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  • Ukrainian troops in Donbas attacked almost 50 times in last day Russia's hybrid military forces in Donbas attacked Ukrainian positions 48 times in the last day, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) headquarters.
    UNIAN 09 Oct 2016

    The hottest spot was the Mariupol sector, where 27 attacks were recorded, which was the highest number since August. The adversary repeatedly used 82mm and 120mm mortars, small arms and infantry fighting vehicles to attack the village of Shyrokyne, which is about 24 km from the Ukrainian-controlled strategic port city of Mariupol. Banned 122mm artillery systems were used to shell the village of Vodiane, while grenade launchers, machine guns, and small arms were used to attack the town of Maryinka and the villages of Pavlopil and Starohnativka. The three latter populated localities also came under sniper fire.

    The ceasefire in the Luhansk sector was violated 16 times, the ATO HQ said. The adversary used heavy weapons, which are banned under the Minsk peace agreements on Donbas. In particular, 122mm and 152mm artillery systems and 120mm mortars were used to attack Ukrainian troops near the village of Novozvanivka. The village of Novo-Oleksandrivka came under 82mm mortar fire. Grenade launchers and small arms were used to attack Ukrainian troops stationed near the village of Krymske.

    However, there were only five attacks in the Donetsk sector. In particular, the truce was violated in the town of Kamianka, Novhorodske and Troyitske, and the town of Avdiyivka. Infantry fighting vehicles, 82mm mortars, machine guns, grenade launchers of various systems and small arms were used to shell Ukrainian troops there.

    Ukrainian troops in Donbas attacked almost 50 times in last day

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • Russian troll farms behind campaign to topple Ukraine’s government
      EUROMAIDAN PRESS Alya Shandra 2016/10/08

      Over 2,000 social media profiles, directed from Moscow, were orchestrating a “third Maidan” campaign in Ukrainian social media. The internet portal investigated the origins of the social media frenzy urging to topple the government over 8 months and uncovered a network of trolls coordinated by a former “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”) militant now leading special operations in Moscow.

      “Stepan Mazura” and his “Third Maidan”

      It was in February 2016 when Sergei Zhuk, a “DNR” militant posing under the nickname “Stepan Mazura,” was brought to light in an investigation by UKRINFORM. Under the guise of a Ukrainian patriot, this native of Donbas better known by his nom de guerre Moskva in the circles of the militants of the Russian-backed “DNR,” was managing several facebook and Vkontakte groups in order to heat up Ukrainian society with an evil fire. The ultimate goal was to stage a “Third Maidan” that would bring people out into the streets, in order to bring to power a new “proper government” which would never again allow another Maidan to take place.

      Authentic critical articles from Ukrainian sources were interspersed with fake reports. There were manipulative surveys on the theme of “removing [Ukrainian President] Poroshenko” with predictions by fake experts on the forthcoming total failure or even collapse of Ukraine. All the materials fit into either of two topics: “bad Ukrainian government” and “all to Maidan,” and were concocted to appeal to patriots disappointed with Ukrainian politicians, urging them towards an armed rebellion.

      But the sheer quantity of material was impossible for one person to write. Moreover, the so-called Ukrainian patriot’s IP was based in Moscow. Finally, Zhuk’s friends filled in the gaps: “Stepan Mazura” had moved up the career ladder to Moscow in 2015, leading a special operation against Ukraine.

      After Mazura and his virtual “Third Maidan” were uncovered, his social media accounts were deleted. However, a certain “Mykola Haiduk” suddenly took over the admin functions of the groups that “Stepan Mazura” once directed, continuing the fight for toppling the Ukrainian government with the help of an army of trolls. What follows is an abridged and adapted translation of Texty‘s investigation.

      The “Third Maidan” – an idea born right out of the second one
      The concept of the “Third Maidan” isn’t new. Voting falsifications which brought a fraudulent presidential victory to Viktor Yanukovych in 2004 brought people out to the first Maidan, known as the Orange revolution. The second Maidan – Euromaidan protests – removed the same Yanukovych from power in 2014. Right after it, political analysts started warning that, apart from a military invasion of Ukraine’s eastern regions, Russian president Vladimir Putin will be aiming to incite a revolt against the new government elected in Ukraine after the Euromaidan revolution.

      What better way to carry this out than creating a false-flag organization which your enemies would enter. In 1921-1926, the State Political Directorate of the Soviet Union ran “Operation Trust,” a counterintelligence operation during which a fake anti-Bolshevist resistance organization “Monarchist Union of Central Russia” kept all the enemies of the regime under close surveillance and ultimately neutralized them.

      These activities are being employed also today. According to the data of the Ukrainian special services, around 300 specialists in Moscow are tasked with recruiting and managing agents in Ukraine. But working on the internet is much easier – one can hide behind the anonymity of an internet profile.

