Ukraine Monitor Articles
Even though the President of Russia has not congratulated the President of Ukraine on his victory in the elections, they had a contact for the first time. For now only via telephone. Earlier, the Kremlin was consistently rejecting contact with Petro Poroshenko. But Vladimir Putin spoke to Volodymyr Zelensky – underlying that Kiev initiated the conversation. Regardless of the topic of the talks and possible arrangements, this is Putin’s success.
The Russian Federation has decided to showcase its naval power in the Black Sea. This is Russia’s response to the recent sea manoeuvres of Ukraine and its allies. Four days after the start of the Sea Breeze 2019 exercise, the Black Sea Fleet began its own exercises. Moscow does not pretend that this is closely connected with the recent activity of Ukrainian and Western ships in the Black Sea.
The idea to hold talks on the Donbass region and Crimea in the so-called “Normandy format” with the extra participation of the United States and the United Kingdom is not very convenient for Russia for a number of reasons. First, Volodymyr Zelensky has now taken the diplomatic initiative in the dispute over the occupied territories. Second, Moscow has to reject his offer. In this way, while Kyiv gains international recognition for both of these reasons,
This year Sea Breeze naval exercises are being held in a tense atmosphere. The situation in the Black Sea has not been so dangerous since 2014. This is the effect of the aggressive Russian politics – manifested by the so-called Kerch incident in November 2018. Currently, Moscow is stressing that the Black Sea Fleet is monitoring the activity of vessels taking part in the Sea Breeze 2019.
The decision of the majority of members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to restore Russia’s voting rights means the end of the policy of European solidarity towards Moscow and the acceptance of its aggressive moves. It can now be expected that similar attempts of such a ‘‘reset’’ will also be made in other areas and through other pan-European institutions.
It seems as if the legal battle of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash is coming to an end. However, the final verdict does not look very favourable for the man who used to shake up Ukraine’s gas sector for many years. The Austrian Supreme Court of Justice has finally ruled that the Ukrainian can be handed over to the U.S. justice system.
Russia is enhancing its military potential in its southern-western flank. This is a response to the increased NATO activity in the Black Sea, but this is also an element of the increasing military potential in the eastern part of the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. According to the media leakage, Moscow will finally realise the promises and deploy its most modern fighters in the Crimea.
The Russian military court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced five Crimean Tatars accused of belonging to a “terrorist organisation”. Tens of others are waiting for the trial and another group was recently arrested in the Crimea occupied by Russians – again accused of belonging to the Islamic Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The case is connected with a series of detentions from March 2019.
It was known before his becoming a president, that Volodymyr Zelensky’s close relationship with Ihor Kolomoyskyi would be his biggest burden and problem. The oligarch is not helping the president – to say the least – who has been accused during his presidential campaign of being a puppet of Kolomoyskyi.
Moscow does not agree on the offer of negotiations proposed by Volodymyr Zelensky at the day of his presidential swearing-in. Russians are still being rigid in relations with Kiev. The reaction to the judgement of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the case of Ukrainian sailors kept in prisons in Moscow is the sign of it.
New President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky informed about the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada during his inauguration speech after swearing in. It is known that the decision was supported by most factions, including Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Both Zelensky and Poroshenko want the elections to happen as soon as possible to exploit the mobilisation of their electorates after the presidential elections.
The winner of the presidential elections in Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was sworn in as head of state on May 20. He immediately announced the dissolution of the parliament and expressed his expectations of the government’s resignation and immediate personnel changes at the highest state offices.
The first meeting of the president-elect and representatives of parliamentary groups have reached an impasse. It seems that most deputies do not want to allow the inauguration to happen on May 19. If the Verkhovna Rada decides that Zelensky takes office after May 27, he will lose the right to dissolve the parliament before the end of its term and the elections will take place in autumn.
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree simplifying the procedure of granting Russian citizenship to the residents of the occupied part of Donbas (so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics). Moscow supports this decision by humanitarian reasons, but Kiev and the West claim that this is a provocation or even preparation for the annexation of the region.