Tag Archives: Lugansk

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).

 

EU regards Donetsk and Lugansk elections as illegal

The EU considers the “elections” planned for 11 November 2018 in the non-government controlled territories of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” as illegal and illegitimate and will not recognise them. The EU condemns these ”elections”, as they are in breach of international law, undermine the commitments taken under the Minsk agreements and violate Ukraine‘s sovereignty and law” says the text of the  declaration of the EU top diplomat Federica Moghereini on behalf of the European Union on the elections planned in self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and People’s Republic Donetsk on 11 November.

“The Minsk agreements exclusively provide for local elections to be held within the framework of the Ukrainian legislation and under the OSCE standards and observation. These reasons render these so-called “elections” null and void.” the declaration concludes.

Both break-away Republic were formed on territories with Russian-speaking population, rejecting violent coup-d’état in Kiev, overthrowing legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych. 

The European Union reiterates its full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders“, Mogherini reaffirms.

Nowadays only one in 10 Ukrainians consider violent coup d’état (2014),  named “Maidan Revolution“, or “Euromaidan” in Kiev (pictured), leading to beak-away of eastern Russian-speaking region of Donbass, and ongoing conflict as “positive”.

Euromaidan

12/11/2018 AMENDED:

The Donetsk acting head Denis Pushilin, whose predecessor was assassinated in an explosion in August, was elected as leader with 61 percent of the vote while the acting chief of Luhansk, Leonid Pasechnik, won with 68 percent.

 

Putin calls for implementing Minsk agreements in Donbass

Kiev does not need electorate from Donbass territories, DNR and LNR” – Russian President Vladimir Putin said, while answering  ‘direct line‘ question on possible attacks of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk Republics by Kiev troops. If Kiev launches an assault on Donbass, ignoring Minsk agreements, it will certainly have “serious consequences for Ukrainian state, Ukrainian statehood”, Putin warned. 

The President underlined that there is no alternative to Minsk agreements, and also criticized position of Kiev government declaring the Donbass population as Ukrainian citizens, but the same time continuing artillery shelling, causing victims among civilians.

“It is clear, that these people will not vote for Kiev authorities“, – Putin underscored, he presumed that the current hostile position of the Ukrainian government towards the population of the Donbass is explained by the upcoming elections.

Special status of Donbass prolonged

Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has passed a law “On creating conditions for a peaceful settlement of the situation in separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” extending the special status of the Donbass region by one year. However, it contains the provisions, according to which the special status will come into force only after “all illegal armed units and military equipment, along with militants and mercenaries” are withdrawn from these territories. The bill in this form was supported by 229 lawmakers (with 226 required votes).

The validity period of the Law on granting special self-government status to separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions passed back in 2014 expires on October 18. It is the key document for a political settlement in eastern Ukraine. Representatives of the self-proclaimed Donbass republics have said on numerous occasions that the refusal to extend it will be tantamount to refusal to implement the Minsk agreements.

Having extended the special status for another 12 months, Kiev, nevertheless, added to the text of the law the reservation, which actually blocks its coming into effect until it gains full control over the region.

Having extended the special status for another 12 months, Kiev, nevertheless, added to the text of the law the reservation, which actually blocks its coming into effect until it gains full control over the region.

This effectively cancells all Contact Group negotiations on local elections in the Donbass region and the special self-government status as part of Ukraine’s constitutional reform and the agreement reached by the “Normandy Four” on the mechanism of enactment of the special status law in accordance with the “Steinmeier formula” (proposed by Frank-Walter Steinmeier who served as German Foreign Minister from December 2013 to January 2017).

 

 

MEP demands truth over Rocchelli assassination

Eleonora Forenza, MEP,  (European United Left) expressed her concern over lack of movement in the investigation by Ukrainian authorities of the assassination of an Italian photojournalist Andrea (Andy) Rocchelli (30) near #Slavyansk three years ago.

The question addressed to the Kiev’s officials was raised during the European Parliament hearing  on Violation of human rights, restriction of freedom of press, and political repressions in Ukraine, organised by Socialist & Democrats, Greens, and United Left.

Italian media claim  the photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, who perished in Donbass, was killed by the Ukrainian military National Guards on Kiev’s direct orders for reporting atrocities of troops against Donbass civilian population. On May 24, 2014 during the day of truce Rocchelli’s car was hit by mortars, causing lethal injuries to the journalist and his interpreter, Andrey Mironov.

Italian media Lamezia live  explains the lack of movement in investigation by direct involvement of a state, accusing Kiev in a war crime in an article: “Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli was killed because he was inconvenient.

While years pass by the perpetrators of the crime have been not brought to justice in Ukraine, but in July Italian authorities arrested in Bologna a Ukrainian military Vitaly Markiv, accused of assassinating Rocchelli and Mironov upon testimony of French journalist William Roguelon, who survived the attack, and became the major witness of the criminal investigation in Italy.