      “An element in the Soviet (and now Russian) toolkit is “active measures”—direct intervention by clandestine means in the politics of another country. Active measures may entail the following:

      1. Influencing the policies of another government;
      2. Undermining confidence in its leaders and institutions;
      3. Disrupting its relations with other nations;
      4. Discrediting and weakening governmental and nongovernmental opponents,”

      Edward Lucas and Peter Pomerantsev explain in the report “Winning the Information war.”

      In the “Third Maidan” social media groups, Russian political technologists regularly promoted the idea of an armed uprising against the current government to Ukrainians who cared the most about the situation in the country.

      How does this work?
      Texty journalists analyzed 29 social media groups, whose administrators or active users are connected to “Stepan Mazura” or the communities he managed. Professional trolls stand behind a part of these accounts, and a part is regular people who became facebook friends with trolls from the group. The result is a network of 2,000 social network users.
      The troll network. Snapshot from

      “There can be many networks like this,” Texty editor-in-chief Roman Kulchytskyi told RFERL. “Anybody with enough resources can hire the relevant specialists, can create a network of bots. We uncovered one of the Russian networks, but there can be many of them.”

      A troll, or account of a live person or a robot that is used for political propaganda, creates automatic friend requests. With each new “friend,” the troll grows in size. Its social network “weight” increases if it befriends a popular blogger.

      A troll program can exchange sweet nothings or likes with a similar program. These acts also increase their “weight.” But when the time comes, when some topic needs to be promoted, the troll accounts start to be managed by a real person.

      Also, real people, often acting under pseudonyms, moderate groups with large concentrations of trolls. These were also included in the “troll network.”

      When the time comes and the managers of this troll farm want to promote some message, one of the trolls make a post. A huge amount of others start liking, commenting, and sharing it. The facebook algorithm identifies this as real people being interested in the post, and it surfaces in the facebook feeds of NOT-trolls who once accepted the troll’s friend request.

      If the post is successful, ordinary people start sharing it, and eventually the journalists catch up. If a person has too many friends spreading troll content, which focuses on emotions and conspiracy theories, then the impression is made that the only way to escape the seemingly hopeless situation is to resort to violence. The troll accounts bluntly suggest ousting Ukraine’s current President Poroshenko, like the previous one.

      The style of Russian trolls in Ukraine
      There were trolls who specialized on posts (the most active ones made 300-600 posts over two months), changed their names often, but were possible to trace because of the immutable facebook ID assigned to each user.

      Another category of trolls left prolific comments under the posts – up to 720 per two months. Often, the comments were copy-pasted to save efforts. Here is an example of one by “Dmytro Zvolinskyi” that was copy-pasted 130 times, featuring names of Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians, among them the current President Poroshenko:

      “Dictator Medvedchuk.KuchmaAkhmetovPinchuk”: “DICTATORSHIP HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED.” Each traitor WILL ANSWER for his crimes. Kuchma, Medvedchuk, Pinchuk, Akhmetov, Yushchenko, Yanukovych, POROSHENKO are INTERNATIONAL criminals who DESTROY Ukrainians. Such a pity that there are little free people – most are SLAVES.”

      He actively promotes “10 steps on the way to dignity,” the main goal of which is to gather people on Maidan without politicians, impeach the President and demand unspecified “changes.” Hysterical appeals to castrate “the criminal GROUP ‘Presidential Administration'” and “Poroshenko and Putin Bloc” have little to do with reason. But after all, we’re living in a post-factual world where it’s most important to achieve an emotional resonance with your target audience.

      Archetypes of the “Galaxy of trolls”
      The typical troll falls into one of four main types, which in the opinion of Texty are universal images firmly embedded into national memory, the ones Carl Jung called archetypes.

      1. The revolutionary radical, a propagandist of violence, national revolution against the internal occupation and harbinger of death to Yatsenyuk, Groysman, Putin, Poroshenko, Jews, gays, government officials etc. His leitmotif: “We’ll destroy the government, kill all the bad guys, and then finally live the good life. These militant trolls often display sympathies for ultra-right political movements and imitate the cult of Stepan Bandera.

      2. The political commentator, who focuses more on the current political events than appeals to a revolution. This trolls specializes on derogatory images of politicians or officials.

      The general tone of their messages is nearly identical to the revolutionary radical, but there’s more political dirt.

      3. Ukrainians on display. Pensive girls in traditional flower crowns, dresses in the color of the Ukrainian flag. This image carries an element of suffering straight out of Shevchenko’s novels. However, the content doesn’t differ much: the same hyperlinks to questionable sites, discreditation of the authorities, examples of injustice, and solid proof that all is lost.

      4. Carnivores. Not cats! This is a rare type of trolls: they have many friends and connections in the network, often are group administrators, but they seldom make posts.

      Links leading to questionable sites
      Most of the trolls’ posts are hyperlinks, not original materials. They lead to sites of questionable quality which intersperse real news with manipulations and fakes.

