Tag Archives: Donetsk

EU-Russia: swift response

Brussels 23.02.2022 EU adopts package of restrictive measures in response to Russian recognition of self-proclaimed Republics, which were areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. The Council today adopted on a package of measures to respond to the decision by the Russian Federation to proceed with the recognition of the “non-government controlled areas” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent entities, and the subsequent decision to send Russian troops into these areas in accordance with the treaties signed with the representatives of these entities. (Image above: Charles Michel, archive).

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Such decisions are illegal and unacceptable. They violate international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Russia’s own international commitments and further escalate the crisis.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The package agreed today includes:

Targeted restrictive measures:

“Within the existing framework for the restrictive measures, the EU will extend actions to cover all the 351 members of the Russian State Duma (Lower Chamber of Parliament), who voted on 15 February in favour of the appeal to President Putin to recognise the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk ”Republics”.

“Moreover targeted restrictive measures will be imposed on additional 27 high profile individuals and entities, who have played a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. These include decision makers such as members of the government, who were involved in the illegal decisions; banks and business persons/oligarchs supporting financially or materially Russian operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk’s territories, or benefitting from them; senior military officers, who played a role in the invasion and destabilisation actions; and individuals responsible for leading a disinformation war against Ukraine.

“Restrictive measures include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.

– Restrictions on economic relations with the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts

“New measures will target trade from the two non-government controlled regions to and from the EU, to ensure that those responsible clearly feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggressive actions.

“Today’s decision will introduce in particular an import ban on goods from the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, restrictions on trade and investments related to certain economic sectors, a prohibition to supply tourism services, and an export ban for certain goods and technologies.

– Financial restrictions

“The Council decided to introduce a sectoral prohibition to finance the Russian Federation, its government and Central Bank. By restraining the ability of the Russian state and government to access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services, the EU aims to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies.

“The EU urges Russia to reverse the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, uphold its commitments, abide by international law and return to the discussions within the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group. The EU also calls on other states not to follow Russia’s illegal decision to recognise this proclaimed independence.

“The EU stands ready to swiftly adopt more wide-ranging political and economic sanctions in case of need, and reiterates its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

“The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, will be published soon in the Official Journal.

Restrictive measures on violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity will with today’s additional listings apply to a total of 555 individuals and 52 entities.

Borrell: Europe at “critical juncture”

Brussels 22.02.2022 The reunion of the EU top diplomat in Foreign Affairs Council has been called “the longest and most intense” among remembered by Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative, who shared with Brussels press the conclusions.

“Obviously, the main topic was the situation in Ukraine. In Ukraine, Russia has created the biggest threat to peace and stability in Europe since the Second World War. In Europe – the biggest threat to peace and stability. We are at a critical juncture. Everything we believe in and has been framing our lives – international rules, principles and progress achieved since the end of the Cold War – all that is being challenged.

“We have condemned the Russian military build-up close to Ukraine, the increased ceasefire violations and provocations from the Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“We have also condemned actions, staged events and information manipulations that are clearly aimed at creating a pretext for military escalation against Ukraine. It is a classical way of behaving. You create a pretext for a military escalation.
We commend Ukraine for its restraint in face of this intimidation and violations of Minsk agreements and international law.

“In the meantime, while we were discussing inside the Council meeting, we were following the discussions of the Russian Security Council with strong concern. We understand that the final decision has not been taken yet. We call upon President [of Russia, Vladimir] Putin to respect international law and the Minsk agreements and expect him not to recognise the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. We are ready to react with a strong, united front in case he should decide to do so. We expect that he will not, but if he does, we will react with a strong and united front.

“Today we have had Foreign Minister [of Ukraine Dmytro] Kuleba and we have reaffirmed our unity, our resolve and solidarity with Ukraine. Because the Ukrainian security is our security.
We will continue supporting Ukraine on all fronts. Today we have adopted formally the Decision proposed by the Commission to provide 1.2 billion euros in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.

