Ukraine announces economic blockade of rebel-held areas
Kiev demands rebels hand back businesses they seized before cargo traffic with separatists-held areas can resume.
The Ukbapzis are between a rock and a very hard place.
Ukraine announces economic blockade of rebel-held areas
Kiev demands rebels hand back businesses they seized before cargo traffic with separatists-held areas can resume.
Ukraine imposes sanctions on Russian banks
MOSCOW — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed an order Thursday imposing sanctions on Russian-owned banks in Kiev’s latest protest against Russian support for separatists in the east of the country.
The move will stop Ukrainian affiliates of three Russian financial institutions from moving capital abroad, according to a statement on the Ukraine presidency website.
Poroshenko appears in recent days to have been forced into decisions under pressure from nationalist protestors, who have increasingly shaped the country’s political agenda.
Russia denounces Ukraine's blockade and vows to defend banks
Economic war deepens amid continued fighting with rebels in eastern Ukraine
EU approves €600m loan for Ukraine
The European Commission agreed to release a €600m loan to Ukraine on Thursday, bringing the total amount of direct financial assistance it has given the battle-scarred country since 2014 to €2.81bn, the largest amount disbursed to any non-EU country.
Denis Voronenkov: former Russian MP who fled to Ukraine shot dead in Kiev
Voronenkov left Russia last year and renounced citizenship after complaining he was persecuted by security agencies
Denis Voronenkov: ex-Russian MP who fled to Ukraine killed in Kiev
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman dismisses claims that Moscow is linked to the killing of Kremlin critic who left Russia last year and renounced citizenship
Denis Voronenkov who was shot dead on Thursday.
Shaun Walker in Moscow
Thursday 23 March 2017
A former Russian MP who had fled to Ukraine was shot dead on a busy street in central Kiev on Thursday.
Denis Voronenkov, who had spoken out against Vladimir Putin and Kremlin policies, was shot three times outside the upmarket Premier Palace hotel.
Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, quickly pointed the finger at Russian authorities, calling the killing an act of “state terrorism”.
Kiev’s head of police said Voronenkov, who had been granted Ukrainian citizenship after he fled in 2016, was shot three or four times in the head and neck and died at the scene.
A firefight broke out between Voronenkov’s bodyguard, believed to have been provided by the Ukrainian security services, and the assassin. Both were wounded and taken to hospital, where the assassin died a few hours later.
The former MP, 45, had been a member of Russia’s Communist party. His wife, the opera singer Maria Maksakova, was an MP with the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. She reportedly fled to Ukraine with her husband five months ago.
“He told me he was receiving threats from the FSB,” Ilya Ponomarev, another former MP who has also fled Russia, told the Guardian by telephone from Kiev. “To be honest, I had thought he was being a bit paranoid.”
He added that Voronenkov had asked Ukrainian security services for armed protection after receiving the threats. Ponomarev said he had been speaking to Voronenkov every day recently and had been due to meet him on Thursday morning.
After meeting Ponomarev, Voronenkov was apparently planning to give evidence in a case against Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after the Maidan revolution in 2014.
In the aftermath of the uprising, Russia annexed Crimea and backed separatist forces in east Ukraine in a war that has killed 10,000 people. After fleeing to Kiev, Voronenkov claimed he had supported the annexation of Crimea as an MP because of political pressure.
Senior Ukrainian officials quickly painted the killing as a Kremlin plot, with the prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, writing on Facebook that it was “typical public Kremlin punishment of a witness”.
Lutsenko said Voronenkov had already given testimony that implicated Yanukovych in providing cover for Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Poroshenko released a statement saying Voronenkov was one of the “main witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and, in particular, the role of Yanukovych regarding the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine”.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was absurd to look for a link to Moscow in the killing. The foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the “killer regime” in Kiev “will do its best to make sure that no one will ever know the truth about what happened”.
Voronenkov had spoken about the possibility of retribution from Russia after he fled , but said he refused to go into hiding. He gave a number of interviews after his defection that were sharply critical of the Russian president and Kremlin policy in Ukraine. He compared modern Russia to Nazi Germany and called the annexation of Crimea illegal.
“I believe that whatever will happen will happen. I don’t intend to hide,” he said in a recent television interview. He said he believed the Ukrainian security services were able to keep him safe.
