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  • Paramedic killed by Russian missile while saving Ukrainian soldiers
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2017/02/06

    Natalia Khorunzha, a 45-year-old medic in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was killed as a result of shelling by Russian forces on Thursday, February 2, at the so-called “Svitlodarsk Bulge” near the Ukrainian-controlled town of Svitlodarsk. She was the first female military to be killed in the ATO ( Anti-Terrorist Operation) in 2017, reports ICTV.

    Natalia was a junior sergeant in the 1st company of the 1st Battalion of the 54th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. She is survived by her husband, daughter, parents and sister.

    She was killed when a Russian anti-tank guided missile struck the ambulance where she was tending the wounded. Also killed was Yuri Reva, a soldier from the 54th Brigade. The driver’s leg was torn off. He is now in critical condition in the hospital. As previously reported, fighting is becoming more intense along the entire front line, including the Svitlodarsk Bulge.

    According to the ICTV channel, “Natalia died heroically while evacuating the wounded during fighting at the Svitlodarsk Bulge in the Luhansk region… She was retrieving the wounded under fire. She managed to put three in the ambulance and went back to get the other ones when the missile exploded near her. The men she retrieved yesterday survived with concussions. She was to receive an award but did not get it in time. Now she will receive it posthumously,” the ICTV statement concludes.

    Liudmyla Kalinia, press officer in the Donbas Battalion, and Natalia’s friend Yulia Paievska, also a paramedic, confirmed Natalia’s death.

    “She was killed while performing her duties, “Paievska wrote in Facebook. “The ‘Bulge’ has taken another victim, a pure soul on a combat mission. She died while retrieving the wounded… The man who launched the missile that killed the medics was a monster. Didn’t you see the Red Cross markings of the car?” Paievska added.

    For many Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, Natalia exemplified the heroism of Ukrainian women at the front

    “She saved three men at the Svitlodarsk Bulge at the cost of her own life and was killed by a missile from Russian invaders,” wrote volunteer Nazar Prykhodko in Facebook. “This is a woman who died in combat, in battle! This is what the Ukrainian war of liberation looks like, where real Amazons are fighting along with the men,” he concluded.

    Volunteer Yan Osyka of the Volunteer 200 group provided the most extensive report on Natalia and her impact in his Facebook posting on February 4.

    “After learning the she had been killed, the guys from the brigade wept openly, not holding back tears. Some of them wept for the first time since the war began. The healthy ones wept as well as those with whom she had spent a lot of time when they were injured.

    Natalia Oleksandrivna Khoruzha was born on June 9, 1972, in Pershotravensk in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. She lived in the small town of Prosiana in the Pokrovsky district. She graduated from the Medical School in Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk — Ed.) in 1990, after completing nurse training. She worked as a nurse in the Zelenyi Hai village and later married a man from Prosiana and moved there.

    She was a sensitive woman, concerned about human suffering, a God-given medic. Saving people was the credo of her life, even at the cost of her own. She would rush out to help people at the first call, day or night. Family was everything to her, and duty to her conscience came first. She will remain an eternal example of the courage of a great woman, who did not abandon the wounded soldiers at a difficult time.

    Natalia’s brother died tragically when he was in the 11th grade. This was a terrible blow for her and her parents from which the family never recovered completely. And now they will have to bury her. It is impossible even to imagine what is going on in the hearts of her parents now, and how their hearts have been broken into tiny pieces.

    She went to war following her vocation. She could not watch the news and see these poor guys in hospitals, so she decided that she was needed there …

    She was a junior sergeant, a nurse instructor from the 1st company of the 1st Battalion of the 54th Mechanized Brigade. She volunteered for the post of nurse-instructor in the company in order to always be present where her help was most needed …. She was both “mother” and psychologist. She drank tea and talked with each one of them. The guys had 100% trust in what she said. And if she described a situation as dangerous, everyone knew it was serious, not an exaggeration…

    A Russian ‘Ivan’ saw the ambulance with the Red Cross and launched the missile that hit the target… Our guys will find you, Ivan. On you heart they will carve the name of this woman medic who was not holding a machine gun but only the hands of the wounded soldiers in order to ease their pain at least a bit.”
    Paramedic killed by Russian missile while saving Ukrainian soldiers -Euromaidan Press |

    Source: Hromadske Radio

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • Hospital clown Taras: Soldiers and seriously-ill children fight against hidden enemies
      EUROMAIDAN PRESS Volodymyr Noskov 2017/02/07

      Taras Oboitsa is a hospital clown from Rivne and a demobilized commander of the 40th Artillery Brigade. He firmly believes that lots of love and caring adults can return children who have lived through war to a peaceful and normal life.

      Taras is one of the initiators of the hospital clown volunteer movement in Ukraine. When fighting intensified in Donetsk Airport and Debaltsevo, he decided to defend his country against the Russian invaders.

      “This was my thought: “Either they will break us or we must all get up and go! I told them I was volunteering… and I went.”

      So, the hospital clown packed his military uniform alongside his colorful balloons and bright-red noses into his duffel bag, and went to war. He believes that children who are victims of this hybrid war and who have remained in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk can return to a peaceful life.

      “I didn’t see very many children in the war zone. But, the kids I did see were not getting enough attention. What they need is to be surrounded by love and care.”

      Taras hopes and dreams that hospital clowns will soon become a regular phenomenon in Ukrainian hospitals, helping seriously-ill children to bear their suffering and illnesses. He feels that courses in hospital clowning and the science of humour should be offered at medical universities and colleges.

      “Our soldiers and our children are in the same boat. They are all lying in their respective trenches, fighting against a hidden enemy. The children are fighting their respective diseases, while our soldiers are out there, fighting against the enemy. That’s why I’m currently studying psychology… I’d like to be more competent and more useful.”

      Translated by: Christine Chraibi
      Source: Radio Liberty

      Hospital clown Taras: Soldiers and seriously-ill children fight against hidden enemies -Euromaidan Press |

      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


      • Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko celebrates birthday in Putin’s prison
        EUROMAIDAN PRESS Ihor Vynokurov 2017/02/09 (video)

        On 8 February 2017, Ukrainian journalist Sushchenko met his birthday in a Russian prison. It was the 131st day since his unlawful detention in Moscow.
        What happens if your son, father, or spouse is arrested by the state that is waging a war on your own nation and casts on your dearest one terrible aspersions?

        The documentary Prisoners of the Kremlin, devoted to the misfortune of Roman Sushchenko, tells about that. A Ukrainian journalist, who worked in Paris for six years, he is being held in a Moscow pretrial jail since the fall of 2016. He faces a sentence of up to twenty years in prison. Imagine that if it happens, his term would end in 2037, on the centenary of Stalin’s ‘Great Terror.’

        Like it was in 1937, the Kremlin propaganda depicts its victim as a crafty spy, “big fish” caught in the net by the Russian security. But who really is Mr Sushchenko and how did he find himself in the Russian capital in September 2016? And why do the representatives of the journalist community perceive the case as an attack against them and their profession? Roman’s relatives and colleagues give their answers in the film, produced by Ukraine’s Ministry of Information Policy.

        Is it possible that a certain correspondent indeed carried out an evil plot against the Kremlin? This may seem a naive question: a man whose only ‘weapon’ is his word could hardly seem to threaten the nuclear power. Yet, unfortunately, we know how fearful and hateful Putin’s regime is of independent journalists. We remember the names of those among them who perished because of telling the truth.

        In 2016 World Press Freedom Index, the organization Reporters Without Borders ranked Russia as low as 148 of 180, which is worse than Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, or South Sudan. In annexed Crimea, the so-called Russian ‘authorities’ recently charged the Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena with ‘separatism’ for an article on the prospective de-occupation of the peninsula. The article was in line with the content of the two UN General Assembly resolutions, which clearly recognize Crimea a part of Ukraine. At the same time, the most loyal journalists and undisguised propagandists receive medals from Putin’s hands, as hybrid war fighters.

        Roman Sushchenko worked far away from Russia, in France. But he stood out among others in the profession. “One of the most active journalists whom I knew,” his French colleague Galia Ackerman describes him in the film. Apart from the painstaking coverage of cultural and artistic life in France, Roman published articles about the problems that seem to be very annoying for the Kremlin. He wrote that Putin’s aggression placed the review of a common defense policy on the European agenda. A year before his arrest, in September 2015, Roman supposed that Moscow would try to trade her involvement in the anti-‘Islamic state’ fighting in Syria for concessions concerning Crimea and international sanctions.