“We have also decided to provide support to Ukraine’s Army with Professional Military Education [reform] developed under the European Peace Facility. We will increase our support against cyber-attacks and in countering disinformation. We will send a mission of experts to help Ukraine to face cyber-attacks.
We have also been looking into the possibility of a joint session of the Foreign Affairs Council, with the Ukrainian partners in Kyiv.

“I want to confirm that our embassies and diplomatic missions remain open and fully operational. With the single exception of one country, all others remain in Kyiv. Their embassies are there, open and operational, plus the European Union Delegation.

“It will be soon 8 years since Russia invaded and illegally annexed Crimea. I want to repeat again that any further aggression against Ukraine would have a strong answer from the European Union. But I want to add that this will apply also to Belarus, should an attack be conducted from its territory or with its involvement”.

Russia recognises Donetsk and Lugansk independence

Brussels 21.02.2022 Before the signature Russian President Putin informed President of France Emmanuel Macron
and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz of his intention to endorse the decree to recognise Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognise the republics’ independence without delay.

“On behalf of all of the people of the DPR, we are asking you to recognise the Donetsk People’s Republic as an independent, democratic and social state based on the rule of law,” Pushilin announced the request.

Futher, the LPR’s leader, Leonid Pasechnik, said: “With the goal of preventing mass deaths among the Republic’s civilian population, some 300,000 of whom are Russian citizens, I’m asking you to recognise the sovereignty and independence of the Lugansk People’s Republic.”

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Republics have also suggested the signature of a treaty on friendship and cooperation with Russia, including on military cooperation.

The situation in the Donbass has aggravated up on February 17. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian armed forces over the past months. On February 18, LPR and DPR Heads Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin announced civilian evacuations from the republics to Russia due to the mounting danger of hostilities. On February 19, the Donbass republics announced a general mobilisation.

Donbass 1M residents receive Russian passport

Brussels 25.04.2021 The number of residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk self-proclaimed People’s Republics who have received Russian citizenship in a simplified manner may almost double by the end of 2021 – up to 1 mln people, according to Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky.

“Today, there are 538,000 citizens of Russia living in the territory of Donbass. According to the forecasts that exist today, and according to the statements that exist today, by the end of this year, up to 1 mln residents of Donbass will become citizens of the Russian Federation,” Vodolatsky said.

In two years it was possible to develop a system of clear interaction between the Main Directorate for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and the relevant services of the Lugansk and Donetsk for processing documents for obtaining Russian citizenship.

“At the beginning, there were certain difficulties, problems, people simply did not know and did not understand where to turn, which way to go. To date, all bureaucratic barriers have been removed, a very active process of obtaining Russian citizenship is in progress,” the State Duma deputy said.

On April 24, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for residents of the Lugansk and Donetsk self-proclaimed People’s Republics. The first passports were issued on July 14.

Kiev and Donbass exchange prisoners

Kiev is exchanging dozens of prisoners with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the first time in two years. The swap is a direct result of the recent Normandy Four talks in Paris, hosted by President Macron.

The Donetsk authorities has handed over 51 people to Kiev, while receiving 61. The Lugansk region returned 25 and took in 63 prisoners; nine people held by Kiev refused to take part in the exchange.

The office of Ukrainian President confirmed that Kiev had received a total of 76 people from Donetsk and Lugansk.
Donetsk’s responsible for the exchange said their list could be longer, as some people asked to be repatriated shortly before the exchange.

The swap, carried out under an “all for all” formula, was the first since a similar humanitarian effort in December 2017.

The prisoner exchange was overseen by officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). No ceasefire violations were recorded on the frontier during the exchange operation.

OSCE records ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk

In Donetsk region, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMMrecorded more ceasefire violations, however, fewer explosions (about 110), compared with the previous reporting period (about 150 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded at southerly directions of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol), in areas south of Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) and in areas south-east of Donetsk city centre. (Image above: illustration).

In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations, including more explosions (about 670), compared with the previous reporting period (30 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations, including about 600 explosions, were recorded at southerly and easterly directions of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk).”

The Ukrainian army has shelled the positions of the militia in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) six times over the past 24 hours, the LPR defense ministry reported.