      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


      • Trolls Part 2

        Who is a real user? Who is a troll?
        Texty provided some indicators pointing to a high likelihood of troll-ness:

        1. No photos or information about the person, the page has little personal posts, mostly – reposts about “enemies,” “traitors,” or “white noise” posts – about methods to lose weight or tie a tie, all without personal comments and impressions. Often, a troll is 80% program which can post such meaningless content. Sometimes the troll is tagged in a photo with a real person.
        2. Either too little or too many friends (either the same trolls as themselves or popular users, including Ukrainian politicians).

        Real people ended up in Texty‘s investigation – because they became friends with a troll, were added to a group, or because they believed in the troll’s activities. In this case, the manipulations of the Kremlin brought fruit.

        “Sowing mistrust ” – a classic strategy

        The propaganda that the Kremlin produces for Russians doesn’t really work in influencing the majority of Ukrainians: they don’t believe in tales about the world planning an attack against Russia, and clearly see Russian aggression against Ukraine.

        But we should remember that war propaganda has different audiences. Its goal is to boost the morale of your own team and demoralize your opponent. In the Ukrainian case, this means discrediting the authorities and state institutions. After all, why should ordinary Ukrainians “go fight for the oligarchs?”

        “Sowing mistrust between the elite and masses” is one of the methods of winning over an enemy state known from times of ancient China.

        Ukrainian patriots and volunteers, or more specifically, their virtual dummies, are ideal vehicles for spreading sentiments of “betrayal” and calling for a new revolution. For the Kremlin, it makes no difference that the “revolutionaries” vilify Putin and Russia on their facebook profiles – after all, it’s the result that matters, Texty stresses.

        The content of the facebook groups and profiles that Texty uncovered are filled with hatred and contempt for Ukrainian authorities and politicians. Parallels are made between Putin and Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk-Groysman. The name of the Ukrainian President or Prime Minister doesn’t matter – even when they change, they won’t stop getting battered by the trolls, and the arguments will remain identical.

        Pseudopatriotic trolls are much more dangerous than vulgar missionaries of the Russian world, Texty warns. Ukraine has a drastically low level of trust in public institutions and law enforcement structures – volunteers, the Church, and the Army is trusted the most. This is used by the enemy.

        The solution?
        Texty warns: don’t give into emotions. Don’t share hysterical posts, don’t become friends with trolls. To improve the quality of governance in Ukraine, one should look for the reasons of problems, change each given situation, provide grounded criticism, but not discredit even further. If there is no trust in state authorities, there is no fundamental order, and chaos erupts.
        Russian troll farms behind campaign to topple Ukraine's government | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • 11:48 10.10.2016 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
          Netherlands museum receives 5 paintings from Ukraine stolen 11 years ago

          Five paintings stolen 11 years ago have been returned to the Westfries Museum in the Netherlands. The paintings have been severely damaged, Deutsche Welle has reported, citing the director of the museum, Ad Geerdink.

          "Our inheritance has returned to the museum, where it should be, to the city, where it should be," Geerdink said, speaking to several hundred visitors to the museum on Friday.

          She said that the paintings were "unbelievably damaged" and the museum is collecting funds to restore the works.

          As earlier reported, in December 2015 a representative of the museum said that a collection of 24 paintings stolen in 2005 had been found in Ukraine.

          In April 2016 agents from Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) together with Dutch police found four of the paintings stolen from the museum.

          Ukraine turned over the five paintings in September 2016. The painters and titles are: Jacob Waben, Vrouw Wereld (Lady World), 1622 and Terugkeer van Jefta (The Return of Jephta), 1625; Floris van Schooten, Keukenstuk (Kitchen Scene), 17th century; Hendrick Boogaert, Boerenbruiloft (A Peasant Wedding), 1671-1675 and Izaak Ouwater, Nieuwstraat in Hoorn, 1784.

          It's still not clear where the other paintings are and how long it will take to recover them. Netherlands museum receives 5 paintings from Ukraine stolen 11 years ago

          æ, !

          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


          • France to call for Russia to face war crimes investigation over actions in Syria - French foreign minister will ask International Court of Justice to intervene following Russian veto of UN draft resolution to reinstate a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict
            INDEPENDENT Samuel Osborne, Bethan McKern 10/10/2016

            "We do not agree with what Russia is doing, bombarding Aleppo. France is committed as never before to saving the population of Aleppo," Jean-Marc Ayrault said.

            France and Spain drafted a resolution on resurrecting an agreement on cessation of hostilities in the Syrian conflict which was put before a vote at the UN Security Council on Friday.

            On Saturday, Russia vetoed the resolution, which called for an end to all air strikes except those against Isis and al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists - the fifth time the country has used its veto to block UN action in the almost six-year-long civil war.

            Russia's own rival measure on a truce which called for a ceasefire but did not mention airstrikes was also rejected.

            France has previously appealed to Russia to save rebel-held east Aleppo from total destruction. The besiged area, home to 250,000 people, has been subjected to unprecedented Russian-backed shelling by President Bashar al-Assad's forces since the breakdown of a US-Russian brokered ceasefire last month.

            The bombing has killed at least 338 people, the World Heath Organisation says, in what has been one of the bloodiest offensives in the war to date.

