Tag Archives: Ukraine

EU Foreign Ministers focus on Syria and Ukraine

“You know that today we are mainly discussing the military operations in Syria. To me the most important point will be the fact that we are hosting the UN Special Envoy for Syria, [Geir] Pedersen. We will discuss with him how we can help protect the political process from this new military escalation. And obviously, as you know, Member States will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said upon her arrival to EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Council in Luxembourg.

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 “This meeting is important not only for the decisions it could take, but also to prepare the European Council. Because as you know, the European Council later this week will have the same two topics on the agenda, among others. It will also be useful to prepare the meeting of heads of state and government on these two issues.”

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 “And we will also host the Foreign Minister of Ukraine [Vadym Prystaiko] today. For me it is very important to keep the European Union’s attention, and that of the international community on that. It will be an opportunity for us to hear from him about the plans of the new administration – of the new government – on reforms. As you know, the European Union is the main supporter of Ukrainian reforms and also of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. So it will also be a good opportunity for us to discuss with him on the perspectives for the country.”

EU Crimea sanctions prolongation

The Council has extended the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 March 2020.”

 

The measures consist of an asset freeze and travel restrictions. They currently apply to 170 persons and 44 entities. The relevant information and statement of reasons for the listing of these persons and entities have been updated as necessary.

 

 

“Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include:

  • Economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2020.
  • Restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2020.

The decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure. The legal acts will be published in the Official Journal on 13 September 2019.”

 

 

 

Zelensky party wins absolute majority

President Vladimir Zelensky‘s ‘Servant of People‘ party is winning the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine with 43.16% of the votes, the Central Election Commission (CEC) informed after all 100% of the ballots have been counted.

Four other parties have overcome the 5% threshold. Opposition Platform – For Life received 13.05% of the votes, former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko‘s Batkivshchina – 8.18%, former president Pyotr Poroshenko‘s European Solidarity – 8.10%, and singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Golos – 5.82%.

According to CEC, more than 6.3 million people supported Zelensky’s party, the Opposition Platform – For Live secured support of more than 1.9 million people, Batkivschina was backed by almost 1.2 million people, while European Solidarity – by 1.18 million. About 851,000 people voted for Golos in the snap parliamentary election.

Now, the Central Election Commission is to sum up the results no later than on August 4, officially publishing them in the newspapers Holos Ukrayiny (Voice of Ukraine) and Uryadovy Kuryer (Governmental Courier) before August 9. The new Rada is meet for its first session no later than on September 9. Prior to its opening, the parliamentarians will take the oath.

A snap parliamentary election was held in Ukraine on July 21. Voter turnout stood at 49.84%, the lowest ever in the history of Ukrainian parliamentary elections with more than 14.7 million people skipping the poll.

Lavrov: journalist Vyshinky case “absurd”

Russian Minister of Foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov  reiterated Moscow demands of respect of his human rights and immediate liberation of journalist Kirill Vyshinky (pictured) arrested in Ukraine.

The trial in the case of the RIA Novosti Ukraine chief editor resembles the theater of the absurd. There is no doubt that the journalist was arrested illegally, only because he worked for a Russian media outlet and honestly covered current developments. Ukrainian prosecutors seem to understand it as they have been postponing hearings, citing the need to study the case files,Lavrov said to Aif newspaper.

Our diplomats maintain contacts with his lawyers as Ukraine failed to provide us with access to the journalist himself. We are doing our best, working with foreign partners, particularly on international platforms, encouraging them to influence Kiev so that a positive solution can be foundLavrov concluded.

Kiev’s Podolsky District Court postponed the hearing of the Vyshinsky case to July 19.

Vyshinsky was arrested in Kiev  by the Ukrainian Security Service  (SBU) on 15 May 2018.  Being under arrest, on On 1 June 2018, he said in court: “I declare my withdrawal from my Ukrainian citizenship — from this moment I consider myself only a citizen of Russia.”

EU allocates €119M to Ukraine

The EU provides additional  million for accountable and efficient governance in Ukraine and to step up its support to the Sea of Azov region.