        Sushchenko did not underestimate the intellectual component of the resistance to the Russian hybrid offensive against Ukraine. He endorsed the view that what had started in 2014 was not just a conflict between the two countries but an attempt of the dictatorship to punish the Ukrainian people for their democratic pro-European choice. He demonstrated that many in the French audience hear and accept this argument. He wrote about the scandal caused by the conspiracy documentary Ukraine: Masks of the Revolution, broadcast on French TV, which completely repeated Russian anti-Ukrainian misinformation patterns and angered French reporters working in Ukraine. Roman repeatedly and skillfully made fun of the cliches of the ‘Russian World’ propaganda discourse.

        Sushchenko called the regional elections in France in 2015 a prelude to the 2017 presidential election, noting that most voters had responded positively to the joint calls of the left and center-right politicians to prevent the success of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front. Later he investigated the voyage of the National Front member Jacques Clostermann to the Russian-occupied part of Donbas. The last interview Roman did before his unfortunate departure to Moscow was devoted to the forthcoming opening of the Russian Spiritual and Cultural Center in Paris, which was regarded by some European media as a tool of soft power or even supposed undercover operations near the Palais de l’Élysée. This interview has remained unpublished.

        With the arrest of Sushchenko, Moscow shows to the journalist community that the attention to the shadow side of her foreign affairs is clearly undesirable—and moreover, it is life threatening.

        Hunting for ‘spies,’ ‘saboteurs,’ and ‘terrorists’ is a rewarding business under the regime led by ex-Soviet intelligence officer and former head of the FSB Vladimir Putin. At the annual press conference in December 2016, the Kremlin boss said that the evidence against his Ukrainian hostages was abundant: they had revealed “tasks, addresses, and secret rendezvous” that allegedly proved their ‘criminal intentions.’ Sushchenko’s colleague, the Ukrainian correspondent to Moscow Roman Tsymbalyuk, looking into Putin’s eyes, noted that under FSB torture, Russian president would have confessed himself to be a Ukrainian agent.

        There is no reason to consider these latter words as a rhetorical exaggeration. The Ukrainian Valentyn Vyhivskyi is serving an 11-year sentence in Russia he got under the same Criminal Code article on ‘espionage’ that is now imputed to Sushchenko. Wonder why? Vyhivskyi simply communicated with Russian aviation amateurs via the Internet. After being convicted, he told his parents about the brutal torture used during the investigation to wrest the self-incriminating “confession” from him. He had been taken to the woods and threatened he would have been executed and buried there had he not ‘confessed.’

        The course of the investigation in the Sushchenko case betrays its nature of an orchestrated spectacle. This spectacle both started and may end at the behest of people from beyond the law enforcement or judiciary. At the presentation of Hostages of the Kremlin, Roman’s lawyer Mark Feygin noted that, over the recent months, no investigative actions involving his client had been carried out, as if FSB officers were not interested in the secrets the mysterious ‘Ukrainian spy’ allegedly concealed. In fact, the lawyer insists, they merely do not know what is going to happen to this case: the continuation or closure—and obediently wait for a command from above.

        The final of the film: Roman Sushchenko’s elderly mother with tears in her eyes thanks everyone who supported the hostage and contributed to the fight for his release. Today, on February 8, her son turns 48, and you can also do a lot for him. Please send a letter or birthday card to the address:

        Sushchenko Roman Vladimirovich (born 1969), Lefortovo remand prison #2, E20, postbox 201, 5 Lefortovskiy Val, Moscow, 111020, Russia (follow the instructions here).

        As Roman himself writes to his colleagues, letters he receives from the free world inspire him and raise his strength. They help him to think less about prison bars and more about the sun, blue sky and the future of his country. “There is no better foundation for darkness than indifference, and the best weapon against it is self-confidence,” read his words from captivity. In his letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, he says that he has a wish: to bring up his 9-year-old son, see how the child is growing up, and return to his favorite work.

        Speak out about the Ukrainian journalist in Russian captivity. Watch and distribute the film Prisoners of the Kremlin. Demand: #FreeSushchenko now.

        A journalist’s word must not be barred. Mother’s tears should give place to the joy of meeting and embracing her son.
        Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko celebrates birthday in Putin’s prison -Euromaidan Press |

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • Third anniversary of Maidan massacre: Ukraine honors memory of Heavenly Hundred Heroes (video) On February 20, Ukraine honors memory of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, according to the presidential decree "On perpetuation of the feat of participants of the Revolution of Dignity and commemoration of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes."
          UNIAN 18 Feb 2017

          The commemorative events will take place in Kyiv on February 18-22. Police and rescue services were put on combat alert due to a higher level of terrorist threat.

          Head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine Mykola Chechetkin says that about 7,000 personnel and 2,000 units of equipment have been involved to ensure security in case of emergencies.

          The capital's law enforcers will install metal frames and detectors, as well as filtration roadblocks at the entrances to Kyiv.

          On Saturday, February 18, a memorial procession to honor the heroes killed in the bloodiest days of the Maidan will be held from the Ukrainian House to Instytutska Street, where the deadly shooting took place.

          See all photos

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          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


          • The Bolbochan raid: How Ukrainian troops captured Crimea 100 years ago
            EUROMAIDAN PRESS Dmytro Syniak 2017/02/25

            In the spring of 1918, Ukrainian troops under the command of Colonel Petro Bolbochan captured several Crimean fortifications and routed the Bolshevik troops, taking Dzhankoy, Simferopol and Bakhchisarai.
            “Nowhere in Ukraine have Ukrainian troops been welcomed with such enthusiasm and applause as in Simferopol and other occupied Crimean towns.”

            Memoirs of Borys Monkevych, Ukrainian sotnyk in the Crimean campaign of 1918

            – Salaam Aleikum! Don’t shoot! Glory to Ukraine!

            They moved forward and stood under the only lamp in Dzankoy railway station – about twenty men, lean, dark-skinned, and black-haired.

            – Glory to the heroes! replied the Ukrainian sotnyk incredulously, without lowering his shotgun.

            – We want to join your ranks, said the eldest man with a strong accent – We know how to shoot. We have horses. Give us weapons and we’ll bring more men… The Russian army is bad. The Ukrainian army’s good.

            The sotnyk lowered his gun and turned to the adjutant:

            – Get to Bolbochan as fast as you can! Ask him what we’re supposed to do with some Crimean guys who want to fight the moskali!

            50,000 RUBLES REWARD
            When the adjutant reached the headquarters, the commander of the Crimean regiment of the Ukrainian National Army 34-year-old Colonel Petro Bolbochan had just finished giving his final orders. The Ukrainian cavalry was ordered to destroy the Bolshevik units at Yevpatoria. The enemy infantry divisions were to be driven back to Feodosiya and Kerch. The remaining Ukrainian troops were preparing to storm Simferopol in two days.

            The news about the Crimean Tatars who wanted to join the Ukrainian army was received with enthusiasm. Bolbochan didn’t have a big cavalry division and needed more horsemen. In addition, his Zaporozhian units were a little lost in Crimea.

            Bolbochan was a legendary figure. Soldiers believed he was immune to bullets and could easily defeat superior forces thanks to some kind of heavenly protection. Under his leadership, the Zaporozhian Regiment had won incredible battles.

            Petro Bolbochan was born on October 5, 1883 in the village of Hyzhdevo (now Yarivka), Tchernivtsi Oblast. He was a Colonel in the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic. In the fall of 1917 Bolbochan became commander of the First Ukrainian Republican Regiment of the Second Serdiuk Division. In 1918, as commander of the First Zaporozhian Division, which was stationed in Kharkiv, he participated in the Crimean campaign. Under the Hetman government, Bolbochan was commander of the Second Zaporozhian Regiment. In the fall of 1918, the Directorate of the Ukrainian National Republic appointed him commander of the Zaporozhian Corps and of the entire UNR Army in Left-Bank Ukraine. After the army retreated to Right-Bank Ukraine, he was relieved of his command and sent to Halychyna (January 1919). Charged with insubordination for attempting to take over the command of the Zaporozhian Corps in Proskuriv in June 1919, he was found guilty by a military court and executed on June 28, 1919.