In an interview with the Washington Post this week, he said he and his wife were considered traitors in Russia. “It’s hard to imagine we will be forgiven,” he said.
Voronenkov had been put on a Russian wanted list in connection with an alleged $5m (£4m) property fraud. Earlier this month, a Moscow court sanctioned his arrest in absentia.
The anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny released a video after Voronenkov’s flight to Kiev last October calling the former MP a hypocrite who had engaged in corrupt dealings and enthusiastically backed Putin before fleeing. Tweets Voronenkov posted in 2014 gloated over the annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin-backed uprising in east Ukraine.
Many Ukrainians were sharply critical of the decision to award citizenship to an MP from Russia who had voted to annex Crimea and suggested he may have changed his views to win citizenship and flee his troubles with the law in Russia.
Ponomarev, who was the only member of Russia’s Duma to vote against the annexation of Crimea, said this was unfair: “To be honest, I think he was never that interested in high politics and decisions like Crimea. Nobody is perfect, but I don’t think he was engaged in serious corruption. He was doing some investigations and was very dangerous for the FSB.”
Ukrainian security services said they would be offering protection to Ponomarev and Voronenkov’s wife Maksakova in the aftermath of the killing. Maksakova arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting and was escorted away. The couple were raising an infant son.
Separately, in the early hours of Thursday, an explosion at an ammunitions depot in east Ukraine caused a huge fire and prompted the evacuation of more than 20,000 people. Ukrainian authorities said the explosion was sabotage and Poroshenko said “it is no coincidence” that the explosion and Voronenkov’s killing came on the same day, although he offered no evidence linking the events.
Russian State Duma speaker warns Ukraine increasingly turning into terrorist state
"Such statements can only be made on the basis of the investigation," he said commenting on Kiev’s response to the murder of ex-Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, including on remarks by President Pyotr Poroshenko who called it "an act of state terrorism" on the part of Russia. "There was no probe yet, and it is unlikely to be impartial considering the current situation in Ukraine. That’s why all statements made instantly are an attempt, on the one hand, to shuffle off the blame on to someone else. On the other hand, everything suggests that all that may have been orchestrated."
"Certainly, one should express one’s viewpoint only after a report by the law enforcement agencies," the speaker said. Judging by what is going on in Ukraine, "this is hardly possible, because Ukraine is increasingly turning into a terrorist state where laws do not work, and all these statements look like some kind of agony," he noted.
"Of course, it would be right for them to investigate the incident, to study this situation, to understand who is behind it, what the reason is and then make statements."
230 new immigrants arrive in Israel from Ukraine78 families, four Holocaust survivors, and 40 children among new arrivals.
“Life in Ukraine has become life without a future, especially for families with children,” said a couple identified in a news release as Olski and Irina L. “Because of the continuing war the economic situation is also terrible. For us it was clear, if we are looking for a future for our children, it is better to do it in the land of Israel.”
Lithuania fears Russian propaganda is prelude to eventual invasion
The Kremlin’s attempts to rewrite history are seen as threats by Baltic states similar to its justification for annexing Crimea
US army forces during military exercises in Lithuania in November 2016.
Emma Graham-Harrison in Vilnius and Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Monday 3 April 2017
Russia is trying to create a false history that denies the Baltic states’ right to exist, with alarming parallels to its justifications for the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, top Lithuanian officials have said.
The country’s defence minister and officials from the army’s department of strategic communication have told the Guardian that they are taking very seriously the threat of disinformation campaigns orchestrated by Moscow that aim to destabilise the region.
“Russia is a threat,” the defence minister, Raimundas Karoblis, said. “They are saying our capital Vilnius should not belong to Lithuania because between the first and second world wars it was occupied by Poland. It’s history of course, but Russia is using this pretext.
“Sometimes [the disinformation] is through [the government-run news agency] Sputnik, sometimes through their TV, but usually from politicians in the Duma.
Ready for Russia: Lithuanians taught how to resist invasion
“There are now reports that Klaipėda [Lithuania’s third largest city] never belonged to Lithuania; that it was the gift of Stalin after the second world war. There are real parallels with Crimea’s annexation [from Ukraine] … We are speaking of a danger to the territorial integrity of Lithuania.”
Sgt Tomas Ceponis, from the Lithuanian military’s department of strategic communication, said his team was monitoring disinformation, much of which bears similarities to the propaganda campaigns reported by Ukrainian specialists.