The shelling targeted the areas of Pervomaisk, the urban-type settlement of Frunze, the villages of Zhelobok and Smeloye,” the LuganskInformCenter news agency quoted a spokesman for the LPR people’s militia as saying.

According to the spokesman, the fire was conducted from mortars.

The Contact Group’s security subgroup agreed to declare a new ‘spring’ ceasefire in Donbass on March 7. It entered into force from the midnight of March 8 according to Kiev time. However, the Ukrainian military broke the truce just five minutes after it had taken effect.

Russia considers facilitation of Ukrainians naturalisation

Russia is considering the possibility of facilitating the naturalisation rules for all Ukrainian nationals, President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference concluding his visit to China.

We are thinking about providing the right to obtain Russian passports under a simplified procedure to all Ukrainian nationals,” he said.

Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for self-proclaimed Donbass Lugansk and Donetsk Republics residents “was not spontaneous, it was not made at the spur of the moment.”

Before the decree was singed, we had made all the calculations concerning the number of people that may apply for citizenship, including the number of retired persons – they account for about 30% of the possible applicants,” Putin underlined.

On April 24, in Moscow (pictured) the Russian President signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine.

Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure,” the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made “in order to protect human rights and freedoms” based on generally accepted international laws.

 

Putin facilitates naturalisation procedure for Donabass

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which makes it possible for residents of Donbass to obtain Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. The document has been published on the Kremlin’s website.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko  accused Moscow of crossing a “red line” by signing a decree to facilitate the process of obtaining Russian citizenship in eastern Ukraine.

It’s a fact that this is about the Kremlin preparing the next point of aggression against our country: the annexation of Ukraine’s Donbass or the creation of a Russian enclave in Ukraine,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Russian citizenship degree is “the continuation of aggression and interference in our internal affairs,” urges Ukrainian citizens in areas held by Russia-backed separatists “not to accept Russian passports.”

Russia has deprived you of your present lives and now it is encroaching on your future”  Minister concluded.

“Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure,” the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made “in order to protect human rights and freedoms” based on generally accepted international laws.

Gratitude to Russia for making a decision on granting citizenship under a simplified procedure. It is an outstanding event all LPR citizens have been waiting for,” said Leonid Pasechnk, Head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).

 

Ukrainian minister plagued by lions abuse scandal

Ukrainian animal welfare and animal rights groups demand the resignation of the Minister of Ecology and Natural resources Ostap Semerak (pictured), after the international scandal broke out regarding the horrendous systemic abuse of wild animals in a private Zoo in Pokrovsk. The minister did not respond to an ongoing international campaign for liberation of the lions and bears from torture conditions in Igor Padalko private zoo, in Donetsk region. After three month of relentless efforts, more than 600 hundred complains from the Ukrainian citizens, the requests of renown international wildlife charities, Members of the European Parliament, and stars,  Mr.Semerak did not do anything to save the animals from the horrendous abuse, and ensure an adequate veterinary care.

The animal rights groups were indignant to discover that the lions jammed into rusty self-made cages, freezing to their own urine and feces, were fed by grain, and well as all the other animals in the zoo, disrespectful to their natural needs.

Mr.Semerak broke his promise to the citizens, and did not order the evacuation of the abused, exhausted animals to specialized sanctuaries, and rehabilitation centers, while they were ready to receive the lions and bears, and even organize the transport themselves.

Till present one more lion died, while denied treatment in a veterinary clinic, one more lion from Padalko zoo vanished, as some others, including two bears, who were sitting in cages without a possibility to stretch themselves.

Ukraine does not need the Minister of Nature, indifferent to it, tarnishing the image of Ukraine abroad, unresponsive to citizens, and disrespectful to European values, the activists say in a petition launched online, collecting signatures for resignation of Ostap Semerak.

The Minister does not comment or react to the appeals of the animal rights groups, deleting all the requests and comments on the Ministry sites. “It is useless to write to him, because he is useless. He does not want to serve Ukrainian people, he simply does not care. Semerak should resign!” activists write in Twitter micro blog.

Apparently the Minister has forgotten that his major task is to ‘serve the people of Ukraine’, as a an executive should in a democratic country.