            In 1918, the Bolsheviks were seriously worried about the Ukrainian national revival, and the Kremlin decided to step up its military assault on Ukraine. In response, the Central Council proclaimed the independence of the Ukrainian National Republic, and asked Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria for military assistance.

            The Bolshevik army was not able to stand up to a well-organized 300,000 Prussian-Austrian army, which, together with Ukrainian divisions, drove the Bolsheviks to Ukraine’s borders. Petro Bolbochan commanded a Zaporozhian regiment numbering 2,600 bayonets, 80 sabres, and 10 guns. Basically, patriotic former officers of the tsarist army, students, seminarians and cadets served in the regiment.

            The Germans admired the courage and fighting spirit displayed by the Ukrainian Kozak divisions. The Bolsheviks feared them and put a 500,000 ruble reward on Bolbochan’s head. Bolbochan survived several attacks – Bolshevik agents tried to shoot him in Poltava, White Guard officers in Kharkiv. Bolbochan managed to escape them all… and went on to return Crimea to Ukraine.

            The Bolsheviks had spent three million rubles on fortifying the Crimean isthmus, having built a strong defensive line with the latest technology. Bolbochan left his railroad car and stepped into the cool spring night. As he gazed silently towards Dzankoy, he remembered his reconnaissance mission near Novooleksiyivka when his troops first observed the Russian fortifications. Through the dawn mist, they could see two long lines of dark trenches with intermittent concrete machine-gun posts. The artillery positions could be seen a little further. His scouts told him that such fortifications and long-range guns stretched along the entire isthmus. Bolbochan then remembered his conversation with the commander of the 15th German Landwehr Division, General Robert von Kosch, whom he had met in Melitopol.

            “We need heavy artillery to take the Crimean fortifications. I know how brave Ukrainian soldiers are, but what can a brave man do against a 10-inch gun?

            Ukrainians in different armies. On his way to Crimea, Bolbochan’s troops first met with the Sich Riflemen from Halychyna, who arrived in Ukraine with the Austro-Hungarian army. To the left of Bolbochan – colonel of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen – Wilhelm Franz von Habsburg (aka Vasyl Vyshyvany)

            Bolbochan smiled… The UNR government had ordered him to take Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet. But, this mission was complicated as Ukraine’s allies – the Germans – did not know about this operation and were sure that Ukrainian troops would be bound by the Brest-Litovsk Treaty*, under which the Ukrainian delegation had given up the peninsula. At that time, the Germans had been surprised and tried to convince the Ukrainians to keep Crimea as it was the key to the Black Sea.

            *The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was concluded between the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) and the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria on 9 February 1918 in Brest, Belarus, thus ending Russia’s participation in WW I. It provided Ukraine with German military aid in clearing Bolshevik forces from Ukraine in February–April 1918. However, the treaty was short-lived. The Treaty of Rapallo of 1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia canceled the German commitments made at Brest-Litovsk. The disintegration of Austria-Hungary automatically annulled Austria’s commitments. Turkey renounced the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by signing a treaty with the Ukrainian SSR in 1922.

            At that time, the head of the People’s Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, Vsevolod Holubovych announced firmly:

            “The fate of Crimea should be in the hands of the Crimean Tatars. We will uphold Ukrainian statehood on the principle of self-determination, with no annexation or indemnities.”

            Ukrainian fleet in Crimea. UNR sotnyk Leonid Perfetsky portrayed the solemn raising of the Ukrainian flag in Sevastopol. Sketch from 1950

            The Germans had no choice but to remove Crimea from Ukrainian interests. This enabled Bolshevik Russia to consider the peninsula its own territory. In March 1918, the Taurida Soviet Socialist Republic was declared.

            Two and a half months later, Holubovych changed his mind and on April 10, 1918 Petro Bolbochan received a secret order from the UNR Minister of War Oleksandr Zhukyvsky to drive the Bolsheviks from Crimea.

            That evening, Bolbochan managed to convince General Robert von Kosch that it was necessary to reconnoiter Russian positions in Crimea. Von Kosch had also received an order to drive the Bolsheviks from Crimea and realized that Bolbochan would never be able to do so on his own. Moreover, he was a pragmatic man and did not want to send his own soldiers to a certain death.

            Four thousand foot soldiers, one thousand mounted soldiers, ten armoured cars, four artillery batteries and two armoured trains… Who could imagine that such a small army would be able to capture Crimea’s impregnable fortifications?

            Bolbochan smiled and glanced at two guards standing near him on the railway embankment. Their caps were decorated with an insignia depicting the Archangel Michael. The Kozak fighters, in fact, often said that they were sent by God to deliver their people from the bloody Bolsheviks. As they retreated, remembered Bolbochan, Russian troops blew up bridges, destroyed railway tracks, burned food warehouses and slaughtered anyone in their way… He had seen many atrocities in his marches from Kyiv to Kharkiv and then onto Melitopol, but for some reason the incident at Lyubotin Station stood out most clearly. One of the rooms was packed with condemned men whom the Bolsheviks had not had time to execute; near the well lay dozens of bodies bearing signs of torture; on the platform stood a wagon with still warm bodies of horses. The Bolsheviks had shot or stabbed them with their swords so that “they wouldn’t fall into enemy hands”…>>>

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            • Bolbochan - Crimea Pt 2

              When Bolbochan’s troops arrived in Novooleksiyivka, defeating Petro Lazarev’s Third Revolutionary Army and liberating Pavlohrad, Oleksandrivsk, Melitopol and Berdyansk, the “Defence Staff of the Crimean Soviet Republic” in Simferopol had no idea that this had happened. The Bolshevik commanders were convinced that the front was still very far away from the peninsula.

              On the night of April 20, 1918, armoured trains and motorcars carried Bolbochan’s troops across Chonharsk Bridge, opening fire on the Bolshevik guards and attacking the rear positions of the Russian forces. The soldiers in the trenches started to panic; they threw down their weapons and fled deeper into the peninsula. The Ukrainian artillery divisions opened fire from the mainland, covering the Ukrainian motor cars and trains as they advanced across the bridge. After a short, but heavy battle, Ukrainian troops took Dzhankoy on the evening of April 22, 1918.

              Capture of Simferopol
              Two days later, on April 24, when Ukrainian armoured cars appeared on the streets of Simferopol, the Bolshevik troops put up little resistance and fled the city, leaving behind valuable documents, letters and maps. They did not even have time to inform their command in Sevastopol about the fall of Simferopol, so taking advantage of the situation, Bolbochan spoke with the Sevastopol garrison, posing as a representative of the Red army military command. It turned out that the Russians preferred to hand the city to the Ukrainians rather than the Germans.

              Many officers of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol decided to join the UNR. Hearing about Bolbochan’s conquest, Admiral Mykhailo Sablin issued an all-round order:

              “All ships, port equipment and fortifications situated along the coast are now the property of the Ukrainian National Republic. Therefore, the Ukrainian flag will be raised everywhere and on all the ships.”

              The order was opposed by a few ships where the Bolsheviks had gained the upper hand. About 80% of the crews were ethnic Ukrainians who wanted to join Bolbochan’s army. Long queues of men wanting to obtain Ukrainian UNR citizenship lined up outside the Ukrainian Commissariat on Nakhimovska Street in Sevastopol.

              Bolbochan’s train was solemnly welcomed at the Simferopol railway station by a delegation of municipal government authorities and Tatar Kurultai (which had been dissolved and banned by the Bolshevik government). The whole city was decorated with flowers, and the streets were filled with festively dressed people.

              In his memoirs, sotnyk Borys Monkevych noted he “would never forget the enthusiasm and ardour displayed by Crimean residents as they welcomed Bolbochan and the Ukrainian officers in Simferopol. Nestor Monastyriov, an officer in the Black Sea Fleet, described the event:

              “The whole town is covered with Ukrainian and Tsarist flags, flowers and garlands. Everyone’s in the streets People laugh and cry, hug and cross themselves… Thank God! The Ukrainians are here!”

              Bolbochan was especially pleased to welcome the First Cavalry Regiment, which had been disarmed by the Bolsheviks; these men were ready to join the ranks of the Ukrainian army. Tatar volunteers could also join the Ukrainian cavalry. With their help, the Ukrainian Army took Bakhchisaray on April 25. The road to Sevastopol was free.

