Interfax: Ukraine’s western partners to decide next steps on Donbas settlement based on Volker’s trip results

File Photo of Kurt Volker and W. Bruce Weinrod, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to Senior Airman Nathan Lipscomb

KYIV. July 24 (Interfax) – United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has told Ukrainian parliamentarians that the results of his trip to Donbas will be reflected in western partners’ decision on further steps towards peaceful settlement. At the start of their meeting Volker, who had just returned from the armed conflict zone in Donbas, shared his impressions […]

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U.S. should be more involved in settlement of crisis in eastern Ukraine – Department of State

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

KYIV. July 23 (Interfax) – Washington wants to be more involved in the settlement of a crisis in eastern Ukraine, United States State Department’s Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said. Volker said at a press conference in Kramatorsk on Sunday that the U.S. saw how this conflict had begun and understood how it had been managed now. He […]

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Navalny Clashes With Ex-Commander Of Russia-Backed Separatists

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Carl Schreck, Christopher Miller – July 20, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/navalny-girkin-debate/28629308.html) Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and a prominent former commander of Russia-backed separatists sparred over patriotism and the war in Ukraine in a debate that stoked widespread discussion and criticism among political players and watchers after it […]

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Interfax: Moscow says Malorossiya idea far from “real politics”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – July 19, 2017) The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that Ukrainian separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko’s plan to establish a new state in Ukraine – “Malorossiya” – has nothing to do with real politics. “In my view, these statements do not go in line with the obligations the sides [of the conflict] had taken as part of the Minsk […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin aide reportedly says Ukraine Malorossiya idea ‘useful'” – RIA Novosti

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(RIA Novosti – July 19, 2017) Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov has offered reserved praise for an idea put forward by a key Russia-backed rebel to set up a new state in Ukraine. According to a pro-Kremlin pundit, Surkov called Alexander Zakharchenko’s proposed country of Malorossiya “imaginary”, but said discussions around it were “useful”. “All this hype over the imaginary […]

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NEWSLINK: “Can Kurt Volker Solve the Ukraine Crisis? Kurt Volker, widely known as a tough-minded and accomplished diplomat, confronts his biggest challenge in working to implement the Minsk agreements.” – The National Interest/ Curt Mills

File Photo of Kurt Volker and W. Bruce Weinrod, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to Senior Airman Nathan Lipscomb

“As Donald Trump spoke with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Hamburg … his State Department announced the appointment of a tough-minded former NATO ambassador to serve as Washington’s new point man on Ukraine. His mandate is to help implement the Minsk agreements. Kurt Volker is widely respected as an accomplished diplomat, but in Ukraine he confronts his greatest challenge yet. […]

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Reconstructing the power vertical: the authoritarian threat in Ukraine; Subverting the fight against corruption, whipping up patriotic publics and coopting the media and judiciary – this is the face of authoritarian drift in Ukraine.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Minakov – June 29, 2017) Mikhail Minakov is Associate Professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and President of the Foundation for Good Politics, Kyiv. He is also visiting professor at the Institute for European Studies, Europa-Universitaet Viadrina and editor-in-chief of the journal Ideology and Politics. Eastern Europe has become a source of short- and long-term risks for the entire […]

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Ukraine Says There’s No Evidence of Illicit Payments to Manafort

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany – June 27, 2017) Ukrainian prosecutors said they’d found no proof of illicit payments to U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager from his work for the party of the nation’s ousted leader. Anti-corruption investigators in the ex-Soviet republic said last year that they’d found ledgers showing $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments between […]

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AUDIO NEWSWATCH: “Many In Eastern Ukraine Want To Join Russia” – National Public Radio (NPR)

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Putin insists Russia doesn’t want to annex separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine, but many residents, who already use the Russian ruble and depend on Russia in many ways, wish he would. … An update now from eastern Ukraine, where, for the last three years, Russia has fueled a separatist war. … Putin insists he wants only to protect ethnic […]

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Disconnected society: how the war in the Donbas has affected Ukraine; People displaced by the war in eastern Ukraine need a community to represent their interests – any community. Why is that proving so difficult?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Kateryna Iakovlenko – June 26, 2017) Kateryna Iakovlenko is a journalist and researcher from Rovenky, Luhansk. She researches Ukrainian art of the 1980s-1990s, and is postgraduate student at the New Media Department, Lviv National University. An Italian journalist once asked me why I love my country. He also asked me whether I consider myself Ukrainian. After all, I […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukraine in Conflict” – E-International Relations/ David Marples

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Firstly, Ukraine has moved away from the Russian orbit. … Secondly, the quasi-messianic phase of the conflict, the quest for the so-called Russkiy Mir (Russian World), initiated in Moscow has failed. … Thirdly, Ukraine’s response to Euromaidan has been ambivalent and at times questionable. * * * In turn, some Ukrainians refuse to accept any Western critiques of their country. […]