            Several countries - including France, the US, and the UK - have said that the alleged indiscrimate strikes on civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, medical centres, water stations and bakeries amount to war crimes.

            Both Damascus and Moscow maintain that air strikes target terrorists, and both US-backed and al-Qaeda linked rebels inside the city use civilians as human shields.

            A Kremlin spokesperson said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin still plans to visit France as scheduled later this month, despite developments at the UN and comments from French President Francois Hollande about being unsure whether to receive him.

            "Preparation for Putin's upcoming visit to Paris continues," Mr Peskov told journalists.

            The French president condemned Russia's "unacceptable" support for Syrian air strikes in a French TV interview aired on Sunday, adding that he was unsure whether to meet with Mr Putin as planned during his visit to Paris on October 19.

            Mr Ayrault said that Mr Hollande will take the current situation in Aleppo into account. "If the president decides [to see Putin], this will not be to trade pleasantries," he told French radio on Monday.

            France's national prosecutor's office announced it was launching an investigatiion into alleged crimes against humanity by the Assad regime last September. The same month, Moscow's parliament approved military intervention in the Syrian conflict to help its ally against Isis.
            France to call for Russia to face war crimes investigation over actions in Syria | The Independent

            æ, !

            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


            • 11:18 10.10.2016 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
              Another scuffle on Kulikovo Pole in Odesa between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian activists

              A minor scuffle took place on the Kulikovo Pole in Odesa on Sunday between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian activists.

              Both sides published the video of their scuffle. According to them, in the course of a verbal duel, an activist from the Right Sector organization tried to take away Odesa flag from one of his ideological opponents. However, the police almost immediately brought the confrontation to stop.

              Leader of the Odesa Right Sector Serhiy Sternenko said on his Facebook page that one of the activists of his organization had been detained.

              Law enforcement agencies said no one was hurt as a result of the incident.
              Another scuffle on Kulikovo Pole in Odesa between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian activists

              æ, !

              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


              • Week in numbers Nine members of the UN Security Council voted against the Russian resolution on Syria; 53 people died in Ukraine from the use of surrogate alcohol; $700,000 of debt of the occupied Luhansk for water and electricity will be compensated for by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
                UNIAN Margarita Andreyeva 11:00, 10 October 2016

                Nine countries, including Ukraine, voted against the resolution on Syria proposed by Russia in the UN Security Council, according to Ukraine’s mission to the UN. Ahead of the vote, the UNSC members decided on the fate of the French-proposed draft resolution on the matter. Although 11 of the 15 council members supported the draft, Russia exercised its veto power, blocking the adoption.

                $25 trillion owned by private companies from around the world may be stocked in offshore jurisdictions, according to the UN News Center, citing the organization’s experts.

                28% of the territories slipped out of the Islamic State’s control in Iraq and Syria, foreign media reported. Since the beginning of this year, the area of ISIS authority has shrunk from 78,000 to 65,000 square kilometers. Now it is approximately equal to the territory of Sri Lanka.

                51.63% was the turnout at the parliamentary elections in Georgia, according to the Central Election Commission of Georgia. Local media report the Georgian Dream is gaining 53.8%, while the United National Movement enjoys 19,5% of the vote, according to the exit poll by TNS.

                53 people died in Ukraine from consuming surrogate alcohol, according to the State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection. A total of 106 cases of poisoning were registered.

                60% of the healthcare budget goes to salaries. Physicians get an approximate UAH 1,500-2,000 a month, said Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine Pavlo Kovtonyuk.

                90% of public procurement transactions in Prozorro e-procurement system are sub-threshold (up to UAH 200,000 for goods and services and up to UAH 1.5 million for the work), although the law on public procurement does not oblige them to be done through the electronic system, according to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

                173 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the ATO zone in Donbas since the beginning of 2016, said the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak.

                376 nominees were named for the Nobel Peace Prize, according to Ukrainian media. Among the nominees were the diplomats who led negotiations on the nuclear deal with Iran, the Russian defender of the rights of migrants, yazidi women who had been slaves of the Islamic state.

                400 malicious apps were revealed in Google Play by the analysts of TrendLabs, foreign media reported.

                500 km of roads will have been repaired by Ukravtodor by the beginning of the winter season, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure. In addition, Ukravtodor pledges to eliminate some 1 million square meters of deformations and potholes.

                938 officials in Ukraine have been removed from their posts, in line with the law on purging the authorities, according to the Ministry of Justice.

                938 officials in Ukraine have been removed from their posts, in line with the law on purging the authorities, according to the Ministry of Justice.

                6,457 natural disasters that killed 600,000 people were recorded around the world over the past 20 years, according to a UN annual review on climate change and social inequality.

                10,000 people were evacuated in Thailand due to flooding - daily downpours upped the level of the River Chao Phraya by 2 meters, foreign media reported.
                30,520 Hasidim pilgrims from 21 countries celebrated the 5,777th Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, in Ukraine’s Uman, as reported by Cherkasy regional authorities.