              Post Scriptum…
              When von Kosch found out about Bolbochan’s capture of Simferopol, he immediately ordered the Ukrainian army to halt all offensive operations. Arriving in the Crimea, he ordered Bolbochan to abandon everything and return to the mainland, but Bolbochan replied that he couldn’t do this without a direct order from the Ukrainian government. Surprised, the German General contacted Kyiv and asked for an explanation. But, the UNR War Office replied that “no troops had been sent to Crimea”. On April 26, the Germans surrounded Ukrainian positions in Crimea and demanded their immediate surrender. In response, the Zaporozhian divisions stated that they were ready to fight to the end and deployed their artillery…

              The situation grew more and more tense with each passing hour. Bolbochan and the commander of the Zaporozhian Corps Zurab Natishvili arrived from Kharkov and tried to call Kyiv headquarters. Finally, War Minister Oleksandr Zhukivsky responded:

              “You are to accept the demands of the Germans, surrender your weapons, military equipment and leave Crimea.”

              Bolbochan answered that he would never carry out such an order. After days of tough negotiations with General von Kosch, the UNR troops withdrew from Crimea armed and in full battle array.

              A few days later, on April 29 1918, a coup d’etat toppled the Ukrainian National Republic and Pavlo Skoropadsky became Hetman of Ukraine. He dismissed the Central Rada and abolished all the newly promulgated laws. However, he managed to convince the Central Powers that liberated Crimea should remain Ukrainian and the Black Sea Fleet should be considered the property of the Ukrainian state.

              In November 1918, Skoropadsky was removed from power in an uprising led by Symon Petliura and the withdrawal of German forces from Kyiv. The uprising nominally restored the Ukrainian National Republic, but power was vested in a Directorate, a provisional government of five directors chaired by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The Kremlin announced the Ukrainian government in Kyiv illegitimate and without declaring war, moved its troops into Ukraine.

              At the end of January 1919, Petliura, feeling that the government was hanging by a thread and fearing a military coup, decided to get rid of the powerful Bolbochan who openly criticized his policies. At the height of the war with Soviet Russia, Bolbochan, who commanded the armies of Left-Bank Ukraine, was arrested on false charges and after a quick trial sentenced to death. One of the best Ukrainian military leaders was executed on June 28, 1919 at Balyn Station, Khmelnitsky Oblast.

              The men chosen to carry out the sentence refused to fire on their Colonel. Bolbochan was executed by the head of the counterintelligence unit of the UNR army, Petliura’s advisor, Mykola Chebotarev.

              In 1934, veterans of the Zaporozhian Corps organized a second trial in Prague, proving Bolbochan’s innocence. The most interesting statement was pronounced by the former head of the UNR Council of Ministers Borys Martos:

              “Well, you’re asking me why Bolbochan was shot. Just imagine this elegant gentleman, clean-shaven, powdered, perfumed, in lacquered boots and with a riding whip in his hand. Can this really be an officer of the Ukrainian army? No, not at all… more like a reactionary dandy! Imagine what would’ve happened if he’d ruled our country. We had to shoot him… and we did!”

              Symon Petliura was shot in Paris, seven years after Petro Bolbochan’s death. His assassin was acquitted and released. The Chairman of the UNR Council of Ministers Vsevolod Holubovych died in Stalin’s camps, where he spent almost 20 years. Traces of War Minister Zhukivsky and Bolbochan’s comrade-in-arms during the Crimean campaign Natishvili were lost in the whirlpool of revolutionary events. Petliura’s security chief Chebotarev died at a ripe old age in West Germany.

              In November 1920, the Bolsheviks captured the positions of the White Army in Crimea and the last ships commanded by White officer Piotr Wrangel evacuated to Turkey. The Bolsheviks then proceeded to literally drown the peninsula in blood. Between 50,000 to 150,000 people were killed in 1920-1921. Not only were persons suspected of having links with the White movement or the Ukrainian underground immediately executed, but also their family members, priests, and even persons who had moved to Crimea during Ukrainian or White rule… More than 100,000 Crimeans perished from hunger in 1921-1923 during the famine instigated by Soviet authorities. Crimea remained under the thumb of the Soviet empire for 70 years, and during this time everything possible was done to erase the memory of Colonel Petro Bolbochan’s famous raid on Crimea that gave Crimeans almost a year of freedom in 1918.
              The Bolbochan raid: How Ukrainian troops captured Crimea 100 years ago -Euromaidan Press |
              Source: Focus

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              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


              • Meet Mykola Semena, the Crimean journalist prosecuted for disagreeing with Putin’s landgrab
                EUROMAIDAN PRESS Ihor Vynokurov 2017/02/27

                Mykola Semena.

                Mykola Semena, a renowned Crimean journalist, is on trial in Russian-occupied Crimea for disagreeing with Russia’s occupation of Crimea. He is one of many who, after the illegal referendum on 16 March 2014, are punished for publicly criticizing the Kremlin’s imperial expansion via the ‘separatist article’ of the Russian Criminal Code. While his case is ‘legal nonsense’ according to Russia’s own legislature, his lawyers fear that a guilty verdict is inescapable. The trial is to begin on 28 February 2017.

                Russia’s war against those opposing its illegal annexation of Crimea is not suprising – after all, the country is experienced in stifling opposition in the territories it occupies. It’s worth recalling the summer of 1940, when the Soviet Union, in compliance with the pact with Hitler, occupied and forcibly incorporated into itself the three sovereign Baltic states. For Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the new rule meant the beginning of massive Stalinist repression. The first victims of that repression were reportedly Estonian sailors who were sent to trial in Leningrad for attempting to evacuate the president of their republic abroad after the Red Army invaded Estonia. The sailors were absurdly accused of ‘betraying the Fatherland,’ the USSR, though they had not had any obligations with regard to the occupying power. At the time of the incriminated act, Estonia had not even been formally annexed.

                One always calls a state ‘fatherland’ when preparing to murder people.

                Semena – biographer of Crimean Tatar leader Dzhemilev
                One always calls a state ‘fatherland’ when preparing to murder people.” This quote, attributed to the Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt, opens the essay Mustafa Dzhemilev: the man who defeated Stalinism, which deconstructs the myth of ‘Crimean Tatar separatism,’ which was propagated by the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine before and during the infamous presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. This essay was part of the book published in Simferopol, the administrative capital of Ukraine’s Crimea, in 2010—nearly two decades after Ukraine, along with the Baltic states and other former Soviet republics, gained independence. At the time, many believed that annexation of foreign territories, repression, and deportation on ethnic grounds had long become history. The reservation made by the author of the book: “the situation in Crimea got much more troubling after the Russian-Georgian War of August 2008,” perhaps looked like an exaggeration for the most readers.

                Two names were written on the cover of the book. The first one was Crimean Tatar, the name of the hero of its biographic narration: Mustafa Dzhemilev, the acknowledged leader of the Crimean Tatar people, prominent Soviet dissident, “a man who defeated Stalinism.” The second name was Ukrainian, the author’s one: Mykola Semena.

                Today it is three years since the Russian military invaded Crimea. Over these years, the Kremlin-installed occupation ‘authorities’ have systematically persecuted the citizens of Ukraine for the circumstances that a priori could not be subject to Russian jurisdiction.

                Tortured and convicted by puppet Crimean ‘judges,’ the participants of the Euromaidan Revolution in Kyiv Oleksandr Kostenko and Andriy Kolomiyets are serving their sentences in the prisons of the Russian Federation. The Crimean Tatar public figures Akhtem Chiygoz, Ali Asanov, and Mustafa Dehermendzhy were arrested and are on trial for taking part in a mass pro-Ukrainian rally in Simferopol. The rally took place on February 26, 2014, a few weeks before the faked ‘referendum’ and ‘legalization’ of Crimea’s annexation by Moscow. As President Putin complacently ‘jokes,’

                As President Putin complacently ‘jokes,’ the limits of Russia do not end anywhere. They end neither in space nor in time, it seems, just like the borders of the ‘Soviet Fatherland’ in 1940…

                On 28 February 2017, the district ‘court’ in Simferopol is to start the hearing in the case of Mykola Semena. The author of Mustafa Dzhemilev’s biography, he wrote in 2010 how the ideologists of Yanukovych regime and their pro-Kremlin allies were seeking to ban the Crimean Tatar democratic self-government body, the Mejlis, and fabricating the phantom of ‘Tatar separatism’ in Crimea. History took a tragic turn, of which he had explicitly warned: the

                History took a tragic turn, of which he had explicitly warned: the Mejlis was banned by the Russian Supreme Court, while the Crimean Ukrainian Mykola Semena was himself accused of ‘separatism.’ His case fits within a system of blatant violations of law and fundamental civil liberties under the occupation.

