No announcement yet.

Ukrainian roots are being uprooted -

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Klimkin sees Ukraine as point of no return for OSCE Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Ukraine is the point of no return for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
    UNIAN 01 Sept 2016

    "Ukraine is the point of no return for #OSCE. Resolving current crisis will show whether OSCE can deal w/conflicts&deliver on security or not," Klimkin tweeted after at the Informal Meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Potsdam, Germany, on September 1, 2016.

    According to Ukraine's foreign minister, the OSCE needs an effective judicial mechanism to guarantee respect of core values and principles and to bring to justice those who break rules.

    "Efficient arms control regime is crucial 4 #OSCE. If existing ones had worked, Russia wouldn't have brought 'Buk' to Donbas&shot down #MH17," Klimkin believes.

    He claims that to be effective, the "OSCE is to be led by the culture of consensus and not by the rule of consensus, which is often misused."

    OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was among the ministers who attended the Potsdam meeting, in turn lauded the OSCE's essential role in the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas and the committed work of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM).

    He underlined that all sides must fully guarantee the security and safety of the SMM monitors and equipment and ensure their unfettered access throughout the country, including in the conflict area.

    Steinmeier welcomed the fact that the sides re-committed to full adherence to the ceasefire at the beginning of the new school year: "I expect that all sides finally live up to their commitment to respect the ceasefire permanently."

    Klimkin sees Ukraine as point of no return for OSCE | UNIAN

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • Tu-154 crash near Smolensk was Moscow's aim – Polish Defense Ministry On September 2, Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said that previously unknown information about the plane crash near Smolensk in 2010, which killed 96 people including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, would be disclosed soon.
      UNIAN 02 Sept 2016

      In an interview with Rzeczpospolita, Macierewicz pointed out that the disclosures are based upon new recordings of conversations of the crew of the doomed Tu-154.

      In particular, Macierewicz charged, it was "the purpose of the Russian air traffic controllers and Moscow authorities to wreck the plane with President Kaczynski and the entire delegation on board."

      "We have real evidence today, including that which was hidden by Miller's commission (the body that earlier investigated the Smolensk disaster – UNIAN). We have horrific confessions by members of this commission,"

      Macierewicz noted. Macierewicz said the new information will be released in October.

      As reported earlier, the plane carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski, along with 96 others, crashed while landing at Severniy airfield in Smolensk due to heavy fog and low visibility. All 88 passengers and eight crew members were killed.

      Polish and Russian aviation experts committee earlier concluded that the main reason for the accident was pilot error.

      However, supporters of the largest Polish opposition party, "Law and Justice" (PiS), whose co-founder was Lech Kaczynski, claim the crash was the result of a deliberately organized attempt on the life of the Polish president, and declared that Polish and Russian authorities had repeatedly tried to conceal this.

      In 2016, Poland resumed its own investigation of the accident.

      Tu-154 crash near Smolensk was Moscow's aim – Polish Defense Ministry

      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


      • UT UKRAINE TODAY Sep. 3, 2016
        Following footsteps of Savchenko case

        Ukrainian MPs address G20 countries to pressure Russia

        In the wake of the G20 summit in China Ukrainian MPs addressed the leaders of the participating countries in an official letter ‘to immediately take all possible political and diplomatic measures to release all hostages and political prisoners held in temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine (i.e., Donbas and Crimea), as well as in the Russian Federation'.

        The letter was signed by the Parliament Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Head of Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of various fractions of the Ukrainian Parliament.

        The letter also asks the G20 members to strongly condemn Russia's prosecution of pro-Ukrainian activists, including also Crimean Tatars and to release all imprisoned activists. Ukrainian MPs note that currently there are at least 107 Ukrainians held hostage in Donbas and at least 9 – in Russia.

        "A separate list should be made for dozens of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars detained in Crimea and now undergoing tortures, in particular, by methods of punitive medicine, same as in the worst time of the USSR", reads the letter.

        The letter in particularly focuses on Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Mr. Ilmi Umerov, who was arrested in Crimea in May 2014 on charges for the calls to change the territorial composition of the Russian Federation.

        In reality Umerov was imprisoned for his belief and position that Crimea is an integral part of the unitary and sovereign Ukraine – a position generally accepted by the international community and re-confirmed by the U.N. Resolution 68/262 entitled "Territorial integrity of Ukraine".

        The non-binding resolution, which was supported by 100 United Nations member states, affirmed the General Assembly's commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and underscored the invalidity of the 2014 Crimean referendum.

        Letter of Ukrainian MPs to G20 summit (source: Oleksii Makeiev Facebook page)

        Currently Umerov is being held at psychiatric hospital in Simferopol. Ukraine, the EU, the U.K. and the U.S. have all called on Russia to release Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov.

        G20 summit is taking place on 4-5 September in n the city of Hangzhou, China.

        BACKGROUND: On February 26, 2014, Umerov along with other Crimean Tatars organised a demonstration against the occupation of the peninsula. Later Russian Federal Security Service initiated a criminal case against him.

        On May 12, 58-year-old Ilmi Umerov was arrested. Last week Umerov felt sick during a court session, but much later was taken to the hospital. The judge announced Umerov must undergo forensic psychiatric evaluation.

        Thus, Umerov was forcibly placed into a mental ward for forensic medical assessment. According to his lawyers, the conditions in the hospital are harmful for Umerov. The lawyers say without urgent medical treatment their client could die. Umerov suffers from diabetes and heart disease.

        Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko called Umerov's detention in psychiatric clinic 'a resurrection of Stalin-era regime'. Ukraine on G20 agenda: Following footsteps of Savchenko case

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • REUTERS Gwladys Fouche OSLO Sep 4, 2016 1:26pm EDT
          Germany's foreign minister eyes regulation to keep Ukraine ceasefire in weeks

          German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday he hoped a new regulation aimed at maintaining a fragile ceasefire in eastern Ukraine could be completed soon by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

          "We are working with the OSCE for a new regulation to keep the ceasefire," Steinmeier told reporters in Oslo. "We are now in preparation which will allow us to soon meet again on the foreign ministers’ level."

          Steinmeier said implementation of the Minsk accord by Russia and Ukraine remained disappointing, and the security situation in eastern Ukraine was "really insufficient."
          Germany's foreign minister eyes regulation to keep Ukraine ceasefire in weeks | Reuters

          æ, !

          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


          • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Sergii Leshchenko September 1, 2016
            Paul Manafort’s Ukrainian Legacy

            I have seen Paul Manafort twice in my life. The first time was in 2007 during a Ukrainian lunch at Morosani Hotel in Davos, Switzerland, where Viktor Yanukovych came to speak. The second time was at a solemn reception in honor of Yanukovych’s 2010 inauguration at the Ukrainian House in Kyiv; Manfort arrived with oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, who demonstratively and politely made way for this inconspicuous American.

            Both times, Manafort refused to talk to the press. Now, two and a half years after Yanukovych’s escape, it is possible to shed light on the details of his work in Ukraine, thanks to the so-called “black ledger of the Party of Regions.” The ledger recorded the illegal cash Yanukovych and his entourage spent on politics. Manafort’s name appears in the explanatory notes of twenty-two transactions over five years, for an estimated total of $12.7 million.

            To promote his client, the Party of Regions, Manafort exploited the most sensitive issues in Ukrainian society, advising the party to raise topics that divide the country. For example, the infringement on the rights of Russian speakers that became a major controversy during the 2010 presidential election did not actually exist.

            Manafort was recommended to Yanukovych by Akhmetov, Yanukovych’s lifelong business and political partner. Thanks to the oligarch’s referral to his Donetsk protégé, Manafort became a consultant to Yanukovych after his electoral defeat in 2004 and organized four election campaigns, including one presidential and three parliamentary races.

            Moreover, Manafort also helped the government deal with challenges. For example, when Yulia Tymoshenko’s conviction began to tarnish Yanukovych’s image in the West, the strategy became to clean up his reputation by denying political motivation in her criminal case. For that reason, the presidential administration called in influential American lawyers from Skadden law firm, including Gregory B. Craig, former counsel to President Bill Clinton. It was a no-bid contract worth one million dollars. Today, this episode has formed the basis of a criminal case against former Minister of Justice Oleksandr Lavrynovych.

            After Yanukovych’s escape, records indicating Manafort’s involvement in this case were found in the house of former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka. It turns out that the consultant was reviewing the American lawyers’ report, which said, “Skadden is planning to finish the report by the end of next week and send it to Pshonka and Paul for review. Paul does not want to pressure them in expediting it as the quality is of top priority. Also, Paul is asking to clarify if SV had spoken with the Prosecutor General in regard to the ‘damage issue’ caused by Tymoshenko. It is critical for the accuracy of the report.”

            The name Paul mentioned in the note is Manafort; and the initials SV refers to the former head of the Yanukovych administration, Serhiy V. Lyovochkin.

            In addition to advising Yanukovych and his inner circle, Manafort was in contact with US ambassadors, trying to convey Yanukovych’s vision to them, even though he had not registered as a foreign lobbyist with the US Department of Justice, a glaring violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The FBI has already shown interest in the multi-million dollar transactions of the Party of Regions.

            After Yanukovych’s collapse, Manafort lost popularity, although he tried to stay in Ukraine a little longer. He helped the oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who was arrested on a US warrant in Austria and prosecuted for bribery, get off scot-free.

            In recent weeks, Kyiv has been surrounded by American journalists who came to trace Manafort’s history. The exposure of his corrupt ties to Yanukovych has become a key topic in the US presidential election. Realizing that Manafort’s presence on Donald Trump’s campaign staff was hurting the candidate’s ratings, the toxic political technologist was let go. Manafort ostensibly resigned, and was thanked by the Republican presidential nominee for his work.

            But in Ukraine, the Party of Regions’ corrupt schemes won’t be forgotten so quickly. Manafort’s name appears next to payments to Ukrainian politicians, judges and members of the Central Election Commission, and journalists. Many of those who were in opposition to Yanukovych are among the recipients of those funds. So far, however, none of the implicated Ukrainians has confessed. As a result, publication of the full content of the black ledger of the Party of Regions could yet become Ukraine’s Watergate, which would unleash a cleansing of Ukrainian politics.

            Sergii Leshchenko is a member of parliament in Ukraine and former deputy editor of Ukrayinska Pravda. This article was originally published in Russian by Novoe Vremya. Translation was done by Vera Zimmerman.
            Paul Manafort’s Ukrainian Legacy

            æ, !

            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


            • ATLANTIC COUNCIL September 2, 2016
              Russian Intelligence Waging Information War, Says Czech Security Service
              Sources: BIS, Bloomberg News, and Reuters

              From the Security Information Service (BIS) of the Czech Republic: In 2015, Chinese and Russian intelligence services were the most active in the Czech Republic.