Eleonora Forenza is an Italian politicians from L’Altra Europa , a contestant for the president of the European Parliament seat in the last elections. This year, Forenza travelled to Donbass, сelebrating  with Communists 1st May in #Lugansk, causing an outrage of Ukrainian mass media.

Russian peacekeeping proposal for Donbass in stalemate

The separatists of the of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic reject the idea of ​​deploying UN peacekeepers on the border with Russia, as stated in an interview with RT TV channel by Denis Pushilin, the entity envoy to Moscow.

The deployment of peacekeepers is being discussed in connection with the Russian proposals to the UN Security Council. The concerned parties visualise the format of the mission in different ways. Russia suggests an armed mission to work on the line of separation between the territories controlled by the separatists and Kiev troops. In Kiev and in the West, it is believed that the blue helmets should have a broad mandate to work throughout the unrecognized republics.

Pusilin expectedly supports the first – Russian – option. “If it were not for such support from Ukraine from Germany, France and the United States, the conflict would have been resolved long ago’ – Pushilin said. He was reminiscent of Yugoslavia, and the role of Western powers in fracturation of Balkans, while motivating the rejection of this plan.

“If the West really wants to resolve the conflict in a political way, if there are peace initiatives, and not some veiled goals of entering the UN contingent, then, of course, it must be placed where the danger is. … On the territory of the DPR the situation is quiet, even more quiet on the border with Russia “, – he said.

Pusilin also pointed out that it would be inadvisable to deploy UN peacekeeping forces throughout the region without the consent of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. He recalled that the proposals envisage the consent of both sides of the conflict to the introduction of peacekeepers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference on the results of the BRICS summit on September 5 that Russia will submit to the UN Security Council a resolution on the deployment of UN peacekeepers on the contact line in the Donbass to ensure the security of OSCE personnel. At the same time, he stressed that the deployment of UN forces is possible only after the withdrawal of weapons and in coordination of this issue with representatives of the breakaway regions.

 

The wreck of EU foreign policy

migrants-bodies-on-coast

Anna van Densky, OPINION

With flows of migrants from Libyan cost, the EU Southern Neighbourhood, ravaged by Islamic terrorists, and the defrozen conflict in the EU Eastern Neighbourhood with tanks moving along the vicinities in Donetsk, the EU foreign affairs Council, 6.2.2017,  finds itself in the worst situation in years, if not in decades, since the Balkan war.

Both problems have one element in common: the active involvement of the EU in shaping of the future of the neighbouring countries. The zeal of the implementation of the Neighbourhood policy in Ukraine led to the break of pro-European and pro-Russian populations, while the overthrowing of the Libyan ‘tyrant’ caused a turmoil on a half of the African continent.
Due to the EU efforts Libya from a donor became an acceptor, requesting funds to keep the flows of migrants on its coasts. 200 000 euro of taxpayers money were pledged to UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), while the destiny of Colonel Gaddafi’s fortune of 200 000 billion, as reported shortly before his assassination, remains obscure. However,  even if donated as agreed the major question remains if there are structures and institutions able of the implementation of the programme to improve the conditions of migrants, and fight against the smugglers.
GNA hardly controls Tripoli, where recently an explosion next to Italian reopened Embassy brought into focus grave security concerns for corps diplomatique, already shuttered by the tragic death of US Ambassador Stevens.
The EU mission on its page still calls it an ‘exiting’ time:
“It is an exciting time to be in Libya as the country is seeking its path towards democracy and stability. Just over two years ago (! -av), the Libyan people showed to the world that popular will could prevail over a ruthless dictatorship. For their courage and determination, Libyans gained the admiration of the whole world”, – although unlike Italians they prefer to watch if from the safe distance of ‘Prestige Business Center Bloc’ in Tunis.
Obviously impossible to compare ravaged by jihadists Libya with the  ‘Anti-terrorist operation’ (ATO) of President Poroshenko in Ukraine, the latest active fighting at the front line in Avdeevka, next to Donetsk endangered Minsk agreements, showing the fragility of the situation there and a huge ambition of Kiev’s leadership to conclude ATO, even at cost of the devastation of once wealthy industrial region of coal-mining.
Till present on contrary to the EU expectations the prolonged restrictive measures against Russia have not delivered an expected result to force Kremlin to abandon its support to two self-proclaimed Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
However the sanctions have an effect of the European agricultural sector and business, suffering losses as the result of this policy: the rise of the anti-EU forces in old member states is too obvious to ignore even for myopic bureaucrats of the European external action service, risking to lose their jobs soon, while the European nations demand referendums on EU membership from their governments, profoundly unsatisfied with the impact of  EU foreign policies on their lives.