Friday, September 20, 2019

Ex-president says Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons due to threat of US sanctions


September 20, 2019 (TASS). Ukraine had to renounce nuclear weapons complying with the demands of Western countries, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told the Russia’s 24 TV. According to President Kravchuk, Ukraine had to destroy its nuclear arsenal under the threat of US sanctions. "We were presented with a challenge - either we lay down our nuclear weapons, or they will put economic pressure on us, including sanctions," the former president said. Kravchuk stressed that Western countries did not want to lose control of nuclear weapons and therefore exerted economic pressure on Ukraine.

 He added that he had no regrets about his consent to destroy his country’s nuclear arsenal. After the break-up of the USSR, Ukraine had an impressive nuclear capability. However, its nuclear arsenal was destroyed in 1994 after it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Kravchuk earlier said that Ukraine would resemble "a monkey with a grenade," it if did not give up nuclear weapons.



Thursday, September 19, 2019

Zelensky-Trump meeting in New York is slated for next week


September 19, 2019 (UNIAN) An upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in New York City is slated for next week. "The Vice President spoke by phone today [September 18] with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to follow up on their productive September 1 meeting in Warsaw and discussed President Trump's upcoming meeting with President Zelensky next week at the UN General Assembly in New York," according to the readout of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's phone call with Zelensky, which was posted on the White House's website on September 18.
Zelensky is to meet Trump next week / Photo from president.gov.ua


The Vice President commended President Zelensky's administration for its bold action to tackle corruption through legislative reforms, and offered full U.S. support for those efforts, it said. What is more, Pence reiterated the United States' unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. As UNIAN reported earlier, the Ukrainian President's Office said that during the phone call with Mike Pence on September 18, Zelensky said he hoped for an increase in Ukraine security assistance.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Estonian president: War in Donbas cannot be over at cost of Ukraine’s sovereignty


September 14, 2019 (Kyiv Post) President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid has said that Ukraine and international society should search for a decision how to end war in Donbas, and a recent mutual release of hostages could be a remarkable step on the way towards this, as was reported on the president’s website.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky meets President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid in Kyiv on Sept. 13, 2019.

 “Though this cannot happen at the cost of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” she said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sept. 13. The Estonian leader stressed that the war in eastern Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea were unacceptable things and it would be reiterated on the international level.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap


September 8, 2019 (UNIAN) 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. Read also Plane with Ukrainian political prisoners lands in Boryspil. The list includes 11 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 yesterday.

As BBC reported Russia has not yet confirmed the names of the prisoners who have been released by Ukraine. It arranged a low-profile arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, with initial reunions kept behind closed doors. In Ukraine, the scene was very different. The prisoners freed by Russia reunited with their relatives on the tarmac at Kiev's Boryspil airport, surrounded by the press. The Ukrainian government has since published a list of the 35 prisoners released by Russia. It includes 24 Ukrainian sailors whom Russia detained off Crimea in November last year. But the most significant and controversial person Ukraine sent to Russia is Volodymyr Tsemakh, reportedly a commander of air defences for Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. Mr Tsemakh, 58, is a "person of interest" in the Dutch-led investigation into the 2014 shooting down over Ukraine of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which led to the deaths of all 298 people on board.

Monday, September 2, 2019

German President Asks for 'Forgiveness' as He Marks 80th Anniversary of WWII Start Date in Poland


September 1, 2019 (time.com) Germany’s president expressed deep remorse for the suffering his nation inflicted on Poland and the rest of Europe during World War II, warning of the dangers of nationalism as world leaders gathered Sunday in the country where the war started at incalculable costs. “This war was a German crime,” President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Poland’s top leaders, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders at a 80th anniversary ceremony marking World’s War II’s outbreak.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the commemoration ceremony of the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, in Wielun, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019.

Also in attendance were elderly Polish war veterans wearing military uniforms and a Holocaust survivor wearing a yellow Star of David and the striped clothes that prisoners wore at Nazi German death camps. Steinmeier expressed his sorrow over the mass killings Adolf Hitler’s regime committed in Poland, which paid a huge price for being the place war began on Sept. 1, 1939. The German president expressed gratitude to Poles for the gestures of forgiveness Poland has bestowed in return.
I bow in mourning to the suffering of the victims,” Steinmeier said. “I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical debt. I affirm our lasting responsibility.
Two weeks after the German invasion, the Soviet army invaded Poland from the east, putting the country under a dual occupation that came with atrocities committed by two invaders. By the war’s end nearly six years later, about 6 million Polish citizens had been killed, more than half of them Jews. Polish President Andrzej Duda recalled Poland’s immense suffering and he appealed to those assembled not to close their eyes now to imperial tendencies and border changes imposed through force. Duda cited aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, and though he didn’t name Russia, it was clear he found that country at fault as the aggressor. “Recently in Europe we are dealing with a return of imperialist tendencies, with attempts to change borders by force, with aggression against countries,” President Andrzej Duda said. “Turning a blind eye is not the recipe for preserving peace. It is a simple way to embolden aggressive personalities, a simple way to, in fact, give consent to further attacks.” German president had a modern-day warning of his own — about the dangers of nationalism — and described European unity as a guarantee for peace in the future.
Polish authorities didn’t invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend anniversary events because of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s recent rehabilitation of the Stalinist era, and a pact Soviet leader Josef Stalin made with Hitler that led to Poland’s dismemberment in 1939, were apparently also behind the decisions not to invite Putin. That represented a change from 10 years ago, when Putin was invited amid attempts to thaw relations between the West and Russia at the time. 
President Donald Trump had originally been scheduled to attend the event, but canceled as Hurricane Dorian barreled toward the U.S. Pence spoke on behalf of the United States in Warsaw. “While the hearts of every American are with our fellow citizens in the path of a massive storm, today we remember how the gathering storm of the 20th century broke into warfare and invasion followed by unspeakable hardship and heroism of the Polish people,” he said. Pence said the Polish people “never lost hope” and “never gave in to despair.