Lithuania fears the campaign to rewrite history could be an effort to prepare the ground for a possible attack with conventional weapons – what the military calls “kinetic operations”.
“Some of my colleagues from Ukraine told me there was a 12-year period of latent information operations, non-kinetic,” Ceponis said. “Then after, when conditions were set, they turned to kinetic operation.
“What is really a threat for us, is that we see they are working on a similar narrative for Lithuania, and they have been working on it for many years.”
The issue of how national history is interpreted is potentially a question of national survival for Lithuania, whose status has shifted over several centuries from a major regional power to a territory of another nation, to an independent but small and vulnerable state.
Ceponis said the Russians spent a lot of time and energy putting together a narrative in Crimea that incorporated a revival of the Tsarist-era term “Novorossia” or “New Russia”, to describe parts of eastern Ukraine. The term was embraced by Putin when he asserted Moscow’s right to use force there in 2014, but had first appeared nearly a decade earlier.
“In 2003, when they first talked about Novorossia, no one even cared about these comments, but now we can trace history back and see these articles,” Ceponis said.
The Lithuanian military says similar campaigns have been traced on TV and social media that question the existence of a separate Lithuanian state, lay claim to part of its territory, or bolster the idea that the country is oppressing ethnic Russians.
The former deputy chairman of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky is among those who have challenged Lithuania’s right to exist.
“According to him the eastern part of Lithuania where our capital is should be connected to Belorussia, and the western part should be connected to Russia,” Ceponis said.
Russian fears lead Lithuania to print ‘how to survive invasion’ manual
His team has picked up on the creation of Facebook pages for imaginary “statelets” inside the Baltic area, reminiscent of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donbass and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
Some of the accounts may seem crude or absurd but if they are well presented, they can be very persuasive, Ceponis said. “You don’t need to lie 100%, just have to provide selective information, and they are really good at playing the game. Not everyone is a historian, a politician and for general citizens it can be hard to understand.
On the ground, Germany is to lead a battle group of 1,000 troops, including soldiers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg, who will be stationed in Lithuania, amid growing concerns over Putin’s intentions in the Baltics. Nato battle groups led by America, Canada and Britain are also being stationed in Poland, Latvia and Estonia.
Karoblis said the situation was “terrifying” but that the troops were vital to send the message that Lithuania and others were “not alone”. He said: “If the worst-case scenario [were to happen] we will probably not get another chance if we surrender without a fight.”
He added: “In Kaliningrad [a Russian enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea] they are building their capacities. It seems that they will have now a permanent middle-range missile system there that is capable of bringing nuclear weapons. It will cover the eastern part of Germany, or the south of Sweden, for example.
Ceponis said the west needed to step up its battle against Russian propaganda. “You have a saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. If we lose the information war today, tomorrow we may be fighting with weapons.”
Ukrainian intelligence officer killed in car blast in Mariupol port.
A Ukrainian state security service officer was killed in a car explosion in the eastern port city of Mariupol on Friday, the security service (SBU) said, blaming Russian-backed separatists.
"The SBU will punish the terrorists who blew up the car with the SBU officer in Mariupol as soon as possible," it said in a statement.
Lieutenant Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberiush was deputy chief of the local counterintelligence department in the Donetsk region, parts of which have been under the control of Russian-backed rebels since 2014, Ukrainian Interfax news said.
Ukraine online passport service down after EU votes for visa-free travel
The state-operated Ukrainian website pasport.org.ua was not available on Tuesday, citing an exceeded resource limit. The service went down after the European Parliament voted in favor of granting Ukraine visa-free travel.The website later returned, but a warning notified that it was not operational “for technical reasons.”
He fought with Russian-backed militants in Ukraine. Now he’s a U.S. soldier.
Veteran Russian MP warns Moscow could use nuclear weapons if the US makes a move into Crimea
'Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict, without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict' says Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov
Wonder Woman banned in Lebanon over Israeli lead Gal Gadot
Russia could use nuclear weapons to defend its position if forces led by the US or Nato make a move into Crimea, a veteran politician in the country has claimed.
"If US forces, Nato forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict, without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told a global security forum in Slovakia.
Mr Nikonov, who has served on the staff of Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, said that he had heard this at some point "from the Russian military", according to Defense One.
He was speaking the GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum.
