Civil War in Ukraine: Western Empire vs Russia

angelburst29

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Progress on Minsk Agreements needed before summit in Normandy format — Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "the agreements reached earlier by the leaders of the Normandy format" should be fulfilled first before preparing for another summit.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov © Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, August 27, 2019 - Progress in the implementation of the Package of measures of the Minsk Agreements and working in accordance with the "Steinmeier formula" are necessary prerequisites for preparing a summit in the Normandy format (Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"We should firstly fulfill the agreements reached earlier by the leaders of the Normandy format. This includes starting a sustainable process of disengagements of forces — some things are being done in this sphere, but the process is not complete. Secondly, the so-called 'Steinmeier formula' should be used as it clearly states how the law on the special status of Donbass will be implemented and how elections will be held. When we see progress in these spheres, we will probably be ready to start preparing for the new summit," Lavrov told Channel One.

French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier at the press-conference after the G7 summit in France's Biarritz that he plans to organize a summit in the Normandy format on Ukraine settlement in September. The last summit in the Normandy format took place on 19-20 October 2016 in Berlin.

Macron’s statements on Russia confirm policy outlined at meeting with Putin, says expert
Last week, Macron wrote on his Facebook page in Russian that there is obvious progress in the Russian-French relations on certain issues due to the sides applying efforts on developing them.

MOSCOW, August 28, 2019 - Statements by French President Emmanuel Macron on Russia’s role on the European continent are a logical continuation of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Director of the RAS (Russian Academy of Sciences) Institute for Europe Vladislav Belov told TASS on Wednesday.

"Macron confirms all his statements made during the meeting with Putin in the run-up to the G7. There may be a crisis in relations regarding Ukraine, but cooperation still exists. Macron does not deny the need to continue cooperating with Russia despite existing differences. He confirms his position," the expert said.

According to Belov, such statements are especially important in the run-up to the Normandy Four summit. "In this way, Macron highlights Russia’s role as a European country, whose influence cannot be denied or ignored," he explained.

Last week, Macron wrote on his Facebook page in Russian that there is obvious progress in the Russian-French relations on many political and economic issues due to the sides applying efforts on developing mutual relations. According to Macron, "Russia is a deeply European country", and France believes "in Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok."

On Tuesday, the French leader once again stressed the importance of dialogue with Russia during the annual French ambassadors’ conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
 

angelburst29

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Trump may block $250 million in aid to Ukraine: officials
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One upon departure after the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

The White House is reviewing whether $250 million in military assistance should be sent to Ukraine in keeping with President Donald Trump's view that U.S. foreign aid must be justified, two senior administration officials said on Thursday.

Wakeboarder, wrestler, dentist: novices of Ukraine's new ruling party take over parliament
Dmytro Nalotov, newly elected lawmaker of the Servant of the People party, speaks with Reuters before his first parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine August 29, 2019.  REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A wakeboarder, a wrestler and a dentist were among 254 lawmakers from President Volodymyr's party who took up their seats as the new majority in the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday -- not one of whom has ever worked there before.

Ukraine parliament appoints new defense minister
Ukraine's parliament on Thursday appointed Andriy Zahorodnyuk, a lawyer and activist, as new defense minister.

Ukraine President nominates new foreign, defense ministers
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday nominated Vadym Prystaiko, former Ukrainian ambassador to NATO, as foreign minister, a parliamentary draft resolution showed.

Jailed Ukrainian filmmaker brought to Moscow amid prisoner swap talks: Russian media
FILE PHOTO - Barbed wire and placards with images of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov are seen after a rally demanding the release of Sentsov, who was jailed on terrorism charges and is currently on hunger strike in Russian jail, in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Russia has transferred jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov from a remote Arctic prison to custody in Moscow amid talks with Kiev on a possible prisoner swap, news agencies TASS and Interfax cited unnamed sources as saying on Thursday.

Death toll in Ukraine building collapse rises to eight: emergency services
The number of people killed in the collapse of an apartment building in western Ukraine rose sharply to eight, including one child, the Ukrainian state emergencies service said on Thursday.
 

angelburst29

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Ukraine official says Ukraine, Russia swapped prisoners, including sailors
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov looks on from a defendants' cage as he attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov/File Photo

Ukrainian prisoners, including sailors and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, are flying back to Ukraine after a prisoner swap was completed with Russia, according to comments that were reposted on Facebook by Ukraine's general prosecutor.

