Ukraine Monitor Articles
The United States will channel more financial resources for Ukraine for the purchase of weapons and for the enhancement of the Ukrainian navy potential. In the conflict with Russia, which is dangerous not only to Ukraine, Kiev can count on the full support of NATO and on the future membership in the alliance – according to the report by the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.
Three weeks before the first round of presidential elections in Ukraine, the first, stable position in polls is occupied by a comedian and TV producer Volodymyr Zelensky. Yulia Tymoshenko recouped her losses, beating Petro Poroshenko in polls again. The struggle between the current president and the former PM is intensifying.
Court of Kiev provisionally arrested for a month the former Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Volodymyr Zamana. The retired general was detained on February 25 by SBU and the Prosecutor’s Office charges him of high treason. Zamana, who served as the Chief of the General Staff during the governance of Viktor Yanukovych, rejects the allegations.
The atmosphere among the Ukrainian Orthodox believers shows that the process of joining the new canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church by parishes loyal to Moscow is just gaining pace. Despite provocations of pro-Russian activists and Putin’s threats, more and more Ukrainians declare loyalty to the new National Orthodox Church.
Chances of the former PM Yulia Tymoshenko of winning the presidential elections in Ukraine are decreasing. From the beginning of the official campaign, Batkivshchyna’s candidate is having more and more troubles and she fell to the third position in polls. Two newest polls place Volodymyr Zelensky at the first position and Petro Poroshenko at the second.
The recent, second round of talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission about the Russian gas transit through Ukraine after 2019 ended up with failure again. It is not surprising as Moscow is obviously playing for time. Firstly, it is waiting for the results of elections in Ukraine. Secondly, the closer the end of the year, the worse the negotiation position of Kiev is.
A notation in the constitution about the pursuit to enter the EU and NATO, a ban on observing elections in Ukraine by Russia, and, finally, a proceeding against the main advocate of the Kremlin’s interest in Kiev. There is no doubt that this all has its electoral context as well. All the mentioned activities are for sure good for the interest of Ukraine.
Two main rivals announced that they run for elections on March 31. Yulia Tymoshenko was the first one, Petro Poroshenko followed her a week later. Inaugural speeches of both candidates confirm the main points of candidates’ campaigns. Tymoshenko will use social slogans, Poroshenko – patriotic. They both declare following the pro-Western course of Ukraine.
After a process which lasted for over a year and a half, the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych was sentenced in absence to 13 years in prison. The court in Kiev found the current political refugee guilty of high treason and aiding the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. At this point, the decision of the court favours President Poroshenko and the current grouping in power.
The government in Kiev is negotiating with the United States the issue of increasing the military aid from the USA to Ukraine. According to the chief of the Ukrainian diplomacy, this concerns not only the supply of complete weapons, but also the American-Ukrainian cooperation in the arms industry.
The declaration of the participation of Volodymyr Zelensky was the main event of the beginning of the official campaign before the March presidential elections in Ukraine. The popular actor and producer now plays the role of “a person from outside the establishment”. Generally, he occupies the third place in polls and his chances to enter the second round are not high.
A trial of three Polish citizens accused of the arson attack on the Hungarian minority centre in the Ukrainian Zakarpattia has started in Cracow. This provocation was aimed to aggravate relations between Kiev and Budapest. Ukrainian authorities immediately suggested that Russian secret services might be responsible for the attack.
The risk of the outbreak of a military conflict in Ukraine has increased recently. If an open war (less likely) or an armed incident similar to the one in the Kerch Strait (more likely) is to take place, Moscow needs to find a pretext, a very strong one indeed. One such pretext could certainly be the use of chemical weapons in Donbass.
“It is necessary to consider a realistic possibility that Russia could launch a new act of aggression against Ukraine,” the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said on December 24. Nonetheless, if such a scenario takes place, it will probably turn out to be yet another phase of fighting between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and “People’s Republics” in the Donbass region rather than a regular war between Russia and Ukraine.