                109,000 NCOs and enlisted troops, as well as 47,500 officers, are now serving in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the contract basis, according to the Ministry of Defense.

                A $600,000 bail was paid to release former head of the State Agency for Investment and National Projects of Ukraine Vladyslav Kaskiv from behind bars in Panama after he was arrested on an international warrant, according to the PGO.

                A $700,000 debt of the occupied areas of Luhansk region for water and electricity will be paid for by the ICRC, said OSCE special envoy to the Trilateral contact group Martin Sajdik.

                $6.6 million in aid will be given by Canada to the Ukrainian police, as reported by the press service of Ukraine’s National Police.

                RUB 15 million (nearly UAH 6 million) was paid by the masterminds of the murder of Russian opposition’s Boris Nemtsov, the prosecutor said in a court hearing, according to the Russian media.

                385 million children around the world live in extreme poverty, says the report by UNICEF, based on the analysis of 2013 data.

                $5.4 billion can be allocated to Ukraine in 2017 by its key creditor, the International Monetary Fund, according to the Fund’s special report on Ukraine.
                Week in numbers - news about politics | unian | UNIAN

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                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                • Oct. 10, 2016
                  What scared Ukraine's ‘sex tourists' away - Politico

                  Sexpats' disappearance is symptom of perceptions of war and chaos, and not universally welcome

                  In 2012, Ukraine briefly became gripped by hysteria over "sex tourism." The country was preparing to host tens of thousands of football fans for the Euro championships, leading many to predict a sharp rise in prostitution. The high-profile sporting event would "promote sex tourism in Ukraine, and demean women here even more," Anna Gutsol, the founder of the radical feminist group FEMEN, said at the time, as she led a group of topless activists in protest in Kiev. "In Europe, Ukrainian women have the unfortunate reputation as beautiful, cheap sex dolls," she said. "And when the fans get here that image will only be reinforced."

                  When carousing the bars during those impassioned times, women often asked me point-blank whether I was a "sex tourist." Expat friends refrained from wearing bright clothes or strong cologne for fear it would mark them out as predators. It didn't help our cause that the cafés in downtown Kiev were packed with ageing Western men on "dates" with their potential Ukrainian brides. At the height of the hysteria, roving gangs of vigilantes even beat up foreigners who ordered prostitutes, and posted the videos online.

                  Fast-forward four years and the pejorative term "sex tourist" has gone out of vogue. Wracked by a fierce economic downturn and a slow-burning war with Russia in the East, Ukrainians have bigger things to worry about than priapic male tourists.

                  "Sex tourism is no longer an issue as it was four years ago," said Volodomyr Paniotto, director at the Kiev International Institute of Sociology. "We're now much more concerned about homophobia, which is hampering our efforts to join the international community."

                  Though Ukraine has become a lot cheaper in dollars after the currency collapsed in the wake of the 2014 Maidan Revolution, and its major cities are as safe as their counterparts in the West, fear has kept the sex tourists at bay.

                  Online forums are chock full of posts warning punters to stay away from Ukraine. One post claimed visitors would be "kidnapped by separatists and tortured, or ambushed by right-wing thugs." : What scared Ukraine's ‘sex tourists' away - Politico

                  æ, !

                  Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                  • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Victoria Khaladzhy October 10, 2016
                    How Ukraine Can Make Its Diplomacy Smarter

                    A woman appears in a vyshyvanka, a traditional embroidered shirt, as part of Ukraine’s #myukraineis project. Courtesy screenshot: StratComUA

                    Public diplomacy has been singled out as a far-reaching mechanism for promoting Ukraine’s interests in the world. Diplomats have taken first steps in utilizing instruments from the country’s existing foreign policy tools. These include increasing person-to-person engagement, promoting economic interactions, intensifying exchange programs, and upgrading cultural centers abroad.

                    Like other governments, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has presented diplomats’ work in English, Ukrainian, and Russian on a variety of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, VKontakte). Online communication with citizens turns out to be an effective way to win over the minds of those who show little interest in politics.

                    But there is much more going on than just social media efforts. Through the arts, the world has been able to look at Ukraine from another perspective. Among some of the powerful projects are the exhibition “Through Maidan and Beyond,” the films “Haytarma,” about the 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatars, and “Gamer,” which was shot by the illegally detained Ukrainian producer Oleg Sentsov.

                    The MFA’s cooperation with StratCom Ukraine on the #myukraineis project resulted in an international online campaign that popularized Ukraine in a very smart way. The MFA also launched three successful campaigns on Twitter, including #CrimeaIsUkraine, #LetMyPeopleGo, and #UnitedforUkraine, that went viral.

                    What is difficult, however, is mixing different approaches and tools to meet the challenges Ukraine is currently facing: war, human rights violations in the occupied territories, and a struggling economy, among others. Foreign policy actors’ main goal is to transmit the right signals both internally and externally, while still telling the truth.

