Take-note debate on the Situation in Ukraine in Canada’s House of Commons to be held tonight!

A take-note debate on the situation in Ukraine will take place in Canada’s House of Commons tonight. The debate is scheduled to begin at approximately 7:45 PM EDT. The debate can be streamed live at http://www.cpac.ca/en/.

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that yesterday Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Ukrainian positions 22 times with mortars and 5 times with artillery. Towards Mariupol, there were several clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists near Pavlopil. Towards Donetsk, Kremlin-backed terrorists violated the conditions of the ceasefire several times near the Donetsk airport and the western suburbs of Horlivka. Towards Luhansk, there were several clashes with Kremlin-backed terrorists near Shchastya. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 3 were wounded. The press-center of the anti-terrorism operation (ATO) reported that on 29 April from midnight to 6 PM Kyiv time, Kremlin-backed terrorists fired on Ukrainian positions 24 times, mostly with mortars and small arms.

2. Canada announces support for municipal democracy and economic development for Ukraine

On 28 April, Canada announced the Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance in Ukraine project, valued at up to $19.7 million over six years. This project will promote effective democratic governance and economic development at the local level in four different regions of Ukraine, representing a mix of geographic, economic and cultural contexts. The project will be implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, who was in Kyiv at the International Support for Ukraine Conference, stated, “Today’s announcement reaffirms Canada’s commitment to building sound public institutions and supporting long-term economic prosperity for the well-being of the Ukrainian people.” More information on the project may be found at http://www.international.gc.ca/media/dev/news-communiques/2015/04/28b.aspx?lang=eng

3. Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2015 Report: Russian-occupied Crimea ranked as one of “Worst of the Worst” for press freedom

The Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2015 Report, stated that “Among the most troubling trends identified in 2014 was the more active and aggressive use of propaganda—often false or openly threatening—to warp the media environment and crowd out authentic journalism. This phenomenon was especially pronounced in Russia, where state-controlled national television stations broadcast nonstop campaigns of demonization directed at the internal opposition, neighboring countries whose policies have displeased Moscow, and the broader democratic world. Russian media played a major role in preparing the Russian public for war with Ukraine.” Russian-occupied Crimea ranked as one of the 10-worst rated countries and territories in the world in terms of freedom the press. “In these settings, independent media are either nonexistent or barely able to operate, the press acts as a mouthpiece for the regime, citizens’ access to unbiased information is severely limited, and dissent is crushed through imprisonment, torture, and other forms of repression. Crimea became subject to Russian press laws after its occupation and annexation in early 2014, and its media faced restrictive regulations and widespread violence,” the report stated. The full report can be accessed at https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FreedomofthePress_2015_FINAL.pdf

4. Ukrainian PM: Forest fire near Chornobyl nuclear zone under control

Ukrainian PM A. Yatsenyuk stated that Ukrainian fire fighters have contained a forest fire near the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, and that radiation levels in the area are normal, Reuters reported. Winds had been pushing the fire to within about 20 km of the abandoned plant. Yatsenyuk stated at a Cabinet meeting, “As of 1245 (05:45 EDT) the fires have been localized and contained. The radiation levels are normal,” Reuters reported.