Russia launches ‘unprecedented’ Crimea army drills
The politician added that the west was “not just a force for good”, and said he was concerned about the lack of dialogue between Russia and the US and its allies to find a political solution.
His comments come after Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov said the country would upgrade its rocket artillery brigades by 2020 and President Vladimir Putin unveiled a futuristic new tank which is invisible to missiles and capable of annihilating targets more than five miles away.
In a move which angered the US and its Nato allies, Russia annexed Crimea during a period of political upheaval in Ukraine in 2014, claiming the instability threatened the interests of Moscow and the large ethnic Russian community living in Crimea.
Russia’s continued control of Crimea and support for separatist militants in neighbouring eastern Ukraine has continued to anger Washington and Nato.
Moscow refutes the “annexation” label following a disputed referendum which it claimed showed a majority of voters favoured separation from Ukraine. The UN General Assembly rejected the legitimacy of both the vote and the annexation, while the other members of the then G8 suspended Russia and imposed sanctions.
Both Russia and Nato have built up their military across shared borders since the annexation, with both sides accusing the other of aggression. Mr Nikonov cited 400 points of Nato military installations near its borders, some armed with nuclear weapons.
Russian military activity in Crimea
Moscow is believed to have the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world with at least 7,300 in its possession, while the US ranks second globally with around 7,000.
Both countries have greatly reduced their nuclear arsenals since the Cold War but each retains far more weapons than any other country.
Both nations have a policy of “launch under attack”, which means they will not rule out launching their nuclear arsenal if faced with an existential threat.
The Military Doctrine of Russia, last updated in 2014, says Moscow reserves “the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.”
Kissinger 'advises Donald Trump to accept' Crimea as part of Russia
Although President Donald Trump has faced much criticism over his alleged links to Russia, US sanctions against the country remain in place over Crimea.
After Mr Trump’s initial overtures to Mr Putin, relations between Washington and Moscow have become more strained in recent weeks, with the White House reiterating America's demand that Russia withdraws from Crimea.
Mr Nikonov said is worrying that US officials have been fired for talking to their Russian counterparts as this could cause relations between the superpowers to deteriorate further.
The Pentagon this week successfully simulated the shoot-down of a hostile long-range ballistic missile launch in the first ever live test of its kind, seen as a warning to hostile regimes such as North Korea and Iran but widely noted in the world media, including Russia.
Vladimir Putin refers to 'territories now called Ukraine' in ominous comments during annual phone-in
Russian President heralds 'common history' with former Soviet state and says he 'hopes this period in life and history of Ukraine and Ukrainian people will come to an end'
Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, used the annual question and answer session to talk to voters about key issues ahead of next year's presidential election
Vladimir Putin has referred to "the territories which now belong to Ukraine" in ominous comments during his annual phone-in.
The Russian President made several remarks about Ukraine, recent anti-government protests and his country's relations with the United States, during A Direct Line With Putin.
"I hope at some time this period in the life and history of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people will come to an end," Mr Putin said.
Mr Putin used the question and answer session to talk to voters about key issues ahead of next year's presidential election, which he is expected to contest.
Anti-Putin protests: Russian police arrest hundreds as thousands rally against Kremlin corruption
He went on to say how much he values the views of Ukranians who remember the "common history" uniting Russia and Ukraine. "We grasp it and we value it highly, believe me."
Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and is supporting pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, leading Western nations to place sanctions on Moscow.
"If it wasn't for Crimea, other problems, they would have invented something else to deter Russia," he said.
During the tightly choreographed marathon TV appearance, Mr Putin gave a rare glimpse into his private life, saying he has two grandchildren whose privacy he wants to respect, and even spoke to a man whose wife had given birth moments ago.
He described Ukranian nationalists as "swastika-brandishing loonies" and added the fathers of Ukranian nationalism believed the country should be a federal state.
"We have many friends in Ukraine," he said, before going on to say the Ukranian nationalists "all believed Ukraine should be independent but it should also be a federal state."
He added that "over-centralisation... would lead to domestic conflicts in Ukraine. This is what we have been witnessing.
"By the way, some of the defenders of the Ukrainian independence and the Ukrainian nationalism did not see Crimea as part of Ukraine."
He said construction of a bridge to connect mainland Russia with Crimea is on schedule "and even slightly ahead of it". It is meant to be operational by the end of next year.