                    What does Ukraine mean to Europe today? Citizens of different nations should understand Ukraine’s steps (sometimes stumbling, but still moving forward) toward the European Union, and its successes in reforming the state in compliance with EU standards. Since the Euromaidan, the international community has become genuinely interested in learning more about Ukraine’s past and present, and this is a big opportunity for us to tell Ukraine’s story in new and interesting ways.

                    Diplomats should respond by providing more information about Ukraine through open discussions, book presentations, music concerts, fashion shows, sports promotion, and food markets. They should present the Ukrainian lifestyle abroad to ordinary people who are not interested in the official position of the state but in the country as it is.

                    Numerous Ukrainian diaspora and local civil society groups have been mobilized in capitals all over the world and serve as the people’s cultural diplomats. Their contribution has been priceless. In particular, the work of Ukraine’s diaspora has been united under the umbrella of the new civic network Global Ukraine. It does a great job of consolidating Ukrainian expat leaders to promote their country's interests, and has huge potential; diplomatic missions should coordinate closely with Global Ukraine and engage it more efficiently.

                    Cultural diplomacy, through artists, can also transmit the right image of Ukraine and win the hearts and minds of ordinary people when politicians are unable to do so. An example of successful cultural diplomacy was the victory of the singer Jamala at the 2016 Eurovision contest. With her professionalism, personal story, and patriotism, she succeeded where diplomats have struggled: she united Europe in its support of Ukraine and Crimean Tatars, and reminded global audiences that Crimea is Ukraine.

                    Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision 2017. The country should not lose this positive drive. It must aim for an event that unites people and proves once again that Ukraine is changing and wants to fully join Europe.

                    In April 2016, the MFA and the Kennan Institute’s Kyiv office held a cultural diplomacy forum, where speakers concluded that the efforts of civil society and "people’s diplomacy" remain major driving forces in the country’s public diplomacy efforts. Unfortunately, government structures responsible for developing Ukraine’s cultural brand are still not properly financed or coordinated. Indeed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ cultural diplomacy team remains understaffed. The team recently brought on a native English speaker through the Fulbright program, and when Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin met with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in September, the British Foreign Office promised to send an “in-house” adviser on public diplomacy to the MFA. Even still, more staff are needed.

                    For the future, the government needs to draft a mid- and long-term national action plan for smart diplomacy that outlines benchmarks and explains the responsibilities of every governmental unit; it should also include stronger NGO involvement.

                    We are simultaneously witnessing and taking part in the creation of a new type of diplomacy in Ukraine. If it succeeds, it will give impetus to reforming the whole system.
                    How Ukraine Can Make Its Diplomacy Smarter

                    æ, !

                    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                    • REUTERS Oct 11, 2016 | 11:27am EDT
                      British lawmaker likens Russia's behavior in Syria to that of Nazis

                      A senior British lawmaker has accused Russia of targeting civilians in Syria in the same way the Nazis behaved at Guernica during the Spanish civil war of the 1930s.

                      Andrew Mitchell, a lawmaker in Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservatives and a former Secretary of State for International Development, said an attack last month on a United Nations relief convoy near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was a war crime committed by Russian forces.

                      Some 20 people were killed in the attack on the U.N. and Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy and the United States blamed two Russian warplanes which it said were in the skies above the area at the time of the incident.

                      Moscow rejects the accusations saying it only targets militants and accuses the West of being responsible for the crisis in Syria.

                      "When it comes to incendiary weapons and munitions such as bunker-buster bombs and cluster bombs, the U.N. makes it clear that the systematic use of such indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas amounts to a war crime," Mitchell told parliament late on Monday.

                      "We are witnessing events that match the behavior of the Nazi regime in Guernica in Spain," he said referring to the destruction of the Spanish town in 1937 by German aircraft from Adolf Hitler's Luftwaffe. The bombing of the historic city became the subject of a famous painting by artist Pablo Picasso.

                      "Who's this politician?" Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asked reporters when told about Mitchell's comment. "Unfortunately I don't know him, who is he? I would not comment in any way. To my shame, I don't know him."

                      The British parliament is due to hold a three-hour debate on Tuesday about the humanitarian situation in Syria. British lawmaker likens Russia's behavior in Syria to that of Nazis | Reuters

                      æ, !

                      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                      • European human rights chief cancels Russia visit, citing "unacceptable restrictions" to program
                        UNIAN 11 Oct 2016

                        Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has announced that this visit to Russia will not take place because of the unacceptable restrictions that the Russian authorities wanted to impose on his program. World 14:20, 11 October 2016 54 READ LATER "A key element of my work is that I treat all countries by the same standards. Accepting the special conditions requested by the Russian authorities would have been unjust as a matter of principle and ineffective for the protection of human rights in the Russian Federation," Muiznieks said in a statement.

                        "In particular, the proposed restriction of the visit to approximately 48 hours in Moscow alone, with only one full working day, would have not allowed sufficient time to carry out a substantive country visit as I do in all Council of Europe member states, where I meet the authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society, and other relevant interlocutors, and I visit places of human rights relevance including outside the capital," the official said.

