Ukraine Crisis: Militants made 72 attacks, 6 Ukrainian soldiers wounded in action:
Six Ukrainian soldiers has been wounded in the Anti-Terrorist Operation area in eastern Ukraine on January 7, 2017, Joinfo.com reports with reference to Ukrainska Pravda.
In the Luhansk sector of the ATO area, militants fired 31 mortar shells at positions of Ukrainian troops near the villages of Novozvanivka, Novooleksandrivka and Troitske. The enemy also fired from grenade launchers there and near Luhanske, Krymske and Lobacheve,
In the Donetsk sector, a major confrontation took place near the Donetsk airport, on the Svitlodarsk bulge and on the perimeter of Horlivka town. Near the village of Troitske, militants fired nine mortar shells and used a combat infantry vehicle. In addition, the enemy twice opened a provocative fire near Novoluhanske village after 7 pm. Saturday.
In the Mariupol sector, illegal armed groups fired mortars and artillery. They fired 6 artillery shells and 87 mortar shells. The militants used artillery near the village of Vodiane, as well as fired mortars throughout the area – from Mar’inka and Pavlopil to Talakivka and Shyrokyne.
Heavy snowfall in Ukraine: 71 towns and villages cut off from power supply
Adverse weather conditions on the weekend left 71 towns in seven regions in Ukraine without electricity, according to the State Emergency Service
“A total of 71 towns and villages in seven regions of Ukraine are still cut from the electricity supply because of adverse weather conditions on January 6-7 (snowstorm, wet snow, gusts of wind, black ice of the roads),” the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reports.
Emergency teams of local power supply companies are restoring electricity lines in these regions.
Former US Envoy: Difficult year ahead for Ukraine:
As the new year begins, Ukraine faces two fundamental questions – whether it can put an end to Russia’s aggression and reassert sovereignty over its territory, and whether it can put in place the critical mass of reforms and anti-corruption measures to launch a sustained period of high economic growth, a former US ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer wrote in his column for Kyiv Post.
Admitting that Ukraine has made progress on both challenges since the EuroMaidan Revolution that ended President Viktor Yanukovych’s rule, Pifer stresses that the country has resolved neither, UNIAN reports.
“Unfortunately, developments in 2017 will likely make things more difficult for Kyiv,” he wrote.
Given the possibilities that policies in Washington and Europe might change, Vladimir Putin has little reason to alter the Russian approach. He apparently judges the costs of a simmering Donbas conflict to be bearable. Why should he compromise when sanctions could begin to unravel and Western unity on other questions, such as Crimea, might erode? He has a strong incentive to wait and see, while looking at ways to help widen divisions within EU ranks.
Fate has dealt the Ukrainian government an ugly hand in 2017. Kyiv needs to engage the U.S. and European governments—especially Germany—with a strong, positive message. Two points are particularly important. First, the West sees the Minsk process as the only path on the table to peace in eastern Ukraine, even if it is difficult to see Minsk succeeding. Kyiv should strive to demonstrate its commitment to fulfilling the Minsk provisions. That will deny Moscow the opportunity to try to shift the blame for the failure of the accord’s implementation away from Russian and separatist forces.
Second, Kyiv should accelerate economic reforms and press a serious anti-corruption effort. It damages Ukraine greatly when the International Monetary Fund delays additional assistance. The country cannot afford an image that it is incapable of making hard reform decisions. That will fuel “Ukraine fatigue” in the West and the arguments of those who want to return to business as usual with Moscow. There is much in the coming year that Kyiv cannot change. There are, however, things that it can effect. The Ukrainian government needs to play its difficult hand wisely.