Home / World / Ukraine News Today Mar. 16, 2017: EU Commission approves EUR 600 mln in aid to Ukraine; Militants launch 91 attacks, 4 soldiers wounded in Donbas; President approves sanctions against Russian banks

Ukraine News Today Mar. 16, 2017: EU Commission approves EUR 600 mln in aid to Ukraine; Militants launch 91 attacks, 4 soldiers wounded in Donbas; President approves sanctions against Russian banks

Ukraine News Today: EU Commission approves EUR 600 mln in aid to Ukraine; Militants launch 91 attacks, 4 soldiers wounded in Donbas; President approves sanctions against Russian banks; Ukraine ready to lift blockade if Donbas enterprises retuned to owners, truce established
Ukraine News Today Mar. 16, 2017: EU Commission approves EUR 600 mln in aid to Ukraine; Militants launch 91 attacks, 4 soldiers wounded in Donbas; President approves sanctions against Russian banks

ATO HQ reports 91 enemy attacks, 4 soldiers wounded in Donbas in last day

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 91 times in the past 24 hours, with four Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters, Joinfo.com reports with reference to UNIAN.

In the Donetsk sector, the Russian occupation forces fired all types of weapons, including heavy mortars and tank shells on the Ukrainian positions near the town of Avdiyivka. The enemy shelled 120mm mortars on Butivka coal mine, and the Ukrainian positions near the villages of Kam’ianka and Troyitske. The villages of Luhanske and Zaitseve came under fire from grenade launchers of various systems, infantry fighting vehicles and mortars. The militants also used 82mm mortars in the village of Mayorsk, as well as infantry fighting vehicles in the village of Pisky. Additionally, the occupiers fired grenade launchers and small arms on the Ukrainian fortified positions near the villages of Novhorodske and Opytne. At about 23:00 Kyiv time, the enemy carried out provocative shelling from 152mm artillery systems toward the village of Klischiivka, which is on the Bakhmutka highway and is not on the contact line.

“In the Mariupol sector, the Russian-backed mercenaries opened fire from machine guns, infantry fighting vehicles and anti-aircraft guns on the Ukrainian positons near the villages of Shyrokyne and Vodiane. Furthermore, they used 120mm mortars and 122mm artillery systems near the village of Pavlopil,” the report says. The occupiers opened fire from machine guns and tripod-mounted man-portable antitank guns near the villages of Hnutove and Taramchuk, as well as from infantry fighting vehicles near the village of Novohryhorivka. Furthermore, they used heavy machine guns near the town of Mar’inka, and 82mm mortars and grenade launchers in the town of Krasnohorivka.

In the Luhansk sector, the shelling was conducted from grenade launchers of various systems and 82mm and 120mm mortars near the villages of Novo-Oleksandrivka and Krymske. The invaders fired 82mm mortars near the village of Orikhove, and automatic grenade launchers near the village of Lobacheve. Moreover, the Ukrainian fortified positions near the village of Valuiske came under fire from small arms. In addition, around midnight, the enemy tried to attack the Ukrainian positions near the villages of Novo-Oleksandrivka and Novozvanivka, using 122mm artillery systems.

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Ukraine ready to lift blockade if Donbas enterprises retuned to owners, truce established

The Ukrainian side is ready to lift a ban on cargo transportation through the disengagement line in eastern Ukraine, if all enterprises on territories not controlled by Kyiv are returned to Ukrainian owners and ceasefire is observed, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

“We say: return the enterprises to the Ukrainian owners no matter if they are state-owned legal entities or not. They seized state-owned legal entities as well. Enforce Article 1 and 2 of the Minsk agreements: the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy equipment and artillery, and we will lift restrictive measures on cargo transportation through the contact line,” Poroshenko said in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels on Wednesday.

EU Commission approves EUR 600 mln in aid to Ukraine

The European Commission on Thursday, on behalf of the EU, adopted the decision to release the second tranche of Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Ukraine, a loan which amounts to EUR 600 million, Joinfo.com reports with reference to UNIAN.

“With this disbursement, the total Macro-Financial Assistance that the EU has extended to Ukraine since 2014 will reach EUR 2.81 billion, the largest amount of Macro-Financial Assistance the EU has disbursed to any non-EU country,” the European Commission said in a press release.

Through the MFA program approved in April 2015 the EU has helped Ukraine to cover its external financing needs at the peak of the country’s balance-of-payments crisis.

The program has also supported the implementation of a wide-ranging structural reform agenda. Ukraine has largely fulfilled the policy commitments agreed with the EU for the release of the second payment of Macro-Financial Assistance.

This included taking important measures to step up the fight against corruption, to foster greater transparency in public finance management, to modernize the public administration, to advance the ongoing reforms of the energy and financial sectors, to improve the business environment and to strengthen social safety nets.

These structural reforms will benefit Ukraine’s citizens – the ultimate aim of the EU’s assistance.  Commission services will now raise the EUR 600 million on international capital markets, in order to then lend the funds on to Ukraine in late March or early April.

The EU will continue to work with the Ukrainian authorities to further the country’s reform agenda. This will imply further work on the social assistance to be provided to internally displaced persons in Ukraine – where Ukraine has already taken decisive steps – addressing certain trade-restrictive measures, energy sector reforms and the fight against corruption, among other elements.

The Commission will continue to follow developments and monitor implementation closely. The Commission expects that the law on the timber export ban presented to the Ukrainian Parliament will be adopted without delay.

Macro-Financial Assistance has been made available to Ukraine for a period of 2.5 years expiring on January 4, 2018. It is therefore essential that Ukraine implements all policy measures agreed with the EU in a timely manner to ensure that the final disbursement can take place within the foreseen timeframe.

Ukrainian President approves sanctions against Russian banks

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) of March 15, 2017 “On the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)” against a number of legal entities, Joinfo.com reports with reference to Ukrinform.

This has been reported by the press service of the Head of State on Thursday.

As noted in the relevant decree, the decision of the NSDC was adopted in accordance with Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On Sanctions”, taking into account the proposals of the National Bank of Ukraine.

The sanctions for a period of one year will be imposed on PJSC Sberbank, VS Bank, PJSC “Joint-stock commercial industrial investment bank”, PJSC “VTB BANK”, PJSC “BM BANK” in form of prevention of the capital withdrawal outside Ukraine in favor of the persons connected with these legal entities.

The Cabinet of Ministers and the National Bank of Ukraine are instructed to ensure the implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of sanctions and take immediate measures to prohibit the placement of funds of state enterprises, institutions, organizations and business entities under sanctions.