Tag Archives: Ukraine

Ukraine Ambassador’s car incident

London Metropolitan police opened fire outside Ukraine‘s embassy in London on April 13 after a vehicle repeatedly rammed into the ambassador’s parked car. The attacked vehicle was empty, the assailant was arrested at the scene. (Image: illustration).

In a statement the Embassy of Ukraine informed the ambassador’s vehicle was parked in front of its building in Holland Park, west London, when it was rammed. London Metropolitan Police confirmed in a statement that a 40-year-old man had been arrested.

The police were called immediately, and the suspect’s vehicle was blocked up. Nevertheless, despite the police actions, the attacker hit the Ambassador’s car again,” the Ukrainian Embassy said in a statement. “In response, the police were forced to open fire on the perpetrator’s vehicle. The culprit was apprehended and taken to a police station.”

Ukraine elects President

Ukrainian voters have an ample choice among candidates – all together 39 people, however the overwhelming majority of them participate for self-promotion reasons, using elections as a public relations opportunity to upgrade their social status. Without a relevant political identity, programme, and experience they represent a crowd of ambitious people, however with a little chance to succeed.

In a long list there are three front-runners: incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, a heavy-weight known as the “Chocolate king”; former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, “Gas Princess”.

…And Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a professional comedian. All three are in a intense race to advance to the second-round runoff on April 21.

AMENDED: 01/04/2019

After 40% votes counted in presidential election Zelensky leads with 30.2%, Poroshenko has 16.7%, Tymoshenko 13.1%, and Boiko 11.5%. It looks like a protest vote against systemic politics, selecting a newcomer against heavy-weight of national politics who have not delivered upon promises.

AMENDED:

MEPs against Russia ‘strategic partner’ status

At Strasbourg Plenary (13.03.2019) Members of the European Parliament agreed that the EU should remain open to imposing further sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law.

Parliament adopted a resolution by 402 votes to 163, with 89 abstentions, assessing the current state of EU-Russia political relations.

The time for nice and diplomatic language is over. There is very little room for any cooperation as long as Russia continues to occupy parts of Ukraine and attacks other European countries“, said rapporteur Sandra Kalniete (EPP, Latvia).

Sanctions must be prolonged MEPs also draw attention to new areas of tension between the EU and Russia which have occurred since 2015, including Russia’s intervention in Syria, interference in countries such as Libya and the Central African Republic, and continuous aggressive action in Ukraine. They also highlight Russia’s support for eurosceptic parties and far-right movements, and accused Russians in meddling in elections and systematically violating human rights.

MEPs underlined that the EU should consider adoption of further sanctions against Russia, especially those targeting individuals. Sanctions should be proportionate to the threats posed by Russia, they add. In December last year, the Council prolonged economic sanctions until 31 July 2019.

The Europarliament resolution underlines that the EU should review its current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia and limit cooperation to areas of common interest. Global challenges, such as climate change, energy security, cyber, artificial intelligence and counter terrorism, calling for selective engagement.

Closer relations will only be possible MEPs suggest on condition of Russia full implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and respect to international law, says the text.

MEPs condemn Russia‘s disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks, aimed at increasing tensions within the EU and its member states. They are deeply concerned that the EU‘s response to propaganda and disinformation is insufficient and should be further strengthened, in particular before the upcoming European elections in May 2019. In this regard, the funding and human resources for the EU‘s East Stratcom Task Force must be substantially increased, they stress.

In resolution MEPs strongly denounce Russia‘s violation of the airspace of EU states, especially in the Baltic Sea region, where territorial waters and the airspace have been repeatedly breached. This disregard for international rules poses a threat to Russia‘s neighbours in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Medditeranean regions.

MEPs also reiterate their concerns that the Nord Stream-2 project could reinforce the EU‘s dependence on Russian gas supplies and threaten the EU internal market.

In the resolution the concern is expressed about Russia‘s continuous support for authoritarian regimes and countries such as North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria. They also regret that in order to destabilise EU candidate countries, Russia gives its support to organisations and political forces like those opposing the Prespa Agreement that has resolved the long-standing dispute on the name between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece.

MEPs condemn illegal financial activities and money laundering by Russia, potentially amounting to hundreds of billions of euros being laundered through the EU every year, which poses a threat to European security and stability. Sandra Kalniete’s report underlines that EU countries concerned must end all ‘golden visa/passport‘ programmes, which benefit Russian oligarchs.

