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Monitoring August 1-7, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine 

On July 31, Ukrainian military discovered a sabotage and reconnaissance group of up to 5 people in the area of Bohdanivka, Donetsk region, reported ATO press centre. Ukrainian military fired back with small arms making the enemy retreat.

On August 1, terrorists shelled the positions of the State Border Service of Ukraine twice, reported the press service of the State Border Service. The terrorists used small arms and AGS against the control post “Mayorsk” and “Maryinka”. As a result of shelling the control posts, none of the border guards was injured.

There have been recorded regular losses in units of the 1st AC (Donetsk), reported the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (three killed and ten wounded) The largest losses suffered units that carried out attacks on ATO forces near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka.

On August 2, terrorists shelled the areas of Avdiyivka – Krasnohorivka with 120mm mortars and heavy machine guns, reported ATO press centre. In addition, the enemy used 82 mm mortars, grenade launchers and small arms near Avdiyivka, Mayorsk, Novhorodske, Zaitseve, Nyzhnie Lozove and Opytne. In Mariupol direction Shyrokyne was a hotspot, where occupants used infantry fighting vehicles, 120mm and 82mm mortars, grenade launchers and small arms.

On August 2 situation in the area of Avdyivka deteriorated, reported ATO press centre. The enemy shelled residential areas with 82mm mortars.

On August 3 ATO press centre reported of non-stop shelling of residential areas of settlements near Donetsk. In Donetsk area the enemy did not stop armed provocations near Krasnohorivka – Avdiyivka – Horlivka.

Number of civilian casualties in the fighting in eastern Ukraine has returned to the maximum of last year, stated the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In June 2016 they documented 69 civilian casualties: 12 dead and 57 wounded – almost twice more than in May 2016 and the maximum since August 2015.

The Russian side of the Joint Control and Coordination Centre for Ceasefire in Donbas has first started confirming the facts of shelling by terrorists, reported ATO press centre.

On August 4, the terrorists shelled 38 times Ukrainian forces positions, reported ATO press centre. Most cases (21) were recorded in Donetsk area. Positions of Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiyivka and Mayorsk were under the fire of 120mm and 82mm mortars and grenade launchers. In Zaitseve the enemy violated twice the Minsk agreement using heavy artillery (122mm artillery shells).

On August 4, the enemy group of up to 8 people approached the stronghold in the region of Bohdanivka. From the distance of about 500 meters, the saboteurs opened fire from grenade launchers and small arms, reported ATO press centre. Ukrainian defenders were ready for a provocation and repelled the attack. An hour later the enemy retreated. No losses among the Ukrainian soldiers were reported.

The leader of the LNR terrorists Ihor Plotnytskyi was hospitalized after an attempt on his life in Luhansk, confirmed the “official” separatist website of LNR. He was injured as a result of a powerful blast next to his car. Plotnytskyi was diagnosed damage to vital organs reported Interfax with reference to a source in the hospital. According to intelligence, the reason for an attack on the LNR leader could be redistribution of financial flows.

Politics and Economy

Ukraine increased production of natural gas in January-July 2016 by nearly 2% (to 223.3 million cu. m.), according to current data, and now constitutes 11 billion 695.3 million cubic meters.

Ukraine paid Rosatom for the return of Russian fuel for recycling, reported Interfax, citing its own sources in the public corporation.

Ukraine reached an agreement with Westinghouse to increase the supply of nuclear fuel and construction of the nuclear production plant in the country, reported Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Ihor Nasalyk. He said that the plant is needed to prevent the state from nuclear dependence on Russia.

Already in August, Ukraine will get the first ship with anthracite coal group, an alternative to coal mined in Donbas, reported Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Ihor Nasalyk. He noted that there was signed an order on reconstruction of two blocks of Zmiyiv TPP to substitute anthracite coal group for coal of gas group.

President Petro Poroshenko brought into effect the decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine concerning the activities of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a law on amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine concerning the documents certifying the citizenship of Ukraine aimed at liberalizing the EU visa regime for Ukraine. The respective law was adopted by the Parliament on July 14, 2016.

President Petro Poroshenko has signed the law no. 1462-VIII “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On State Social Assistance to Poor Families “re the social protection of family members of participants in anti-terrorist operation” adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on July 14, 2016. The law aims at improving social protection of the ATO family members.

At the meeting in Minsk representatives of L/DNR reported on 45 Ukrainian hostages, though they are not willing to talk about the exchange of hostages, reported Advisor to the head of the SBU Yuriy Tandit. According to him, Ukraine is interested in the fast release of these hostages held in DNR.

