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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Macron, Merkel to organize Normandy Four summit in coming weeks

August 26, 2019 (UNIAN) French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will organize the next summit of the Normandy Four (Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine) in the coming weeks.

That is according to G7 Leaders' Declaration published on August 26, following the summit of the G7 leaders: Macron, Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Giuseppe Conte, the outgoing Italian Prime Minister. "France and Germany will organize a Normandy format summit in the coming weeks to achieve tangible results," the document said with regard to Ukraine. G7 leaders also expressed their position regarding the world trade, Iran, Libya and Hong Kong. As UNIAN reported earlier, on August 25, Merkel said German and French leaders were working to organize the summit of the Normandy Four at the highest level in Paris in the near future.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Success as Ukraine conducts first burn test of Cyclone-4 launch vehicle stage


August 25, 2019 (UNIAN) For the first time in recent history, Ukraine conducted burn tests of the Cyclone-4 class launch vehicle, Pivdenne Design Office reported. "On August 23, on the eve of the 28th anniversary of our country's independence, for the first time in its recent history, burb tests of the launch vehicle stage as a whole were carried out. It's the third stage of the Cyclone-4 middle-class launch vehicle designed by Pivdenne and manufactured at Yuzhmash," the report says.
It is noted that these are the final and most important tests before the first flight tests of the third stage of the Cyclone-4 launch vehicle, which will work directly in space, bringing satellites to the target point. "During the fire tests of all systems worked perfectly, the stage engine was turned on five times, as planned by Pivdenne designers. The tests were recognized successful!" the design office said in a statement, adding that a detailed report is yet to be published.
The third stage of the Cyclone-4 includes a liquid-propellant rocket engine RD-861K, designed to create traction and maneuver. Also, the main design decisions are incorporated the second stage of the new Cyclone-4M launch vehicle. According to UNIAN, this April, the Antares launch vehicle, which was designed with the participation of Ukraine's Pivdenne Design Office, was successfully launched from the Space Mission Center on Wallops Island (USA, Virginia).

G7 leaders believe it is too early for Russia to return

August 26, 2019 (belsat.eu) The leaders of the G7 countries discussed Russia’s return to the group during he recent Biarritz summit. According to the AFP, politicians came to the conclusion that it is “too soon” to do so, the agency reported with reference to diplomatic sources.
Meanwhile, BNN Bloomberg reports that Trump said in Biarritz that it is “certainly possible” to invite Putin to the summit next year.Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly spoke about the possibility of Russia’s return to the “Big Seven”. This week, in particular, he noted that Russia’s return would be an appropriate solution, as the group is discussing, among other things, issues related to Russia. On August 21, CNN reported, citing sources that Trump and French President Emmanuelle Macron had agreed to invite Putin to the G7 summit in 2020. Later, however, Macron denied saying this, noting that Russia’s return is possible only after the Ukrainian crisis is resolved. On the eve of the summit, European Council President Donald Tusk criticized Trump’s proposal to invite Russia to the G7. Tusk said he would try to convince the G7 leaders that it is better to invite the Ukrainian president to the next meeting instead.
The G7 includes the USA, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Canada. Russia was expelled from the G8 after the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the war in Donbas.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Celebrations of Ukraine's Independence Day held with participation of president


August 24, 2019 (UKRINFORM) Official celebrations of the 28th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence have begun in Kyiv on the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. 

The celebrations are held with the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Independence Day was usually celebrated with a military parade held in Kyiv. However, President Zelensky decided to celebrate Independence Day in a new format. Instead of holding a military parade, the state allocated UAH 300 million in bonuses to servicemen. On July 30, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Bohdan informed that the traditional parade would be replaced by a March of Dignity. A separate march, known as the March of Defenders, would be also held by Ukrainian war veterans.

The flag seen in today’s Doodle - with colors representing peace and prosperity, a bright blue sky, and golden wheatfields - will fly throughout Ukraine today in honor of the Eastern European nation’s 28th Independence Day. The national holiday marks Ukraine’s emergence as a sovereign state. On this day in 1991, a coup attempt in Moscow inspired Ukraine’s declaration of independence, leading to a referendum in which Ukrainian citizens voted to cut ties with the Soviet Union and elect a new president. Living in the second largest country in Europe aside from Russia, Ukrainians have their own rich language and culture. Many time-honored traditions are celebrated on this day. At festive concerts and fairs, many participants wear the vyshyvanka, an embroidered shirt popularized nearly 1000 years ago, during the days of the Kievan Rus.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has accepted congratulations on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Independence of Ukraine, the president’s press service reports. In particular, President of the United States Donald Trump emphasized that the U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders remained unchanged.
“Over the next year, the United States of America will work in partnership with the government and people of Ukraine to advance reforms that are critical to Ukraine's success, including reform of the rule of law and the fight against corruption, strengthening democratic institutions and promoting economic growth. The Ukrainian nation should fulfill its enormous potential, and the United States is proud to be a partner and support Ukraine on this path of change,” the U.S. president said in his congratulation.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom also congratulated Ukraine on Independence Day.
"It is with great pleasure that I extend to Your Excellency my congratulations on the occasion of your national holiday, together with the best wishes of happiness and prosperity to the people of Ukraine in the coming years," the letter reads.
President of France Emmanuel Macron stressed in his greetings that France kept standing side-by-side with Ukraine in order to restore peace in the east of the country.
"I applaud your initiative and determination to make concrete progress quickly for the benefit of the people affected by the conflict. I would like to assure you of my aspiration to reach tangible results in the Normandy format negotiations and in the negotiations with Russia,” the French president said.
"I am convinced that the sooner Ukraine implements ambitious reforms, in particular in the fight against corruption, and creates favorable conditions for realizing its exceptional economic potential, the sooner peace returns to Ukraine," Macron added.
Congratulations were also received from a number of other state leaders of the world.