Jailed Ukrainian filmmaker brought to Moscow amid prisoner swap talks: Russian media
Russia has transferred jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov from a remote Arctic prison to custody in Moscow amid talks with Kiev on a possible prisoner swap, news agencies TASS and Interfax cited unnamed sources as saying on Thursday.
 

Aeneas

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The Ukrainian Rada just convened for the first time since elected and the new President now has full majority in the Rada to ameliorate the situation.
Something is striking: the new cabinet ministers were also ministers under the Poroshenko government and almost all of the new parliamentarians are completely new, meaning they have no experience and can be easily hoodwinked. That the US has been working behind the scenes is evident. There is not going to be big changes towards ameliorating relations with Russia by the looks of it. There is new hope by some but as long as the people in the dark corridors are the same, that hope will most likely evaporate anew. One could say that the pathology is systemic.

Here is a small youtube about the first day in parliament (starts at 1 minute mark) and what happened:

Edit: Here is a link to the new Rada and its composition Verkhovna Rada - Wikipedia
 

angelburst29

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U.S. still strongly supports Ukraine's Crimea claim: Pence
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech during a commemorative ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two in Warsaw, Poland September 1, 2019. Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta via REUTERS

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Ukraine on Sunday that Washington continues to back its claim for Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, even as U.S. President Donald Trump mulls cutting aid to the European nation.

Trump advisor comments on Zelensky-Pence meeting in Warsaw
REUTERS

September 2, 2019 - U.S. President's National Security Advisor John Bolton has expressed support for Ukraine in terms of the country's integrity.

During U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's meeting with Ukrainian President Zelensky, the U.S. Vice President’s message "couldn't have been more clear: the US has stood, and will continue to stand, with the people of Ukraine on their security and territorial integrity," John Bolton tweeted on Monday.


As UNIAN reported earlier, Zelensky and Pence met in Warsaw, Poland, where they arrived to take part in commemoration events marking the anniversary of the start of World War 2.

During the official visit, Zelensky also met with Polish and Lithuanian leaders.

With Mike Pence, the Ukrainian president discussed his upcoming visit to the U.S. where he is set to meet with his American counterpart, Donald Trump.

Zelensky ready to lift ban on exhumation of Polish graves in Ukraine
The Ukrainian leader mulls a reconciliation memorial at the border, while Poland is set to refurbish Ukrainian memorials on its territory.

president.gov.ua

president.gov.ua

President of Ukraine Volodymyr during his Poland visit announced readiness to lift a moratorium on exhumation works as part of the efforts to search the remains of Poles who died during World War 2.

"I'm ready to unblock the receipt of permits for search operations in Ukraine, while the Polish side will refurbish the Ukrainian memorials in Poland," Zelensky told a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Saturday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

Besides, Zelensky invited Duda to establish a reconciliation memorial on the Ukraine-Poland border.

"Today I discussed with President Duda the existing historical issues and those of modern times. I am glad that in our relations there are no issues that we could not solve by dialogue and mutual understanding. This is the most important thing," Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president noted that tensions between Ukraine and Poland became a "wonderful gift" for adversaries.

We agreed to renew and reload the bilateral working group, which will work under the patronage of both presidents – of Poland and Ukraine – so that all the 'dark spots' of the past do not prevent our peoples from building a bright future together. I really, really believe in this," the head of the Ukrainian state emphasized.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine imposed a ban on exhumation works by Polish experts at locations where the Poles died during WW2 over the inaction of Polish authorities to prevent acts of vandalism at the graves of and monuments to Ukrainians in Poland, as well as over the inaction of Polish authorities on the restoration of numerous sites that have been destroyed.

On Feb 22, 2018, then Vice Prime Minister, representative of Ukraine in the joint Ukrainian-Polish commission on historical issues, Pavlo Rozenko, said that Ukraine was asking Poland to restore the destroyed Ukrainian monuments, following the example of the Ukrainian side, which investigates any acts of vandalism regarding Polish monuments in Ukraine and restores them.

Rozenko also said that the resumption of cooperation between Ukraine and Poland in the matter of joint work on the search for the remains of fallen compatriots depends on the decisions made in Warsaw, including in the context of amending the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which provides for a ban on the ideology of Ukrainian nationalists.
Zelensky dismisses ex-chief of Ukrainian army's general staff from service
Photo from UNIAN

Photo from UNIAN

September 2, 2019 - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed former Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko from service.

