Saakashvili Tells Protesters In Kyiv He Is Ready To Become Ukraine’s Prime Minister

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 20, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/saakashvili-ukraine-russia-georgia-kyiv-poroshenko-georgia/28863506.html) Mikheil Saakashvili, the former governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region, told a protest rally in Kyiv that he is ready to “create a new government of Ukraine” and to become the country’s prime minister. “Ukraine needs an urgent formation of a new government,” […]

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Putin Speaks Directly To Separatist Leaders, Presses Prisoner Swap

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 15, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-ukraine-prisoner-swap-medvedchuk-separatists/28856131.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin has told leaders of Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk that he favors a plan for a prisoner swap with Kyiv, in a rare acknowledgement of direct contact with the separatist forces. Russian state-run […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin supported Viktor Medvedchuk’s proposed prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Donetsk and Lugansk republics” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 15, 2017) During Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Voskresensky New Jerusalem Monastery, Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right movement, sought the Russian President’s support for his proposed prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Leader of the Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right movement Viktor Medvedchuk: Mr President, may I […]

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U.S., Russia Envoys Differ On Peace And Peacekeepers In Eastern Ukraine

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – November 14, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/volker-surkov-meeting-ukraine-u-s-russia/28853193.html) After talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, U.S. and Russian envoys say their countries have “different concepts for how to make peace” but will continue to work to achieve that goal. “Both sides agreed to reflect on the discussions … and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. to Seek Russian Approval for Peacekeepers in Eastern Ukraine; U.S., Western officials hope Putin is seeking a way out of separatist conflict” – Wall Street Journal/ Laurence Norman, Julian E. Barnes

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

“U.S. officials are preparing to test Moscow’s willingness to end the Ukraine conflict by seeking Russia’s approval for 20,000 peacekeepers across Ukraine’s embattled east, U.S. and Western officials said. … driven by hopes in some Western capitals, including Paris and Berlin, that … Putin is seeking a way out of Moscow’s military support to Ukrainian separatists. * * * … U.S. officials […]

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NEWSLINK: “The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda” – The Hill/ Lev Golinkin

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

“… The most infamous neo-Nazi group in Ukraine is the 3,000-strong Azov Battalion, founded in 2014. Prior to creating Azov, its commander, Andriy Biletsky, headed the neo-Nazi group Patriot of Ukraine, members of which went on to form the core of Azov. Biletsky had stated that the mission of Ukraine is to ‘lead the White Races of the world in […]

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Less Than Half of Russians Surveyed Back Kremlin Support for Ukraine Separatists

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 30, 2017) Forty-one percent of surveyed Russians believe Moscow should support separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region, according to a new poll published by the independent Levada Center. Moscow has been accused of supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine since then-president Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in February 2014. The ensuing conflict between Kiev and separatists […]

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NEWSLINK: “A tale of two revolutions, or ‘decommunisation’, Ukrainian-style; Ukrainian politicians see their country’s Soviet heritage as a major obstacle on the way to abrave new world. It’s a shame they’re using the same revolutionary methods as the communists to deal with it.” – OpenDemocracy/ Sergey Rumyantsev

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NEWSLINK: “From free info exchange to Kremlin tool; Russia’s homegrown Web; The Soviet Union had a working Internet surprisingly early, and its isolation and highly educated users have kept it separate even in a well-connected world.” – Le Monde Diplomatique/ Kevin Limonier

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The Ukrainian government blocked access to a number of Russian online services this May, including search engine Yandex and Facebook equivalent VKontakte. Kiev accuses these services, widely used in Ukraine, of sharing data with Russian intelligence, especially the personal data of soldiers fighting separatists in the Donbass region. This measure stopped millions from accessing their favourite sites, and showed the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Senate approves $500 million military aid, lethal weapons for Ukraine”

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

“The … Senate passed … the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, authorizing the provision to Ukraine of $500 million worth of military aid, including lethal defensive weapons. … approved 89 to 8 votes, [the bill] will now go to the president’s desk … [it passed] the House … on July 14. * * * The executive summary … [says] that half of the $500 million … will be withheld until […]

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How a Former Governor Invaded Ukraine; The failure of President Petro Poroshenko to keep a political rival out of the country speaks volumes.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 11, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. On Sunday night, supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president, broke through a police and border guard cordon on the Ukrainian border to let their […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin’s news conference following BRICS Summit”- KremlinRu

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Kremlin.ru – September 5, 2017) Vladimir Putin answered Russian journalists’ questions following his visit to China to take part in the BRICS Summit. Vladimir Putin summed up the results of the BRICS Summit and his talks with foreign leaders on the Summit’s sidelines, and shared his perspective on pressing international issues. Transcript of the news conference for Russian journalists President […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Marking time” – Kyiv Post Editorial [re: Ukraine]

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

“… Ukraine celebrates the 26th year of its independence …. in the Donbas, Russia’s war on Ukraine is a deadly stalemate …. in Minsk, peace talks to end the Kremlin’s military intervention and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity are going round in circles …. In Kyiv, it’s politics as usual … with a powerful president lording over … an oligarchical system. The reform […]

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NEWSLINK: “The 10 worst cities to live in the world in 2017” – Business Insider/ Rosie Fitzmaurice

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… 10. Kiev, Ukraine – 47.8/100 points. The capital of Kiev saw the biggest decline in terms of liveability – 21.4 points – of all 140 cities surveyed. It is the also the only European city in the 12 that scored below 50 points. The city is still in a recovery that remains under threat from unrest, economic instability, and […]

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Interfax: Contact Group to support ‘school truce’ in eastern Ukraine on occasion of new school year’s beginning – Gryzlov

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

MINSK. Aug 23 (Interfax) – The Trilateral Contact Group may declare a truce in eastern Ukraine at its meeting on Wednesday so that a new school year could begin without incident, Russian representative to the group Boris Gryzlov said. “A school truce should be put into place at today’s meeting of the Contact Group for the sake of security of […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Tavrida National Youth Educational Forum – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – August 21, 2017) During his working trip to the Republic of Crimea, Vladimir Putin attended the Tavrida National Youth Educational Forum. The President was introduced to thematic exhibitions of various creative teams, photo artists, architects and urban designers. The President spoke in an informal setting with both organisers and participants of the annual forum. The Tavrida National Youth […]

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Interfax: Donbas conflict sides trade truce breach accusations

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

LUHANSK/KYIV. Aug 11 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian armed forces have launched seven shelling attacks on the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in the past 24 hours, the LPR militia told Interfax. “The Ukrainian armed forces have violated the truce seven times in the past 24 hours, using 120mm and 82mm mortars, infantry fighting vehicles, anti-tank grenade launchers, automatic grenade launchers, […]

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Growing up apolitical in Ukraine’s war zone; War, propaganda and misunderstanding – teenagers in Ukraine’s frontline towns are growing up under incredible stress.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Isobel Koshiw, Anastasia Vlasova – July 31, 2017) Isobel Koshiw is a freelance journalist based in Ukraine covering the war, politics and business. Anastasia Vlasova is a Ukrainian photojournalist based in Kyiv. She covers different aspects of Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine. Her story Homeland in Exile is part of the Magnum Foundation’s group project What Works and […]

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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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