Secretary of NSDC Oleksander Turchynov did not rule out new waves of mobilization. In the case of deterioration of the situation in Donbas “new mobilization will be announced immediately,” Turchynov said.

International News

If sanctions against Russia are not working, they need to be strengthened, announced the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard. He also stressed that the main goal is restoration of Ukrainian Donbas territorial control. In this process there is a serious problem of access for OSCE observers to the territories in eastern Ukraine.

US may impose sanctions against the organizers of the hacker attack on the servers of the National Committee of the US Democratic Party (DNC), reported Deutsche Welle. “Washington has a number of measures, including economic and legal, it may apply to the State which committed the attack on the DNC, said the White House representative on August 2. He said that representatives of the American authorities for years have been talking about Russia’s activity in the field of cyber-attacks.

The Italian Parliament did not adopt a resolution on the lifting of sanctions against Russia, while the MPs adopted a resolution calling to fulfil Minsk agreements, said Ukraine’s Ambassador to Italy Yevheniy Perelyhin.

Ukraine and Malaysia signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation between two countries during the visit of President Petro Poroshenko to Malaysia.

Poland officially appointed the new Ambassador to Ukraine, a journalist Jan Pieklo, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.

EU introduced anti-dumping duties against Russian and Chinese steel companies. The reason for such a decision was the complaint of the European Steel Association (Eurofer), which includes firms that produce more than 25 per cent of cold-rolled steel sheet, reports DW. According to the media, European steelmakers have accused Russian and Chinese rivals that they artificially decreased prices for cold rolling, which is used in the production of automobiles and home appliances, thus displacing competitors from the market. Sanctions have affected Russian largest steel companies: “Severstal,” Novolipetsk and Magnitogorsk plants.

The petition for the resignation of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has taken 158,362 votes, reports Change.org. “The Cabinet should be led by a competent and sympathising for his country person. Now we see a reverse picture. Not an advertising face of Apple, sleeping at the opening of the Olympics, the man who advises teachers to “somehow and somewhere look for jobs to survive,” should stand at the head of the Cabinet Ministers. The fish stinks from the head,” says the petition.

US is ready to cooperate with Russia “in Syria, but Moscow, in their opinion, “does not make any necessary steps”, and continues to support the regime in Damascus. With this statement US President Barack Obama addressed the media, reports “TASS”. The US president also said that ISIS “has changed tactics” and “encourages high-profile attacks, including the United States.” The head of the US administration expressed confidence that the coalition that opposes ISIS “is making progress.” He recalled the destruction of a number of leaders of the militants, including the Chechen Umar al-Shishanov.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltbenberh condemned the launches of ballistic missiles by North Korea, reported the press service of NATO. “This is another violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2270, which clearly stated that North Korea must stop all activities related to ballistic missile program. North Korea’s provocative behaviour is of concern and undermines international security. NATO calls on Pyongyang to immediately stop and abandon existing nuclear activities and ballistic missile programs,”- said in a statement. The Secretary General also stressed that North Korea must return to international negotiations and refrain from further provocative actions.

Monitoring May 02-08, 2016

On Saturday terrorists 8 times shelled strongholds of the Ukrainian military in Donbas, reported ATO press centre. According to the staff, most episodes of violation ceasefire by the pro-Russian armed gangs were recorded in the afternoon. The Ukrainian strongholds near Avdiyivka, Luhanske and Taramchuk were shelled with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms.

A rally to commemorate the 71st anniversary of victory over Nazism in World War II will take place in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, reported ATO press centre. Military automotive vehicles will be demonstrated during the event, as well as uniforms and models of small arms of the Second World War. On May 6, the rally will be held in Kramatorsk and Bakhmut, on May 7 in Lysychansk, on May 8 in Starobilsk, and on May 9 in Stanytsia Luhanska.

In the village Sartana, which is located near Mariupol, a tractor was undermined, the press service of Mariupol police department in Donetsk region. It is known that the tractor driver performed works in the field. He is taken to hospital for examination. The police reported that since the beginning of 2016 this is the 4th case of tractor undermining and the 9th case since the start of the ATO.

Migration center in Konstiantynivka was shelled with grenade launcher. Fortunately, the building was empty. The culprit has not yet been identified. Witnesses of the attack are absent, but the inhabitants of the house heard a massive explosion at night.

