Saturday, May 27, 2017

BBC team on the front line of the Ukraine conflict

May 27, 2017 (BBC Europe) Ukraine says 10 of its soldiers have been killed and 27 wounded in the east of the country in the past week. Diplomatic progress towards a political solution remains slow, weeks before a deadline when Europe must decide whether or not to maintain sanctions against Russia. BBC correspondent Tom Burridge, along with producer Daryna Mayer and cameraman Alex Shpigunov, travelled with the Ukrainian military to one of the most volatile parts of the front line, on the edge of the town of Avdiivka.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ukraine marks Vyshyvanka Day on May 18 (Video)

May 18, 2017 (UNIAN) On May 18, Ukraine is marking Vyshyvanka Day, which is dedicated to the embroidered shirt – part of the Ukrainian national costume. The International Day of Vyshyvanka is now observed every year on the third Thursday in May. It is designed to popularize Ukrainian culture and traditions. The idea of celebrating this day originated in 2006 when several students and teachers from Ukraine's Chernivtsi National University put on embroidered shirts as a flash mob effort. And some years later, this tradition became international. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko greeted the Ukrainian nation on Vyshyvanka Day. "Let our national clothes inspire us to new victories! My congratulations to all on Vyshyvanka Day!" he wrote on Facebook.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Poroshenko insists on UN peacekeepers deployment in Donbas

May 15, 2017 (UNIAN) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko insists on the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in occupied Donbas, according to an UNIAN correspondent. "I would very much like that my idea of introducing peacekeepers be supported. The militants were frightened when they saw that the idea of peacekeepers began to find support. Therefore, they organized an OSCE car blast, resulting in an American observer, a paramedic, died," Poroshenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Sunday. 
As UNIAN reported, on April 23, the vehicle of the OSCE SMM patrol blew up on a mine near the village of Pryshyb, controlled by "LPR" militants. An unarmed American monitor was killed in a blast, while another two monitors – from Germany and the Czech Republic – were injured. Ukrainian President has repeatedly stressed the need to deploy an OSCE armed police mission in the east of Ukraine an order to ensure security. However, the formation of such a mission requires the consent of all 57 OSCE participating countries.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Senators urge Trump to meet with Ukraine leaders before Putin

May 8, 2017 ( Sen. John McCain and five other senators are urging President Trump to hold off on meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin until he has first met with Ukrainian leaders. The senators, who include Republican and Democratic members of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, wrote to the president after he and Putin reportedly discussed a first face-to-face meeting in July on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany. Russia has incurred international condemnation and stoked widespread concerns among the United States' European allies for fueling a conflict in eastern Ukraine against the government of President Petro Poroshenko.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is still formulating its approach to Russian aggression and long-time commitments such as the NATO alliance as questions continue to swirl over its relationship with Moscow, which the U.S. intelligence community says meddled in the presidential election last year. "Meeting with democratically elected representatives from Ukraine would send a strong signal that the United States continues to prioritize our relationship with longstanding allies, and will continue our commitments to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing aggression," they wrote in the May 4 letter. Discussions of the possible meeting between Trump and Putin were reported by the Kremlin, but not included in a readout of the phone call released by the White House.

McCain and fellow Republicans James Inhofe and Rob Portman, along with Democrats Bob Menendez, Jeanne Shaheen and Bob Casey, praised the president for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's decision to attend a NATO foreign ministers meeting in March, following reports he would not go. "Many of our allies in Europe are anxiously awaiting policy direction from your administration about our commitments to NATO and other institutions that preserve the international order that has served as the framework for international stability and security since the end of the Second World War," the senators wrote.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Think about what war is

On these May days we remember all who fought in World War II. Many of them including my grandfather Nikolai Bezverkhnii never returned home. This post is dedicated to him. Just think; on the eve of the war he worked as a teacher in Poltava Teachers' Training Institute and after completing an accelerated tank commander courses (from which he was promoted Lieutenant) he was sent to the front line. His T-34 tank was shot up on January 18, 1943. His last letter to folks was dated after January 16, 1943. It was pretty brief. He wrote:
My dear folks, I am safe and sound. Now I am on the right bank of Donets River, on the front line. We're liberating our villages in a hot fights. If you wank to know when I am, just listen to the the latest news. Today we will go on 50 km. to the rear. Kiss you. Yours, Nikolai.

Look at these two pictures of my grandfather that were taken in 1939 and 1942 and you’ll see clearly what war is.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kyiv court allows Yanukovych to stand high treason trial by means of videoconference, recesses until May 18

May 4, 2017 (Interfax) - Kyiv's Obolonskyi District Court judge Vladislav Devyatko has allowed the defense of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to partake in the trial by means of videoconference. "The judges put their heads together and decided to partially grant the defense's request... for enabling Yanukovych's involvement in the proceeding by means of videoconference," Devyatko said at a court hearing on Thursday. The judge said that Yanukovych was summoned to the preparatory hearing consistent with norms of the law. Yet, considering Article 6 of the Human Rights Convention and the European Court of Human Rights's practice, the court deemed it necessary to allow the defense to engage the defendant in the preparatory hearing by videoconferencing means.
"The court made the decision and partially granted the defense's request. The defense will have an opportunity to arrange a videoconference between defendant Yanukovych and Kyiv's Obolonskyi District Court. The decision was made to ensure the right of the sides, including the defendant, to attend the court hearing, as that is required by the European Court of Human Rights," the judge said. Devyatko then announced that the court, holding the preliminary hearing on Yanukovych's trial for high treason, would recess until May 18.
Yanukovych's lawyer Vitali Serdyuk told reporters after the hearing that the videoconference should be arranged by means of international legal assistance mechanisms. "I believe that the court, which has made this decision, should refer to relevant Russian agencies for its fulfillment; they should provide a videoconferencing channel, like we had with Kyiv's Svyatoshynskyi District Court," the lawyer said. Yanukovych cannot appear in the courtroom, as he is being prosecuted for political reasons and the Ukrainian authorities are unable to guarantee his security, he said.