Relevant decree No. 645/2019 of September 2 was posted on the president's website.

The decree notes Muzhenko has been transferred to the reserve "in connection with organizational activities with the right to wear a military uniform." There are no other explanations in the document.

New PGO chief in Ukraine sacks top military prosecutor
Ruslan Riaboshapka / Photo from UNIAN

Ruslan Riaboshapka / Photo from UNIAN

September 2, 2019 - Ukraine's new Prosecutor General, Ruslan Riaboshapka, has signed an order to dismiss Anatoliy Matios from the post of chief military prosecutor.

The PGO press service said that, guided by the law on the prosecutor’s office, the provision regarding military service by Ukrainian citizens in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and also based on a letter from the Minister of Defense of September 2, Riaboshapka signed an order to dismiss Matios from the post of deputy prosecutor general, chief military prosecutor.

In addition, the order excluded Matios from the lists of PGO staff. His further service shall be determined by the Ministry of Defense.

According to UNIAN, the Office of Special Investigations of the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Facebook that ex-PG Yuriy Lutsenko, right before he was dismissed from the post, on Aug 29, deprived the department's investigators of the authority to probe 20 cases and appointed Matios to oversee the department's work, which the report says could pose a conflict of interests in certain cases.
 

thorbiorn

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Three DPR soldiers killed, five wounded in Ukrainian attack on Grigorovka

AUGUST 30, 2019 12:23


Donetsk, Aug 30 – DAN. Three DPR soldiers have been killed, five injured when Ukrainian forces launched an attack on DPR southern areas, the DPR People’s Militia said.
“The fighters of the 35th marine brigade under command of Nikolay Palas opened fire on Grigorovka, DPR south, at 6.30 p.m. Three DPR soldiers died, five were injured.”
The total of 15 rounds of 120 mm caliber hit the township.
Three DPR servicemen have been captured during a skirmish with the Azov extremists outside Gorlovka. One DPR defender has been killed, another one injured. *ot
It seem they are down with 3+(5)+1+(1)+3 captured
 

thorbiorn

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Ukraine on Sunday that Washington continues to back its claim for Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, even as U.S. President Donald Trump mulls cutting aid to the European nation.
They probably pressured the Ukrainians to do as they are told or risk some consequences, - especially financially. Following the pattern from China, Korea, Germany during the cold war, a frozen conflict has been created, and if it is up to them, it will last for decades until one of the parties gives in, or there is a settlement.
 

angelburst29

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Ukraine parliament votes to strip lawmakers of immunity from prosecution
Ukrainian lawmakers voted to strip themselves of immunity from prosecution on Tuesday, moving to help push through a signature election promise by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to root out corruption in politics.

Quick win for Zelenskiy as Ukraine parliament strips lawmakers` immunity
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a parliamentary session in Kiev, Ukraine August 29, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian lawmakers voted to strip themselves of immunity from prosecution on Tuesday, fulfilling an anti-corruption election promise by reformist President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
 

angelburst29

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Ukraine court releases MH17 suspect on bail
Volodymyr Tsemakh, suspected of involvement in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane in 2014, stands inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

A Ukrainian court on Thursday released on bail a man suspected of involvement in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine in 2014 that killed 298 people.

Putin says major Russian prisoner swap with Ukraine is close
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia September 5, 2019. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that a major prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine was close, after a court in Kiev freed on bail a man suspected of involvement in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Eastern Ukraine in 2014.
 

angelburst29

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Ukraine's central bank said the torching of a vehicle owned by the family of its former governor, Valeria Gontareva, was evidence of "psychological and physical pressure" being exerted on her, days after Gontareva herself was hit by a car in London.

Ukraine central bank sounds alarm over threats to officials after car blaze
A view shows a burnt car, which is reportedly owned by former Governor of the Ukrainian Central Bank Valeria Gontareva's family members, in Kiev, Ukraine September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A view shows a burnt car, which is reportedly owned by former Governor of the Ukrainian Central Bank Valeria Gontareva's family members, in Kiev, Ukraine September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

In a statement on Thursday, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) called for authorities to promptly investigate both incidents and prosecute those responsible.

“Recent incidents involving Valeria Gontareva and her family in London and Kiev may indicate that the former NBU Governor has become the target of psychological and physical pressure pursuing a certain goal,” the central bank said.