The EU-Ukraine Summit recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process, and agreed on the importance of accelerating these efforts, in particular in the fight against corruption. The EU has also showed clear solidarity with the country facing continuous challenges in the East including in the Sea of Azov region.

In the margins of the Summit, the Commission adopted new measures to support decentralisation, fight against corruption, empowerment of civil society and accountable and efficient governance in Ukraine as well as to alleviate the humanitarian situation and promoting economic opportunities for the people living in the Sea of Azov region.

The package will include a €40 million programme on decentralisation, a €15 million programme to fight corruption, a €10 million programme to support civil society and a €44 million programme for the facilitation of key reforms and the implementation of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The support to anti-corruption efforts and de-centralisation reforms are additional contributions to already successfully ongoing EU flagship programmes U-LEAD with Europe and EU Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI).

Transparency International’s recent Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Ukraine 120th out of 182 countries, the place shared with African Mali.

 

NATO-Russia “fundamentally different”

The NATO-Russia Council, which brings together all 29 NATO Allies and Russia, met in Brussels on Friday July 5 to discuss Ukraine, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and transparency and risk reduction. This was the second meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this year. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said: “Our discussion was frank but necessary. Allies and Russia hold fundamentally different views but we are committed to continuing our dialogue.”

Outcome of the Council meeting: It is the choice and decision of the American side, which has refused the concrete and realistic measures of mutual transparency that we had proposed to alleviate concerns that have piled up” Russian mission to NATO wrote in Twitter micro blog after the meeting. The detailed comments have been published on the Facebook page of the mission:

The NRC meeting on July 5 focused on the security situation in Europe in the context of US announced withdrawal from the INF Treaty on August 2. The Russian Side indicated that attempts to shift the blame on Russia for the demise of the INF were unjustified. It is the choice and decision of the American side, which has refused the concrete and realistic measures of mutual transparency that we had proposed to alleviate concerns that have piled up. We drew the attention to real risks of further aggravating military and political situation in Europe. The Russian Side noted the need to exercise restraint. We confirmed that in our planning of the steps to ensure the interests of Russia’s military security in the context of the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty we are not intended to deploy corresponding missile systems in Europe and other regions unless the US intermediate- and shorter-range missiles are deployed there. We called on NATO countries to make the same statement”.

PACE votes to restore Russian vote

Common sense has prevailed in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe where for the first time over the past five years the aggressive anti-Russian minority has failed to impose its viewpoint, Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page, commenting on a resolution enabling Russian legislators to return to PACE and take part in the summer session.

However the main distinguishing feature of the discussion was an unprecedented polarization of opinions and the same intensity of passion. Indeed, despite the absence in the text of the report of a mention of any country, it came down to the theme of Russia – to be or not to be in PACE” Konstantin Kosachev writes.

“And, despite the voting result that suits our country (118 for, 62 against, 10 abstentions), it cannot but be alarming that our opponents in the Assembly again tried to throw dirt at Russia, attributing to it any possible and impossible sins against “European values” . Shamelessly, all myths and fakes went into action, they were not shy in expressions. Apart from the Ukrainians, the British, especially in conjunction with the Georgians (and where they were without them), presented the lion’s share of the amendments “for three”, especially succeeded. By the way, ingloriously failed the lion’s share”

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The Russian delegation is ready to return to PACE for the sake of the truth, Kosachev underlined. “This platform cannot be left at the mercy of Russophobes, who dream about kicking Russia out of Europe,” he went on to say.

Earlier, PACE approved the resolution of Belgian representative Petra De Sutter that will allow the Russian delegation to take part in the Assembly’s June session. Subsequently Russia will be able to present a delegation to PACE on June 25, paving the way for participation in the election of a new secretary-general for the Council of Europe the next day.

The head of the Russian State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, concluded that PACEmade a huge step toward defending the rights of national delegations.”

Russia‘s delegation will not tolerate “any more sanctions, no matter how insignificant, Slutsky added.

Members of the permanent delegation of Ukraine‘s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) attempted to introduce the amendments to the draft resolution, but they were declined. A total of 220 amendments were reviewed, which were overwhelmingly rejected. Separate points were withdrawn by their authors. Consideration of the amendments lasted about four hours.

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