              Chinese diplomatic, intelligence and economic entities focused on drawing on their success from 2014 and actively worked on extending and maintaining Chinese influence in Czech politics and economy.

              In 2015, Russian activities focused on the information war regarding the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts and on political, scientific, technical and economic espionage (especially efforts to exploit duped Czech individuals to gain access to Czech and European subsidies).

              In 2015, the BIS did not identify any significant activities of intelligence services of other former Soviet Union countries or of partner intelligence services.

              As in previous years, Russian intelligence services were the most active foreign intelligence services in the Czech Republic. A large number of Russian intelligence officers were active under diplomatic cover of the Russian Embassy. The Russian Embassy has much more employees than Embassies of other states (including the US and China). Intelligence officers under diplomatic cover were active also at the Embassies of other states; however, the number of Russian intelligence officials was much higher. Unlike intelligence officials of partner states, Russian (and some other) intelligence officers did not declare their status to the BIS. Such clandestine behavior concealing the affiliation to an intelligence services clearly signals activities threatening the security and other interests of the Czech Republic.

              Regardless of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis and tense Russia-EU/NATO relations, Russia focused on activities aimed at maintaining and strengthening Russian positions and outlooks in Czech power engineering. Furthermore, Russian economic, scientific and technological espionage continued in 2015 in the Czech Republic.

              In relation to the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts Russia focused on influence and information operations as part of its non-linear (hybrid, ambiguous, irregular, non-conventional) warfare1.

              In 2015, Russian information operations in the Czech Republic focused especially on:

              weakening the strength of Czech media (covert infiltration of Czech media and the Internet, massive production of Russian propaganda and disinformation controlled by the state);
              strengthening the information resistance of the Russian audience (prefabricated disinformation from Czech sources for the Russian audience);
              exerting influence on the perceptions and thoughts of the Czech audience, weakening society’s will for resistance or confrontation (information and disinformation overload of the audience, relativization of truth and objectivity, promoting the motto “everyone is lying”);
              creating or promoting inter-societal and inter-political tensions in the Czech Republic (foundation of puppet organizations, covert and open support of populist or extremist subjects);
              disrupting the coherence and readiness of NATO and the EU (attempts to disrupt Czech-Polish relations, disinformation and alarming rumors defaming the US and NATO, disinformation creating a virtual threat of a war with Russia);
              damaging the reputation of Ukraine and isolating the country internationally (involving Czech citizens and organizations in influence operations covertly led in Ukraine or against it by Russia).

              The above-mentioned activities pose a threat to the Czech Republic, EU and NATO not only in relation to the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts. The infrastructure created for achieving these goals will not disappear with the end of the two conflicts. It can be used to destabilize or manipulate Czech society or political environment at any time, if Russia wishes to do so.

              From Ladka Mortkowitz Bauerova, Bloomberg News: Russian agents in the Czech Republic are trying to undermine the unity of European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization through an extensive online misinformation campaign, according to the Czech counterintelligence agency, the BIS.

              The central European country has a “disproportionate” number of Russian spies on its territory, the Prague-based BIS said in its annual report Thursday. The agents are focusing particularly on spreading false information about armed conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as trying to erode relationships among European countries, it said.

              From Reuters: Russian intelligence services are conducting 'an information war' in the Czech Republic, building a network of puppet groups and propaganda agents that could be used to destabilize the country, the BIS counterintelligence service warned on Thursday....

              In its annual report, the BIS said Russian and Chinese intelligence remained the most active operating in the Czech Republic, and Russia particularly sought to influence Czech media over its role in the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts....

              The BIS warned that Russian agents sought to stoke social and political tensions in the country by using puppet groups and supporting populist and extremist groups.

              "The infrastructure created for achieving these goals will not disappear with the end of the two conflicts," BIS said....

              Russian intelligence agents, the BIS report said, sought to weaken Czech media through infiltration and by spreading propaganda and disinformation.

              The tactics included relativization of truth and objectivity, and promoting the view that all sides lie, the report said.

              BIS said "a large number" of Russian intelligence officers were working undercover as part of the Russian embassy in Prague, which is by far the largest foreign mission in the country with around 140 staff, twice as many as the U.S. mission. Russian Intelligence Waging Information War, Says Czech Security Service

              æ, !

              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


              • WORLD AFFAIRS Andreas Umland Winter 2016
                The Ukraine Example: Nuclear Disarmament Doesn’t Pay

                Not everyone in Europe agrees with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent description of Russia’s annexation of Crimea as “criminal.” Across the EU, Kremlin lobbyists, America-haters, and those the Germans call Putinversteher (“Putin-understanders”) disseminate justifications and apologies for Russia’s absorption of the Black Sea peninsula and its hybrid war in the Donets Basin, also known as the Donbas. Such “explanations” partly succeed because most citizens of the West are, in fact, not particularly interested in Crimea, the Donbas, or Ukraine as a whole. First and foremost, EU citizens want calm. International law is not national legislation. Ukraine’s problems ultimately belong to the Ukrainians.