It called on the authorities “to safeguard the life and health” of Gontareva and current central bank staff, as guaranteed in Ukraine’s constitution.

The central bank said it saw “a real threat to the personal safety of those NBU officials who have implemented and continue to implement financial sector reforms” and that it believed the incidents were aimed at disrupting its work.

It did not say who it suspected was behind the incidents.

“Today at one in the morning, the car of the family of my eldest son was doused with gasoline and burned next to their house in the centre of Kiev,” Gontareva said in a separate statement. “The car was registered in the name of my daughter-in-law, whose name is also Valeria Gontareva.”

Kiev police later confirmed that the car had been burned and said they had launched an investigation.

Gontareva says she was hospitalized with severe injuries after being hit by a car a week ago in London, where she now works as an academic.

As central bank governor, Gontareva was a key driver of reforms following the 2014 Maidan street protests that brought a pro-Western leadership to power in Ukraine. She stepped down in 2017.

The reforms included shutting scores of banks which the central bank said were used by their owners for shady purposes such as money-laundering.

In 2016, Gontareva helped nationalize PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender, which was co-owned by Ihor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s most powerful tycoons and a backer of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who swept to power this year.

Her reforms were praised by the International Monetary Fund but made her unpopular with some Ukrainian lawmakers and business leaders.

Gontareva has said she is being hounded as part of a long-running battle over her decision to nationalize PrivatBank.

Kolomoisky denies orchestrating a campaign against Gontareva, who was summoned for questioning in April as a suspect in a corruption investigation.

Gontareva denies any wrongdoing and says she is a victim of “political persecution” and is afraid to set foot in Ukraine.
 

angelburst29

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Ukrainian captives appear to reach Moscow airport in expected prisoner swap: Interfax
Buses believed to be carrying Ukrainian prisoners arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo airport on Saturday, Interfax news agency reported, as a major prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine appeared to get under way.

Detained Ukrainian sailors waiting for flight from Moscow -lawyer
All 24 Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait last year are waiting for a flight from Moscow's Vnukovo airport, their lawyer Nikolai Polozov told 112 TV on Saturday.

Planes leave Moscow and Kiev in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap
A plane with Ukrainian markings has taken off from Moscow's Vnukovo airport on its way to Kiev as part of a prisoner swap operation, a Reuters witness and Russian news agencies reported.


Russia, Ukraine swap prisoners in first sign of thawing relations
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov hugs his daughter Alina Sentsova upon arrival in Kiev after Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap, at Borispil International Airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine September 7, 2019. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko

Russia and Ukraine carried out a long-awaited prisoner swap on Saturday in a step that could thaw a deep freeze in relations since Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region in 2014.

Filmmaker Sentsov, 24 Ukrainian sailors in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap: lawyer
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov looks on from a defendants' cage as he attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov/File Photo

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, jailed in Russia, is among 35 Ukrainians who will be transferred from Moscow to Kiev as part of a prisoner exchanges on Saturday, his lawyer said.

Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap: Official list of freed Ukrainians
REUTERS

The press service of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has posted a full list of Ukrainians who returned home on September 7, 2019 as part of a prisoner swap between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The list includes political prisoners Roman Sushchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpiuk, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Pavlo Hryb, Edem Bekirov, Yevhen Panov, and Artur Panov.

In addition, 24 Ukrainians sailors captured by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018 were freed today:

- Roman Mokriak, commander of the Berdyansk armored naval boat;

- Yuriy Bezyazychny, motorist-electrician;

- Andriy Artemenko, senior seaman gunner;

- Andriy Eyder, alarm seaman gunner;

- Bohdan Holovash, graduate of the Institute of Naval Forces;

- Denys Hrytsenko, commander of the 1st Division of the Naval Command Raid Guard Ships;

- Vasyl Soroka, captain, was on board of the Berdyansk armored naval boat;

- Bohdan Nebylytsia, commander of the Nikopol armored naval boat;

- Viacheslav Zinchenko, alarm seaman gunner;

- Serhiy Tsybizov, alarm seaman gunner;

- Serhiy Popov, deputy commander of the division for electromechanical units – Chief of the electromechanical service of the 1st division of the Naval Command Raid Guard Ships;

- Vladyslav Kostyshyn, graduate of the Institute of Naval Forces;

- Andriy Oprysko, motorist-electrician of the Vyshhorod armored naval boat;

- Adnriy Drach, captain, was on board of the Nikopol armored naval boat;

- Oleh Melnychuk, commander of the Yanu Kapu tugboat.