                So what does Russia have against him, and why does his prosecution require an immediate and consolidated response of the international community? Let’s look into details.

                Honored journalist of Ukraine
                Mykola Semena is sixty-six years old, of which almost fifty he dedicated to journalism. He is one of the most experienced journalists in Crimea and has the title of Honored Journalist of Ukraine. A quarter century ago, in December 1991, he attended the signing ceremony of the Alma-Ata Declaration on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (aimed to somehow substitute for the dead Soviet Union).

                Semena got the chance to ask a question to the leaders of new Russia and Ukraine: he asked them about the arrangement of Crimean Tatars’ return to their homeland. The whole native people of Crimea had been deported to Central Asia in 1944 on Stalin’s order and were not allowed to return until the last years of the communist empire.

                When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Semena had already retired but started writing for Krym.Realii, the project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty launched to provide the audience with information about Crimea free of Russian propaganda. The occupation ‘prosecutor’ of Crimea and Russian central censorship agency Roskomnadzor took the dangers this resource posed for the Russian occupation regime seriously and tried to block the access to it for Crimean users.

                Meanwhile, the copies of Semena’s book on Dzhemilev were withdrawn from the libraries in the peninsula. Books are often doomed to go through the ordeals along with their authors.

                Prosecuted for disagreeing with Putin’s Crimea landgrab
                In December 2016, Mykola Semena was officially charged with the encroachment on Russia’s territorial integrity under a legal provision that provided for the punishment up to five years in prison. That was a relatively new provision: it was introduced into the Russian Criminal Code in May 2014, shortly after Putin’s Crimean gamble. The first ‘court’ hearing in the Semena case was scheduled for 17 February 2017, but it was postponed. His lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was unable to prepare for the session as he himself had served a 10-day arrest on a grotesque pretext (a video reposted on a social network in 2013), and all his working materials were temporarily confiscated by Russian security officers.

                The case of Mykola Semena is strikingly barefaced. Russian detectives did not bother with forging scandalous testimonies of secret witnesses or slipping explosives, drugs, or drives with classified information as was made in the trumped-up cases of ‘terrorism,’ ‘espionage,’ and ‘sabotage’ against other innocent Ukrainian citizens.

                This time, there are only words that form sentences and paragraphs. It is all about Semena’s article published under his pen name on Krym.Realii in the fall of 2015. Semena writes about the blockade of goods and energy supply from mainland Ukraine to Crimea which had been launched by Ukrainian activists, saying that the blockade is the first and necessary step toward the liberation of the peninsula. The indictment quotes from this text: “Kyiv should not allow for Crimea to remain under Russian occupation longer than under the German one,” referring to the time when Crimea was occupied by the Nazis during 1942-1944.

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                • Mykola Semena - Journalist Pt 2

                  In Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), such words are enough to send you to jail.

                  Russia could prosecute most world leaders for same ‘crime’
                  Semena’s indictment looks like a distorting mirror as Russia had organized and sponsored separatism in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. In September 2015, the Kremlin demonstratively brought its support to centrifugal tendencies abroad to a new level, having organized and paid for the world congress of separatist organizations in Moscow. Putin and his henchmen justify the possible violation of the territorial integrity of foreign countries by referring to the right of nations to self-determination. However, they do so in a highly inconsistent manner, categorically denying this right to the de jure federal constituents of Russia itself.

                  "As for separatists, they are really present in Crimea,” Semena quoted Mustafa Dzhemilev in his 2010 book. “They are powerful. They are fed from abroad. They are fed by our closest neighbor. Moreover, this neighbor does not hide it and claims in the open press that Crimea is a part of Russia. […] They bluntly say that one day Crimea is to return ‘to the bosom of Mother Russia.’”

                  The beneficiaries of the 2014 special operation known as ‘Russian Spring’ in Crimea flaunt their own complicity in tearing the peninsula away from Ukraine. In 2015, the collection of testimonies by pro-Russian collaborators was published in Sevastopol under the subtitle that sounds like self-exposure: The Memories of Separatists. And simultaneously, the ‘separatist article’ of the Russian Criminal Code has become the tool of punishing those who publicly criticize the Kremlin’s imperial expansion.

                  Rafis Kashapov, the activist from Russia’s Tatarstan, got three years in prison for condemning the annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Donbas on social networks. In Crimea itself, similar proceedings were taken, apart from Mykola Semena, against the journalists Anna Andrievska and Andriy Klymenko, Crimean Tatar Mejlis chairman Refat Chubarov, his deputy Ilmi Umerov, and Feodosia activist Suleyman Kadyrov. Andrievska, Klymenko, and Chubarov have safely left for mainland Ukraine while Umerov and Kadyrov remain in the occupied territory under the control of local investigative ‘authorities.’

                  Commenting on their misfortune, both Ilmi Umerov and Mykola Semena ironically say that Russia could prosecute most world leaders for the same ‘crime’ of rejecting her violent attempt to reshape the map of Europe. The two dissidents stress their favor not only of Ukraine’s but also of Russia’s integrity—within the internationally recognized borders.

                  ‘Legal nonsense’
                  From the legal point of view, the Russian ‘separatist article’ cannot be applied in the Crimean context at all. First, the Russian Constitution grants the priority of international law (which implies the unchanged status of the Crimean peninsula since 1991) over its domestic legislation.

                  Second, as follows from Russia’s own law on the state border, the unilateral annexation of a foreign land does not result in the extension of the sovereign territory of the Federation. Under this law, the borders of Russia, which limit her territory, are established only in accordance with 1) the frontiers of the Russian Soviet Republic as they run at the time of Soviet collapse and 2) international agreements with neighboring states. The Russia-Ukraine Treaty of 1997, which is currently in force, affirms the inviolability of the existing mutual border.

                  In other words, basically, the Semena case is legal nonsense.

                  “No one, including Mykola Semena, is able to call for the encroachment of Russia’s territorial integrity with regard to Crimea,” sums up Professor Mikhail Savva, the Russian political scientist and expert for the defense. “Semena wrote nothing on Voronezh Oblast or Krasnodar Krai and did not call for the separation of these [federal] subjects. He wrote exclusively about the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Hence, the charges against him are unlawful.”

                  Ten months of house arrest

                  The pretrial investigation lasted for ten months. The journalist spent this time under house arrest, unable to leave the territory of Crimea and continue his professional activities. Mykola says he is longing for his work.

                  Over these months, the security forces were trying to gather any evidence to discredit him. Now the case file includes the results of surveillance and hacking of his computer and email. The ‘court’ approval for covert interference in his personal life was granted retroactively, which means that it was illegal from the very start. A special program planted in his PC made screenshots every minute when his monitor was on. “I had a feeling that someone was sitting inside the computer,” Semena recalls. As an outcome, the FSB gained access to the writing process and personal correspondence of the journalist. The hard copies of those screenshots constitute the bulk of the case material.

                  The indictment repeats a libel claim that the defendant was “insufficiently objective” in his publications and held “clearly pro-Ukrainian” views, as if this was a crime. The libel’s author, Sergey Meshkovoy, is now a chief propaganda mouthpiece for the Kremlin-made Luhansk separatist ‘republic’ in the occupied part of Donbas. At the same time, no other journalist questioned in the case said a bad word about Semena.

                  Semena needs medical treatment as soon as possible
                  Mykola’s lawyers Emil Kurbedinov and Andrey Sabinin admit that a ‘not guilty’ verdict in this political case is highly improbable despite the obvious lack of offence itself.

                  Ignoring the presumption of innocence, Russia has included their client to the federal black list of people who allegedly have something to do with ‘extremism’ or ‘terrorism.’ Meanwhile, Semena is suffering from heart trouble and spinal disease; he needs surgical intervention as soon as possible. Based on the certificates of his medical examination, the experts from the National Institute of Neurosurgery in Kyiv conclude that the delay of operation can lead to disability. But the elderly journalist is not allowed to leave Crimea even for medical treatment.