The manifestation for saving the animals of Porkovsk, who are between life and death, will take place in Kiev next to the Ministry  of Ecology on 24th of January at 10:30-15:00.

save pokrovsk animals

 

 

 

MEPs concerned with Ukrainian zoo cruelty

The January hearing of the Intergroup on the Welfare and the Conservation of Animals in Strasbourg chaired by Anja Hazekamp (NL, GUE/NGL)  opened the floor with the discussion of the devastating situation of lions, and bears in Porkovsk private zoo of Igor Padalko (Ukraine, Donetsk region).

The issue of Porkovsk zoo came to attention of the MEPs due to a Petition launched by Ukrainian animal welfare activists, who said they are not heard by their own government in Kiev, asking the European Parliament to take action to save animals from an ongoing horrendous abuse in Padalko private zoo. In a few days the Petition gathered 25 thousand signatures, and continues to circulate. The activists requested to freeze the EU micro-financial aid to Ukrainian government until the European values are respected, namely the Article 13 of Lisbon Treaty, stating that animal welfare is “European value“, and animals are “sentient beings.”

It has been years that Ukrainian activists have been struggling for liberation from a horrendous abuse of six lions, 11 bears and around 100 of other animals in Pokrovsk zoo , suffering in tiny filthy self-made cages, unable even to stretch their paws, stamping in their own feces, not removed for weeks.

MEPs present at the hearing were appalled by the cruelty to the wild animals, but also concerned by the inaction of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology, and the other relevant instances, who did not assume their responsibility.

padalko lion abuse

They also reminded that Stefan Eck, the vice-president of the group, has already called (5.12.2018) President Poroshenko to act in line with the European norms and save Padalko animals from abuse. So far the call remained unanswered, and Ukrainian activists informed about death of the second exhausted lion frozen alive in his urine in his cage (- 11C°). Soon after his death the corpse vanished.

Concluding the discussion the MEP sent a a letter from Intergroup to the  Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, seeking his support, and reminding that the EU and Ukraine regularly reaffirm their strong partnership based on their association agreement and pledge to strengthen the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU. As part of Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda which is financially supported by the EU, “it would be desirable that also the respect of animal welfare concerns would be taken into account“.

The Intergroup has also written a letter to the Ukranian Minister for Ecology Ostap Semerak, asking him to take an immediate action to rescue and re-home the animals of Padalko zoo:  “…We call on you as the Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources to intervene as a matter of urgency in order to rescue and re-home the animals from this zoo. Be assured that any action you will take in this regard can be supported by NGOs who can offer help for re-homing the animals”.

The local animal welfare activists claim Igor Padalko kept animals in the abominable conditions for years with a purpose to collect money all over Ukraine via social networks: for “food for lions“, and for “cages construction“. Nobody saw any improvements for animals, however the Padalkos acquired for their son a comfortable apartment in Kiev.

The other lucrative activity was in receiving bus excursions of schoolchildren from the region, supposedly to learn about wild nature. Many teachers complained that children were crying, while looking at suffering on animals jammed in small filthy cages.

Although cruel and abusive towards animals, who had bruises and broken jaws from beatings with rods, unable even to stand up from hunger and exhaustion,  Padalko has been continuously accumulating social capital in local community – offering Ukrainian military from the front line the beautiful beach on river-side, and tea-houses for recreation on his 25-hectare territory; organising from time to time free dinners for elderly locals; and even adopting children. The remarkable social skills helped to establish connections, and even patronage, making all the attempts of the animal rights groups to liberate the lions and bears from the torture conditions ineffective.

Reportedly the adopted children were taken away from Padalko, presumably after numerous complains about his cruelty, the question remains, how such a character received the orphans in first place. Lately Padalko threatened to shoot activists, if they dare to enter the zoo. Local police asked to avoid any contacts with him, but also refused any complains of animal abuse. In spite of numerous frauds, and abuses, thanks to his connections Padalko stays “untouchable“.

Animal rights groups presume that Padalko counts on sympathy of the governor of the Donetsk region Oleksander Kuz, who send his employers to Kiev to hash up the scandal, and demand subsidies for the zoo renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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