- Mykhailo Vlasiuk, motorist-electrician;

- Viktor Bespalchenko, seaman gunner;

- Volodymyr Tereshchenko, seaman gunner;

- Yevhen Semydotsky, foretopman;

- Volodymyr Lisoviy, commander of the 31st division of the logistics vessels;

- Andriy Shevchenko, Chief Petty Officer of the division;

- Volodymyr Varimez, senior radiotelegraph operator of the Smila training boat of the 31st division of the logistics vessels;

- Serhiy Chuliba, commander of the division of motorists of the Nova Kakhovka training boat of the 31st division of the logistics vessels;

- Yuriy Budzylo, commander of the radio control platoon of the 21st separate company of the naval command.

Russian security forces arrested film director Oleh Sentsov in Simferopol on May 10, 2014. Student Oleksandr Kolchenko was captured by Russia in a week. They were charged with preparing terrorist acts. Kolchenko was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in a high-security penal colony.

The Supreme Court of Chechnya in May 2016 sentenced Ukrainian citizens Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpiuk to 20 and 22.5 years in prison, respectively, for alleged gang-related activities, murder and attempted murder of Russian military servicemen. The Russian investigation alleged that Klykh and Karpiuk set up groups in Ukraine to participate in fighting against the Russian army for independent Chechnya during the first Chechen war.

Pavlo Hryb was just 19 when he was abducted by the FSB from Belarus on August 24, 2017, after going there to meet who he thought was a young woman he had chatted with online and fell in love with. He was tried in Russia on trumped-up "terrorist" charges as investigators claim he instructed an accomplice to set off an explosive device at a Russian schoolyard. Russia's North-Caucasian District Military Court on March 22 sentenced Hryb to six years in a penal colony for allegedly "promoting terrorism."

Volodymyr Balukh was detained by Russia's FSB Federal Security Service on December 8, 2016. FSB operatives claimed that they had allegedly found 90 ammunition rounds and several TNT explosives in his attic. On July 5, 2018, a Russian-controlled in Crimea sentenced him to five years in a penal colony and a RUB 10,000 fine. On October 3, 2018, the so-called "Supreme Court of Crimea" reviewed Balukh's original verdict and reduced his term to four years and 11 months.

The FSB detained Roman Sushchenko at a Moscow airport upon his arrival on September 30, 2016. He was charged with "espionage," as the Russian authorities insisted he was an "operative" of Ukraine's intelligence service. Moscow's city court on June 4, 2018, sentenced him to a 12-year term in a high-security colony.

In August 2017, Artur Panov was sentenced in Russia to eight years in prison for allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Rostov-on-Don.

Russian authorities arrested Yevhen Panov in August 2016, charging him with being part of a "saboteur group" plotting a series of terrorist attacks on the peninsula infrastructure. On July 13, 2018, the "supreme court" of Russian-annexed Crimea sentenced him to eight years in a high-security penal colony.

Oleksiy Syzonovych in July 2017 was sentenced in Russia to 12 years in prison. He was charged with plotting terrorist attacks in Rostov region, illegal border crossing and illegal possession of explosives.

On December 12, 2018, Russian security forces detained Bekirov at the de-facto border between mainland Ukraine and Russia-occupied Crimea. He was accused of storing, distributing and transporting more than 10 kg of TNT and 190 rounds of live ammo.

On the morning of November 25, 2018, Russia blocked the passage to the Kerch Strait for the Ukrainian tugboat "Yany Kapu" and two armored naval boats "Berdyansk" and "Nikopol," which were on a scheduled re-deployment from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol. All 24 crew members on board were charged with "illegal border crossing."
Zelensky in Boryspil speaks about talks with Putin on prisoner swap
Screenshot

Screenshot

Zelensky in Boryspil speaks about talks with Putin on prisoner swap
Screenshot

Screenshot

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting of Ukrainian political prisoners at Boryspil International Airport spoke about an exchange agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to him, the first conversation with Putin on the exchange of prisoners took place a month ago, on August 7, Ukrainian TSN news service reports.

"We agreed on the first stage in unlocking our dialogue, on the first stage in ending the war, the return of our military, our prisoners, our sailors, the return of our territories," he said.

