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  • UA Lost in Transition Pt 3

    The war in Ukraine marks the point at which the new world order created in 1989 is confronted by forces that contest the liberal values underlying it. More and more people are starting to openly express their fears of the globalized world with its migration flows, its open borders and open markets. Distrustful of non-national identities and institutions, they fall back on the nation as a closed, ethnically defined community. It is telling that the EU failed to establish consensus among its members together over a common refugee policy.

    What does the EU crisis mean for Ukraine? Both Maidans, in 2004 and 2013–14, heavily relied on Europe as a symbol for and guarantor of liberal values. Neither, however, opened up for Ukraine a clear perspective for EU integration like that offered to the former socialist countries, which contributed so much to modernizing their infrastructure and societies. The same, by the way, went for the ‘old’ members of the EU and its predecessor organizations: the alliance was crucial for the nation–state building process in Europe after 1945. It seems as if Ukraine, as latecomer, was hit directly by the crisis of the EU and the political paralysis this caused.

    Does this mean that Ukraine will remain in an intermediary state between the EU and Russia (whether we call it a ‘grey zone’ or a ‘bridge’)? Will Ukrainian national mythology be forced to re-imagine itself without a ‘return to Europe’? Especially in a time of war and economic difficulties, is an increase in radicalization and populism inevitable?

    And conversely: what will Europe lose by losing Ukraine? Bigger (in terms of territory) than any other EU member-state, Ukraine is an example of a diverse and heterogeneous society that has so far failed to explain itself to the outside world. It is telling that almost everywhere, talk on Ukraine is heavily dominated by stereotypes like ‘clash of civilizations’, ‘deep divisions’ and ‘civil war’. However, cultural diversity can also be seen as an advantage. Ukraine resembles a giant laboratory. A pluralistic and hybrid post-Soviet society that cannot be reduced to the Swiss or Belgian model; the idea of Ukraine as a political nation; a situational bilingualism and situational nationalism – all these features can be observed in Ukraine. The country could provide a multitude of possibilities for re-thinking cultural, religious and linguistic heterogeneity at a European level. Instead, the country has remained a surface for projecting ideological preferences. Western Europe’s evident lack of empathy for Ukraine seems somehow to be related to disinterest in its peculiarities.

    Ukraine can be described as too big, too complex, too close to Russia both geographically and historically. Ukraine has often been (and still is) denied the right to exist. And yet it has survived – despite ‘the Russian spring’ and profound economic problems, despite energy dependence and a weak state. The miracle of Ukraine’s survival in 2014 still needs to be studied seriously. To do so, one would need to look closely at the structures and institutions (often informal) that keep Ukrainian society together, and which seem to be stronger even than the Maidan revolutions. Such an analysis could hopefully lead the discussion out of the pointless dichotomy between apocalypse and self-satisfaction. https://www.eurozine.com/lost-in-tra...pe-since-1989/

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    • Four Years after the Maidan, How Is the Investigation Going?
      ATLANTIC COUNCIL Tetyana Ogarkova February 19, 2018

      On February 18, 2014, the most tragic part of the Revolution of Dignity started; more than one hundred people were killed, several dozens went missing, and over a thousand were wounded in Kyiv on February 18-20.

      Yevhenia Zakrevska, the leading lawyer of the so-called Heavenly Hundred families who lost loved ones on the Maidan during this period, gave a detailed interview describing the status of the cases.

      What needs to be investigated? All of the crimes committed during the Revolution of Dignity have been consolidated into one solid “Maidan Case” that comprises 89 criminal proceedings in relation to the killings of 91 persons (78 protestors and 13 law enforcement officials).

      Why do the cases get stuck in court? “A big part of the cases have been passed over to the court, however, the cases...get stuck at the preparatory hearing stage,” Zakrevska explains. The court has to decide if the indictment corresponds with the law. The procedure should take up to fifteen days, but in reality it may take years.

