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

4.11.2017 р., 22:30

Мilitary Conflict in Ukraine’s East – Weekly Update.

More than 400 civilians suffered in the result of the armed Donbas Conflict since the beginning of 2017.  Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug claimed this at the briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center in Kyiv on Friday. “'The OSCE SMM spotted 5892 violations of the ceasefire regime last week. The total amount of the violations since the beginning of 2017 is more than 325 000. Almost 27 000 of these attacks were made with the usage of the banned arms. The number of the victims (died and injured) among the civilians outnumbers 400 people in 2017”, he said.

Meanwhile, Serhiy Kyslytsia, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, spoke at the United Nations Security Council debate about the recruitment of the local youth by Russian-backed militants to fight in the Donbas. According to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN, it was the debate on Children and Armed Conflicts. The Ukrainian diplomat said that according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, 90 boys and 47 girls have died since the start of the Russian aggression.
He also reminded that 80 children were killed as a result of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines plane MH17 with a Russian missile. Almost 70 children have been injured in the Donbas conflict zone because of mines. “We should not forget that there are thousands of children in Ukraine, whose lives have been seriously damaged as a result of the war, caused by the neighboring country which is ironically a permanent member of this Council,” the Ukrainian diplomat said. “Furthermore, according to non-governmental organizations, there have been more than 80 cases when children are recruited in the uncontrolled parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The OSCE, not Ukraine, reports that illegal armed formations in eastern Ukraine do not allow young men to leave Donetsk and forcibly recruit them to military units, that can be compared to trafficking in human beings,” Serhiy Kyslytsia said.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian separatists keep shelling the Ukrainian positions along the whole contact line.

Ukraine and Canada Broaden Trade Cooperation.

International investors should take a look at Ukraine and the opportunities that it offers. Volodymyr Groisman, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, said this during a Ukrainian-Canadian business forum held in Toronto. According to him, there has never been a better time to invest in Ukraine.

The Head of the Government drew the attention of the forum's participants, among whom there were both world political leaders and leading entrepreneurs, to the fact that Ukraine has firmly taken the European path of development and does not intend to leave it.

“Look at Ukraine in a new way, analyze the real state of affairs in Ukraine. And if you make a decision to invest in Ukraine, I am convinced that, along with thousands of companies working in Ukraine today, you will succeed, together with Ukraine. We will continue to unify our legislation with the European law. We will continue to modernize institutions, including legal ones. Today, we have begun a rather serious reform of the judicial system, and we want to do everything to ensure that the justice system meets all high European standards,”  said Volodymyr Groisman.

“We highly value our relations, they are absolutely strategic. I would like to thank you for your support for Ukraine in the context of the Russian aggression, support for our territorial integrity,” Volodymyr Groisman claimed. Justin Trudeau assured that “Canada will always be on the Ukrainian side, whether it is the Russian armed aggression, or any other global sphere”.
During the meeting, Groisman and Trudeau also discussed priorities of Canada's G7 presidency in 2018. It was agreed that during the forthcoming G7 summit in June 2018, the Ukrainian issue will be considered both in the context of strengthening security and peace as well as in the coordination of international support for Ukrainian reforms. The parties also discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine and the possibilities for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to the Donbas. Ukraine’s Prime Minister of Ukraine had a two-day official visit to Canada, from the 31st of October till the 1st of November.

Ukraine and Saudi Arabia Will Deeper Cooperate in Defense Field

The Ukrainian delegation attended Saudi Arabia with a working visit. Cooperation in the defense sector, agreements on the provision of the technologies from Ukraine with the participation of Saudi Arabia's investments and preparation of appropriate contracts have been in the focus of a series of meetings among high officials of the two countries. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko will give details.

“We have actually finilized the discussion and are ready to sign an agreement on cooperation in the defense field. I can emphasize the fact that two extremely important and large contracts in the field of military and technical cooperation are being implemented now. Ukraine and Saudi Arabia are fully satisfied with their implementation. I can say that now we are demonstrating a huge progress in the cooperation in the field of aircraft construction and our aircraft Antonov 132d is now in Saudi Arabia,” Petro Poroshenko said.

An Antonov aircraft was presented during the visit in the framework of reaching an agreement on the serial mutual production of such aircrafts. Among other plans of cooperation between the two countries, there is a project on the development of inter-city infrastructure in Ukraine with the attraction of Saudi Arabian investments. An agreement on cooperation in the agrarian sector has also been signed. Stepan Poltorak, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, commented on the defense aspect of bilateral relations recalling the interest of both sides in developing cooperation in various directions. Moreover, on the basis of the official visit to the Kingdom, Petro Poroshenko told about the achievements in simplifying a visa regime with Saudi Arabia. He noted that during the meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia, they agreed to reduce the visa fee, facilitate the travel for human contacts, foster the cooperation at the level of businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as intensifying tourist trips.

Anna Applebaum Won Literary Prize for Holodomor Investigation

American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum has been honoured with the 2017 Antonovych Foundation award. The annual Omelian and Tetiana Antonovych Foundation Award is given for literary works written in Ukrainian and for research on Ukrainian studies. Over the past three decades, the Antonovych Foundation presented more than 60 awards.

Anne Applebaum's new book, "Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine", covers the 1930s genocide in Ukraine, and how it has impacted the history and modern politics of the state. The artificially-engineered famine which became known as the Holodomor, a Ukrainian word meaning death by hunger, killed millions of Ukrainians. Stalin’s Soviet regime used famine as a weapon to murder millions of innocent men, women and children in an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian nation. It was one of the most tragic episodes in the history of Ukraine and Applebaum believes that the genocide continues to shape the thinking of Ukrainians and Russians to this day.

American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum comments. “Even three generations later many of contemporary Ukraine's political problems can be traced back to the mass murder displacement of so many  Ukrainians... Those who led Ukraine in the aftermath of the famine, those who knew the stories, who have been witnesses to the events they were frightened into silence and obedience, they were taught to be very weary, and careful, and cowed. Some on the political passivity you see in today's Ukraine also date back in 1933, Russification that followed the famine also left its mark”, Anne Applebaum said.

Yet in the end, the famine did fail, but still it is important to talk about the  events of 1932-1933 in order to leave a message for the next generations, especially given that for quite a long time the Holodomor tragedy was hushed, people were afraid to speak about it and now finally it is openly discussed.

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