Ukraine celebrates Orthodox Christmas. About 200 thousand draftees to be called to the Ukrainian army during scheduled three waves of mobilization in 2015. The official public transport communications with the occupied territories of Donbass are terminated starting January 6.
Key Events In Ukraine
● Consensus on resolving extra import charges introduced by Ukraine was not achieved during recent negotiations with Eurocommision. Consultations will continue.
● President Poroshenko congratulates Ukrainians with Orthodox Christmas.
● The official exchange rate of the dollar against the hryvnia has not changed, the euro fell after a decrease of cross-rate against the dollar: 15.78 USD / $ (0.01 USD), USD 18.80 / € (-0,43 UAH) 2.81 UAH / 10 rubles. (-0.22 USD).
● European license plates are going to be issued in Ukraine from March 31. Their cost is fixed and will be 134 UAH ($ 8).
● According to the military prosecutor Matios, the Ukrainian army is expected to recruit 200 thousand soldiers during the fourth, fifth and sixth stages of mobilization planned from January to August 2015.
● The Inflation in December rose from 1.9 to 3.0% compared to November last year.
● The volume of natural gas imports from Russia in 2014 was reduced by half compared to 2013 – from 25.8 to 14.5 billion m3.
● Servicing the national debt in 2014, Ukraine has spent 121 billion USD. President Poroshenko signed a law to increase the national debt ceiling by 161 billion USD – up to 968 billion USD.
War in Ukraine
● The headquarters of the antiterrorist operation report on 16 new artillery, mortar and small arms attacks on positions of the Ukrainian army by militants along the front line. During the night and despite the celebration of Orthodox Christmas, the number of attacks by insurgents has increased.
● Seven corridors into the territory of Donbas under control by the militants are established with Ukrainian border guards checkpoints, customs and law enforcement officers.
● The Transportation Safety Inspection reported termination of the intercity bus passenger services in a war zone starting January 6 due to the threat to human life. Donetsk Regional State Administration reports that the bus service is not yet terminated.
● Another “convoy” from Russia is expected to invade the territory of Ukraine on January 8. The international community considers “convoys” from Russian Federation as a means to supply fighters and mercenaries with food, ammunition and fuel, as well as to rmove the equipment Ukrainian enterprises and bodies of Russian citizens killed in armed clashes back to Russia.
● DNR militants have released volunteers and journalists from the news agency “Mirror of the Week” captured a day earlier.
● Due to the shortages of food the authorities in the occupied Crimea suspended Russian quality standards and labeling procedures through January 1, 2018 to allow continuous food imports from Ukraine.
Ukraine and the World
● The Republican Party won a majority in both houses of Congress. Senator McCain, who is known for his anti-Russian stance, has become the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence. The House of Representatives is now led by Republican Boehner, who is a merciless critic of President Obama’s decisions.
● The representative of the presidential administration Ernst described the current relations with Russia as “complex” and warned that the failure to implement Minsk agreements will result in new sanctions.
● The international organization Human Right Watch calls on Ukrainian leaders to stop firing on residential areas and to investigate the use of cluster munitions, despite the fact that the OSCE has not confirmed the use of such munitions by the Ukrainian military. The Human Right Watch does not factor in the participation of the regular Russian army in the fight against the Ukrainian army units.
● The sudden escape of the Volunteer Battalion “Donbass” commander Semenchenko during the interview at studio channel “Gromadska TV” demonstrated his unreadiness to respond to direct questions about his past. Semenchenko changed his name and received a military rank without going through any regular service in the army or police.