Ukrainian Diary – digest of the most important news over the past week (audio)
Situation in Donbas and Occupied Crimea – Weekly Overview
Pro-Russian separatists keep shelling the Ukrainian positions in Donbas along the whole contact line, in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol directions. During the past week the enemy forces increasingly used big-caliber mortars, grenade launchers and various types of infantry weapons. Twice a week they shelled the residential areas in the villages of Mariinka and Zaitseve (Donetsk region). Fortunately, no casualties were reported. Meanwhile, Kyiv is ready for a prisoner swap with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, but only in compliance with all statutes of the Ukrainian law. That was disclosed by Irina Gerashchenko, Ukraine’s envoy to the Contact Group’s humanitarian subgroup on Donbas settlement. "Ukraine is ready to hand over those individuals whom it will be possible to release under the Ukrainian legislation, where no violations of our legislation or our legal procedures are involved," she said. Gerashchenko also added that the Ukrainian side is looking into different mechanisms for prisoner release. "We have verified those who don’t want to return, confirmed readiness by the Ukrainian side to hand over to the other side all those among the requested whom it will be possible to release under the Ukrainian law," she stressed. Gerashchenko also citied data by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), under which 157 Ukrainians are held prisoner in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, saying the Ukrainian side has confirmed 88. "First of all these are military," she added.
Meanwhile, Russian authorities in Crimea have intensified persecution of Crimean Tatars, reads the latest statement issued by Human Rights Watch. This is done with the apparent goal of completely silencing dissent on the peninsula. The New York-based rights group said that "Russian authorities and their proxies have subjected members of the Crimean Tatar community and their supporters, including journalists, bloggers, activists, and others to harassment, intimidation, threats, intrusive and unlawful searches of their homes, physical attacks, and enforced disappearances". The report adds that Crimean Tatar media and organizations that criticized Russia’s actions in Crimea have been banned -- including the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar self-governing body.
In October 2017, Human Rights Watch researchers in Crimea documented multiple criminal prosecutions for separatism against Crimean Tatars who had criticized Russia’s actions in Crimea, as well as new and ongoing baseless terrorism-related prosecutions. Researchers also documented detention and fines for Crimean Tatars who peacefully staged single-person pickets to protest the arrest and prosecution of other Tatars.
Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Affairs of Crimean Tatars comments, “By its actions over the past 3.5 years the Russian Federation violated all international norms and treaties. This includes grave violation of human rights, the terrible ecological damage to the Crimean region. Indigenous pro-Ukrainian population of Crimea is massively replaced by the occupation authorities with natural Russians as them call them.”
UN Claims Russia Responsible for Human Rights Violations in Crimea.
The renewed resolution on human rights violations in the occupied Crimea aims to make Russia, as an occupant state, stop massive violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to the press service of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. On Tuesday, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly supported the draft resolution "Situation on human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)". The document was supported by the representatives of 71 states, 77 - absteined, 25, including the Russian Federation, voted against.
The resolution condemns the violations and restrictions of human rights, discrimination against Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and representatives of other ethnic and religious groups by Russian occupiers. It also condemns the application of the Russian legislation in the annexed territory and the forced quit of Ukrainian citizenship for a Russian one. The draft resolution contains a requirement for Russia to comply with the decision of the UN International Court of Justice to restore the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens on the peninsula and a call to provide the educational process in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages.
In addition, the document urges to immediately cancel the decision where the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people is recognized as an extremist organization as well as the ban on its activities. There is also a provision calling to put an end to the practice of coercion of the Crimean residents to serve in the Russian army, including through pressure or propaganda. The draft condemns the denial of access to the Crimean territory of the United Nations human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine despite the current mandate of the mission.