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Ukraine’s justice ministry sues Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

KYIV. May 31 (Interfax) – Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko intends to file a defamation lawsuit against Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the Rukh Novykh Syl political force. “I have made a decision to file a lawsuit based on all those statements that this citizen made regarding the protection of honor and dignity,” Petrenko told a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Calls on Russia and Ukraine to Make Peace; Message marks shift in tone from Washington on Ukraine” – Wall Street Journal/ Nathan Hodge, Paul Sonne

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Trump called on Russia and Ukraine to make peace Thursday, presenting himself as something of a neutral peacemaker between the nations, a day after meeting foreign ministers from both countries in Washington. … Trump tweeted two side-by-side photos of himself – one with … Lavrov and another with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin – and said he met with the two […]

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Interfax: “Conflict in Ukraine cannot be settled without direct talks between parties to it – Putin”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

SOCHI. May 2 (Interfax) – It is impossible to settle the conflict in southeastern Ukraine without a direct dialogue between Kyiv and Donbas, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s necessary to finally make representatives of the Kyiv authorities and representatives of these unrecognized republics sit down at the same negotiating table. It’s impossible to achieve the conflict’s settlement without a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Economic Ramifications of Conflict in Ukraine” – Stratfor

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has dealt a particularly heavy blow to its economic relationship with Russia. Much of Ukraine’s industrial production was taken offline …. The country lost a sizable share of its exports … [and]  GDP saw a double-digit contraction. Kiev… [the EU] and [the] United States, slapped Russia with sanctions … [over] Crimea and Donbas; Moscow responded in kind …. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Fears in Ukraine’s Coal Country; A factory and its workers face economic hardship from conflict and blockades” – U.S. News/Katherine Jacobsen

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Two years later a blockade in eastern Ukraine now threatens the future of the Avdiivka plant and the health of Ukraine’s already shaky economy. Activists, with the support of some politicians, initiated the blockade in January with the intention of halting trade between businesses in Ukrainian and separatist-held territories. In mid-March the government in Kiev joined in, reversing itself […]

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Hitler’s Anschluss and Putin’s – Similarities and Differences

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 13, 2017) Seventy-nine years ago today, Adolf Hitler issued the law on the unification of Austria and Germany, an event subsequently known as the Anschluss, and one that both resembles and differs from what Vladimir Putin did in the case of Ukraine’s Crimea, according to two Ukrainian experts. Yuri Shapovalov, a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Yatsenyuk on BBC Hardtalk: ‘Ukraine has lots of lunatics in politics'” – Kyiv Post/Denys Krasnikov

Arseniy Yatsenyuk file photo

“Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has made an appearance on the BBC Hardtalk show hosted by Stephen Sackur. Yatsenyuk, who left the prime minister office nearly a year ago in April 2016 and was replaced by Volodymyr Groysman, followed other top Ukrainian politicians who appeared on Hardtalk in recent years, namely President Petro Poroshenko, ex-Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili and Kyiv […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kyiv Post Editorial: Russia’s War Against Ukraine: Borders Harden”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“After three years of war, the Russians are hardening their stance towards Ukraine. Without a stronger response from the West and Ukraine’s leaders, Ukraine stands to forever lose parts of the eastern Donbas now under Russian-separatist control. … amount[ing] to 2.5 percent of Ukraine’s territory or 15,341 square kilometers. The Russian side has begun a campaign to nationalize Ukrainian businesses […]

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NEWSLINK: “Yanukovych Resurfaces; ‘Ukraine Has Become a Wild Country'” – Der Spiegel

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

“Three years after the Maidan insurgency, Viktor Yanukovych has re-emerged to express his views on the Ukraine conflict in a letter addressed to Trump, Putin, Merkel and others. DER SPIEGEL correspondent Christian Neef met with the former president.” [featured image is file photo]

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Ukrainians Reflect Bitterly On ‘Betrayed Hopes’ Of Euromaidan

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – December 29, 2016) KYIV — Between classes in Kolkata, India, 17-year-old Svyatoslav Yurash was glued to a video stream of almost a million of his compatriots rallying in Ukraine’s capital when he decided to join the protest that would soon swell into a revolt. The night before in Kyiv — on November 30, […]

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Ukraine’s corrupt counter-revolution

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

In Ukraine, revolution and reform has given way to reaction, with vested interests entrenching themselves even further. (opendemocracy.net – Sergii Leshchenko – December 30, 2016) Sergii Leshchenko is a Ukrainian journalist and a member of the Verkhovna Rada. All views expressed are made in a personal capacity. Last week, as the world prepared for the Christmas holidays, Ukrainian MPs gathered […]

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: “Saakashvili seeks to come to power, jail Kolomoisky”