                        The commissioner stressed that, according to the institutional provisions of his mandate, member states "shall facilitate the independent and effective performance of my functions, including facilitating my contacts and providing information as requested in good time".

                        Muiznieks told Russian authorities that "it is deeply disturbing and highly regrettable that these requirements are not fulfilled by the authorities of the Russian Federation today".

                        European human rights chief cancels Russia visit, citing "unacceptable restrictions" to program

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                        • Visa rumble
                          UNIAN Roman Tsymbaliuk 11 Oct 2016

                          Ukraine is a unique country. We can swing any topic around, whether it is a question of foreign policy or that of national security. Smart people, and not so smart ones, can remain very focused, debating in political talk shows, denouncing some sort of treason and praising success on air. Moreover, it is often not that clear who is a real "patriot", and who is a "Kremlin agent".

                          Recently, the issue of the introduction of visas for Russian citizens was thrown into the Ukrainian political discourse once again. The reason for this was the arrest in Moscow of Ukrinform journalist Roman Sushchenko. During the heated debate, they even began to shift accents from the very essence of the matter, forgetting about working out concrete steps for the release of the journalist.

                          The arguments are many, and they all have the right to life. Someone scream that the state of Ukraine has no money for the organization of the necessary infrastructure and expansion of its consulates. Moreover, they keep silent about the fact that the issuance of visas is, in fact, a very profitable business for any country. The Ukrainian visa costs up to $85, and if it comes to multiple entry visas, their cost may be as high as $200! Indeed, the Consular Section at the Embassy of Ukraine in Moscow every month sends hundreds of thousands of dollars to the budget of Ukraine in visa fees and payment of consular services. During business hours, there is always a queue at the entrance to the Consulate of Ukraine. And, if visas for Russians are introduced, the revenue will increase several times, and this will require more personnel, searching for a new office and solving plenty of other organizational issues. Preliminary calculations (however, no one knows who made them anyway) say that the investment will exceed possible financial gain.

                          Some particularly patriotic Ukrainian politicians are worried about the citizens of Russia, who will experience more problems coming to Ukraine to visit their relatives. At the same time, some say that all Russians, including senior citizens, are potential terrorists and militants. Some say that such a step is long overdue and it had to be taken two years ago. Perhaps, it’s to deny visas to the Russian tank crews who have gone on vacation, going to seize the Ukrainian city of Debaltseve. Right, this would certainly stop this type of “guests”…

                          Traditionally, statements coming from the executive branch are more pragmatic. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is trying to analyze and assess the consequences of what would happen if the mirror measures are introduced by the Russian Federation. Some say that millions of citizens of Ukraine would immediately be offered Russian citizenship and, thus, the country will lose a significant amount of its workforce for good. At the same time, no one really names the number of Ukrainian citizens staying in the territory of the Russian Federation. It's really quite difficult to do, taking into account the occupation of the once densely populated areas of Donbas and Crimea.

                          Before the war, according to the data by the already disbanded Federal Migration Service of Russia, about a half million Ukrainians resided on the territory of Russia. Not all of them were seasonal workers. In the midst of the fighting in Donbas, the Russian side declared there were about 2.5 million Ukrainians in Russia, of whom a million were refugees. Part of that million definitively settled in Russia, having obtained or being in the process of obtaining a Russian passport, while some returned home because of the "cordial" reception.

                          By the way, no one is sure that the Kremlin will go for the mirror response, in an attempt to prove it has nothing to do with the war in Donbas. In fact, after the outbreak of hostilities, the Russian citizens can legally enter Ukraine exclusively with a passport for foreign travels, while citizens of Ukraine still enjoy an opportunity to cross the border with Russia using regular passports, for "humanitarian reasons".

                          It was Ukraine who tightened the rules, but no response followed. So they might as well not follow in case visas are introduced. Russian leaders often like to claim they "love" the citizens of Ukraine and the visa issue can help them confirm this point it without any cost.

                          Visas will never be a better thing for regular citizens, because freedom of movement is one of the main values. It's great when the holder of the passport with the trident on the cover can travel freely both to the West and the East. Every Ukrainian citizen should be able to decide themselves whether to go to Russia or not, in view of the existing risks. And the war.

                          In the matter of the introduction of visas with Russia, there can be no unambiguous cons and pros, but it is unlikely to somehow affect the security, when 400 kilometers of common border are controlled exclusively by Russia. Especially, the Ukrainian authorities have all the necessary tools to limit the right of entry for foreign nationals anyway. Unless they cross the border as part of military units, of course. Then it would be rather problematic to verify their passports.

                          Visas will never be a better thing for regular citizens, because freedom of movement is one of the main values.

                          The introduction of visas is solely a political move, and it can be taken at the level of the president and government. This issue should have no place in the Verkhovna Rada. And, if it started to be discussed in Parliament, it very much looks like a desire to talk the talk and distract the audience from what is really important.