                Yet, if the injustices of Vladimir Putin’s slow-motion assault on Ukraine leave them somewhat cold, there is one dimension of the conflict that should bring the “crisis” home to Europeans: the concrete, written commitments made by Russia and other UN Security Council member states in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

                Ukraine inherited the world’s third-largest arsenal of nuclear warheads when it gained its independence in 1991. Most of the nuclear weapons left behind by the Soviet regime in Ukraine, to be sure, were not deployable, since the launch codes remained in Moscow and Ukraine had no technology to guide its inherited rockets. But in theory Kyiv could have reset the fire-control systems, and built or acquired necessary additional technology to make its nuclear arsenal at least partially operational. In 1991, the Ukrainian armed forces possessed numerous intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-range bombers and their payloads, as well as additional nuclear warheads—according to estimates by the US Natural Resources Defense Council, a total of 4,025 units, or 15 percent of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal. At this point, in other words, Ukraine had far more atomic weapons than the United Kingdom, France, and China combined. Even if Ukraine had retained and made operational only a fraction of these weapons, today it would be a much-feared nuclear power.

                Yet it didn’t. Under diplomatic pressure from Moscow and Washington, Ukraine turned over all of its nuclear weapons to Russia after signing the Lisbon Protocol in 1992, which obligated ex-Soviet countries to surrender their arsenals. But it didn’t turn them over immediately. In Kyiv, there was already then suspicion that the northeastern neighbor could one day seek to exploit the defenselessness of “Little Russia,” as Russian nationalists often refer to Ukraine. After delaying the protocol’s ratification for several months, Ukraine was assured of its territorial integrity, national borders, and political sovereignty by all five permanent members of the Security Council in December 1994, at a summit in Budapest for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). Three of the five (Russia, the US, and the UK) did so in a multilateral document signed with Ukraine; two (China and France) issued unilateral declarations of their governments. The five countries’ assurances, as well as promises of help against future foreign political and economic pressure in the Budapest Memorandum, convinced Ukraine to relinquish its remaining weapons of mass destruction.

                Moscow has now not only trampled the 1994 memorandum and numerous other multilateral agreements on the inviolability of European borders, but flagrantly breached a number of bilateral agreements between Moscow and Kyiv. In the case of Crimea, it went so far as officially declaring an annexation and executing it by military force—a type of violent border-shift that has become rare since 1945.

                The consequences Russia has faced for these actions have been limited. The West remains, even after introduction of its much-praised sanctions, Russia’s most important trade and investment partner. Many EU countries, above all Germany, continue to purchase enormous amounts of Siberian oil, the hefty export duties of which pour into the Russian state budget every month. (Natural gas plays a much smaller fiscal role). With the Russian economy and state budget structurally dependent on oil, the so far undiminished energy imports from Russia have made the EU an involuntary and indirect, but significant financial co-sponsor of Moscow’s foreign policy adventures in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Syria. The situation appears even more curious in light of the fact that oil is fungible. EU countries could, without substantial difficulty, replace most imports from Russia through contracts with other oil exporters. However, the EU (including the UK and France as official parties to the 1994 Budapest deal, which they seem to have forgotten about) has not taken this step because of a mundane combination of obliviousness and venality.

                All of this could continue to remain irrelevant to Western citizens, if not for the NPT. Twenty years after Ukraine signed the treaty, one of its recognized nuclear weapon state ratifiers violated almost every point of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, annexing a prime piece of Ukrainian state territory by military force, and prosecuting a hybrid yet bloody war in eastern Ukraine that has so far resulted in thousands dead, tens of thousands injured and traumatized, as well as hundreds of thousands of refugees. At the same time, Russia is waging a concerted trade, cyber, and information war against Ukraine, using large-scale military exercises on the border to poison the economic and investment climate in its “brother country.”

                So far the international community has punished Russia with only moderate export and individual sanctions, while the other BRICS countries have since actually courted rather than condemned the Kremlin. Ukraine is receiving significant Western political and economic assistance, but up to this point little direct and official military support. Many observers see a permanently frozen conflict in the Donbas as the most likely ultimate outcome, although the Ukrainian state would thus lose additional territory the five powers assured in 1994 would remain inviolable. National insolvency looms for rump-Ukraine. In the worst case, the Ukrainian state could altogether collapse.

                æ, !

                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                • Nuclear Disarmament Part 2

                  The NPT seems to be in as much jeopardy as Ukrainian territory as a result of Russian aggression. In the case at hand, three atomic Security Council members grant a disarming country explicit and written security assurances in exchange for dismantling its nuclear weapons. One of these great powers, however, 20 years later unilaterally declares them invalid while the others react with pathetic declarations and minor sanctions. Looking at the fate of Ukraine, what country without nuclear weapons or no close alliance with a nuclear power can now be assured of the inviolability of its borders? If a member of the Security Council is allowed to expand into the territory of a neighboring country, then the international nonproliferation regime becomes hollow, little more than a vehicle for the official atomic powers to advance their own agendas.

                  Moreover, a key reason for the West’s lack of military support for Ukraine lies in Russia’s overkill capacity and the fear of a third world war acutely felt by many Europeans. This means that implementation of the nonproliferation regime has, in the Ukrainian case, caused the opposite of its intended aim. Nonproliferation stipulations specified in the NPT and the special privileges Russia enjoys as an official nuclear weapon state ratifier combine to become instruments of a coldly calculated utilization of weapons of mass destruction to achieve an illegal military occupation and secure a scandalous territorial expansion.