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

“Ex-Odesa Oblast Governor and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Nov. 11 announced plans to come to power in Ukraine with a newly-created political group, promising to have tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky jailed if he does. He also said at a news briefing that he had repeatedly rejected President Petro Poroshenko’s offers, made since last year, to appoint him prime minister […]

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Ukraine’s Millionaire Officials Come Out of Hiding

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – October 31, 2016) If you believe his mandatory income and property declaration, Serhiy Melnichuk, a Ukrainian legislator with a military past, should be one of the wealthiest people in the world. The document says he holds 1 trillion hryvnias ($39 billion) in cash. That’s almost twice Ukraine’s planned revenue for this year and […]

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Totalitarian tendencies in post-Maidan Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

In Ukraine, the state apparatus, far-right movements and patriotic citizens are working together to shut down debate and silence criticism. (opendemocracy.net – Volodymyr Chemerys – October 26, 2016) Volodymyr Chemerys is a human rights activist. He was a member of the Verkhovna Rada of the second convocation (1994-1998) and one of the leaders of the 1990 “Revolution on granite” and […]

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Ukraine’s ministry of internal hatred

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Ukrainian citizens displaced following the outbreak of conflict in the Donbas are still fighting for their rights – and public officials are using them as scapegoats. (opendemocracy.net – Tetiana Bezruk – October 14, 2016) Tetiana Bezruk researches contemporary Ukrainian nationalism, political violence in the Donbas and cultural memory in post-Soviet Ukraine. A friend who moved to Kyiv from Luhansk showed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No evidence so far to corroborate Russia allegations over Crimea: U.S.” – Reuters

Geoffrey R. Pyatt file photo

The United States has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russian allegations of a Ukrainian incursion into Crimea … U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, said …. [along with promises that] U.S. sanctions in relation to Russia’s annexation of Crimea would remain in place until the territory was returned to Ukraine. … Putin accused Kiev … of … terrorist tactics […]

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Yanukovych’s lawyers hurry Kyiv court with organizing his questioning in “Berkut” inquiry

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

KYIV. July 21 (Interfax) – The defense lawyers of Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych will do everything for his questioning, via video link, to be organized as quickly as possible by Kyiv’s Svyatoshinsky Court, which is hearing the case against five former officers of the Interior Ministry’s Berkut special-forces unit, lawyer Vitaly Serdiuk said. “We’ve come a very long way to […]

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Ukraine has Almost Exhausted ‘Anti-Russian Model’ of Behavior, Kyiv Analyst Suggests

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 20, 2016) Russia’s aggression in Ukraine will make it difficult for Kyiv to find a modus vivendi with Moscow, Anatoly Oktsiyuk says; but “sooner or later,” Ukraine will have to do so and with a recognition of the fact that both domestically and internationally, it has almost exhausted the “anti-Russian model” […]

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In Ukraine, not only heroes deserve justice; A Ukrainian blogger sentenced for his scandalous views on the conflict in the Donbas has just been released. Whatever his shortcomings, Ruslan Kotsaba deserved our solidarity.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(OpenDemocracy – opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards and Thomas Rowley – July 17, 2016) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. Tom Rowley is Lead Editor at oDR. He is currently finishing a PhD on Soviet dissent at the University of Cambridge. Last Thursday, Ruslan Kotsaba addressed journalists in a west Ukrainian courthouse, tears running down his face. “This is a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Pyatt: High hopes, some regrets, one big question” – Kyiv Post/Brian Bonner

Geoffrey R. Pyatt file photo

Pyatt is part a big turnover … coming in the Western diplomatic corps, as ambassadors who served during the EuroMaidan Revolution and the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine are being reassigned …. * * * It was in support of Ukrainians’ fight against their corrupt authorities that Pyatt took one of his stronger and more memorable stands. … * […]

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Ukraine’s authoritarian signals

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Recent unconstitutional legislation is smoothing the way for direct rule in Ukraine – and repeating past mistakes. (opendemocracy.net – MYKHAILO MINAKOV, TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV – July 5, 2016) Mykhailo Minakov is Associate Professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and President of the Foundation for Good Politics, Kyiv. He is also director of the Krytyka Institute, and editor-in-chief of the journal Ideology and Politics. […]

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Ukraine’s struggle with the past is ours too

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

What happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine – uncritical glorification of Ukrainian nationalism is the west’s problem too. (opendemocracy.net – PER RUDLING, TARIK AMAR, and JARED MCBRIDE – June 15, 2016) Per Anders Rudling is associate professor at the department of history, Lund University and senior visiting fellow at department of history, National University of Singapore. Tarik Cyril […]

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NEWSWATCH: Freed by Russia, Ukraine’s ‘Joan of Arc’ may be thorn in own leaders’ side – Reuters/Pavel Polityuk