                  The International and European Federations of Journalists have spoken in support of Mykola Semena, along with 27 human rights organizations from many European and Asian countries united in Civic Solidarity Platform. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, and Amnesty International state that the persecution of the Ukrainian journalist for expressing his opinion must stop. In Brussels in autumn 2016, Semena (in absentia) was awarded Pavel Sheremet Prize for “not being afraid to risk his freedom and safety while defending free speech in Crimea.”

                  In his note published a few years before Russia started hybrid war on Ukraine, Mykola Semena quoted from Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Not defeated, he added on his own, if one’s ‘weapons’ are unity with other people and joint action.

                  Perhaps when writing this, he thought about the hero of his biographic book, Mustafa Dzhemilev. But today, Semena’s own life proves that these words apply to him too. World politicians, international organizations, and all those who value the freedom of expression should take action right now. The Kremlin’s attempt to destroy Mykola Semena as person and journalist is intolerable. Joint action is needed to save him, to stop neo-Stalinist political repression and protect the right to call a spade a spade: that Crimea was stolen by Russia and has to return back to Ukraine.

                  “Stalinism is afraid of humanity and mankind. Thus, today the world should not leave Ukraine alone with reviving Stalinism—because sooner or later it will try to cross the border as it happened in the past. Together we should stand against Stalinism and prevent its return to our lives and the lives of our children.”

                  These insightful words written by Mykola Semena in 2010, are crying to us now, on the days when he goes on trial. The world must hear.
                  Meet Mykola Semena, the Crimean journalist prosecuted for disagreeing with Putin's landgrab -Euromaidan Press |

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                  • Nemtsov and Moscow’s Bloody List
                    EUROMAIDAN PRESS Kseniya Kirillova 2017/02/28

                    February 27 will mark exactly six months since the death of my close friend and colleague, Russian and Ukrainian journalist Aleksandr Shchetinin. And the following day, February 28 will mark the second anniversary of the murder of Russian political figure Boris Nemtsov.

                    At first glance, it might appear that there is no connection between these two events. Moreover, until now whether the death of Aleksandr was murder or suicide was undetermined. On August 28, 2016 he was found in his own apartment in the Podil section of Kyiv with a single gunshot wound in his head (a pistol lay under a table). The Head of the Main Directorate of the National Police in Kyiv, Andrey Krishchenko, noted that regardless of the appearance of a suicide, the police are investigating the matter as a murder.

                    “Proceedings are opened under Article 115 ‘premeditated murder.’ Until all the facts are established, until they are not subjected to analysis, forensic medical examination – we will treat this as premeditated murder,” he declared.

                    Since then no additional details of the investigation have been made public.

                    Immediately following Aleksandr’s death I wrote about the remarkable strength of character and zest for life with which Sasha faced every hardship – and there were many hardships. The Russian regime took everything from him. For supporting Ukraine Aleksandr was forced to sever relations with his website Novyi Region (“New Region”) thereby losing a large part of his business. His accounts in Russia were blocked under regulations against financing terrorism, and then his whole site was declared extremist by Russia’s Supreme Court.

                    Later Aleksandr learned that should he and I return to Russia we would be charged with treason. Eventually, Sasha lost any possibility of returning home which meant not being able to be with his friends and his children from his first marriage. This was truly hard for him. Novyi Region in its new format suffered frequent financial problems, but Sasha survived these and other problem with exceptional optimism based on his belief in the righteousness of his choices and his love for Ukraine.

                    But there is something I did not mention in the obituary so as not to cast a shadow on Sasha’s memory so soon after his death. Since then, this information has appeared many times in the media, so it’s no longer a secret. At some point before I met Sasha, before “Maidan” and the war, Novyi Region itself was in large part a cog in the Russian propaganda machine. Aleksandr himself had good connections in Moscow, and his Ukrainian editions in large part adhered to the Russian agenda. So as a person with direct knowledge of this agenda he made a choice in the end (the sincerity of which is beyond doubt), and not only began to fight Russian propaganda in Ukraine, but also exposed Russian agents in that country.

                    For example, he was well-acquainted tie the team of Aksyonov and other members of the ”administration” of occupied Crimea – so well-acquainted that he could easily reveal which of them were FSB agents and which were GRU. He once admitted to me that using Skype he wrote the following to one of the Russian agents working in Ukraine: “I give you 24 hours to leave Ukrainian territory.’ And no one in Kyiv ever saw this agent again.”

                    Afterward, Sasha even joked that the FSB might kill him “like Litvinenko,” but at the time no one took these jokes seriously.

                    We can’t know for certain whether Sasha’s death was connected with his work at the time, but we do know that the possibility cannot be ignored. On cannot ignore the fact that on the very day that Shchetinin’s fate was known, the very first line of an article which appeared on a Russian propaganda site was:“The pendulum has swung. And now for the second month in a row the conditions are ripe for the ‘liquidation’ of Russian journalists who have sworn loyalty to “nen’ka (Ukraine). A month ago the editor of UP excoriated a Belarusian journalist with Russian citizenship – Pavel Sheremetov.”

                    In the following paragraphs, the writer transparently hints that all Russian journalists supporting Ukraine should beware of reprisals. And by the way, my name is also on this list. The article was reprinted by several publications, including the pro-Russian Donbas media from which it quickly disappeared. We must recall that Sasha’s death became public on Sunday. Normally big articles of this sort that carry explicit threats require as a minimum coordination with site editors who are not accustomed to working on their day off. Nevertheless, this material appeared with stunning speed, as though its authors had a head start before Shchetinin’s death.

                    Of course, all of these factors still do not comprise direct evidence that Aleksandr was murdered, just as “indirect” forms cannot be ruled out (incitement to suicide, pushing the idea, increasing pressure). However, over the past two years in Russia too many strange deaths have been observed, sudden suicides and unsolved murders to ignore. Here is an incomplete list of such incidents that have taken place since

                    Here is an incomplete list of such incidents that have taken place since the death of Boris Nemtsov.

                    May 26, 2015: Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr. was admitted to the First City Hospital with low blood pressure and suspicion of cardiac insufficiency, and remained in an induced coma for several days. Later it was discovered that experts discovered heavy metal in his body. Incidentally, following the murders of Nemtsov, Kara-Murza and the former Premier of Russia, Mikhail Kasyanov, travelled to Washington to hand to Congress the so-called “Nemtsov File” with the names of politicians and journalists openly calling for persecution of the murdered opposition politician. Kara-Murza also spoke in favor of sanctions against Moscow following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

                    November 5 of the same year one of the main creators of Putin’s propaganda machine, Mikhail Lesin, was found dead in his hotel room in the center of Washington. It’s true that the American authorities stated that the death was an unfortunate accident, but this did not silence the many questions surrounding the circumstances of Lesin’s death, such as why was he in the United States, and precisely what had he intended to hand over to the American authorities.

                    December 25, 2015 teenager Vlad Kolesnikov, who had been persecuted for his support of Ukraine committed suicide. This was a true suicide. As a person who had been close to Vlad I can confirm that he had occasional suicidal thoughts, although he always said he suppressed them. However the very fact that the entire system, his school, the police, neighbors, and even his own family turned against this very young person makes it abundantly clear that this young person was a victim of Putin’s Russia.

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                    • Moscow's Bloody List Pt 2

                      2016 was rich in mysterious deaths from the beginning. On January 3 the Head of Russian Military Intelligence (GRU), Igor Sergun, died unexpectedly (officially – a heart attack). He managed the annexation of Crimea and was sanctioned by the U.S., the European Union, and Australia. It was also he who organized the visit to the GRU in June 2013 of General Michael Flynn who recently was forced to resign from the White House due to his excessively close relations with the Russians. Just a few days before Sergun, on December 27, 2015, the person who directly commanded the forceful seizure of the peninsula, Major General Aleksandr Shushkin, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Parachute forces, died from “heart stoppage.”

                      In February there was a series of suspicious deaths, but these were connected to another Russian “Special Operation” – the infamous “substitution of urine samples.” On February 14, 2016 the former Executive Director of the Russian Anti-doping Agency (RUSADA), Nikita Kamaev, died unexpectedly shortly after informing a journalist of “The Sunday Times” about his intention to disclose secret information about doping in Russian sports since 1987. The cause of death, as might already be guessed, was another “infarction.” Less than two weeks earlier the former Chairman of the Executive Committee of RUSADA and ex-Head of the organization, Vyacheslav Sinev, also died.