Mr Putin also joked that Russia would offer asylum to former FBI director James Comey (Getty Images)
During the four-hour show, Mr Putin accused his opponents of "abusing" and exploiting problems in Russia rather than offering a solution.
He said that while "street protests always emerge as part of democratic procedures," they were "not being done to improve the situation in the country."
He also said Russia's campaign in Syria had allowed the military to test its state-of-the art weapons in real combat.
The experience allowed engineers to polish weapons designs and has given a "new quality" to the Russian military, he said.
Vladimir Putin offers political asylum to James Comey
Mr Putin also joked that Russia would offer asylum to former FBI director James Comey, who was fired by Donald Trump.
Vladimir Putin offers fired FBI director James Comey asylum in Russia
He said it was "very strange" the FBI official had leaked details of conversations with the US President and compared his actions to those of Edward Snowden.
The Russian President said his country was "ready for a constructive dialogue" with the US.
Mr Putin said Moscow and Washington could cooperate in efforts to prevent the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, including the North Korean nuclear and missile problem.
He said the two countries could also cooperate in dealing with global poverty and efforts to prevent climate change.
"As far as the flashpoints are concerned... there are positive examples of our cooperation. Syrian problem, Mid-Eastern problem on the whole... There are other flashpoints and we are very hopeful for the United States' constructive role in the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis... We are ready for a constructive dialogue."
Controversial bridge connecting Russia to Crimea begins to take shape
Controversial bridge connecting Russia to Crimea begins to take shape
Keely Lockhart, and ap, video source aptn
29 August 2017 · 3:10pm
The first of two central arches of a new road and rail bridge across the Kerch Straits between Russia and Crimea has been moved into place, a key moment in the controversial project to construct a direct land connection between Russia and the annexed region.
'Not European': Juncker Cuts Ukraine's Poroshenko Down to Size
Geert Vanden Wijngaert
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s opinion that Ukraine is neither part of the European Union, nor part of NATO reflects the West’s growing annoyance regarding false statements made by the Ukrainian leader, political analyst Oleg Bondarenko told Sputnik.
Juncker had no other choice than to try to bring him to his senses by telling him the hard truth, because “Europeans are not used to telling lies,” Bondarenko said.
“A few days ago I saw that my friend Poroshenko said that Ukraine is the European Union, and it is NATO. At the moment, it’s neither one nor the other, and I think we do need to bear this in mind,” Juncker said at a conference of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Tuesday.
He added that because Ukraine is the only country in Europe that has a war going on in its territory, “it is not 'European' in the sense of the European Union.”
In an interview with Sputnik, Oleg Bondarenko said that Petro Poroshenko was engaged in wishful thinking.
“All Poroshenko is doing is lying to everyone, both in and out of Ukraine, about reforms and fighting corruption. He is also making all sorts of promises to the US and Europe. It looks like the European leaders are already fed up with all these lies and attempts to enmesh the West in his squabbles with Russia,” Bondarenko noted.
Earlier, the US special representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, likewise said that Ukraine is not yet ready to join NATO.
On August 26, Poroshenko said that Ukraine would stay the course of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and was all set to join the EU and NATO.
Ex-Georgian president freed after dramatic standoff in Kiev
Mikheil Saakashvili threatens to jump from roof before being detained, then released in security forces standoff with supporters
Mikheil Saakashvili flashes a victory sign after he was freed in Kiev.
Shaun Walker in Moscow
Tuesday 5 December 2017
In a dramatic standoff with Ukrainian law enforcement, the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has threatened to jump off the roof of his apartment building, been detained and then broken free.
Officers from the security service (SBU) entered Saakashvili’s flat in central Kiev early on Tuesday morning, but he fled to the roof and threatened to jump, Ukrainian media reported.
After he was dragged away by masked security forces agents, there were clashes on the ground as supporters of Saakashvili blocked the van trying to take the politician away. Teargas was used against protesters during the hour-long standoff after which Saakashvili was released from the van.
It was unclear what charges, if any, Saakashvili faced. Lawyers close to the politician suggested he could be charged with supporting criminal groups or plotting a coup. There were also suggestions he could be deported to Georgia, where he faces criminal charges he has said are politically motivated.
Ukraine’s general prosecutor said on Tuesday afternoon that Saakashvili’s activities in the country were funded by an ally of the deposed president Viktor Yanukovych.