      “Protracted justice”: how it works. “The judges are not too enthusiastic about taking up these cases as they are complicated, contain many episodes, and feature a lot of actors. The defendants’ lawyers make use of this and always lodge every claim they possibly can—they ask to dismiss the indictment, close the case, change the jurisdiction, in a nutshell, they are using all the procedural steps there are. It is often simpler for the judges to take no action at all and just send the indictment back to the prosecutor’s office. And then it goes into an endless procedural loop.”

      How is judicial reform affecting the investigation? A decrease in the number of judges represents a particular problem. “At some courts, the number of judges has decreased twofold, sometimes threefold. The thing is, many judges have had their terms expired and they are not being prolonged, a stand-by that is probably happening while one waits for judicial reform to come. Moreover, a decree has been issued on the dissolution of district-level courts, including the courts considering the Maidan cases. If no changes are introduced to the legislation, the new courts to be established...will have to start re-considering all the cases that have not been finalized from the very beginning, engaging new judges.”

      In which cases have court sentences already been issued? Kharkiv Berkut Officer Andriy Yefimin was charged for assaulting activist Serhiy Didych on February 18. Yefimin hit Didych on the head with a bat, which caused Didych to fall under a moving truck, killing him. The court sentenced Yefimin to a five-year suspended sentence. Another closed case is that of the murder of Vesti journalist Viacheslav Veremiy on February 18; Yuriy Krysin was charged with coordinating the “titushky,” (paid thugs) who allegedly killed the journalist. However, the sentence is being appealed.

      Which cases are progressing? The case of the killing of activists on February 20 on Instytutska Street has made it halfway through. Two other cases of activists who were killed on February 18 are moving forward; the two proceedings regarding the breakup of a student rally in November 2013 is also moving along. The case of torture at the Dynamo stadium is being actively considered. There are several suspects: former Kharkiv-based Berkut staff Vladyslav Mastega, Artem Voilokov, and Andriy Khandrykin. Mastega and Voilokov fled to Russia in 2017.

      How many people have been arrested? Five Berkut staff are under arrest for the February 20 murders on Instytutska Street as well as the former commander of the 2nd Company of the Kharkiv-based Berkut Viktor Shapovalov for his role in the events of February 18. The list also includes former Security Service official Oleksandr Shchiogolev who was allegedly in charge of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” on the Maidan and “titushka” thug Oleh Shadrov charged with attacking Maidan activists on February 18-19.

      How many fled to Russia? Twenty-One Berkut officers charged with killing Maidan activists on Instytutska Street on February 20 received Russian citizenship and some are even working in Russian law enforcement. Four more Berkut staff—Kharkiv-based officers who had been arrested and later freed—are now in Russia, too.
      Four Years after the Maidan, How Is the Investigation Going?

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      • Ukraine’s Had Revolutions, But Where Is the Real Evolution?
        ATLANTIC COUNCIL Ruslan Minich February 19, 2018

        In the last three decades, Ukraine has experienced three dramatic changes that have often been referred to as revolutions. But were they genuinely revolutionary?

        In October 1990, as the Soviet Union was decaying, Ukrainian students, dissatisfied with the communist majority in the parliament after the 1990 elections, took to the central square of Kyiv. The protests resulted in the resignation of the head of the government and were one of the important elements that led to the collapse of the Soviet regime.

        However, they failed to bring radical change. The early decades of post-communist Ukraine were marked by the dominance of ex-communist nomenclatura and new criminal leaders who earned their wealth through dirty tricks, mostly by privatizing and re-distributing formerly state-owned assets.

        “While the first ‘revolution’ in 1990 precipitated a decline in late Soviet totalitarianism, it was not enough to push Ukraine onto the liberal reforms track,” said Yuriy Matsiyevsky, head of the Center for Political Research at Ostroh Academy National University. “By the end of the first term of Leonid Kuchma's presidency in 1999, Ukraine had descended into a hybrid regime that combined competitive elections with corruption, cronyism, and nepotism. This still persists today.”