                      The morning of July 20, 2016 in Kyiv well-known Belarussian and Russian opposition journalist Pavel Sheremet perished when his car exploded, and as noted above during the night of August 27–28 Aleksandr Shchetinin either killed himself or was murdered.

                      On October 16, 2016 in Donetsk well-known leader of the Donbas Militia, Arseniy Pavlov (“Motorola”) was blown up in the elevator of his own home. Before that other prominent separatist field commanders died, such as Pavel Dremov, Aleksandr Bednov, and others. According to one version ”Motorola” was liquidated by his own people on orders from Moscow because he was uncontrollable.

                      At the very end of December in Moscow 61-year-old Rosneft department head Oleg Yerovinkin died. During the period 2008–2012 he was Chief of Staff for then Vice-Premier Igor Sechin. According to preliminary reports he also died of “heard stoppage.” It was reported in the American Press that Yerovinkin was one of the most important sources of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele for his “dossier” alleging that Russian intelligence possesses compromising information on Donald Trump. His death is even more suspicious in light of the fact that it coincided with the arrests of FSB cybersecurity specialists who appear to have been agents of the USA. One is left with the impression that the information was received by the Russian secret services via a common leak.

                      2017 began with preparations for the assassination of the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council) of Ukraine, chief advisor of the Head of the MVD Anton Gerashchenko, which was thwarted by the SBU. According to official information, the terrorists planned to bomb Gerashchenko in the same manner that Pavel Sheremet was killed. A few days after the plan was foiled Gerashchenko declared that Sheremet was murdered on orders from Russia. In his words Ukrainian law enforcement authorities concluded that inside Russian territory there is a sabotage-terrorism center with the mission of organizing crimes in Ukraine.

                      Meanwhile in Moscow at the end of January the ex-leader of the “LNR” terrorists, Valeriy Bolotov, died. According to INTERFAX, he died from a heart attack. The militant’s wife suggests that he was poisoned with a cup of coffee. Exactly one week later, on February 8 in the Donbas another terrorist leader, Mikhail Tolstykh, known as “Givi,” died.

                      A short while earlier in Moscow on February 2 Vladimir Kara-Murza was again hospitalized in critical condition with symptoms suggestive of poisoning. Blood tests and also hair and nail samples were sent to France and Israel for toxicological analysis. A few days ago the lawyer for opposition figure Vadim Prokhorov filed a brief with the Investigative Committee demanding that a charge of attempted murder be brought.

                      One February 20 in the chancery of the Russian diplomatic mission in Manhattan the Permanent Representative of Russia at the UN, Vitaliy Churkin, passed away. The cause of death once again was given as “heart attack.” We should not rule out that in this case death was natural – at least so long as convincing evidence does not appear to indicate that Kremlin loyalist Churkin planned to provide some sort of information to a foreign intelligence service. However, yet another reference to a “heart attack” after everything enumerated above leads many to doubt this version, even in such a case.

                      In sum, reading through this list one may see that not only opposition figures and journalists, but also refugees, informers, potential informers, loyal but overly fanatical militants, and those who simply “know too much” die at the hands of the Kremlin.

                      For those who calculate how to adopt the most convenient and safe behavior it’s important to understand – such a calculation is impossible. Any contact with something as evil as the Kremlin leads to the death of the right and the wrong, one’s own and others, the noble and the base. The difference lies entirely in the kind of life a person lives before death.

                      It’s possible to sell every last vestige of conscience, to justify terrorism, lies, occupation, seizure of foreign lands, as did Churkin, and at the same time be mortally afraid of appearing at any moment objectionable. It’s possible to give criminal orders as did the defunct GRU Generals, or to carry out those orders as did “Givi” and “Motorola,” or to take part in other non-military crimes of the Kremlin, as did Lesin – all the while living in fear of discovery, future dismissal, office intrigues or a stray bullet.

                      But one can live an honorable and principled life, as did Boris Nemtsov or Pavel Sheremet, or make the unconditional and sacrificial choice to correct earlier mistakes, as did Aleksandr Shchetinin. Such choices make life bright, intense, honest, and decent such that it outshines even the most horrible death because only such a life is stronger than death.
                      Nemtsov and Moscow's Bloody List | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                      • Youngest mayor in Ukraine gives village a second life
                        EUROMAIDAN PRESS Source:UA MEDIA 2017/03/20

                        Artem Kukharenko, Mayor of the village of Podilsk, Cherkasy Oblast

                        Free Wi-fi, repaired roads and fully-staffed educational institutions – such is the village of Podilsk, Cherkasy Oblast, presided over by the youngest mayor in Ukraine, Artem Kukharenko.

                        Young, ambitious and hard-working, 24-year-old Artem Kukharenko ran for office in 2015, when he was still a university student. He was supported by 80% of the villagers. This is what he hoped for back then, in 2015:

                        “I wanted to stay in my village and not have to migrate to the big city in search of a better life, so one of my main goals was and still is to get the young people back. I plan to study other successful villages and take their example. I don’t want my village to become just one big farm; I want it to live, thrive and succeed! I’d like to go out in the evening and see children playing, young kids holding hands and strolling about, people falling in love, getting married and raising families.

                        If local residents really want to keep their village alive, it will live and prosper! I’ll do everything in my power, and time will tell.”

                        Artem’s first challenge was the road. Asphalt was too expensive, so he got 30,000 UAH from the district council and sponsors, and filled the potholes with concrete. But, he points out that the villagers earned the lion’s share of the required sum by organizing a charity concert.

                        Later, Artem installed free Wi-fi in the centre of the village, and plans to open a movie theatre and training gym in the newly-renovated House of Culture. The village council has also changed the windows and doors in the school buildings, and purchased new desks for the classrooms and cribs and toys for the pre-school nursery. In addition, the lighting system in all the village streets has been completely renovated.

                        800 people live in the village. Most of them work on local farms. Most young people want to stay and live in the village and many have submitted housing applications to the village council. Artem Kukharenko plans to renovate and refurbish the old abandoned dormitory/hostel that will be home to at least 20 young families in Podilsk.

                        This year’s village budget amounts to one million hryvnias (approximately $38,000 US), so local authorities are seeking funding. The first thing that needs to be done is reconstruction of sewage, water and gas supply systems to the renovated premises.

                        The young mayor also plans to build recreation areas in the village, clean and restore the local lake, connect the village houses to the water supply system, and launch a waste disposal cooperative. The most important thing is to find investors, and thus provide the locals with work.

                        Translated by: Christine Chraibi
                        Youngest mayor in Ukraine gives village a second life -Euromaidan Press |

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                        • Imaginary “terrorists” with no terror acts: Russia’s collective punishment of Crimean Muslims
                          EUROMAIDAN Ihor Vynokurov 2017/03/21

                          In occupied Crimea, the Russian government keeps playing its favorite “anti-terror” game to suppress the resistance of Crimean Tatars and tear up their families. The case of Ruslan Zeytullaev mirrors the goals and tools of the large-scale repressive policy.
                          Difference between Russia and Ukraine

                          21 March is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On this very day three years ago, the federal constitutional law on the annexation of Crimea by Russia officially entered into force.

                          Two weeks ago, the International Court of Justice in The Hague started considering Ukraine’s lawsuit against the Russian Federation. The suit concerns, in particular, the violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Based on the reports of international human rights watchdogs, Kyiv accuses Moscow of treating Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians as enemies of the occupation regime in Crimea and introducing a system of collective punishment on the non-Russian communities.

                          Six months before the hearing in The Hague, the Crimean Tatar Ruslan Zeytullaev did not need sophisticated legal terminology to explain the dramatic change that befell him and other Crimeans as a result of Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014:

                          “People ask me what is different between Ukraine and Russia. So I answer them that in Ukraine I lived, worked, helped people as much as possible, created a family and tried to provide it with everything needed. But under Russia, less than a year passed before I was jailed. […] I know one thing for sure: under custody, I’ll not be able to keep caring and bringing up my little children, helping my mother and other dearest people. That’s where I see the difference between these two states.”