 

 

Tymoshenko confronts Ukraine President with impeachment

Ukrainian presidential candidate, former prime minister and leader of the Batkivshchyna (‘Fatherland‘) party, Yulia Tymoshenko, expressed confidence that the incumbent head of state, Petro Poroshenko, will not be able avoid responsibility after the upcoming March 31 elections.

“I would like to appeal to Poroshenko and his criminal circle,” Tymoshenko said at a briefing on March, 1. “Nothing will help you – no bribes and no falsifications. You will assume responsibility for the crimes you have committed against Ukraine. And no one will let you leave the country and hide in other countries. You will be assume for every penny that was stolen from the people of Ukraine. “

Tymoshenko accuses incumbent President of abuse of administrative resources during the election campaign, bribing voters, and illegal use of the media during campaigning.

In addition, this week Ukrainian journalists unveiled the results of an investigation into frauds in defense procurement that lead to the closest circle of President Petro Poroshenko, in particular, to his longtime business partner, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleg Gladkovsky and the state defence concern “Ukroboronprom“.

On the basis of a journalistic investigation, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine has already opened a criminal case on embezzlement of state funds on exceptionally large scale. As follow Tymoshenko announced the beginning of the impeachment procedure against the current head of state.

EU Eastern partnership ambiguity

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann – OPINION –  There have been no celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership project between the European Union and the former Republics of the USSR.  Officially  launched as a joint policy initiative which “aims to deepen and strengthen relations” between the European Union Member States and its six Eastern neighbors: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, with time it failed to clarify its strategic goals.

In reality the ambivalence of the aims the EU pursues, namely in the frame of the Enlargement policy, the obscurity of perspective of the membership for, at least some of the six, – are the elements which plague the endeavor for participants from both sides. 

Ten year after the EU narrative on the Eastern Partnership is partially biased since it does not explain the complete picture and maintains ambiguity about future relations between the EU and Eastern neighbors.

Previously on the occasion of the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit in Brussels,  24 November 2017, EastStratCom, a unit within the European External Action Service (EEAS) of the EU, set up to address Russia‘s ongoing disinformation campaigns, published a document on its website, entitled “Myths about the Eastern Partnership”  supposed to counter false information about this policy. 

According to its website, the East StratCom Task Force “develops communication products and campaigns focused on better explaining EU policies in the Eastern Partnership countries“. The document pretends to counter the myth that participation in the Eastern Partnership (Eap) leads to EU membership. It underlines that this claim is false” and that the Eastern Partnership initiative “is not a EU accession process“, however its aim is to build “a common area of shared democracy, prosperity, stability and increased cooperation“.

In reality the situation is even much more ambiguous, than its reflection in the document, which omits to mention that although the accession is not mentioned in EU or other Eastern Partnership documents, further EU Enlargement to the East is an objective of some members in the bloc.  The EU Enlargement has to be approved by Member States at unanimity and Member States are today divided on the issue. However, the pro-enlargement countries think the situation can change in the future.

Subsequently Ukrainian think tanks in Brussels are promoting future enlargements after a process of Europeanisation through the Eastern Partnership program. East StratCom omits to inform about the implicit sides of this policy. The EaP policy is from its origins, used both by the EaP countries and some EU Member States to push for further EU enlargement in the longer term.

Geopolitical analysis is about highlighting the implicit objectives of actors. In this respect, the former EU ambassador to Russia has unveiled his support for EU enlargement to the Ukraine. The Lithuanian Vygaudas Ušackas, declared in October 2017 that “we need not only to acknowledge Ukrainians’” European aspirations but at some point grant them a path towards EU membership.

We know from experience that the prospect of membership works as a stimulus for reforms. Uncertainty about Ukraine’s geopolitical position also leaves it exposed to further destabilisation by Russia, which in turn has a negative impact on EU-Russia relations. A successful Ukraine will contribute to stability in our region and represent a powerful example for the Russian people.”

Unsurprisingly, this is in  line of Poland and Baltic countries, but also more recently Romania and Croatia, who are openly in favour of further EU enlargement and this is precisely why they support the Eastern Partnership policy. The President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Joseph Daul also underlined we must offer concrete European prospect to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. And we must offer them the hope that one day they can join our family“. 

The EU narrative on the Eastern Partnership is therefore partially biased since it does not explain the complete picture and maintains ambiguity about future enlargement. This ambiguity is reducing trust, not only with Russia, but also with EU citizens. To resolve this crucial problem, as part of this reform, the EU needs to fix its frontiers in order to preserve its cohesion, strengthen its identity and facilitate the identification of its interests.

 

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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