The next step will be the consideration of the draft resolution at the plenary session of the UN General Assembly in the second half of December 2017, and most importantly - to force the Russian Federation to fully implement it. Eskender Bariyev, Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, and member of the Mejlis commented on the draft resolution approval. “There are high hopes that this document will be finally adopted. This resolution has a clear formulation and a clear requirement to observe an interim decision of the International Court of Justice as of the 19th of April, 2017. This decision clearly describes the violation of human rights in Crimea and names political prisoners who need to be released. This resolution is of a recommendatory nature, but it is another proof of support by most UN member states. And it gives grounds to enhance sanctions against the Russian Federation,” Eskender Bariyev said.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the approval of the resolution. Mustafa Dzhemiliev, leader of the Crimean Tatars and member of the Ukrianian parliament, called the approval of the draft as a great step to deoccupy Crimea.
World Bank Appreciates Ukrainian Reforms
The WB supports efforts by Ukrainian reformers and reaffirms its commitment to help this country accelerate its growth. On his first visit to Ukraine, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim met with President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, members of the Government and representatives of the Parliament to discuss ways to reinforce Ukraine’s reforms in agriculture, health, pensions, energy and the banking sector and efforts to tackle corruption. PM VG comments, “Our priority is to insure sustainable economic growth in the years to come and the deepening of our cooperation will strengthen the economic revcovery of Ukraine. We also discussed the completion of the full-fledged anticorruption infrastructure in Ukraine and the establishment of anticorruption court. We also discussed the land reform and the healthcare reform and I am very pleased that we agreed to join our efforts to create a new high quaity healthcare system in Ukraine.”
In his turn Jim Yong Kim reaffirmed World Bank’s support for Ukraine and its reforms aimed at helping improve people’s lives and boosting the country's competitiveness on the local and international levels. In speech the World Bank Group President particularly focused on the land market reform. “I want you to know that we at the World Bank group and many people observing Ukraine have been very impressed with the extend of the reform process that's happenned over the last few years. There are several things now that Ukraine has to finish in its reform process for it to be able to reach a whole new level of prosperity that will be shared by all Ukrainians. On land market reforms... I am here to offer our support for a reform that will lead to a much greater prosperity for all Ukrainians and done in a way that will protect even the smallest land owners. In the WB we have done these kinds of reforms in many many countries and we will bring expertise and experience that will ensure that all Ukrainians benefit from the land market reform process,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. He also noted a critical need for the High Anti-Corruption Court to be established in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Success in Dubai Air Show
Ukrainian-made Antonov An-132 transport aircraft is showcased at the 2017 Dubai Air Show. The aircraft is an improved version of the Antonov An-32 twin-engine turboprop military transport plane developed jointly by Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. The plame is among 160 of the latest commercial, business and military aircrafts showcased at the aviation fair. This is the second participation of the Antonov aircraft at an air show: it made its debut at the 52nd International Paris Air Show.
The Saudi-Ukrainian aircraft, with its multiple functions and light weight, has the capacity to fly 28,000 feet with a load of 9.2 tons and a distance of at least 2,200 km. It can travel more than 4,500 km without a load and at a speed of 550 km per hour. The plane is intended for operation on short and medium-haul routes to perform various tasks including the transportation of raw materials, mail and other cargo, including bulk cargo, light self-propelled and non-self-propelled vehicles. The aircraft will also be deployed for emergencies, including civilian and casualty evacuation from disaster areas and airdropping paratroop rescue teams.
Acting President of the "Antonov" State Enterprise Oleksandr Kryvokon comments on the prospects of joint manufacturing production with Saudi Arabia, “We are now planning to sign a contract for the serial production of the aircraft, including its certification. In early October, the King of Saudi Arabia designated the land for accommodating the production facilities of a new Antonov plant.” Another Ukrainian aircraft showcase at the fair is the Antonov AN-70, a military freighter, which has no equal in most of its capabilities. It is the only aircraft in the world capable of take−off and landing from short unpaved runways of 600−700 meters while carrying up to 20 tonnes cargo over 3000 kilometers.
The Dubai Airshow 2017 is one of the world’s biggest aviation fairs. It serves as a platform for major players of the global industry and highlights the latest technological innovations. The show runs from November 12 to 16.