                  As a result of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its “hybrid war” in the Donbas, the present-day nonproliferation regime, with its exceptional treatment of the permanent Security Council members, could in the future, paradoxically, encourage rather than stem the construction or acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

                  These grave consequences seem to have been lost in the shuffle of opportunistic cynicism that has marked much of the great powers’ responses to Russian aggression. For example, in July 2015, a group of 10 French parliamentarians, most belonging to the Republicans party of former and possible future president Nicolas Sarkozy, visited occupied Crimea. By doing so, they were violating, at least, the spirit of the Western sanctions regime against Russia’s annexation of the peninsula, causing jubilation in Moscow. The official visit by these French right-wing politicians to Simferopol spit in the face of the “Statement by France on the Accession of Ukraine to the NPT” issued on December 5, 1994, by France’s center-right Balladur government (including then Minister of Budget Sarkozy). In this official document, handed to Kyiv in connection with Ukraine’s renunciation of its atomic weapons,

                  France reasserts its commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine in its current borders, in agreement with the principles of the final Helsinki Act and the Paris Charter for a New Europe. France reminds its attachment to the principles of the CSCE according to which borders cannot only be modified through peaceful means and mutual agreement, and the participating States refrain from using threats or force either against the territorial integrity or the political independence of a State, or through any other means incompatible with the goals of the United Nations.

                  Worse, China is amplifying the corrosion of the international security system in what amounts to a Euro-Asian side game it has played since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis. Beijing has avoided taking a clear position on Russia’s conduct, and abstained from the spring 2014 UN General Assembly vote condemning the annexation of Crimea. Behind the scenes, the Chinese are trying to extract the greatest possible political and economic benefit from the discord between Moscow and the West. Beijing purposefully ignores the fact that Ukraine possessed nuclear potential that exceeded China’s arsenal many times over when it was handed a Chinese governmental declaration in support of Ukrainian territorial integrity and political sovereignty, similar to the French one, in December 1994. China, as a powerful Security Council member, has thus strengthened the perception that the NPT will be ignored by the official atomic powers when it comes to asserting their national interests at the expense of non-nuclear states.

                  If Ukraine, briefly the world’s third-largest atomic power, can be handled in this manner after naively giving up its large post-Soviet nuclear arsenal, what kind of support, in a crisis situation, can non-nuclear states expect, states that cannot even point to security assurances like those given to Kyiv by Russia, the US, Great Britain, France, and China in December 1994? When supposed guarantors of the international nonproliferation regime so dramatically turn their backs on the inviolability of borders, the message to all current and future national leaders is clear: Your own atomic deterrent is the only effective instrument for ensuring your country’s full sovereignty. The Ukraine Example: Nuclear Disarmament Doesn’t Pay | World Affairs Journal

                  Andreas Umland is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, in Kyiv, and general editor of the book series “Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society,” published by ibidem Press in Stuttgart. This article was translated from German by Andrew Kinder.

                  æ, !

                  Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                  • REUTERS Roberta Rampton HANGZHOU, China Sep 5, 2016 11:33am EDT
                    Obama and Putin tell diplomats to keep working on Syria argument

                    U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a longer-than-expected discussion on Monday about whether, and how, they could agree on a ceasefire deal in war-torn Syria, a senior U.S. administration official said.

                    Obama and Putin spent about 90 minutes in a "constructive" meeting about getting humanitarian aid into the country, reducing violence, and cooperating on combating militant groups, the official told reporters.

                    In talks earlier on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were unable to come to terms on a ceasefire for the second time in two weeks, with U.S. officials stressing they would walk away if a near-term pact could not be reached.

                    Obama and Putin did not get into the finer details of a deal, but made progress to clarify "the remaining gaps" and directed Kerry and Lavrov to meet as early as this week to keep working on a deal, the official told reporters.

                    "If an agreement can be reached, we want to do so urgently, because of the humanitarian situation. However, we must ensure that it is an effective agreement," the official said.

                    "If we cannot get the type of agreement we want, we will walk away from that effort."

                    A cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by Lavrov and Kerry in February unraveled within weeks, with Washington accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces of violating the pact.

                    State Department officials have declined to elaborate on what the sticking points are preventing a deal, though the U.S. official said the remaining differences revolved around how the plan would be implemented.

                    Russia has insisted that it cannot agree to a deal unless opposition fighters, backed by the United States and Middle East allies, are separated from al-Qaeda linked militants they overlap with in some areas.

                    Obama and Putin also discussed the conflict in Ukraine - a crisis that Obama had earlier discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

                    The White House wants to determine whether the Minsk ceasefire can be implemented before Obama leaves office in January, or whether economic sanctions on Russia will need to be extended, the official said. Obama and Putin tell diplomats to keep working on Syria argument | Reuters

                    æ, !

                    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                    • Ukraine Finds 10 Million Rubles in Suspected Rebel Cash Delivery
                      NEWSWEEK Damien Sharkov On 9/5/16 at 10:34 AM

                      Ukraine has arrested a man driving into territory held by pro-Russian separatists with thousands of U.S. dollars and millions of Russian rubles in cash, Ukraine’s defence forces announced on Facebook on Sunday.

                      The man’s name was not given, however, the official press office of Ukraine’s forces, deployed near the rebel-held territories in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions said he was suspected of “terror funding.” Separatist militant groups in the regions are considered Russian-backed terrorist groups by Ukraine, however Moscow has repeatedly dismissed evidence that they are arming the groups or deploying Russian forces in their ranks.

                      The driver, a Ukrainian national, was stopped in a black Chevrolet Lacetti on Sunday, near the military checkpoint of Zaytsevo, Donetsk region. He was allegedly heading towards the rebel-held town of Horlivka and a search of the gas-powered vehicle found stacks of cash stuffed in the fuel tank.