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

Securing … Savchenko’s release from Russian captivity was a PR coup for … Poroshenko but the outspoken woman … may ultimately prove a thorn in his side. … in jail, Savchenko was named a lawmaker in … the main opposition party at a time of growing disillusion with the slow pace of reforms and … corruption. She … condemned a […]

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Savchenko ready to become Ukraine’s president if people want it

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

KYIV. May 27 (Interfax) – Nadiya Savchenko said she was ready to become Ukraine’s president if citizens of the country wanted it. “Ukrainians, if you want me to become the president, I will be the president,” Savchenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Friday. Savchenko also said she was not sure that “people have already learned not to […]

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Ukraine’s New Hope

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 25, 2016) So after holding her in captivity for 708 days, the Kremlin has finally released its most famous hostage. And as a result, Ukraine might have gained something it has long lacked — and badly needs: a political figure with clear and unambiguous moral authority; someone unsullied by the past and […]

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Turning our backs on Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Two years after the tumultuous events of 2014, Ukraine is falling out of international media – with consequences for Ukraine’s democracy. (opendemocracy.org – Ian Bateson – May 11, 2016) Ian Bateson is a foreign correspondent living in Kiev, Ukraine. He has written for Reuters, the Guardian, the Daily Beast and AL Jazeera. He tweets as @ianbateson. Over the past year, […]

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Ukraine’s Free Trade Deal Was Just a Start

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 11, 2016) Ukraine’s free trade agreement with the European Union was so controversial that it caused the former Soviet republic’s break with Russia, which had opposed the closer ties with Europe. Several months in, it looks like the deal is benefiting the EU more than it is helping Ukraine. That doesn’t mean […]

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Kyiv Must Reject West’s Calls to Change Constitution and Hold Elections in Occupied Donbas, Piontkovsky Says

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 7, 2016) Kyiv must reject calls by Berlin and Paris to change the Ukrainian constitution and allow elections in the occupied Donbas because these calls, which reflect Moscow’s exploitation of the desire of the two European leaders to be seen as peace makers, would result in the destruction of the Ukrainian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kudrin and Poroshenko will fail because corruption is the system in Russia, Ukraine” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… The irony is that Russia and Ukraine find themselves in exactly the same place: both countries are suffering from an economic miasma and both need deep and far-reaching reforms if they are to prosper. The difference between them is that Russia is half way through the process and will very like actually make some more reforms, whereas Ukraine is at the […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How Ukraine’s new prime minister can put Kiev on a European path. Ukraine’s new government has a tough task ahead: It must deal with a controversial legacy of governance, improve its image abroad and fulfill plans for EU integration – all while reducing the nation’s dependence on Russian gas.”

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Russia Grants Ukraine’s Request to Delay Eurobond Case Defense”

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Russia has agreed to allow Ukraine extra time to file its defence with a British court … Russia filed a lawsuit … demanding repayment of the $3 billion Eurobond …. Ukraine insists Russia must accept restructuring terms agreed with other foreign creditors. … Ukraine had until March 19 to file its defence although it was granted an extension until April […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/Alazs Jabarik, Mihkail Minakov: “Ukraine’s Hybrid State. Ukraine has new institutions and a vibrant civil society, but a culture of corruption erodes state legitimacy. The state has been captured by enemies within.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

With no end in sight to the slow-motion hybrid war in Donbas, the impetus to reform the Ukrainian state has moved in fits and starts. Attempts to carry out a series of fundamental reforms have fallen far short of expectations. These efforts have produced what some observers have described as a hybrid Ukrainian state. The country boasts new institutions and […]

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VIDEO & NEWSWATCH PBS: “Two years into new regime, grim realities persist in Ukraine”

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine has faced many challenges in the two years since violent protests drove the country’s president from office. The Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in particular sparked a military conflict between pro-Russian secessionists and Ukraine’s government. Correspondent Kira Kay and Producer Jason Maloney from the Bureau for International Reporting take us inside Ukraine to asses the country’s struggle for […]

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Kennan Cable No.16: Understanding the “Under Control” Donbas

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Brian Milakovsky, Humanitarian Activist, Ukraine – April 22, 2016) [Photos and figures here wilsoncenter.org/publication/kennan-cable-no16-understanding-the-under-control-donbas] After nearly two years of war, the contested Donbas region in eastern Ukraine is split in two between the Russian-backed “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk and the so-called podkontrolny (under control) Donbas. There is much analysis of how Ukraine might […]

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Alarm bells ring as chief Maidan crimes investigator threatened with criminal charges

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Human Rights in Ukraine – khpg.org – Halya Coynash – April 21, 2016) Civic activists and Euromaidan victims’ lawyers have sounded the alarm about a major offensive against Serhiy Horbatyuk and his special investigative department which has been described as the “last bastion within the Prosecutor General’s Office really doing anything to investigate Euromaidan-related crimes”.  Several criminal investigations have been […]

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