Ukraine Monitor Articles
Lately, there have been some pre-election moves in the pro-Russian part of the opposition in Ukrainian politics. Yuriy Boyko (Opposition Bloc Party) and Vadim Rabinovich (For Life Party) have signed an agreement on the unification of their political parties under the name of Civic Platform-For Life.
Everything points to the fact that the struggle for the presidency in Ukraine in 2019 will be fought between Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko. Much will depend on who will manage to impose the themes of his or her campaign and whether the external affairs will influence the political choice of Ukrainians.
In September and October, Ukraine was finally reacting to Russian provocations in the Sea of Azov: interruption of shipping to Ukrainian ports and a drastic increase of the Russian presence in the sea. Kiev deploys subsequent vessels in the Sea of Azov and strengthens the defensive forces of the coast.
Recent statements of the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker indicate that Washington’s stance towards Russia and the issues concerning occupied Donbas has become more rigid. Volker warns that the “elections” organised in Donbas will not be legal despite the fact that they are acknowledged by Russia.
Kiev authorities announced the construction of a military base in the Sea of Azov and deployment of a greater amount of forces in this region. After months of the increasing Russian pressure in the Sea of Azov, Kiev has finally taken measures which should show that it is not going to yield in the confrontation with Russia.
For the first time in many months, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has become popular enough to enter the second round of the upcoming presidential election, recent polls have indicated. The voting is scheduled for March 2019 and a lot may happen until they are finally held. The president is still delaying his final declaration about submitting his candidacy; however, he is very likely to seek re-election.
The announcement of “elections” in Donetsk and Lugansk by the Moscow governors in autumn this year indicates that the change of the leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is to facilitate the change of the negotiation format regarding the status of the occupied part of south-eastern Ukraine. The “elections” give the Kyiv authorities a pretext to withdraw from the Minsk agreements.
Ukraine informed the United Nations about the ecological disaster in the Crimea. It also submitted a request for the establishment of an international committee which would measure the range and effects of the disaster. Over four thousand children were evacuated from Armyansk where the “Crimean Titan” factory polluting the environment is located.
The political aftermath of the assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, a terrorist, the leader of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” founded by the Russian intelligence, is now difficult to predict: we do not know the people responsible for the attack, let alone their goals.
President Petro Poroshenko ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to prepare a withdrawal from the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine signed in 1997. Ukrainian and international experts agree that after the annexation of Crimea and Russian aggression in Donbas the Treaty is “dead”.
The Kremlin did not want to do the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko a favour and exchange prisoners before the most important national day in Ukraine, the Independence Day. The Kremlin waits for an opportune moment when the exchange of imprisoned people will be beneficial for them and for their candidate for the President of Ukraine.
The Kremlin’s political project “Viktor Medvedchuk” is becoming more and more realistic. Journalists of the Radio Svoboda claim that the pro-Russian oligarch who is preparing himself for the election to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and possibly for the presidential election as well, bought the “112 Ukraine” TV station.
During four years of battles in eastern Ukraine, Donbas has become a real test site for the most modern Russian military equipment. Despite the ceasefire and general decrease in the intensity of fighting, in comparison to the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Ukrainian soldiers and international observers still collect evidence of the Russian participation in the warfare.
Ukrainians have almost four and a half million weapons at their homes, million three hundred thousand of which is legal, according to the applicable law. The rest, over three million weapons, are illegal, not registered, bought on the black market or brought from Donbas. Ukrainian Parliament is delaying the procedure of the act on the right to keep and bear arms.