Mikheil Saakashvili appears on a rooftop
Tuesday morning’s arrest was the latest chapter in the bizarre and incongruous recent biography of a man who was once considered the reformist hope of the post-Soviet region. It is also the latest episode in an increasingly bitter feud between the former Georgian leader and the current Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko.
Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili, whom he had known since their student days, to run the southern region of Odessa in 2015, in the hope that his energetic reformist tendencies would transform the area. However, Saakashvili resigned at the end of 2016, blaming Poroshenko for the slow pace of reform and promising to go into opposition and create his own party.
Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, granted so he could take up the Odessa job, while outside the country earlier this year, but he forced his way across the border with the help of supporters.
On Tuesday, Saakashvili shouted from the roof that Poroshenko was “a criminal, thief and traitor”.
Saakashvili is detained in Kiev.
Saakashvili came to power in Georgia in the Rose Revolution of 2003, and introduced sweeping reforms that helped reduce corruption and red tape. However, his rule became marred by allegations of creeping authoritarianism. In 2008, the Georgian army was routed by Russia and when Saakashvili left office in 2013 he was widely unpopular.
His second political life in Odessa was never boring, with televised publicity stunts, late-night meetings and increasingly strident criticism of Poroshenko’s government. During one cabinet meeting in Kiev, Saakashvili accused the interior minister, Arsen Avakov, of corruption and said he would go to jail. In response, Avakov threw a glass of water in Saakashvili’s face and called him a “bonkers populist”.
Play Video 0:26 Moment ex-Georgian president freed after dramatic standoff in Kiev - video
Poroshenko’s supporters say he is trying to make important reforms while dealing with a political legacy of ingrained corruption and a punishing war in the east, where the army is fighting separatists funded and backed by Russia.
Critics have accused Poroshenko of governing in the same manner as previous presidents, giving preferential treatment to oligarchic allies and failing to make changes fast enough. International backers of Ukraine have grown impatient with the slow rate of reform.
The images of masked special agents manhandling Saakashvili is unlikely to burnish Poroshenko’s reform credentials, though the former also has a mixed reputation in the international community, with many wary of his impulsive style.
But at the very moment when anti-corruption officials have really started to tackle the problem, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is moving to undermine them. His followers in parliament have dismissed the head of a crucial anti-corruption committee, and now they’re preparing to neutralize the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), its only independent anti-graft body, which has made a name for itself with aggressive prosecutions of high-ranking politicians.
And it’s not just happening in parliament. Last month, the Ukrainian intelligence agency and the general prosecutor’s office — both of which take their orders directly from the president — cracked down on NABU’s undercover investigations in Kiev. They also staged raids on the homes of 12 NABU employees and their relatives. This is the biggest blow to the operations of the agency since it was launched two years ago; several of its investigations have collapsed. Some of the anti-corruption fighters refer to what happened as “planned sabotage.”
AUTHOR`S NAME AIDYN MEHTIYEV
Ukraine welcomes NATO's Tomahawk missiles with open arms
It appears that Ukraine is working hard to build a US Navy base in the city of Odessa. US warships call at the port of Odessa once in every three months. Most recently, while the Russians were celebrating Orthodox Christmas, US destroyer USS Carney DDG-64 arrived in Odessa at nighttime.
Ukraine welcomes NATO's Tomahawk missiles with open arms. 61800.jpeg USS JAMES E. WILLIAMS (DDG-95). SOURCE: RU.WIKIPEDIA.ORG
According to representatives of the Sixth Fleet of the US Navy, the purpose of the mission is to conduct operations to ensure security at sea and strengthen combined readiness and naval capabilities among NATO allies and partners.
The last time, when a US warship called at Odessa was in mid-November 2017 - USS James E. Williams stayed in Odessa for more than two weeks until December 2. The American destroyer was carrying 96 universal launchers with Tomahawk cruise missiles and 64 Standard-3 missiles.
In turn, USS Carney DDG-64 destroyer is equipped with Aegis missile defence system and Tomahawk missiles.
Also read: NATO ships will sink in ten minutes should they attack Russia
The Carney destroyer is equipped with state-of-the-art radar equipment. Therefore, one may assume that one of the purposes of the mission to Odessa is intelligence and collection of classified information.
