Ukraine Monitor Articles
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.
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.
Since July 2018, the situation in the Sea of Azov has been still catching attention of the Ukrainian and foreign observers: vessels flying the flags of Ukraine and foreign countries are more and more frequently being controlled by Russia. How does the blockade of the Sea of Azov influence Ukraine and what does Russia gain?
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov who serves his sentence in a Russian jail, has announced a hunger strike. Despite the fact that Sentsov’s health condition is described as “disastrous”, he is not going to end the strike. Sentsov does not demand his own freedom, but the release of other Ukrainian political prisoners from the Russian labour camps.
Can the unification of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and its separation from the Moscow Patriarchate help to end the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and bring peace to this part of Europe? Definitely yes. And this is the main goal of the diplomatic mission initiated by Kiev which has lasted for several years.
Ukraine is said to be fighting on two fronts. The first one is the western border where the country faces the Russian aggression. The second one is located in the very centre: here, Ukrainians struggle with corruption, the worst of all post-Soviet countries. Ukrainian forests have become a battlefield for one of the biggest battles of the second front.
Many Ukrainians felt outraged when some time ago Yulia Tymoshenko, the head of the Batkivshchina political party, in the interview for the public television de facto repeated the main points of the Kremlin’s propaganda. Ukrainians on Facebook burst with anger.
Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian director who is unlawfully imprisoned in a Russian penal colony appealed to the G-7 leaders for help in the release of Ukrainian political prisoners from Russian prisons. The Ukrainian authorities claim that there are 64 Ukrainians convicted for political reasons in Russian prisons. Oleg Sentsov went on hunger strike in defence of his rights. His protest gained broad support from the international community.
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko has announced the success of the staged murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, also congratulated the performers of the operation, especially the journalist.