                          Ruslan Zeytullaev is 31. He is a builder, activist, and father of three daughters. The eldest girl is only seven, and they all keenly feel their separation from their father. The Russian investigator threatened Ruslan’s wife Merhem that she could share the fate of her husband and her kids would be sent to an orphanage.

                          Kids of Crimean Muslims accused of extremism wait for a chance to see their fathers in court, March 2017. Photo: Remzi Bekirov’s FB

                          Ruslan has been in remand prison since January 2015. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) declared him an organizer of a cell of the Party of Islamic Liberation (known as Hizb ut-Tahrir), which was tantamount to the charge of “terrorism”—with no evidence of his personal involvement in dangerous activities. In September 2016, a court in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don adjudged him to seven years in prison, but that was not enough for the prosecution. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decided to send his case to the retrial, which may give him a much longer sentence already in April 2017.

                          Having committed no crime, Ruslan risks remaining in jail for 15 or 17 years, perhaps even more.

                          Creating “grounds” for repression

                          Why did Russia deprive Ruslan of freedom and family? Because he, like many other Crimean Muslims, did not fit the Procrustean bed set by the newly arrived FSB officers from Russia and local collaborators, including the law enforcers who betrayed their oath to Ukraine.

                          After the annexation of the peninsula, Russia planned to influence the local Muslim believers through the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Crimea (SDMC). The Directorate is a religious NGO established in 1995, which in 2014 turned into a de facto ideological department of the occupation administration. The SDMC members became notorious after their absurd statements: for instance, its deputy chair Ayder Ismailov recently blamed Ukraine for contributing to the alleged rise of “extremism” among the Crimean Tatars—an accusation that is not grounded in reality.

                          However, Ismailov makes no mention of the Russian judges who banned the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar democratic representative body, in 2016. He also ignores the Russian investigators, prosecutors, police and security officers who persecute recognized leaders, veterans and activists of the Crimean Tatar national movement after the peninsula’s occupation, and that the occupation authorities make no efforts to investigate the kidnappings and murders of Crimean Tatars. Neither does he name the Kremlin-appointed officials who banned the annual public commemoration of 1944 Stalin’s deportation of the entire Crimean Tatar people.

                          Everyone who disagreed with the SDMC on religious or political issues became potential targets for the groundless accusations of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Under new Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code (in force since the end of 2013), proving the involvement in harmful acts or preparation to them is not necessary to persecute any person for “terrorism”. The only thing needed is ascribing the participation in the forbidden organization to a defendant.


                          Today, at least nineteen Crimean Muslims are behind bars on this pretext, which contradicts the basic logic of law. Four of them have already been convicted (Ruslan Zeytullaev among them), and the rest are waiting for trial for months and years.
                          Imaginary “terrorists” with no terror acts

                          In 2003, the Russian Supreme Court, without a single proof, declared “terrorist” and banned the international Party of Islamic Liberation (known as Hizb ut-Tahrir). Ever since that judgment, the prosecution of people allegedly linked to this organization has been going on in Russian regions. Article 205.5 was reportedly used against them for the first time in Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan in late February 2014—the very days when Russian troops invaded Crimea. In April 2014, Bashkortostan FSB boss, General Viktor Palagin, known for “mopping up extremists” in the region, was appointed the first chief of the new Crimean FSB branch. He carried the priorities of his previous work to the occupied peninsula.

                          Over the sixty years since the establishment of Hizb ut-Tahrir, members of its numerous subdivisions were never convicted for any act qualified as terrorist. The organization has been legal in Ukraine and the vast majority of other countries in the world.

                          Emil Kurbedinov, lawyer of numerous Crimean political hostages. Photo: Krym.Realii

                          “If someone perceives Crimean Tatars’ way of life as strange and incomprehensible, if someone is alarmed and frightened that for more than 1,500 years, Muslims gather once a week in a mosque, and that even a construction worker discusses the condition of his people and Muslims of the world with compatriots and fellow believers, using words that someone doesn’t understand, […] it doesn’t mean that the defendants are terrorists and criminals,”

                          Emil Kurbedinov, who serves as the lawyer of Ruslan Zeytullaev, said during the trial in Rostov-on-Don.

                          How exactly do the Russian investigators prove that a certain person “belonged” to a “terrorist organization”? The ridiculous arguments could merit a laugh if they hadn’t already led to tragic consequences. The “proof” is religious literature found during the searches, as well as kitchen talks about politics, religion, and the media, recorded by an FSB provocateur. In other words, the Crimean Muslims are accused of exercising in private their rights to freedom of speech, conscience, and belief guaranteed by the Russian Constitution.
                          complete read Imaginary “terrorists” with no terror acts: Russia’s collective punishment of Crimean Muslims -Euromaidan Press |

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                            • Alexei Navalny arrested for 15 days for civil disobedience
                              08:20, 27 march 2017

                              The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow ruled that oppositionist leader Alexei Navalny should be arrest for 15 days for disobedience before a police officer. Earlier, the same court fined Navalny for 20,000 rubles (approximately $352) for organizing protests.

                              Alexei Navalny was detained on March 26 on Tverskaya Street in Moscow, where a rally was taking place against corruption. The rally was not pre-approved by city authorities did not coordinate. According to various sources, anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 people took part in the protest. More than a thousand protesters were detained.

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                              • EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2017/04/08
                                Tiny survivor of Kramatorsk bombing tries to recover

                                Two years ago, Klym Klymenko miraculously survived the bombardment of Kramatorsk by Russian separatist forces. His mother died while shielding her three-year-old son with her body. Klym was critically injured. In many respects, his story is typical of the tragedies — and occasional triumphs — experienced by the many victims of the Donbas war.

                                On February 10, 2015, Russian forces bombed Kramatorsk, a town in the Donetsk Oblast, some 50 km from the front line. They launched Smerch and Tornado missiles at Ukraine’s military headquarters near Kramatorsk, as well as a large residential area in the city. As a result, 17 civilians were killed and 60 were seriously wounded.

                                When the attack began, Oleksandra Klymenko ran to pick up her son from the nursery school. On the way home, they came under fire. The mother covered the little boy with her body but died on the spot. Klym survived but was badly injured. A local woman at the scene took him to the local hospital, realizing that if they waited for an ambulance he would not survive.

                                Shrapnel had crushed Klym’s left elbow and right leg, and he had shrapnel wounds all over his body. Doctors in Kramatosk performed the first operation, managing to save his life. He was then transferred to Kharkiv. Eventually, surgeons in Kyiv were able to save the nerve in his arm but were not able to restore movement,

                                At the hospital in Kharkiv, the little boy met Tania Shatokhina, who was at the hospital with her daughter. When she learned about Klym’s situation, she decided to help him

                                “I fell in love with him immediately,” she explains. “He’s someone very special, very positive. When you consider that he has been fighting since he was three years old. They tell him what to do. He’s in pain but he does it. For two years we have been going from one hospital to the next and he has endured all of it. It’s important to support something like this.”

                                During Klym’s treatment Tania met Klym’s father, Oleksandr, who had been working abroad at the time of the attack. They married last year and now live in Tania’s one-room apartment in Kharkiv with Klym, his older brother, and Tania’s daughter.

                                The couple describe their son’s many challenges.

                                “His arm had no motion. His fingers couldn’t clasp. His hand couldn’t function.” Oleksandr says. “His injured leg is 3 centimeters shorter. His knee is facing sideways. He is growing and the deformity is becoming greater and greater. It is affecting his spine and internal organs. He has shrapnel throughout his body and in his head, resulting in 50% loss of vision.”

                                Tania adds that Klym does not like to show his scars because he is embarrassed. He tries not to think of that tragic day. For a long time no one around him uttered the word “mother,” but recently they have begun to discuss this subject with him.

                                Klym has already endured 8 operations, including one in Germany last year, where doctors were able to restore some functionality to his hand. That operation was made possible by funds collected from donors in Ukraine.

                                The little boy dreams of becoming an athlete and grows impatient when he can’t run as fast as his friends. Meanwhile, his family is collecting funds for additional surgeries in Germany for his leg. They need 14,500 Euros. Specialized surgeries on that level are not being done in Ukraine, they explain.


                                Translated by: Anna Mostovych
                                Source: Radio Svoboda

                                Tiny survivor of Kramatorsk bombing tries to recover -Euromaidan Press |

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