Tag Archives: Eastern Ukraine

EU ‘Sanctions war’ with Russia continues

On 21 December 2018, the European Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2019.

This decision follows an update from President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 13-14 December 2018 on the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which the sanctions are linked. Given that no progress has been made, the European Council took the political decision to roll-over the economic sanctions against Russia.

The West should either recognize the results of Crimea referendum on reunification with Russia,  or stop imposing sanctions against people living in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his traditional annual news conference on December 20.

In his words, “it is a curious situation” as Russia is being accused of Crimea’s annexation or in the other words of taking Crimea by force. “But if it was annexation and forcible takeover, then people living in Crimea have nothing to do with that,” he noted. “And if it was their choice in voting, then it was not annexation whatsoever.”

However not all the political forces in the EU share the European Council point of view: since 2014 Marine Le Pen, the leader of French RN (former Front National) has not seen any reason to dispute the result of the referendum.

I see no grounds whatsoever to question this referendum,” she said. She also added that she regards Crimea as a integral part of Russia. According to TASS News Agency Marine Le Pen “hopes to visit Crimea in April” 2019.

Nine listed for elections in Donetsk and Luhansk

The Foreign ministers Council added nine persons to the list of those subject to restrictive measures over actions “undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.  Formally listed because of their involvement in unrecognised by the EU elections in two entities, resulted from the break-away of the communities of Russian-speaking regions in aftermath of the Maidan Revolution (2014) –  the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic

Through their actions, they further undermined the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” – the Council concluded. (Image: elections in Donetsk) RIA Novosti agency.

The EU considers these elections illegal and illegitimate and does not recognise them. In a declaration issued on 10 November 2018, the EU condemned these elections, motivating the decision by the breach of international law, undermine the commitments taken under the Minsk agreements and violate Ukraine‘s sovereignty and law.

The actual measures consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze, meaning that these persons cannot enter the territory of any EU member state and all of the assets (if any) in the EU belonging to these persons are frozen and EU persons and entities cannot make any funds available to them.

The decision brings the total number of persons listed by the EU to 164. In addition, the EU imposed an asset freeze on 44 entities under this sanctions regime.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.

There was no reaction from the break-away regions so far. The head of Donetsk Republic Denis Pushilin tweeted the awarding of an Ombudsman office staff: “Today, on International Human Rights Day, he awarded the Ombudsman and the staff of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the DPR. The rights of citizens should be at the forefront of any state. Especially in wartime conditions“.

11/12/2018 AMENDED:
The “black list” includes the head of the LNR, Leonid Pasechnik (Леонид Пасечник), who replaced Igor Plotnitsky (Игоря Плотницкий) on this post, elected heads of parliaments of the DPR and LPR — Vladimir Bidyovka (Владимир Бидёвка) and Denis Miroshnichenko (Денис Мирошниченкo), and Olga Pozdnyakova (Ольга Позднякова)— the chairman of the CEC of the DPR, Elena Kravchenko (Елена Кравченко)— the chairman of the CEC of the LPR, Alexei Naidenko (Алексей Найденко) – Deputy Chairman of the CEC of the DPR; Vladimir Vysotsky (Владимир Высоцкий) – Secretary of the CEC of the DPR; Maxim Svidchenko (Максим Свидченко) – Deputy Chairman of the CEC of the LPR; Ekaterina Tereshchenko (Екатерина Терещенко) – Secretary of the CEC of the LPR.

MEP Eck calls President Poroshenko to save freezing to death zoo lions

Stephen Eck  (Germany), the vice president of the 114 members strong Intergroup on Animal Welfare and Conservation of the European Parliament called the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to act without delay to save animals suffering the horrendous abuse in Padalko family zoo in Porkovsk, Donetsk region. (Image below: lion frozen to death in his filthy cage in urine).

The MEP called the President after the news broke out that one of the five lions was found frozen to death in his open to winter weather cage. The Ukrainian animal rights groups sill hope to save the animals including 11 bears and 83 other spices including primates if veterinarians receive an opportunity step in immediately  to take proper care of them, all suffering from freezing temperatures and malnutrition.

I assume the animals will not survive winter time, – MEP Stefan ECK said. – I appeal to President Poroshenko to do something immediately to transfer the animals to the other zoo, where they can survive the winter”.

However the vice-president did not limit himself to the concrete action, but he has challenged the President on  his ambition of the European integration, reminding about welfare of the animals being enshrined in Lisbon Treaty of the European Union.

The evacuation of these animals in three month term, proposed by the authorities is absolutely unacceptable, it is too late, all animals will be dead by then“, – Mr.Eck continued.

Ukraine is pushing forward plans of membership in the EU and in NATO, and even is willing to include this goal into the Constitution. If Ukraine wants to become a member of the EU, it should align its policies with our values, and animal welfare is a value of the European Union – Article 30 of the Treaty of Lisbon states that the implementation of the Union policies must take into consideration the full account of the animal welfare requirements, and that animals are the SENTIENT BEINGS.” – MEP said.

How Europeans can believe in intentions of Ukraine to align with the EU if it shows tolerance of barbarism and cruelty to animals?”

“President Poroshenko, I ask you from here, from the European Parliament to create legal regulations for a better animal welfare in your country, then you can knock on the door of the EU, but not before! Thank you.” the Mr.Eck concluded.

For further information about the situation of the animals in Padalko zoo, please see the Facebook group #LionDonetsk.

At present four lions and 11 bears are freezing in cages installed in the field in freezing winter temperatures (city of Porkovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine). All funds collected by animal rights groups vanished, the conditions of animals stay unchanged. Activists hope the prosecutors will issue an order to confiscate the zoo, and as a state property the animals will be transfered to safety.Padalko Zoo cages

EU provides humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine

The European Commission has announced today €24 million in humanitarian assistance to address the needs of conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine.

The funding comes as the European Commission and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are organising a high-level conference in Brussels to raise awareness about the humanitarian consequences of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

 “Four years of conflict have put a tremendous strain on the civilian population in eastern Ukraine. We cannot overlook that there’s a humanitarian crisis at the European Union’s doorstep – On the occasion, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said. “Supporting all those in need, wherever they are, is a priority for the EU. Our new aid package will provide essential assistance such as food, healthcare and education for children.”

The new EU funding will help address the basic needs of the most vulnerable populations along the contact line including in the non-government controlled areas. It will help those who fled the conflict areas to neighbouring countries. The EU, together with its Member States, is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid, early recovery and development assistance to Ukraine. With today’s announcement, the EU has now provided over €677 million since the beginning of the conflict in 2014.

Anti-Russian EU measures to stay

“On 13 March 2017, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/445 [1]. The Council Decision extends the existing restrictive measures until 15 September 2017. The measures in question are asset freezes and travel bans against persons and entities responsible for actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

The Candidate Countries Montenegro* and Albania*, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this Council Decision.

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.”

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the alignment of certain third countries concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.