Zelensky emphasized everything possible had been done to return the Ukrainians home and thanked everyone who was involved in the exchange process.

Ukraine's Zelenskiy: Prisoner swap first step in ending 'horrible war'
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivers a speech during a parliamentary session in Kiev, Ukraine August 29, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said an exchange of prisoners with Russia on Saturday was the first step in a process to end the conflict in Ukraine's Donbass region.

Trump congratulates Russia and Ukraine on prisoner swap
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump stands in the Oval Office during a presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday congratulated Russia and Ukraine on a long-awaited prisoner swap that could thaw a deep freeze in relations between the two countries since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region in 2014.

MH17 suspect among prisoners swapped by Ukraine with Russia: Dutch government
Ukraine has included a man suspected of involvement in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine in 2014, which killed 298 people, in a prisoner swap with Russia, the Dutch government said on Saturday.

Bellingcat says Tsemakh's release not to affect MH17 investigation
Ukrainian court's ruling to release ex-anti-aircraft unit commander Volodymyr Tsemakh should not affect the upcoming trial set to expose all those responsible for the MH17 downing over Donbas.
REUTERS

Bellingcat Investigator Christo Grozev believes that the decision of the Ukrainian court to release Volodymyr Tsemakh, whom Dutch prosecutors called a person of interest in the MH investigation, could be made because the Joint Investigation Team already has sufficient evidence of Russia's involvement in the passenger jet downing.

The JIT has accumulated so much objective evidence proving Russia is involved that the move will not change anything for the court, Grozev said, according to RFE/RL's Ukrainian bureau.

The expert believes that a sufficient amount of evidence will be presented for the court to hand down an objective verdict.

Grozev added that Tsemakh could have been released because Russia had put forward an ultimatum in the prisoner swap negotiations.

Had not Tsemakh been released, Moscow could have refused to exchange any held Ukrainians, Grozev believes.
 

angelburst29

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Ukraine president meets tycoon Kolomoisky amid concerns over their business ties
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meets tycoon Igor Kolomoisky in Kiev, Ukraine September 10, 2019. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meets tycoon Igor Kolomoisky in Kiev, Ukraine September 10, 2019. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met business tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky on Tuesday, the president's office said, the first reported meeting since Zelenskiy's inauguration in May between the two men who had long-standing business ties.

The president’s relationship with Kolomoisky, one of the richest businessman in Ukraine, has been under heavy scrutiny since the start of Zelenskiy’s election campaign, amid fears that the tycoon may be wielding influence behind the scenes. Both men deny such suggestions.

The president’s office said in a brief statement that Zelenskiy and Kolomoisky had met to discuss the business climate and the energy sector in Ukraine. It gave no further details.

Zelenskiy, a former comedian with no prior political experience, won the presidential election in April by a landslide on promises to fight corruption and transform Ukrainian politics.

Kolomoisky has been embroiled in a long running legal battle over control of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender, which he used to own before it was nationalized in late 2016.

Zelenskiy has repeatedly denied suggestions that he would help Kolomoisky win back control of PrivatBank or receive compensation.

The saga is closely watched by investors because the International Monetary Fund could freeze aid to Ukraine if the PrivatBank nationalization were reversed.

Ukraine parliament passes bill to criminalize illegal enrichment at first reading
Ukraine's parliament on Wednesday approved a bill that criminalizes state officials illegally enriching themselves.

Back in Ukraine, Sentsov plans to make more films and speak up for prisoners in Russia
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, who were released from a Russian prisons in a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, attend a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov plans to start making films again and to champion the rights of prisoners in Russian jails, he said on Tuesday, days after being freed in a landmark prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine ruling party gets impeachment law through parliament
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (C), newly-appointed Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk (R) and newly-appointed Parliamentary Speaker Dmytro Razumkov attend a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine September 2, 2019.  REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

Ukraine's ruling party on Tuesday passed legislation that allows a sitting president to be impeached if they break the law, acting on an election pledge by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the campaign trail this year.
 

angelburst29

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Ukraine drawing up roadmap to implement peace deal for Donbass: Zelenskiy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto attend a welcoming ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine September 12, 2019. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
Ukraine is preparing a roadmap with clear deadlines in order to implement a peace deal for eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told reporters on Thursday, speaking alongside the visiting president of Finland.