                      Bills of 10 million Russian rubles ($154,000) and $100,000 dollars, strapped together with elastic bands, were found in the car and the man was taken into custody.

                      Ukrainian police did not speculate on whose behalf they suspected the man to be carrying the large amounts of Russian cash into the rebel-held territory, since journalistic reports from separatist territories show that U.S. dollars, Russian rubles and Ukrainian hryvna are all traded there. Ukraine Finds 10 Million Rubles in Suspected Rebel Cash Delivery

                      æ, !

                      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                      • State Department: The US will never recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea
                        UAWIRE ORG September 5, 2016 6:26:06 PM

                        The United States will never recognize Crimea’s accession to Russia. This was declared by the USA State Department’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy Daniel Fried in an interview with Delfi.

                        "We have never recognized the incorporation of the Baltic countries into the Soviet Union and I am proud of it. The United States is capable of incredibly long patience. In the case of the Crimea, I can confirm that the United States will never recognize the accession. In the Budapest Memorandum, Russia had recognized the Crimea as part of Ukraine. I remember this very well, I was there together with President Clinton," Fried stressed.

                        According to him, the United States are determined to insist on compliance with the Minsk agreements, but their implementation still remains under question.

                        "The problem is that it is difficult to demand implementation of the agreements from Ukrainians, if their soldiers are dying every day," Fried believes. He also agrees with Ukraine’s position that Russia has not been fulfilling its part of the arrangements.

                        Earlier, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko said that he intended to return the Crimea and the Donbas in a political and diplomatic way. UAWire - State Department: The US will never recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea

                        æ, !

                        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                        • Research group finds Russian trace in cyber attacks in Ukraine, Turkey, and Germany
                          UAWIRE ORG September 5, 2016 7:37:00 AM

                          A group of researchers, ThreatConnect, which deals with cyber security, examined the hacking of an electronic database of voters and came to the conclusion that the cyber-attacks in Ukraine, Turkey, and Germany were made from the same IP-address, and the coding of the attackers is typical for Russian hackers, Voice of America reports.

                          According to researchers, “There are several indicators in the way this crime was committed that are typical of Russian hackers.” According to them, earlier the FBI released information in the U.S.A. with a list of all the IP-addresses that were used for committing cyber-attacks and directed security staff to monitor for signs of hacking into systems using the same pattern.

                          Finally, it was found that one of the IP-addresses,, was the same address used in committing attacks in Ukraine, Turkey, and Germany. At the same time the hacking campaign “has signs that are typical among Russian hackers.”

                          Earlier, at the end of July, a presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, accused Russia of hacking the Party’s servers. UAWire - Research group finds Russian trace in cyber attacks in Ukraine, Turkey, and Germany

                          æ, !

                          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                          • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Olena Halushka September 6, 2016
                            The Top Ten Things Ukraine’s Parliament Needs to Do This Fall

                            Over the last two and a half years, Ukraine has channeled the energy of the Euromaidan protests into building a new state, and has achieved a number of major accomplishments. However, much more remains be done. The delay in implementing crucial reforms is equivalent to stopping halfway, while the slow rate of change is already deepening society’s frustration toward government authorities. Despite the ruling coalition’s fragility in parliament, civil society activists hope MPs will unite over crucial initiatives to ensure the passage of these ten changes:

                            1. Granting the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) independent wiretapping powers, as laid out in bill No. 4812. So far, NABU detectives are limited in their ability to intercept communications during their investigations; they have to work through the Security Service of Ukraine, which significantly increases the risk of confidential information being leaked and substantially affects the effectiveness of their investigations.

                            2. Providing a legal basis for the creation of specialized anti-corruption courts. The establishment of a Supreme Anti-Corruption Court is provided for by a new law that was adopted together with constitutional amendments regarding the judiciary on June 2, 2016. However, these provisions are not enough. The effectiveness of NABU and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) in prosecuting corrupt officials largely depends on the courts. The creation of special anti-corruption courts for top corruption cases is crucial; judges should be selected transparently through open competition with the participation of representatives from international organizations. In addition, special security measures should be put into place to protect anti-corruption judges’ lives and families.

                            3. Adopting a new law, “On the High Council of Justice,” without shortcomings. The Judicial Reform Council developed a new version of the law “On the High Council of Justice.” However, the version discussed on July 27 contains a number of significant drawbacks that would allow current problems to continue for years. In particular, the requirement that any candidate for the High Council of Justice (HCJ) have ten years of experience as a judge makes it impossible for new blood to enter the council. Moreover, the bill jeopardizes the HCJ’s transparency, fairness, and efficiency when considering disciplinary cases against judges, and allows them to avoid being held accountable for their misconduct; it also provides no mechanism for responding to judges’ complaints about undue interference with their duties. The bill should be adopted only after these shortcomings are corrected.

                            4. Rebooting the Central Election Commission. The terms of office for twelve of the fifteen CEC members expired on June 1, 2014, but they remain in their positions. Nominees for new CEC members were submitted in the fall of 2015, but the president delayed registration of the nominations until June 2016, and the reboot of the CEC was later postponed to fall 2016 (so as to avoid interrupting parliamentary by-elections on July 17). The reboot of the CEC is the first step in comprehensive electoral reform, which also includes the introduction of an open list proportional electoral system, one of the parliamentary majority's key commitments.