        The 2004 Orange Revolution was a reaction to this post-communist kleptocratic and semi-criminal government. People took to the streets to protest against rigged presidential elections. They were hoping that opposition leaders would be able to change the regime. The driving force was the middle class, which had begun to emerge in the 2000s and demand political rights. “Young educated people whose basic needs have been satisfied and who represent values of self-expression are prone to protest,” said Yaroslav Hrytsak, a Ukrainian historian and professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University.

        http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/image...19_graph_1.jpg

        Those mass protests managed to reverse the rigged results of the presidential election and bring opposition leaders Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to power. However, the main problem of the Orange Revolution was an extension of its key hope. The people believed too much in their leaders: their messianic ability to change the country and their moral integrity. This was a mistake. The new government failed to conduct true reforms; oligarchs and vested interests continued to control politics.

        Ten years later, the Euromaidan protests, also known as the Revolution of Dignity, resembled a "real" political revolution, and was the most radical of the three. It was a bottom-up movement. People of various social classes took to the streets. There were many middle-class representatives, but also students, pensioners, and factory workers. Such a broad coalition that genuinely represented society made it stronger and more united.

        The events on the Maidan spread beyond the capital. Some regional authorities refused to obey the central government after several attempts by the government of then-president Viktor Yanukovych to brutally disperse Maidan protesters. This had not happened during the previous two revolutions.

        Instead of having blind faith in leaders, the Euromaidan attempted to bring people from civil society and the expert community into government. It succeeded in part. But again, it lacked a revolutionary outcome—a change of regime—admits Matsiyevsky.

        Nonetheless, its achievements are the greatest of the three revolutions.

        First, new actors entered Ukrainian politics. They don’t belong to the old clique and yearn for a democratic breakthrough. But their influence is still not sufficient to break the system. There need to be more of them in order to bring real change.

        Second, violence during the confrontations in 2013-14 unified the Ukrainian people as a nation. “Each revolution triggered stronger patriotic feelings and a stronger desire for freedom,” says Oles Doniy, a leader of the 1990 protests and a participant in all three.

        Society is clearly thirsty for democracy. The protests were not for food or money but for values and human rights. People took to the streets for the sake of dignity. According to Hrytsak, these repeated protests were partially the result of a national memory and identity based on Cossacks—Ukrainian warriors who were active in the 16th-18th centuries—and self-governing society at the time.

        Whatever the reason, the revolutions bore fruit. After each one, the country became more democratic, further enhancing civil society. Now it has more weight in pressing for reforms, primarily in the fight against corruption.

        http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/image...19_graph_2.jpg

        But this is not enough. Since the 2000s, Ukraine’s democratic score, according to Freedom House, has been consistently within the four- or five-point range that corresponds to partly-free hybrid regimes.

        http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/image...19_graph_3.jpg

        “In order for a more democratic regime to emerge, two conditions must be satisfied: first, new players should enter the political stage and, second, these new players should accept the new rules of the game,” says Matsiyevsky.

        Doniy emphasizes the importance of values; he argues that ‘”single heroic outbursts cannot change the system. The latter requires a new system of values, European values, and state structures built on the basis of these values.”

        Revolutions rarely succeed. But they can raise people’s consciousness and shake state structures. They can launch desired changes. They can be important social and political outbursts that trigger new developments.

        In short, so-called “revolutions” can be crucial tipping points in a long-term evolution, which is a force that really brings change. Ukrainian revolutions seem to be those tipping points, but the real evolution is yet to come. Ukraine’s Had Revolutions, But Where Is the Real Evolution?

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        • Sweden braced for possible Russian election meddling: security service
          The security service said Sweden's decentralized, manual electoral system was difficult to manipulate, but the use of fake social media accounts and distribution of inaccurate news were also channels that could be used to influence opinion.

          UNIAN (Reuters) 22.2.2018

          Russia could try to influence the outcome of national elections in Sweden in September if authorities in Moscow feel their strategic interests are threatened, the Swedish security service said on Thursday.

          The service's head of counter-intelligence, Daniel Stenling, cited membership of NATO - which Sweden has debated joining - and security around the Baltic Sea as two important issues for Russia, Reuters said.

          "Russian espionage is still the biggest threat to Sweden," he told an annual press briefing.