In the Nikolayev region of Ukraine, US naval specialists continue the construction of the Operational Control Center for the Ukrainian Navy. The construction began in July 2017. Thus, as we can see, the Pentagon, under the guise of military assistance to Ukraine, has been deploying modern infrastructure in Ukraine to conduct military operations and NATO reconnaissance activities in the Black Sea.
The port of Odessa is only 300 kilometres from the main base of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia in Sevastopol, so the activity of the US navy in the region is easy to understand. During the first days of 2017, the patrol anti-submarine aircraft of the US Navy P-8A Poseidon conducted a reconnaissance flight near the coast of the Crimea.
The Kiev regime seeks Ukraine's accession to NATO, and the establishment of the US Navy base in Odessa is part of this plan. In December 2014, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a bill to abandon the non-bloc status. According to President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's entry into NATO is "the main priority of Ukrainian foreign policy."
In an interview with Bloomberg, Poroshenko called NATO "the only effective security mechanism in the world." Needless to say that the Kremlin is not going to sit on its hands.
See more at http://www.pravdareport.com/russia/poli ... ack_sea-0/
Poland’s border service confirmed that Saakashvili, who has emerged as a bitter critic of Ukraine’s government, had arrived and that Warsaw had agreed to let him enter.
“This person was on Ukrainian territory illegally and therefore, in compliance with all legal procedures, he was returned to the country from where he arrived,” the Ukrainian border service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan said in a post on Facebook.
Ukraine wants to own the Crimean Bridge that Russia is building
Ukrainian MP Refat Chubarov suggested establishing a "special international consortium" for the exploitation of the Crimean bridge that Russia is currently building.
According to the MP, Russia should deliver the bridge to the "consortium" as compensation for the "occupation" of the Crimea.
Chubarov stressed that "the bridge is part of the large contribution to repay the damage that Russia has caused Ukraine." :
Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people* is known for his anti-Russian statements. Chubarov was one of those who organised energy and food blockade of the Crimea.
See more at http://www.pravdareport.com/news/world/ ... eaders_top
President of Ukraine, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has announced the transition from the format of the anti-terrorist operation to the joint forces operation in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions...
Ukraine staged the murder of a Russian dissident journalist in Kiev on Tuesday in what it said was a sting operation to foil a Russian assassination plot.
Arkady Babchenko sent shock waves around the world when he arrived at a news conference on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he was reported dead.
The head of Ukraine's security services, Vasyl Hrytsak, said the elaborate sting was set up to catch hitmen paid by Russian forces.
Police said they had made one arrest.
Babchenko's wife said that she had found him at the entrance to their apartment block with bullet wounds in his back, and he was reported to have died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.
There were gasps and applause as the journalist entered the room for the press conference on Wednesday. He thanked the Ukrainian security services for saving his life and said he had no choice but to take part.
"I did my job. I'm still alive," Babchenko said.
"I have buried many friends and colleagues many times and I know the sickening feeling," he added. "I am sorry you had to experience it. But there was no other way."
What do we know about the operation?
Babchenko said he was informed a month ago about an alleged Russian plot to kill him. He said he was in constant contact with Ukrainian security services over the course of the past month, adding that he thought they had been planning the operation for up to two months.
Mr Hrytsak said the operation began after Ukrainian security services were informed about a plot to kill Babchenko.
He said Russian security forces had recruited a Ukrainian citizen to find hitmen within Ukraine. He said the citizen approached several acquaintances, including war veterans, offering $30,000 (£22,600) for the contract killing, one of whom revealed the plot to the security services.
They then informed Babchenko, apparently determining that the only way to reveal the plotters was to stage a fake hit.
It was not clear if Babchenko's wife Olechka was aware that his death had been faked. He apologised to her at the press conference. "Olechka, I am terribly sorry," he said, "but there were no other options".
Mr Hrytsak said it was the Ukrainian who tried to find a hitman who was detained by police.
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Kiev has in recent years seen a number of deadly attacks on high-profile figures, including journalists and politicians. Most of them were vocal critics of the Kremlin.
The leading Belarusian journalist and Kremlin critic, Pavel Sheremet, was killed by a car bomb in Kiev in July 2016.
Another car bomb killed Ukrainian military intelligence officer Col Maxim Shapoval in June 2017 in what the Ukrainian authorities called a terrorist act.
In March of the same year, former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov was shot dead outside a hotel in Kiev.
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