                            5. Ensuring the independence and transparency of the Energy Regulator, bill No. 2966-d. This bill aims to define the formation, organization, and legal status of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities, known as the Energy Regulator, and provide it with the powers necessary to implement its agenda in accordance with EU standards. Activists demand that the bill be amended for the second reading to include provisions on a full reboot of the commission and introduction of market-level salaries for commission staff. Adoption of this bill is one of Ukraine’s international commitments.

                            6. Facilitating decentralization of powers and resources to local communities, bills No. 4472, 4473, 4390, and 3390. This package of bills will simplify the process for establishing capable decentralized communities, and will increase their number. In addition, subsequent bills will ensure adequate funding of the communities considered capable by the government, and allow their local self-governing bodies to implement urban planning and develop the necessary documentation.

                            7. Protecting economic competition by establishing a single approach to the calculation of fines by the Antimonopoly Committee, bill No. 2431. This bill establishes transparent, comprehensible, and predictable approaches to the calculation of fines by the Antimonopoly Committee for violations of economic competition; it also eliminates discrimination, protects businesses' interests, and increases Ukraine’s investment attractiveness. Ukraine is committed to implement these reforms through the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

                            8. Green-lighting long-awaited healthcare reform by providing a legal basis to create independent medical establishments, bill No. 2309-d. This bill provides for comprehensive healthcare reform by creating a network of autonomous state and municipal healthcare establishments. However, at the bill's first reading, an important provision was missing: a deadline for transition from the current state to independence. A deadline must be added before the bill’s second reading.

                            9. Introducing a defined contribution system of pension insurance, bill No. 4608. This bill creates a fair pension system by moving to a single principle of pension calculation. It improves the pay-as-you-go system by abolishing non-relevant payments; it also introduces a defined contribution system of pension insurance that will allow people to determine for themselves the level of their income after retirement, reduce the Pension Fund deficit financed from the state budget, and facilitate de-shadowing of citizens’ incomes.

                            10. Not allowing the president to usurp power regarding the selection and appointment of heads of local state administrations (LSA) by rejecting bill No. 4370-1. This bill changes the procedure for selecting candidates for LSA heads, which contradicts the constitution: it significantly downplays the role of the Cabinet of Ministers. The bill received a negative review by the Rada’s Scientific Experts Office, and was approved on July 7 with a gross procedural violation.

                            This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it includes important bills that should have been adopted ages ago. In addition, MPs should not only adopt reformist bills and provide for adequate state financing of newly established institutions like NABU, but should also prevent efforts to roll back reform achievements. The readiness of political elites from different parties to quit populism and start making real changes will be the best indicator of their political maturity.
                            The Top Ten Things Ukraine’s Parliament Needs to Do This Fall

                            æ, !

                            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                            • Ukraine issue at G20 Ukraine is not a member of G20. But in 2016, the Ukrainian issue is repeatedly being raised on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
                              UNIAN Iryna Shevchenko 06 September 2016

                              The meeting of leaders of the world’s top 20 economies, where G20 will discuss matters of building an innovative, healthy, coherent and inclusive global economy, opened in Sunday, September 4, in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

                              The annual G20 summit is traditionally devoted to the global economic challenges. But it is no secret that the heads of G20 states will also most certainly use this site to discuss geopolitical issues. In 2016, despite the fact that Ukraine is not part of G20, the “Ukraine issue” is being actively discussed at the summit.

                              Fake meeting
                              Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin back in late August has already said that, given that the G20 Summit is to deal with the issues of global and financial stability, and the "problem of the Russian aggression against Ukraine is a fundamental challenge to this stability," Ukraine, albeit not officially, will take its share of the summit’s agenda.

                              In turn, Russia has interpreted such an opportunity in its own way. Moscow claimed that the summit in China could bring closer the removal of anti-Russian sanctions and lead to concessions on Ukraine on part of the EU and U.S. leaders. As early as August 23, the Kremlin press service reported that disseminated information that, based on a telephone conversation between the Russian president, French president and German Chancellor, they intended to hold a joint meeting in Guangzhou to discuss the situation in Ukraine. On August 29, Putin’s spox Dmitry Peskov said there was no final confirmation that such meeting was scheduled. A few days later, Russian president’s aide Yuriy Ushakov said that there would actually be no meeting between the leaders of Germany, France and Russia in Normandy format [without Ukraine] on the summit’s sidelines. Moreover, according to him, it was Merkel and Hollande who offered to limit the meetings to a bilateral format.

                              "It is important that Merkel and Hollande did not fall for Putin's provocations and clearly stated that the Normandy format is a format of four, not three. Therefore, Putin will confront the Ukrainian question (the occupation of Crimea, not recognized globally, the issue of the occupied Donbas and implementation of Minsk agreements) at all bilateral meetings..."said first vice-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, an envoy to the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group Iryna Gerashchenko.

                              Professor of Political Science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, scientific director of Democratic Initiatives Foundation Oleksiy Haran’ reminds that, by refusing to meet in the Normandy format, the Russian president had wished to demonstrate that he could “discuss Ukraine issues without Ukraine." "Therefore, I believe it is very important that both Hollande and Merkel refused such a meeting," he said.

                              A Ukrainian diplomat, director of the department of international relations at Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation Oleksandr Khara shares this opinion. According to him, the Kremlin's statement that Ukraine’s fate will be decided in China without Ukraine should not have been taken seriously from the very beginning: the Russian media are anything but independent, while Putin's rhetoric is far from democratic. "For example, take a note of what Putin has been saying lately. He says that they [Russia] are so ‘great’ that they choose to only speak with the powers that be,” he said.

