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Ukrainian Diary – digest of the most important news over the past week (Audio)

8.09.2017 р., 23:30

Situation in Donbas – Weekly Review

The ceasefire isn't holding in the East of Ukraine. Por-Russian separatists keep shelling the Ukrainian positions using heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreements. As RUI reported the latest ceasefire agreement came into effect at midnight on August 25, however the deal collapsed almost immediately like many pevious ceasefire agreements in the part. The first provocative attacks by militants began in the evening of the same day.

The situation was the tensest in the frontline areas around the city of Donetsk, the strategically important town of Avdiivka, and in the Mariupol sector. At the end of the week the situation remained much the same, Anatoliy Stelmakh, the military speaker of the Counter-Terrorist operation said in Kyiv on Friday. He said, «Friday, pro-Russian separatists kept shelling the Ukrainian positions day and night in Donetsk and Mariupol directions. The enemy used grenade launchers and light arms. In Donetsk direction mercenaries shelled the Ukrainian positions near the town of Avdiivka and the Butivka coal mine from heavy-caliber machine guns and light arms.”

Since the beginning of the CTO, Security Service of Ukraine has assisted in the release of over 3.1 thousand from captivity. This was said at the meeting of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination by its head, Yuriy Kachanov on Thursday, September 7th. According to him, the launch of the center’s activity took place on the 7th of April 2014 - at the very beginning of the conflict in the East of Ukraine. Since then, the center has assisted in the localization and the release of 3 thousand 138 persons overall. Different social strata are among those, military servicemen, journalists and civilians. As of today, 144 people are still being held in captivity and 410 are considered missing informed the head of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination.

On September 6th in Minsk, the subgroup on humanitarian issues within the Trilateral Contact group on Conflict Resolution in Eastern Ukraine, has met. Witnessed by OSCE representatives, the Ukrainian side has repeated its claim on the immediate release of the captives. As Ukraine’s representative, Deputy Spokeswoman of Verkhovna Rada Iryna Herashchenko has informed, “We demand to release 87 Ukrainians whose whereabouts have been confirmed. The Ukrainian side in turn is ready to compromise and release 309 persons.”. The Ukrainian side has proposed a formula of “309 for 87” for prisoners’ exchange to Russia, and submitted the lists of prisoners. The next meeting in Minsk is to take place on September 20th.

Meanwhile, Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan has stressed that in the first 6 months of 2017, 75% of instances of hindered access to the mission have occurred in the occupied territories of Donbas controlled by Russia-backed militants.

He said the freedom of movement was critical to the execution of SMM’s mandate and the fulfilment of its role in support of the implementation of the Minsk agreement, the mission’s statement reads.  

Peacekeepers in Ukraine Must Not Preserve 'Russia's Occupation' – Petro Poroshenko.

In his yearly address on the domestic and international affairs to the Verkhovna Rada, president PP has stated on Thursday that Ukraine’s strategic course towards the EU and NATO is now evident and irreversible. “The Ukrainian people had taken the initiative to define the European inclination during the Revolution of Dignity”, said Poroshenko. According to him, it is not for the sake of membership in prestigious clubs that Ukraine needs to join the EU and NATO. The President stressed, “This is an issue of civilizational independence and Ukraine’s guarantee for independence. After the world’s security system was destroyed in the postwar period, nato has been the only organism that has demonstrated efficiency and a reliable system of collective security. The European Union is a political culture of rights and freedoms, standards and the quality of life that is dignified, the one that Ukrainians strive for.”

Public opinion surveys confirm that the majority of Ukrainian citizens support Ukraine’s membership in the EU and joining the NATO. President Poroshenko has noted that he would probably initiate a referendum on the matter in order to demonstrate the Ukrainian people’s will to everyone, the friends of Ukraine, and its aggressive neighbor, as well as to all Ukrainian politicians.

Petro Poroshenko has also mentioned that the Ukrainian was prepared for a substantive discussion with the UN security council about a UN peаce mission within all the territory of the conflict zone. Ukraine hasn’t observed any signs of Russia’s willingness to retreat from Donbas and leave Crimea - quite the opposite, more and more evidence of preparation for offensive activity of continental scale is being seen, says Poroshenko. The abovementioned discussion, according to him, should include several principal elements.

Namely the Ukrainian side advocates a full-scale UN peacekeepers mission in the Donbas in order to maintain sustainable peace in particular areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The peace mission should unfold in all the temporarily occupied territories, including the uncontrolled area of Russia-Ukraine state border. The mission should exclude participation of the agressor country as well as the sides of the conflict. Participation of militants in the discussion of the mission’s modalities cannot be considered, the president said. According to him, an agreement regarding the peace mission’s modalities may be very hard to reach.

Concerning the issue of Crimea, Petro Poroshenko has noted that Ukraine cannot turn out Russia from the peninsula, and the latter would not leave. He said,”We are using all the instruments we possess within the international law, sanctions, international courts, various international platforms and monitoring systems, from UN to UNESCO. In order to succeed in holding Russia accountable for its actions on Ukraine’s territory within the international law, we have to go through a very long process. But we are committed to it.”

Ukraine Strongly Condemned Nuclear Test by Korea.

As tensions are rising following the latest nuclear test conducted by North Korea on Sunday, the Ukrainian leadership strongly condemned the outrageous move. This is the 6th test nuclear since 2006 has been run in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community.

Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin Minister spoke sharply about the latest news from North Korea calling for a peaceful solution to the growing tensions between North Korea and the USA. He said that it is extremely important to prevent this situation from escalating into a deeper crisis and reminded that in 1994 Ukraine signed away its nuclear arsenal, despite being the world’s third-largest atomic power. At that time the agreement symbolized new possibilities of cooperation in a post-Cold War world, now the situation has changed dramatically in the face of the Russian takeover in Crimea and the the 2017 North Korea crisis. The past months have seen a buildup of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

On September 3 the United States Geological Survey reported that it had detected a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in North Koreaen the shallow depth of the quake and its proximity to North Korea's primary nuclear weapons testing facility, experts concluded that the country had conducted a sixth nuclear weapon test. Later North Korea's television announced the successful test of a miniaturised hydrogen bomb.

The reactions to the North Korea crisis include responses by political and religious leaders, media, as well as by international organizations, calling for "a peaceful, diplomatic solution" to the growing tensions between North Korea and the USA. At the same time US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that said a number of "massive" military options are on the table in response to North Korea. He said, “We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack and our commitments among the allies are ironclad.

Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”


Ukrainian Diary – digest of the most important news over the past week (Audio)