to the budget and tax codes, to allow for continued financing of the armed forces. Among the measures are an increase in royalties for exploiting oil and natural gas resources, a temporary additional income tax (until 1 January) of 1.5% for military purposes, and a cut in the base salary of MPs, members of the government and other high-ranking officials from 17,000 UAH to 6,500 UAH monthly, among other measures.

4. President, PM, Parliamentary representatives meet to discuss early parliamentary elections
Following today’s parliamentary session, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko met with Parliamentary Speaker O. Turchynov, PM A. Yatseniuk and the heads of parliamentary factions and deputy groups, to discuss early parliamentary elections. At the meeting, agreements were reached to shorten the election campaign period from 60 to 45 days, to prepare new election legislation, and to hold consultations regarding instituting a proportional election system with open lists, and reinstituting electoral blocs. On 24 July, the majority coalition in parliament disbanded. If a new coalition is not formed within thirty days, the President has the right to dissolve parliament, leading to early parliamentary elections.

5. G7 Leaders Statement on Ukraine
The leaders of the G7 group of countries- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, issued a statement on Ukraine on 30 July. Regarding the coordinated application of sanctions against the Russian Federation, the leaders stated that “We believe it is essential to demonstrate to the Russian leadership that it must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine and tangibly participate in creating the necessary conditions for the political process.” The full statement is available at

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