          "We see that Russia has an intention to influence individual issues that are of strategic importance. If these issues become central in the election campaign, we can expect attempts at Russian influence."

          Stenling declined to say if his force had already seen evidence of such attempts. Russia - which has faced accusations of trying to affect the outcome of voting in the United States, France and Germany - has repeatedly denied meddling in elections in the West.

          On Tuesday, Latvia's Ministry of Defence said accusations of money laundering at one bank and bribery allegations against the central bank governor could be part of a foreign campaign to influence elections due there in October. It did not name a specific country. Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine has strained relations with the West and the Baltic region has become a flashpoint.

          Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine has strained relations with the West and the Baltic region has become a flashpoint.

          Sweden and other countries in the region have complained of repeated airspace violations by Russian military planes and Sweden has restationed troops on the strategically important island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

          Sweden has held military drills with several NATO members and has debated joining the military alliance for years. The Kremlin has warned of unspecified consequences if it did.

          The Social Democrats, the senior party in the current minority coalition government, have ruled out joining NATO.

          The security service said Sweden's decentralized, manual electoral system was difficult to manipulate, but the use of fake social media accounts and distribution of inaccurate news were also channels that could be used to influence opinion.

          Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has, along with many European colleagues, previously voiced concerns about possible foreign meddling and Sweden has set up a "psychological defense" agency.

          https://www.unian.info/world/1001798...y-service.html

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          • Law on Donbas reintegration comes into force
            INTERFAX-UKRAINE 24.02.2018

            The law on the peculiarities of the state policy on securing Ukraine's state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which was published in the parliament's Holos Ukrainy newspaper on February 23, has come into force.

            The Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on January 18, 2018. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the document on February 20.

            The law determines that temporary occupation of Ukrainian territory by Russia, regardless of its duration, is illegal and does not create any territorial rights for Russia.

            The law recognizes as temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions the parts of Ukrainian territory within which armed formations and the Russian occupation administration have established and are exercising general control of the land territory and its internal waters within certain areas, towns, settlements and villages of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, inland sea waters adjacent to this territory, subsoil beneath the territories and airspace over these territories.

            The preamble of the law, in the clause defining the date of the beginning of Russia's occupation of part of Ukrainian territory, refers to the law on ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens and the legal regime in temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, in which the date for the beginning of the occupation of Crimea is determined.

            Borders and a list of areas, populated localities of temporarily occupied territories in Donbas will be determined by Ukraine's president under a motion from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, which should be prepared on the basis of proposals of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Law on Donbas reintegration comes into force

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            • Kuchma regrets that Donbas law has no reference to Minsk accords
              INTERFAX-UKRAINE 23.02.2018

              The second president of Ukraine, representative of the country in the Trilateral Contact Group for the settlement of the situation in Donbas, Leonid Kuchma, regrets that the law on ensuring state sovereignty in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas does not refer to the Minsk agreements.

              "It's a pity that there is no reference to the Minsk accords in this document. The whole world says today that this is the only document under negotiation, while Ukraine doesn't agree," he said, speaking at the Fourth Baltic-Black Sea Forum "Solidary Safety of Baltic-Black Sea Region Countries as a Consensus Strategy for Big Europe" in Kyiv on Friday, commenting on the signing of the law by the president.

              At the same time, according to him, the document clearly spelled out the wording of Russian aggression against Ukraine, which is a positive development.
              Kuchma regrets that Donbas law has no reference to Minsk accords

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              • Ukraine insists on UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas - Poroshenko
                INTERFAX-UKRAINE 20.02.2018

                Ukraine will continue to insist on the introduction of a peacekeeping mission in Donbas, the country's president, Petro Poroshenko, said.

                "Ukraine remains committed to peaceful resolution of the problem of liberating its occupied territories. This is proved by our resolute struggle - mine as president, by our foreign ministry, parliament and its members, other ministries and government departments - the struggle for deployment of the classic peacekeeping mission in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution which would allow restoring the security component of the sovereignty-restoration," Poroshenko told the Military Cabinet in Kyiv on Tuesday.

                Over 75% of Ukrainian people are in favor of introducing peacekeepers in Donbas, he said.

                Furthermore, he promised to tell, during the closed-door part of the meeting, of the results of his talks with United States Defense Secretary James Mattis, British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

                "Separately, I will ask [Ukrainian Defense Minister] Stepan Tymofiyovych Poltorak to report on the results of his U.S. visit. There has been positive news there, that soon we will finally get the long-waited defensive weapon. And there are certain positive results regarding the modernization of our Armed Forces," Poroshenko said.
                Ukraine insists on UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas - Poroshenko

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                • Donbas war update: Four attacks on Ukraine troops, no casualties reported
                  The Russian occupation groups continue to violate the ceasefire in Donbas.
                  UNIAN 11:25, 25 February 2018

                  Russia's hybrid military forces mounted four attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas in the past 24 hours; there were no casualties among Ukrainian soldiers.

                  The Russian occupation groups continue to violate the ceasefire, using weapons that have already had to be withdrawn from the contact line, the headquarters of Ukraine's military operations posted on Facebook.

                  In the evening, Russian mercenaries once again flagrantly violated the Minsk accords in the Luhansk sector, employing 152mm artillery systems near the village of Pidlisne. The enemy fired 82mm mortars and heavy machine guns on the Ukrainian army positions near the villages of Krymske. The occupiers also fired grenade launchers and small arms on defenders of the villages of Lobacheve, and used small arms to provoke Ukrainian soldiers into combat confrontations near the villages of Stanytsia Luhanska.

                  The enemy fired 82mm mortars and heavy machine guns on the Ukrainian army positions near the villages of Krymske. The occupiers also fired grenade launchers and small arms on defenders of the villages of Lobacheve, and used small arms to provoke Ukrainian soldiers into combat confrontations near the villages of Stanytsia Luhanska.

                  It was earlier reported that Ukrainian members of the Joint Center for Ceasefire Coordination (JCCC) and the OSCE CMM patrol found 152mm shell craters outside Pidlisne.

                  -
                  23 hours ago
                  #Ħ # #Donbas #spokesperson #statement
                  - 24 2018

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                  , ަΦ , Ӧ˦ æ ˦ Ԧ Ҧ˦ ̦ 152- ̦. 82- ͦԦ ̦...
                  https://www.unian.info/war/10020566-...-reported.html

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                  • Latvian Bank To Be Dissolved Amid Charges Of Illicit Deals In Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan
                    RADIO FREE EUROPE February 25, 2018 09:27

                    The European Central Bank (ECB) has determined that Latvia's ABLV Bank is on the verge of failing and will be closed down under the Baltic country's law.

                    The ECB said in a statement on February 24 that it has concluded ABLV is "failing or likely to fail," as is its Luxembourg-based subsidiary, ABLV Bank Luxembourg.

                    "Due to the significant deterioration of its liquidity, the bank is likely unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due," the Frankfurt-based ECB said.

                    "The bank did not have sufficient funds which are immediately available to withstand stressed outflows of deposits before the payout procedure of the Latvian deposit guarantee fund starts," it added.

                    It said Europe's Single Resolution Board determined that action by the central bank to shore up ABLV "was not in the public interest," so it will be dissolved under Latvian law.

                    ABLV Bank is Latvia’s third-largest bank by assets.

                    The country’s financial regulator ordered the bank to cease all payments after its liquidity position deteriorated sharply amid U.S. accusations of money laundering and breaching sanctions aimed at thwarting North Korea's weapons program.

                    The U.S. Treasury Department said on February 13 that ABLV also facilitated transactions linked to "large-scale illicit activity connected to Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine."

                    ABLV officials denied all allegations and had sought emergency ECB funding to remain in business.

                    Deposits at the bank are insured up to 100,000 euros ($123,000). Late last year, the Latvian bank reported it had deposits of 2.67 billion euros ($3.28 billion) and assets of 3.63 billion euros ($4.4 billion.) https://www.rferl.org/a/latvian-bank.../29061413.html

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                    • Lavrov, Portuguese Counterpart To Discuss EU, NATO, Ukraine
                      RADIO FREE EUROPE February 26, 2018 00:59

                      Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is hosting talks with his Portuguese counterpart on February 26 and will discuss EU and NATO relations with Moscow and the situation in Ukraine, the countries' foreign ministries have said.

                      Portugal’s Augusto Santos Silva has timed his visit to coincide the closing of an exhibition at the Kremlin -- "Lords of the Oceans: Treasures of the Portuguese Empire in the XVI-XVIII centuries."

                      The Russian Foreign Ministry said the diplomats will exchange views on a variety of pressing international issues, along with bilateral ties between Lisbon and Moscow.

                      "It is planned to discuss in detail the bilateral agenda and outline the ways of further development of Russian-Portuguese relations," the ministry said.

                      "The assessment of the current state of relations between Russia, the European Union, and NATO will be an important part of the talks."

                      The ministry said the two will also “exchange views on the situation in Ukraine, in Syria, Libya, and various issues related to African."

                      Western nations have slapped sanctions on Moscow for its seizure and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
                      https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-lavro.../29062575.html

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                      • Muzhenko : 50 new generals have appeared in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the start of the war
                        UAWIRE ORG February 25, 2018 5:00:17 PM

                        Since the beginning of hostilities on the eastern territory of Ukraine, 50 people in the Armed Forces have been promoted to the rank of General, the head of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Viktor Muzhenko said in an interview with Radio Liberty.

                        "Since 2014, we have been awarded 50 generalships. Almost all of them are officers who already had combat experience," he said. According to Muzhenko, today, the main condition for promotion, especially appointment to the main command posts, is combat experience obtained since 2014.

                        The Chief of the General Staff also noted that since the start of the fighting, "the commanders of battalions and brigades have already been changed more than twice in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

                        "Those, who were brigade commanders in 2014, are now commanders of the military districts, some of whom are already at the posts of deputy commanders of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he explained.
                        Muzhenko also said that a quarter of the graduates of higher military educational institutions this year knowingly linked their future with the army after the beginning of hostilities.

                        Earlier, it was reported that the newest Oplot tanks and the Stugna and Corsar antitank systems produced by Ukraine will increase the defense capability of the Armed Forces before the end of 2018. UAWire - Muzhenko : 50 new generals have appeared in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the start of the war

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                        • Ukraine will transfer the ship seized for stopping in Crimea to its Navy
                          UAWIRE ORG February 25, 2018 2:00:14 PM

                          The Tanzanian ship Sky Moon , confiscated for illegally calling at the Crimean ports, will be transferred to the Naval Forces of Ukraine, as reported by the State Border Service of Ukraine with reference to the Deputy Military Prosecutor of the Southern region, Roman Mrochko.

                          The vessel Sky Moon was originally seized by the Ukrainian coast guard on November 30, 2016 near the port of Reni. Seven members of the crew of the Sky Moon were brought to justice under article 204-2 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences. Each of them was fined for 1,700 UAH ($63 USD).

                          In March 2017, the Malinovsky District Court of Odessa found the captain of the vessel Sky Moon guilty. The court decided to confiscate in favor of the state the smuggled property, namely the cargo of soda worth almost 18.5 million UAH or 687,000 USD, as well as the ship itself for being the vehicle that was used to commit the offense. This is the first time that Ukraine has seized a foreign ship calling at the Crimea.

                          Seaports located on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Yevpatoria, Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia and Yalta) are closed by the Order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from April 30, 2017 Number 578-r "On Functioning of Maritime and River Transport" and according to the Order of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, dated June 16, 2014, Number 255 "On Closure of Sea Ports."

                          According to these legislative acts, vessels under foreign flags entering the closed seaports and terminals located on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea will be regarded as violating international law, as undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine, as well as violating the legislation of Ukraine, which entails the responsibility of ship owners, operators and ship captains and their criminal liability for such actions hence. UAWire - Ukraine will transfer the ship seized for stopping in Crimea to its Navy

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                          • Ukraine prepares for full-scale war with Russia
                            UAWIRE ORG February 25, 2018 1:00:14 PM

                            Ukraine is ready to fend off a full-scale military aggression from Russia, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko told Radio Liberty in Ukraine.

                            “Experts assess that Russia will be ready [for a full-scale war] in three years. We also assess readiness and the possible scope of provocative actions, as well as a possible large-scale aggression towards Ukraine. We have drafted actions plans tailored to different situations that address current threats faced by Ukraine, and we prepare our troops to defend our country,” the Ukrainian Chief of Staff said.

                            Muzhenko stressed that he expected Ukraine to be prepared to repel aggression at any time. “We must be ready now, and tomorrow, and in a week, and in one year, and in three years, until this threat, a threat of a military aggression against Ukraine, ceases to exist,” he said.

                            Muzhenko also said that the nationally produced Oplot battle tank promised to the Ukrainian Army long ago would come into service only in late 2018 “We expected to receive those tanks at the beginning of this year, but due to certain technical reasons, due to our industrial defense capabilities, the delivery of the tanks was postponed until late 2018,” Muzhenko explained.

                            Earlier, the administration announced the completion of the Antiterrorist Operation (ATO) in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and a change of format of the defense operation in the region. “We will shift to the operation of Combined Forces,” Muzhenko said.

                            The military command center specially created for this purpose will be responsible for the operation of Combined Forces. According to Muzhenko, the change of format will allow the Armed Forces of Ukraine to employ its personnel and military power “more effectively and in accordance with a legal framework.” UAWire - Ukraine prepares for full-scale war with Russia

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                            • Russia states the elections in annexed Crimea will be held despite Ukraine’s protests
                              UAWIRE ORG February 25, 2018 9:05:53 AM

                              The Deputy Chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission, Nikolay Bulaev, stated that the presidential election will be held in the annexed Crimea as planned, despite Ukraine’s protest, RIA Novosti reports.

                              According to Bulaev, this issue was “resolved for Russian citizens living the Crimea during the referendum in 2014”. The representative of the Central Election Commission said that during the so-called “referendum”, the residents of the Crimea allegedly “chose their future unanimously”.

                              As was reported, Ukraine sent a note of protest to Russia due to the presidential elections in the territory of the annexed Crimea and also warned against attempts to organize elections in the Donbas. UAWire - Russia states the elections in annexed Crimea will be held despite Ukraine’s protests

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                              • Three ***** Riot Members Detained In Crimea
                                RADIO FREE EUROPE February 26, 2018 12:55

                                Three members of the Russian ***** Riot punk protest band have been detained in the Russia-annexed Crimea region.

                                Olga Borisova said that she and another member of the band, Aleksandr Sofeyev, were detained on February 25 when they arrived in the Ukrainian peninsula.

                                Borisova later said that a third member of the group, Maria Alyokhina, was detained upon her arrival in Crimea on February 26. She said that Alyokhina texted her that she was with the police, after which communication stopped.

                                Crimean lawyer Emil Kurbedinov said on February 26 that the trio was brought to a medical institution for testing. He could not provide further details.

                                An RFE/RL correspondent reported later that Borisova was brought to a police station after the test, while Alyokhina was released. Sofeyev's whereabouts remain unknown.

                                Russia-imposed Crimean authorities have not officially commented on the detentions.

                                In August, Alyokhina and Borisova were detained and fined after staging a protest near the remote prison in Siberia where Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov is incarcerated.

                                Sentsov is from Crimea, the Ukrainian region that Russia forcibly seized in March 2014. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence on terror charges that he and supporters say are groundless.

                                ***** Riot achieved prominence in 2012 after Alyokhina and fellow ***** Riot performer Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for a stunt in which band members burst into Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral and sang a "punk prayer" against then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was campaigning for his return to the presidency at the time.

                                Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were close to the end of their two-year prison sentences when they were freed in December 2013, under an amnesty they dismissed as a propaganda stunt to improve Putin's image ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. They have focused largely on fighting for the rights of prisoners since their release.
                                With reporting by Mediazona https://www.rferl.org/a/*****-riot-m.../29063467.html

                                æ, !

                                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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