                              While Putin sees Ukraine as some under-state, the Kremlin’s pocket media could not cover the Ukrainian issue, which is actually being raised at the meetings in China, any other way than at an angle of the Ukrainian president not being invited to the dialogue.

                              However, he said, the Ukraine’s Western partners of Ukraine would have never allowed for the meeting in the Russia-announced format because their standing values and policies differ hugely from those of Vladimir Putin. Actually, this is why special attention should be paid to the bilateral meetings with the Russian leader.

                              U.S. and Russia
                              One of these extremely important meetings was one between Putin and his American counterpart, U.S. President Barack Obama. According to Dmitry Peskov, this meeting mainly covered the situation in Syria, but Ukraine was discussed as well. And, in general, the talks were "good", he said.

                              However, according to the Center for Civil Society Studies CEO Vitaly Kulik, the mere fact that the Obama-Putin meeting has taken place is already “good”, because the Russian leader is still a no-handshake man. "After talking to him, world leaders have to wash their hands with soap and work out new information messages reassuring that no one has given up on democratic interests," he said.

                              The political scientist believes that during Obama's meeting with Putin such topics were discussed as the treats of escalation in Donbas, the implementation of the Minsk agreements by Russia, as well as the situation in Syria, and deterring terrorism. Kulik is convinced that Obama has sent a clear signal to Putin indicating the strategic line of the State Department, which will not change even after a new president takes over the White House, whoever it may be.

                              "They talked about the impossibility of the further spread of Russian influence in Eastern Europe, the resolution of conflicts by peaceful means based on the Minsk agreements, the impossibility of removal of sanctions against Russia imposed because of Crimea," he suggests.

                              At the same time, according to Kulik, the Ukrainian issues are not a priority at the G20 Summit. Even the security issues were discussed on a global scale: first, the non-proliferation of terrorism, then the situation in Syria, and only after that - Ukraine.

                              Oleksiy Haran’ also believes that the Kremlin's statements about "a good meeting" should not be exaggerated. This is a traditional diplomatic phrase that means little.

                              According to him, the important thing now is that Ukraine managed not to weaken its position with regard to Russia. "Ukraine has not stepped back, neither in the issues of a so-called special status, nor in the matters of Donbas elections. The sanctions were extended," says Haran’.

                              It should be recalled that on September 1, the U.S. Treasury has put another 17 individuals and 20 companies into the sanctions lists drawn up in connection with the Crimea annexation and Russian aggression against Ukraine. In particular, those were the contractors of the construction of the Kerch bridge – the passage planned to connect mainland Russia with the occupied peninsula. Also there were officials and representatives of the law enforcement agencies in the temporarily occupied Crimea, and representatives of the Donbas militants.

                              U.S., EU and UK
                              By the way, Ukraine was also discussed in other formats on the sidelines of the summit. In particular, the issue was raised (but with no details available) during the meeting of Barack Obama with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. But, according to Haran’, given that both France and Germany have already started talking about the primacy of security issues, this might be related to the Ukrainian position.

                              In turn, Vitaly Kulik believes that this meeting could have on its agenda the issue of dynamics of the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Since the existing format of Minsk does not satisfy the parties, while the Normandy format is moving ahead too rough, it is possible that there is an ongoing search of the third format. "More information came in recently about the OSCE considering a military mission. This could also be the subject of talks at the G20 Summit," the expert said.

                              In addition, it is worth noting that, following a meeting between Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Theresa May, there came a statement that the U.S. and the UK will “continue to withstand Russian aggression in Ukraine.”

                              Returning to the subject of the implementation of the Minsk agreements, it was discussed during the bilateral meeting between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Moreover, journalists also took note of Putin's attempt to show signs of "courtesy", which failed to amuse Frau Merkel.

                              In fact, the president of the Russian Federation wondered whether the Chancellor was tired. In response, Merkel said that he shouldn’t be concerned. "I believe that the issues that we are to discuss are so important that it is good that we now have the possibility to have a possibility to discuss them in a bilateral way. For example, I am referring to Ukraine," she said.

                              In general, bilateral meetings are yet still to be thoroughly analyzed after the summit. But even at the moment, the experts say that several conclusions can be drawn. For example, despite the overall cool regarding the Russian president, the meetings he has held on the sidelines of the summit suggest that Vladimir Putin managed to re-emerge from diplomatic isolation. However, he has failed to undermine the Normandy format and negotiate bypassing Ukraine. Ukraine issue at G20 - news about politics | unian | UNIAN

                              æ, !

                              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                              • UT UKRAINE TODAY Sep. 6, 2016
                                Essential victory of Ukrainians at the Chess Olympiad in Azerbaijan

                                The final to be played on September 13

                                Ukraine's male chess team won a victory over the Russians getting closer to the medal stand. Ukraine, China, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Belarus, and India are currently leading. Out of four competitions, Ukrainian grand masters won two. One was a stand-off and another was lost. The final eleventh round of the completions will take place next week.

                                Ukraine's female team is also showing great results. Having defeated the French team, being amongst the four leaders in the standings.

                                The Ukrainian male team became the winner of the Chess Olympics twice: in 2004 and 2010; the female team - in 2006. Victory over Russians: Essential victory of Ukrainians at the Chess Olympiad in Azerbaijan

                                æ, !

                                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp