Civil War in Ukraine: Western Empire vs Russia

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Comedian Zelenskiy wins Ukrainian presidential race by landslide: exit polls
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Ukraine entered uncharted political waters on Sunday after exit polls showed a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies had easily won enough votes to become the next president of a country at war.

Landslide election victory thrusts Ukrainian comedian into limelight
In a popular Ukrainian TV series, comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy played a president who is scrupulously honest and outwits crooked lawmakers and shadowy businessmen who try to stand in his way.

Zelensky leads with 73.01% after half of electoral ballots counted
Vladimir Zelensky is leading in the runoff stage of the Ukrainian presidential election with 73.01% of the vote after Ukraine’s Central Election Commission has counted 50% of electoral ballots, the commission informed on Monday.

Incumbent president Pyotr Poroshenko has received 24.65% of the vote.

According to the commission, Zelensky has taken the lead in all regions of Ukraine, except the Lvov Region. The voter turnout in the runoff stage of the election reached 62.07%.

Incumbent Poroshenko concedes defeat in Ukrainian presidential vote
Ukraine's incumbent President and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko addresses the media at a polling station during the second round of a presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday conceded he had been soundly defeated in a run-off vote by comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and would be leaving office next month, but said he did not plan to quit politics altogether.

Zelensky will be unable to fulfill campaign promises with current parliament - MP

Vladimir Zelensky, who is leading in the runoff stage of the Ukrainian presidential election, will find opposition from the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament), which will most likely compromise his campaign promises, Ukrainian MP Nestor Shufrich said.

"Zelensky will try to introduce the things he has planned, but I’m afraid that with the current Rada he will be unable to do that," the MP said in an interview with the NewsOne channel. He added that Zelensky "must try to fulfill what he has promised" with the help of the those members of parliament ready to support him.

The MP has criticized "the coalition of corruption" in the Ukrainian parliament, the members of which are "scared that they would have to answer for what they have done in the last five years".


Ukraine’s election commission to publish official results of election on April 30
In accordance with the Ukrainian law, the Central Election Commission must publish the official election results no later than ten days after the election day.
"We can determine and declare the results approximately on April 30," he told the Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel.


Senior Russian MP says sees no reason for Russia not to recognize results of Ukraine polls
A senior Russian lawmaker said on Sunday he sees no reason for Russia not to recognize the results of presidential polls in Ukraine.

"I see no reasons for Russia to refuse to recognize these elections," Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international committee at Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel, adding that it is his personal point of view.


Ukrainian media claim Poroshenko has been granted immunity guarantees from US
Ukraine’s incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko has allegedly received immunity guarantees from the United States after the results of exit polls following Sunday’s runoff presidential elections were made public, according to the Ukrainian mass media.

"Americans have allegedly granted Pyotr Poroshenko immunity guarantees and warned future president [Vladimir] Zelensky’s team to let the predecessor alone," the Strana (Country) outlet writes citing a source in Washington.

Runoff presidential election was held in Ukraine on April 21. According to exit polls, Candidate from the Servant of the People party, showman Vladimir Zelensky is winning a sweeping victory. The incumbent president has already recognized the voting results and congratulated his rival.


Trump congratulates Zelensky on victory in Ukrainian presidential election
US President Donald Trump has congratulated Ukrainian presidential candidate Vladimir Zelensky on his victory in the Ukrainian presidential election, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker confirmed on Twitter.

"President Trump called to congratulate Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vladimir Zelensky - TASS) for his electoral victory and the Ukrainian people for a peaceful & democratic election. We will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to restore its territorial integrity and counter Russian aggression," he wrote.

Volker also expressed his gratitude to incumbent Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko. "We commend [Pyotr Poroshenko] for his courage in leading Ukraine through a tremendously difficult time and for his commitment to the democratic institutions of the US and for accepting the will of the Ukrainian people," he wrote.
 

Pashalis

Ambassador
Ambassador
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Will be interesting what his actual policies turn out to be. At least it seems like he is not backing down from his campaign promises:

Ukraine’s president-in-waiting Zelensky vows to end conflict in Donbass with ‘POWERFUL INFOWAR’:

[...]
Shortly after claiming electoral victory, Zelensky held a Q&A session with reporters at his campaign HQ in a Kiev business center.
[...]
Zelensky addressed the media in an easy-going manner. He spoke in a mix of Ukrainian and Russian, switching between the two languages, sometimes in one sentence. He also talked English a bit. But if the press hoped to shed light on the policies of the incoming president and his team, the conference actually generated more questions than answers.
[...]
Bringing the civil war in eastern Ukraine to an end appears to be one of the top priorities for Zelensky. Promising to announce some kind of a plan shortly, he asked the reporters for help in the upcoming “infowar” that he says would help end the conflict, which, since 2014, has been raging between Kiev’s troops and the rebel self-proclaimed republics.
We will launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass.
He then vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”
[...]
Poroshenko out, Zelensky in: West backed the wrong man in Ukraine & now it’s payback time:

Volodymyr Zelensky’s victory in Sunday’s Ukrainian Presidential election marks the moment when the Western populist wave comes to the post-Soviet space.
It also serves as a compete rejection of the divisive, ethno-nationalist policies pursued by his opponent, Petro Poroshenko, over the past five years.

[...] Now, Ukraine faces an unusual situation. It has replaced an ideologically fanatical President with a complete unknown quantity. One who lacks any parliamentary power-base and must wait six months for elections to the legislature, the Rada.

[...] Now, those chickens may finally have come home to roost. And that movement’s Western backers can only blame themselves for having prioritized their own geopolitical interests over the genuine desire of Ukrainians for change.

[...] Sadly, for Poroshenko, Ukrainian voters were less accommodating. And now the West has to deal with Zelensky, who may just turn out to be more pro-Ukraine than “pro-West.” If so, he will know that, if Ukraine has any chance of prospering, it must somehow normalize relations with Moscow, which remains its largest trading partner.

[...]

Real Change?

Zelensky’s TV series ‘Servant of the People’ was essentially a dramatized campaign advert. Beaming the actor into the homes of millions and making ordinary Ukrainians comfortable with the concept of him leading the country. Although, of course, many may have voted for the idea of his character, Vasyl Holoborodko, rather than the real deal.

In the series, Holoborodko is a straight-shooter who battles corrupt elites. And, of course, corruption is the number one issue for Ukrainian voters, who know Poroshenko, as an oligarch himself, was never going to destroy the system which helped create his own fortune.

Thus, Zelensky, or at least the fictional politician he plays in the show, was obviously more credible than his opponent when promising to tackle graft.
Zelensky also chose a positive campaign platform, avoiding unrealistic promises.
By contrast, Poroshenko stood on his ability to hold firm against Russia. But, in doing so, he often gave the impression he thought he was competing with Vladimir Putin instead of his actual opponent.

Furthermore, his Russia-bashing, often hysterical, alienated voters in central, southern and eastern regions, many of whom feel an affinity with Russian culture and use Russian as their primary tongue. Indeed, it doesn’t seem to have worked in the West either, as exit polls suggest Poroshenko lost in every region except the hyper-patriotic Galicia.

[...]

Zelensky may turn out to be ineffective. And, unless he can somehow orchestrate a radical overhaul of the Rada this autumn, he will be rendered politically weak.

Nevertheless, his election victory confirms that Ukrainians are tired of being used as pawns by both external actors and their own elites.


[...]Zelensky would be wise to put Ukraine first, and realize the zero-sum game has gotten his country nowhere.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The European Union. who oppose Ukraine having "anything to do with Russia" could be a real impediment and road-block to any real reforms. I see, they stepped right up "in dictating" pushing needed reforms - no doubt, to continue on the track Poroshenko was following? With Zelensky being "a novice" in Politics, I'm not sure how much "real power" he will be given to control Ukraine Policies? He might only be window dressing for public consumption while other "heavy weights" work behind the scenes?

The European Union delivered formal congratulations to Ukraine's novice president-elect on Monday but made clear it expects TV comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy to pursue halting reforms, including fighting corruption.

Much yet to do: EU urges new Ukraine leader to push reforms
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his wife Olena react following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his wife Olena react following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

In a joint letter as Zelenskiy’s landslide victory over President Petro Poroshenko was confirmed, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised the conduct of the election even though parts of Ukraine remain under the control of pro-Russian forces.

But they stressed that five years after Poroshenko was elected in the wake of a popular revolt against a Moscow-aligned predecessor, Ukraine still had a long way to go to deliver on people’s demands for peace, democracy and prosperity.

“Significant progress has been made in the five years since Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity,” they wrote. “And much remains to be accomplished to fully realize the peaceful, democratic and prosperous Ukraine that its citizens have called for.”

They added: “You can count on the EU’s strong support to Ukraine’s reform path, including consolidating the rule of law, fighting corruption, maintaining macrofinancial stability and pursuing the essential reform of the energy sector.”

Proposing an early meeting with Zelenskiy, Tusk, a former Polish premier who chairs summits of EU national leaders, and Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister who heads the bloc’s executive, said further steps to implement Kiev’s trade and political pact with the Union could provide “crucial” help.

That agreement, seen by the Kremlin as shifting the biggest of Moscow’s Soviet-era satellites toward the West, was a notable factor in the events which culminated with pro-EU leaders installed in Kiev, Russia’s seizure of the Crimea peninsula in 2014 and pro-Kremlin separatists taking over Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

Tusk and Juncker also told Zelenskiy: “You can also count on the EU’s continued and steadfast support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

The European Union has invested heavily, in both economic and political terms, in Ukraine,
seeing it as a potential model for other post-communist neighbors and a bulwark against a Russia seen as a growing threat, especially by the EU member states which spent decades under the control of Moscow.

While the 28-member bloc has maintained a fragile unity in maintaining sanctions against Russia, it has also grown frustrated with continued corruption and democratic failings in Ukraine.

Kremlin says too early to speak of possible cooperation with Ukraine after election
The Kremlin said on Monday that it was too early to speak about possible cooperation with Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, but added that Moscow respected the choice of the Ukrainian people.
 

Pashalis

Ambassador
Ambassador
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The reaction of the Kremlin to Zelenskiy is kind of interesting especially in contrast to Merkel, Trump and Co. who granulated Zelenskiy very fast.



Might tell us a thing or two about Zelenskiy. I guess we have to wait and see.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Putin: we don't want to cause problems for new Ukraine president
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks before a meeting with lawmakers in Saint Petersburg, Russia April 24, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday it was unacceptable that residents of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions had no rights, but he said Moscow did not want to create problems for the new Ukrainian leadership.

Putin not planning talks with Ukraine's new president: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin enters a hall to meet French business leaders at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 18, 2019. Alexander Nemenov/Pool via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning talks with Ukraine's newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Kremlin aide Yuri Uskakov told reporters on Tuesday.

Five challenges for Ukraine's new president
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts during a news conference at his campaign headquarters following a presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts during a news conference at his campaign headquarters following a presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

Ukraine has entered uncharted political waters by choosing Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no previous political experience and few detailed policies, as its new president.

Zelenskiy is the latest anti-establishment figure to unseat an incumbent leader, both in Europe and further afield, but he has a lot to get to grips with. Below are five big questions investors and the international community have.

1/STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT?
Zelenskiy is expected to take office next month and his ability to work with Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, will be crucial to meeting the expectations of his voters.

The president appoints the head of the state security service, the head of the military, the general prosecutor, the central bank governor and the foreign and defense ministers. But parliament must confirm each appointment — and there’s the rub.

While Zelenskiy beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko decisively in Sunday’s presidential vote, parliamentary elections are not due until October and opinion polls suggest he is unlikely to win an outright majority.

That means he would need to ally with at least one other party if he is to get many of his policies and appointments through. The other alternative is to try to bring the elections forward in order to capitalize on the momentum from his presidential victory.

2/TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE
With no political experience himself, investors want Zelenskiy to build a team with enough know-how to avoid any policy missteps.

He does not actually have a full slate of policies yet but he brought in two former ministers as advisers for his campaign: former finance minister Oleksandr Danylyuk and former economy minister Aivaras Abromavicius.

Danylyuk is rumored to be in line to become either foreign minister or the head of the presidential administration, which would give him a powerful gatekeeper role.

“Zelenskiy might be inexperienced in foreign affairs but I think he will have plenty of choice of experienced individuals to serve as foreign minister, and will receive plenty of support, advice from Western governments,” wrote Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management.

3/IMF
International Monetary Fund aid has kept Ukraine’s economy above water so its ongoing support is seen as crucial, especially with around $3 billion (about 2 percent of GDP) of external debt obligations, including interest, coming due in the remainder of 2019. Another $5.5 billion (about 4 percent of GDP) must be repaid in 2020.

But Ukraine’s patchy reform efforts led to repeated delays in its previous IMF program that ended up disbursing only $8.7 billion of a planned $17.5 billion.

That was replaced by a new $3.9 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) in December. While Kiev hopes for another tranche of that money as early as next month, investors will want to see a fuller program put back in place soon.

It could be an interesting negotiation. Zelenskiy already wants to talk the IMF about reversing some gas price rises the Fund saw as crucial to mending Kiev’s finances.

Ukraine’s economic backdrop has improved in recent years though, with much smaller twin deficits (2-3 percent of GDP), lower public sector debt (just over 60 percent) and a stable currency. It also has over $20 billion in FX reserves, which is over four months of import cover, according to S&P Global.

4/PRIVATBANK PROBLEMS
One concern is Zelenskiy’s ties to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, the former owner of Ukraine’s biggest lender PrivatBank, which was nationalized in 2016.

With the international community already concerned about corruption and influence, some have raised questions about what their relationship might mean for the future of PrivatBank and other interests of Kolomoisky in Ukraine.

A court ruling last week could threaten to overturn the nationalization of PrivatBank.

The central bank has said it will appeal — in fact there could be many appeals as well as other legal manoeuvres — but any sign that Zelenskiy might be in Kolomoisky’s camp on this could do serious damage, not least to relations with the IMF.

5/RUSSIA RELATIONS
As world leaders clamored to offer their congratulations to Zelenskiy, one notable name was absent: Russian President Vladimir Putin. How the Russian-speaking Zelenskiy handles Ukraine’s relationship with Moscow will go a long way to determining the success of his term in office.

He has already suggested taking a fresh perspective to try to secure peace with Moscow, while pushing ahead with European Union-friendly moves. That could prove a difficult path to tread.

For its part, Russia has signaled it intends to respect the vote of the Ukraine people, although Putin is not planning talks with Zelenskiy.

Also rumbling in the background is a legal dispute between the two surrounding Ukraine’s $3 billion Eurobond, which Moscow wants repaid in full but which Kiev argues should have been written down along with most of its other debt in 2015.

Any repairing of ties could also bring rewards for Ukraine. Improved relations could help it regain control over the separatist-controlled east, as well as cheap gas and major investment, a Kremlin ally in Ukraine said last week.
Peace, honesty and cheap gas: Ukraine's new leader shoulders high expectations
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo
When the Ukrainian president played by actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy faces a corrupt parliament in his TV comedy, he fantasizes about blasting them all away with two submachine guns.

Zelenskiy faces battles with Ukraine's hostile parliament
A lawmaker uses his mobile phone before a new session of Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, Ukraine September 6, 2016. Picture taken September 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Before Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelenskiy was even elected, an opposition leader was plotting to curb his powers and make it easier for him to be impeached.

Russia eases path to citizenship for east Ukraine residents

FILE PHOTO: People line up after crossing the contact line between pro-Moscow rebels and Ukrainian troops as they wait at passport control in Mayorsk, Ukraine February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of the rebel-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

Kiev denounces Russian move to ease citizenship for east Ukraine residents
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on Wednesday denounced a Russian move to simplify procedures for residents in separatist-held eastern Ukraine to obtain Russian passports.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Zelenskiy just failed his first opportunity - to extend a peaceful hand to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order on Wednesday simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, prompting calls from Kiev for more international sanctions.

Russia offers passports to east Ukraine, president-elect decries 'aggressor state'
FILE PHOTO: People line up after crossing the contact line between pro-Moscow rebels and Ukrainian troops as they wait at passport control in Mayorsk, Ukraine February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: People line up after crossing the contact line between pro-Moscow rebels and Ukrainian troops as they wait at passport control in Mayorsk, Ukraine February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

Russia’s move is an early test for the Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a landslide victory in Sunday’s presidential election and has pledged to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Zelenskiy said Putin’s action showed Russia was waging war in Ukraine and brought the two sides no closer to peace. He called for the international community to threaten Russia with more sanctions. Outgoing President Petro Poroshenko said Russia might try to annex the Donbass region.

“Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Plans have been in the works for several months to streamline the issuing of Russian passports to residents of the two regions, according to sources close to the separatist administrations. If those plans had been announced before the Ukrainian election, it could have bolstered the chances of Poroshenko, the candidate Moscow least wanted to win.

“We have no desire to create problems for the new Ukrainian leadership, but to tolerate a situation in which people living in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk republic are generally deprived of any civil rights, this is already crossing the line from the point of view of human rights,” Putin said.

Criminal Actions - Ukraine urged residents not to apply for Russian passports and informed the United Nations about Russia’s move. Kiev also asked the European Union to take “prompt and decisive” action.

Swathes of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are now under the de facto control of the Moscow-backed rebels, while Ukraine says it is determined to reassert its control, a position backed by most Western countries.

Zelenskiy’s office said his priority was achieving peace but called Russia’s actions “another evident confirmation for the world community of Russia’s true role as an aggressor state, which is waging a war against Ukraine”, according to a statement.

Russia has consistently denied Western and Ukrainian accusations
that it sends troops and heavy weapons to fight Ukrainian forces in the region.

U.S. slams Russia's offer of citizenship to east Ukraine residents
The United States condemned on Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin's order simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.


What happened to this guy - that was running for President? At least, he showed some "intelligence"?

Ukraine’s presidential hopeful calls for talks with Russia on lifting sanctions
Ukraine’s presidential hopeful calls for talks with Russia on lifting sanctions
Ukrainian presidential candidate Yuri Boyko

Ukrainian presidential candidate Yuri Boyko © Yekaterina Shtukina/Russian Government Press Offcie/TASS
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Germany, France, Britain, U.S. and the European Union didn't lose any ground in attacking Russia, in easing restrictions for Eastern Ukraine and paving the way for further constructive work on the Minsk II Peace Agreement. Any wonder, why the Minsk Protocols are going - no where! The same forces are keeping the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in limbo.

Putin: nothing wrong with us giving passports to east Ukraine residents

Men walk past a banner, which reads We were born in DPR (Donetsk People's Republic)! DPR is five years old, in a street in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday there was nothing wrong with easing rules for residents of Ukrainian rebel regions to receive Russian passports, a decision that prompted condemnation and calls for more sanctions against Moscow.

Britain condemns Russian over decree for east Ukraine passports
Britain condemned a move by Russia to simplify the procedure for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine to obtain Russian passports.

Germany, France condemn Russian citizenship decree for Ukraine
Germany and France condemn Russia's legislative move simplifying requirements for people in eastern Ukraine to become Russian citizens, Germany's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Russia's Ukraine passport move aimed to destabilize, exacerbate conflict: EU
Russia's decision to ease the granting of Russian citizenship to people living in separatist regions of Ukraine is another attack by Moscow on Ukrainian sovereignty, the European Union said on Thursday, calling on Russian to stop such actions.

US slams ‘provocative’ bill to simplify citizenship procedure for southeast Ukraine
Putin’s decision creates a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region, the US Department of State said

Russian citizenship bill not conductive t peace in East Ukraine — Zelensky’s team
The bill to ease the Russian citizenship procedure to residents of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) is not conductive to a ceasefire in the region, the team of Ukrainian president-elect Vladimir Zelensky said in a statement released via the Telegram messenger on Wednesday.


Poroshenko's departing shot ...



Ukraine passes language law championed by outgoing president
Ukraine's parliament approved a law on Thursday that grants special status to the Ukrainian language and makes it mandatory for public sector workers, despite opposition from the country's large Russian-speaking minority who feel it is discriminatory.

Verkhovna Rada adopts law on Ukrainian as the only official language
The provisions of the document stipulate that all citizens now have to use the Ukrainian language in all the spheres of their life.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Russia testing Ukraine's new leader with passport move: Lithuania April 26, 2019
FILE PHOTO: Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius poses for a portrait at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough New York May 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
Russia's decision to make it easier for residents of rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine to obtain a Russian passport is meant to test Ukraine's new leader and the West should not recognize the documents, Lithuania's foreign minister said on Friday.

Ukraine's president-elect says being blocked from calling snap poll April 25, 2019
FILE PHOTO: Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian comedian and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, hosts a comedy show at a concert hall in Brovary, Ukraine March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo
Ukraine's president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, keen to build parliamentary support, said on Thursday the election commission was preventing him from calling a snap parliamentary election by delaying the announcement of his election victory.

Zelenskiy won by a landslide in last Sunday’s presidential election but he has no lawmakers in parliament. Calling a snap election could help his new party win seats while his popularity is high.

But he has only a limited time in which to call a snap election: He can do so only after the election commission has officially declared his election win, but no later than six months before the next scheduled parliamentary election, which is due in late October.

“There is victory, but no authority,” Zelenskiy said in a video posted on social media.

The central commission delayed the announcement of the official results, in order to delay his inauguration beyond May 27, he said. “Why? So that President Zelenskiy does not even have the opportunity to think about the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament),” he said.

An election commission spokesman declined immediate comment but on Tuesday the deputy head of the commission said the result would be declared on April 30, ahead of its official deadline.

Zelenskiy is expected to take power within weeks. His ability to work with parliament will be crucial to meeting the expectations of his voters and passing reforms to keep foreign aid flowing.

Zelenskiy’s powers will include appointing the head of the state security service, the head of the military, the general prosecutor, the central bank governor and the foreign and defense ministers.

But parliament must confirm each appointment. Zelenskiy also needs lawmakers to pass legislation that matters to the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine’s most important foreign backer, such as a bill to criminalize illegal enrichment.
 

Pashalis

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Interesting developments that you brought up angelburst29. So, as of now, it looks like the russians smelled a rat right from the get-go with Zelenskiy and the passport move might have been a precocious step from them to make it easier for Ukrainians and especially eastern ones to escape the madness, that Zelenskiy might proof to enforce as well or worse as Poroschenko did. Zelenskiy's first actions and statements in his now confirmed role as soon to be acting president, don't look promising. It is also noteworthy that Zelenskiy stated in the campaign that he will not run again in the next election, which kind of sets his vocal commitment to change things for the better in Ukraine into doubt.


 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Interesting developments that you brought up angelburst29. So, as of now, it looks like the russians smelled a rat right from the get-go with Zelenskiy and the passport move might have been a precocious step from them to make it easier for Ukrainians and especially eastern ones to escape the madness, that Zelenskiy might proof to enforce as well or worse as Poroschenko did. Zelenskiy's first actions and statements in his now confirmed role as soon to be acting president, don't look promising. It is also noteworthy that Zelenskiy stated in the campaign that he will not run again in the next election, which kind of sets his vocal commitment to change things for the better in Ukraine into doubt.
The fact that Zelenskiy stated "he will not run again in the next election" could be looked upon in the Rada - as a "no confidence" vote and that he lacks the ambition and devotion to carry out the duties of his Office? The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) is holding out on giving him authority. I don't know the process or what might be involved - if Zelenkiy fails to get that position? Parliament would hold the power to make and enforce decisions and his hands would be tied - just a puppet? Could Parliament call for new elections - based on the fact - Zelenskiy basically won by notoriety (TV comedian)? It might be the position Putin is maneuvering?

April 27, 2019 - Putin says Russia may offer fast-tracked passports to all Ukrainians
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during the Tsinghua University’s ceremony at Friendship Palace in Beijing, China April 26, 2019. Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during the Tsinghua University’s ceremony at Friendship Palace in Beijing, China April 26, 2019. Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool via REUTERS

President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday Moscow was considering offering all Ukrainian citizens fast-tracked Russian passports, a move likely to anger some politicians in Ukraine which has been at war with pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Putin made the statement days after signing an order to simplify the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, prompting calls from Kiev for more international sanctions.

Putin’s earlier move was seen as a test for the Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a landslide victory in Sunday’s presidential election and has pledged to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Speaking in Beijing, Putin said Moscow was now considering extending its fast track passport scheme to the whole of Ukraine.

“We are considering whether to grant Ukrainian citizens our citizenship using a simplified procedure,” Putin told reporters, without providing further details.

The Russian leader said he also wanted to know Zelenskiy’s position on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, saying he had the impression that Zelenskiy would not implement the terms of a peace deal sealed in Minsk in 2015 despite Ukrainians being tired of the war.

“I’d discuss this matter with him with pleasure as I want to understand his stance,” said Putin, who said Ukraine was overpaying for gas which it could get much cheaper if it signed a transit deal with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for LPR and DPR residents "was not spontaneous"
Russia considering possibility of easing citizenship for all Ukrainians


© Alexey Nikolsky/Russia's presidential press sercive/TASS

Moscow is considering the possibility of easing citizenship rules for all Ukrainian nationals, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference wrapping up his visit to China.

"We are thinking about providing the right to obtain Russian passports under a simplified procedure to all Ukrainian nationals," he said.

Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for LPR and DPR residents "was not spontaneous, it was not made at the spur of the moment." "Before the decree was singed, we had made all the calculations concerning the number of people that may apply for citizenship, including the number of retired persons - they account for about 30% of the possible applicants," Putin said.

On April 24, the Russian president signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine. "Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure," the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on generally accepted international laws.


"Everyone is tired of the conflict in Donbass", said Russian President
Putin says may discuss ways to end Donbass conflict at possible meeting with Zelensky


© Alexey Nikolsky/Russia's presidential press sercive/TASS

Russian leader Vladimir Putin believes ways to resolve the Donbass conflict could be the focus of his possible talks with Ukrainian President-Elect Vladimir Zelensky, as Putin himself said at a press conference wrapping up his visit to China.

"If we ever meet in order to hold talks - and I don’t rule out such a possibility - we will first and foremost have to discuss ways to end the conflict in southeastern Ukraine," Putin said, adding that there was no alternative to the Minsk Agreements in that regard.

The Russian leader pointed to the statements Zelensky had made during the election campaign that he did not plan to sign a decree granting amnesty to the Donbass conflict’s participants and did not intend to provide special status to certain Donbass areas as stipulated in the Minsk Agreements. "How will it be possible to resolve the LPR-DPR issue without implementing the Minsk Agreements? I would very much like to ask him this question and discuss these matters with him," Putin said.

He also noted that a large number of Ukrainians had voted for Zelensky. "Everyone is tired of the conflict [in Donbass]. Everyone expect the new authorities, including the future president, to achieve these goals. But the future president announces from the very start that he doesn’t plan to implement the Minsk Agreements. If so, how does he plan to resolve this issue?" Putin said, adding that he would like to understand Zelensky’s position.


Back-dated April 16, 2019 - Normandy Four summit in June not on Putin’s agenda at the moment — spokesman
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov © Sergei Karpukhin/TASS

A meeting in the Normandy Four format in June 2019 is not on the schedule of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the moment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday when asked to comment on a statement by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

"There are no [such] plans at the moment," Peskov said.

Earlier, Poroshenko told 112 Ukraine TV channel that a summit of the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders on the settlement in Ukraine could possibly take place in June, during celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

It is still premature to convene a next meeting of the Normandy Four group, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Saturday.

"It is still early to talk about a new Normandy meeting. First, we should wait for the end of the current stage of intra-political processes in Ukraine, that is the election of president," the diplomat said.

"It is principally crucial for Russia that the summit, in case it is convened, will really demonstrate some progress in the implementation of the Minsk ‘package’ [the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements - TASS]," Grushko stressed.


"Nobody is interested in the next Normandy Four meeting, at any level, to end up with nothing," he added.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Ukraine’s President-Elect Vladimir Zelenskiy is ready to discuss new conditions for coexistence of Ukraine and Russia, he wrote on his Facebook page.

April 27, 2019 - Zelensky is ready to discuss new conditions for Ukraine and Russia’s coexistence

Vladimir Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelenskiy © Anna Marchenko/TASS

"I would like to note once again that I am ready for negotiations. I hope that at the next meeting in the Normandy format Russia will demonstrate readiness for de-escalation ... Our side is ready to discuss new conditions for coexistence of Ukraine and Russia," Zelensky wrote.

In his opinion, mutual exchange of prisoners under the "all for all" formula should be a concrete confirmation of Russia's readiness for de-escalation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier he believes ways to resolve the Donbass conflict could be the focus of his possible talks with Ukrainian President-Elect Vladimir Zelensky. "If we ever meet in order to hold talks - and I don’t rule out such a possibility - we will first and foremost have to discuss ways to end the conflict in southeastern Ukraine," Putin said, adding that there was no alternative to the Minsk Agreements in that regard.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So, as of now, it looks like the russians smelled a rat right from the get-go with Zelenskiy ...
Putin’s decree last week allows people living in Ukraine’s unrecognized Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway republics to receive a Russian passport within three months of applying for one.

April 28, 2019 - Ukraine’s president-elect offers passports to Russians

Ukraine’s president-elect offers passports to Russians

KIEV: President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed an offer by Vladimir Putin to provide passports to Ukrainians, and pledged instead to grant citizenship to Russians who “suffer” under the Kremlin’s rule.

Zelensky, a comedian who won Ukraine’s presidential election last week, responded to Putin’s offer by releasing a statement on Facebook late on Saturday.

“We know perfectly well what a Russian passport provides,” he said, listing “the right to be arrested for a peaceful protest” and “the right not to have free and competitive elections.”

He pledged instead to “give citizenship to representatives of all nations that suffer from authoritarian and corrupt regimes.
“But first and foremost to the Russian people who suffer most of all.”

He said that one of the differences between Ukraine and Russia is that “we Ukrainians have freedom of speech, freedom of the media and the Internet in our country.”

A political novice, Zelensky has pledged to “reboot” peace talks with the separatists that also involve Russia and the West.
Putin has not congratulated Zelensky on his election, but said he is ready to talk with a new Ukrainian leadership and wants to “understand” the actor’s position on the conflict.

In his Facebook post, Zelensky warned Russia not to talk with Ukraine “in the language of threats or military or economic pressure.”
He previously called for more international sanctions against Moscow in response to Russia providing citizenship to residents of Ukraine’s separatist east.

Zelensky is due to take office by early June.

April 28, 2019 - Ukrainians will reject Putin’s passport offer: President-elect
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts during a news conference at his campaign headquarters following a presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo/File Photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin should not expect many Ukrainians to take up his offer of a Russian passport, Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, while offering Ukrainian citizenship to Russians.
 
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