Trump administration reinstates military aid for Ukraine
FILE PHOTO: A National Guard serviceman takes part in a competition for entry to the elite units of the Guard at a base near Kiev, Ukraine September 26, 2018.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

President Donald Trump's administration has released $250 million in military aid for Ukraine, U.S. senators said on Thursday, after lawmakers from both parties expressed concern that the White House had held up money approved by Congress.

Ukraine president expects Trump meeting, Donbass peace talks in September
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivers a speech during a parliamentary session in Kiev, Ukraine August 29, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday he expects to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in September and that peace talks to resolve Ukraine's conflict with Russia in the eastern Donbass region will also take place this month.

Ukraine presidential official Danylyuk worried about raid on PrivatBank
The logo of Privatbank is pictured outside its branch in central Kiev, Ukraine, December 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

The Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council Oleksandr Danylyuk on Friday told reporters he was worried about a raid by police on the offices of state-run PrivatBank and the investigation into officials at the bank.

With Zelenskiy in charge, Ukraine tycoon Kolomoisky sees amicable solution on PrivatBank
Ukrainian business tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky attends the Yalta European Strategy (YES) annual meeting in Kiev, Ukraine September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukrainian tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky said on Friday he saw room for an amicable solution in his long battle with the authorities over the country's largest lender, PrivatBank, now that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was in power.

Russia ready for Ukraine peace talks but sets preconditions
The Russian flag is seen through barbed wire as it flies on the roof of the Russian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Russia is ready to take part in a four-way summit in Paris to try to breathe life into the stalled Ukrainian peace process but has strict preconditions for such a meeting, a senior Kremlin aide said on Friday.
 

Aeneas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Russia is ready to take part in a four-way summit in Paris to try to breathe life into the stalled Ukrainian peace process but has strict preconditions for such a meeting, a senior Kremlin aide said on Friday.
Those preconditions are mentioned in the following article, which I have highlighted:
Ushakov listed three basic conditions "that can ensure the success of the upcoming summit, if they are adhered to." The Kremlin aide stated that the issue of the disengagement of forces in three Donbass settlements must be sorted out, which, according to him, the leaders’ aides and the Contact Group have been discussing for a long time.


"We also find it important to fix the so-called Steinmeier Formula in writing within the framework of the Contact Group in the run-up to the summit. This formula envisages that the law on the special status of Donbass will be enforced temporarily on election day and permanently on the outcomes of the election following the publication of the final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. And our third important condition is the preliminary agreement on the outcomes of the summit, that is, agreement on the results that will be presented to the public and that will serve as the framework for further efforts on crisis regulation," he specified.
and there seems to be intense activity in making it happen, though it remains to be seen what comes of it:
"Active preparations are being made and when the results that can be approved by the leaders are visible, we will agree on a date," Ushakov said. "A number of dates was named, which are yet to be agreed. We will see how work goes, October cannot be ruled out. If the work is successful, why shouldn’t we hold the summit in October, but the final date has not been set yet, at least on our part."
 

Aeneas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In the meantime Ukrainians keep leaving the country for better work conditions and a more hopeful future no doubt:

ESTONIA: Ukraine’s ‘Ally’ Or A Cheap Labor Predator (VIDEO)

By Drago Bosnic
TALLINN/KIEV – The so-called Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are well-known, or better said, infamous for their fervent Russophobia. Despite Russians being the largest ethnic minority in all three states (a third of the population of Estonia and Latvia, and almost 10% in Lithuania), they are deprived of their basic human rights. Of course, the West turns a blind eye to this. However, this discrimination isn’t only targeted against ethnic Russians. Ukrainians, whose home country is an ‘ally’ of Ukraine, face the same level of discrimination.

Estonia, as well as other Baltic states, faced with a severe outflow of its population to the West, needs cheap labor. And the source of cheap labor for Estonia is Ukraine, which has been “doing great” since the Western-backed coup in 2014.

Yet, some in the Estonian leadership hate Russians so much, that they don’t want to see more Ukrainians in Estonia, primarily because they consider them to be the same people as Russians. The Estonian minister of the interior stated that it’s necessary to cancel the visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens. Mart Helme promised to introduce this initiative to the parliament because of the large number of arriving labor migrants. According to him, the Baltic republic should be able to decide whom and for how long to admit independently.


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When the Baltic states became part of the EU, many of the educated people left for higher paying jobs in other parts of the EU, hence part of the reason for the need for labour.
 
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