August 22-28, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

On August 21, terrorists shelled village Solodke, Maryinsky district of Donetsk region with 122-mm artillery. The shelling was carried out from the village Olenivka, reported ATO press centre. As a result of powerful explosion, shrapnel damaged residential houses.

On August 23, terrorists shelled the control post “Mine Rodina,” reported the State Border Service. Terrorists used small arms and grenades. Grenades exploded along with the control post. Fortunately, no victims among the military were reported. Border guards did not open fire in response.

43 times Russian occupation forces violated the truce in Donbas on the Independence Day, reported ATO press centre.

In Donetsk direction the enemy shelled the villages Troyitske and Luhanske with 122-mm artillery. Avdiyivka, Svetlodarsk and Nevelske suffered from mortar attacks, including the forbidden 120-mm mortars; more than three dozen tank shots were recorded near Avdiyivka.

In Mariupol direction the enemy also used heavy artillery against Shyrokyne (120 shells). Positions in Novohryhorivka, Shyrokyne, Starohnativka the enemy shelled with 120-mm and 82-mm mortars.

In Luhansk region the enemy used heavy 152-mm artillery against the fortifications in Kalynovo-Popasna, Novozvanivka, Novotoshkivka, and a dozen of 122-mm shells against Krymske.

Trilateral contact group including representatives of individual regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO) declared the need for complete and indefinite ceasefire in Donbas from September 1, 2016, reported Darka Olifer, spokeswoman of Leonid Kuchma Leonid Kuchma. “This day the new school year starts. Only on the controlled territory of Donbas over 150 thousand children go to schools and kindergartens. We insist: all children in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, regardless of their residence, have the right to care and security. That is why Ukraine insists on a complete ceasefire,”- said Olifer. The press secretary said that the Ukrainian side implements consistently the Minsk agreement, and calls on the Russian Federation and ORDLO not violate its obligations and initiate a ceasefire from September 1, 2016.

Politics and Economy

Ukraine started production of anti-tank hedgehogs to be further installed at the border with annexed Crimea, reported MP from Kherson region Oleksander Spivakovskyi. According to him, hedgehogs will be installed to protect against invasion of tanks and motorized units of the Russian army from the peninsula.

The decision on visa-free regime for Ukraine is expected during the EU – Ukraine Summit in the fall, most likely – in October, reported Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. As you know, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn also expressed hope that Ukraine will receive visa free regime in October.

On August 26, National Bank of Ukraine presented a commemorative 20-hryvnia banknote dedicated to 160th anniversary of the famous Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko. NBU Deputy Chairman Yakiv Smoliy said that the commemorative banknotes enter into circulation on September 1, 2016; one million banknotes will be entered into circulation. He said the paper for commemorative banknotes was produced with the addition of Ukrainian flax, which helped reduce the cost of its production and add strength. As noted, 20 thousand copies of the commemorative notes will be wrapped in souvenir envelopes for realization by regional representative offices of the National Bank at a price of 31 hryvnia. The cost of other commemorative banknotes will be UAH 27.

National anti-corruption bureau verifies information on ownership of undeclared wealth by the former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, stated the reply of NABU on the appeal of MP Mustafa Nayem (BPP). They considered the appeal of MP on possible illegal enrichment of Shokin and reported on the start of proceedings. Earlier, the journalists of the TV programme “Schemes” reported that former Prosecutor General Victor Shokin, who in March was dismissed by the President, had a prosperous common-law wife and a child, whom he did not mention in his declaration.

Ukrainian business will increase capital by prepayment of foreign currency liabilities to non-residents. The respective changes were made to the current resolution of the NBU dated June 7, 2016 № 342 “On settlement of the Situation in the Money and Foreign Exchange Markets of Ukraine,” reported the press service. As noted, the current residents can perform the repayment of loans and borrowings in foreign currency contracts with non-residents until the term provided.

In addition, the National Bank simplified the procedure of purchase and transfer of foreign currency to pay for the treatment of individuals abroad. Information about these transactions will be included in the register without submitting the relevant documents to the National Bank of Ukraine. Thus, the authorized bank can buy foreign currency to the customer for this purpose the next day from the date of transfer of funds in UAH.

International Arena

Ambassador of Ukraine to the European Union Mykola Tochitskyi denies information on providing visa-free regime for Ukraine and Georgia from January 1, 2017. He said this during a meeting with journalists in Kyiv. He also stressed that he sees no reasons to tie visa-free regime with the beginning of 2017.

OSCE Ambassador to Ukraine Ihor Prokopchuk says that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), despite the request, will not send its observers to the elections to the Russian parliament, which will take place, among other things, in the annexed Crimea. The countries may invite ODIHR mission only on its territory. ODIHR’s position: they will not take part in monitoring the elections held in the annexed Crimea,”- said the diplomat. The Ambassador did not predict how this will affect the recognition of the parliament of the Russian Federation as a whole. He also recalled that in a similar situation with the Crimean representative in the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, the OSCE authorities refused to recognize the authority of only an MP from the annexed territory.

The EU Commission again discusses the introduction of financial sanctions against countries that do not want to host refugees, stated the Commissioner for Migration, Internal Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopulos. The size of the proposed fine is EUR 250 000 for each missed migrant. According to Avramopulos, the Commission’s proposals are intended to complement the existing mechanism of distribution of refugees and make adjustments for situations where some Member States close their eyes on resettlement. According to recent data, only 1% of refugees were displaced under EU resettlement program, with planned 160 thousand people.

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy held talks on Monday on the decision of the UK to leave the European Union and said that Europe should turn away from the populists who blame Brussels for all problems, reported Reuters. Speaking at the aircraft carrier off the coast of the Italian island of Ventotene, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for closer security cooperation and better opportunities for young people. Negotiations on Monday marked the beginning of the weekly meeting of Merkel with other European governments. She will visit four countries and host eight other leaders in Berlin. Hollande, in turn, stressed the need to protect the EU from violence by strengthening borders and exchange of information.

EU Ambassador Ian Tombinski who completes his mission in Ukraine has identified priority areas, where, in his opinion, the state should make changes. First is decentralisation, second task he called is the fight against corruption. The third is political reform in Ukraine. The fourth is revitalization of the economy, with increasing weight of small and medium enterprises. And the last is internal dialog. There must be reconciliation among Ukrainians. Unfortunately, this issue is given too little attention, says Tombinski.

In addition, Ian Tombinski argues that until the full launch of electronic declaration Ukraine will not complete the requirements for the abolition of EU visas. He sees no possibility for the EU to influence this process.

Ukraine-EU summit to be held on May 19 was postponed until October-November 2016, reported the Brussels correspondent of Radio Liberty Ricard Yozvyak.

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