                          And this new "status quo" after the occupation of Crimea and Donbas has already led to the fact that Ukraine and Russia are going in totally opposite directions, and the situation won’t change anytime soon.
                          Visa rumble - news about politics | unian | UNIAN

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                          • No visa waver for Ukrainians on European Parliament's October agenda European Union visa-free travel for Ukraine has not been incorporated into the agenda of the European Parliament's session in Strasbourg on October 24-27.
                            UNIAN 11 Oct 2016

                            Neither visa liberalization for Ukraine or Georgia nor visa waiver suspension mechanism has been incorporated on the EP agenda, which was posted on its official website.

                            The mechanism is said to be a major obstacle to EU visa liberalization with Ukraine and Georgia.

                            As UNIAN reported earlier, the European Commission on April 20 proposed the European Parliament and the Council of Europe to abolish visas for Ukrainian citizens. This proposal was the result of a positive assessment by the European Commission given last December confirming the fact that Ukraine had successfully fulfilled all criteria under the Visa Liberalization Action Plan.

                            On May 20, the EU ministers of interior affairs agreed their position regarding the so-called visa waiver suspension mechanism for third countries. Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere announced then that "no new decision on visa liberalization" would be taken before the approval of the mechanism.

                            The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on September 26 approved a report on visa-free travel for Ukraine and provided a mandate for the launch of talks between the EU's institutions.

                            Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has recently said that he expects that the European Union will pass a positive decision regarding the introduction of a visa-free regime with Ukraine in October-November.

                            No visa waver for Ukrainians on European Parliament's October agenda

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                            • Ukrainian diaspora in Slovakia draws attention to activity of anti-Ukrainian forces Slovakia-based diaspora of Ukrainians has published an open letter to the Embassy of Ukraine in the Slovak Republic with a request to explain the lack of response by Ukrainian diplomats on the presence of the Honorary Consulate of Novorossiya in a neighboring country, and the action of reverence for the heroes of Novorossiya that was organized by the pro-Kremlin bikers "Night Wolves" ahead of the Victory Day.
                              UNIAN 11 Oct 2016

                              The letter was published on the official website of the Charity Fund "Ukraine-Slovakia-SOS."

                              Among other problems, the volunteers indicate the lack of reaction by the Ukrainian diplomatic corps on the anti-Ukrainian forces activity in the Slovak Republic.

                              "On May 8, 2016, we saw how the official delegation of Ukrainian diplomats passed by the Memorial Cross (established by the Ukrainian delegation at the mass grave of soldiers killed during the liberation of Bratislava from the Nazis) and put a wreath in the colors of Ukrainian national flag to the Soviet stele with a portrait of "Motorola" and the inscription of the "heroes of Novorossiya" under the portrait which was left by the Night Wolves on the eve of the event. They laid a wreath at the portrait of "Motorola" and went away. No one showed outrage or removed that shame that had been laid on the bones of our ancestors," the letter says.

                              The letter notes that the so-called "Honorary Consulate of Novorossiya" has been actively working in Slovakia since October 2014, its representatives regularly visit the uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In addition, the "Honorary Consul of Novorossiya" is a welcome guest at the Russian embassy and still receives honorary awards there.

                              In this regard, the volunteers voiced a number of questions to diplomats:

                              - Does the Embassy of Ukraine have its own official position on the existence of the Honorary Consulate of the Embassy of Novorossiya in Slovakia?

                              - How did they express disapproval, outrage over the disrespect of memory of the numerous victims of military operations, ongoing in the East of Ukraine?

                              - Would the representatives of the diplomatic mission like to meet with a large group of Ukrainians from Donetsk and Luhansk regions to learn about what is happening in their houses, who is, "Motorola", and who respects him?

                              - Does the embassy have a plan and timing of restoration of monuments in Bratisava and has it appoinnted an official to be responsible for that?
                              Ukrainian diaspora in Slovakia draws attention to activity of anti-Ukrainian forces

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                              • Hollande on Minsk accords: First, Donbas elections, then control over border French President Francois Hollande has said that the failure of the Minsk agreements will lead to a frozen conflict in the east of Ukraine, according to a UNIAN correspondent.
                                UNIAN 11 Oct 2016

                                "I am ready to move forward in the Normandy format to fully implement the Minsk agreements, otherwise it will be a frozen conflict," Hollande said during the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Tuesday, responding to a question on the status of implementation of the Minsk agreements.

                                The French president said that the main purpose of the Minsk agreements was the establishment of peace and restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine.

                                "But to this end, it is necessary to hold elections and secure this process. And in the end of this process, the Ukrainian government could regain control of its borders. In other words, the Minsk Process is a series of steps, and it is necessary to comply with each of them. First, there must be ceasefire, withdrawal, disarmament, but elections must be held afterwards," he said.

                                According to Hollande, in addition to the Ukrainian government, the process should involve the militants, influenced by Russia. Read also Ukraine "has not received" formal invitation to Normandy Four summit – Poroshenko's press service

                                "This also applies to France and Germany, because we were present at the signing of the Minsk agreements," he explained.

                                Hollande on Minsk accords: First, Donbas elections, then control over border

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