SBU detained informants and accomplices of terrorists in Donbas. As it turned out, one of them for a long time passed information to DNR terrorists about the moving routes of the ATO unit’s military equipment and personnel. Thanks to him terrorists repeatedly shelled positions of the Ukrainian fighters. There was also detained a citizen of Luhansk region that by phone and through social networks passed on to LNR terrorists information about the locations of the Armed Forces and movement of troops on the line of combat clashes.

In Lugansk region border guards detained a Ukrainian who has worked since 2014 with terrorists and has been the driver of the chief of intelligence brigade “Prizrak,” reported the press service of the State Border Service. Border guards reported that while checking the belongings of the detainee, they found photos and videos on his phone proving the involvement with terrorists.

During the week there were registered 10 flights of enemy drones in ATO area, reported the representative of the Defence Intelligence Vadym Skybytskyi. Russian-occupation command gives priority to reconnaissance of ATO forces positions. Thus, they actively use drones as well as sabotage and reconnaissance groups. According to Skybytskyi, the Defence Ministry confirmed information that “the use of drones by units of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps is carried out directly by the team and the instructions of the regional center of RF Southern Military District of the Armed Forces.”

Ukrainian soldiers will demolish military equipment prepared for the “Parade” in Donetsk, in case of its application against the Armed Forces, reported the AP Speaker for ATO Andriy Lysenko. He also noted that bringing military equipment in Donetsk for the “parade” on May 9 is an open violation of the Minsk agreements.

Explosion of methane in the mine “Maloivanivska” took place in the occupied Luhansk region, said the separatist publication with reference to the “Minister of Health of the Republic” Larisa Ayrapetyan. As a result of explosion one miner died, another nine are under the rubble. She added that chances “to find other survivors are small, because there is very high gas content.” Earlier LNR reported about the explosion at the mine in Pervomaisk area.

US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt will be transferred to Greece this year. The next US Ambassador to Greece will be “a skilful and tough diplomat”: “This is Geoffrey R. Pyatt, who is now the US Ambassador to Ukraine. He became widely known for conversation with Deputy Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland during the crisis between Russia and Ukraine in January 2014, which was intercepted and leaked online.” “Washington has already sent the relevant documents to the Greek government and awaits approval from Athens,” – adds the Greek edition.

The next US Ambassador to Ukraine will be the main US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Asian affairs Mari Jovanovic, reports the newspaper “Den.” The publication notes that in the past she also held the position of Assistant Secretary of State and was responsible for bilateral relations with the countries of Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Central Europe.

Henceforth Ukrainians will be able to obtain permits to enter the neighbouring country free of charge. The heads of the Foreign Ministry in Romania and Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin and Lazarus Komenesku signed an agreement on abolition of fees for long-term visas, reported the press centre of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine. As noted, under the document signed, Ukrainians and Romanians will receive free permits for entry and stay in the country for over 90 days. In addition, it is reported that during a working meeting in the village Solotvyno in Transcarpathia, the parties discussed wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation and ways to implement the agreements reached during the visit of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to Romania on April 21, 2016.

Ukraine will establish a NATO centre to study the experience of hybrid war with Russia, stated Deputy Director of the Centre for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Mykhailo Samus. These plans to be discussed during the visit of US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter to Ukraine.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is serving a European tour, during which he will visit France and Britain to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine and will take part in international anti-corruption summit in the British capital, announced Deputy US State Department spokesman Mark Toner. In Paris, US Secretary of State Kerry will meet with the Foreign Minister of France Jean-Marc Herault to discuss a number of bilateral issues, including Syria and Ukraine. Then he will travel to the UK to participate in the anti-corruption summit in London and visit the University of Oxford. He will hold talks with Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, though in this case, State Department spokesman did not specify the issues to be discussed by Kerry and his British counterpart.

The EU has rejected concerns about migration risk from Ukraine. At the same time, the EU is still working to improve the mechanism of border controls. The EU recognized that Ukraine is not a migration danger in case of cancellation of visas for its citizens, stated Ambassador at Large MFA of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba on Channel 5. However, according to the official, the EU is still trying to improve the system of border controls.

Foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four countries and countries of “Eastern Partnership” met in Prague. Visegrad Four, which includes Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, will provide full support for Ukraine visa-free regime with the EU, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin. According to Klimkin, Visegrad Four plans to develop a special format of cooperation with the countries with the Association Agreement.

“Forgetfulness” of the Russian authorities was fixed by the Embassy of Ukraine to Russia, reported Spokesman of State Border Service Oleg Slobodyan. The Russian authorities forgot to put flowers to the monument The Hero City of Kyiv. This “forgetfulness” was fixed by the Embassy of Ukraine to Russia. Now yellow and blue flowers with border guards as honour guard are standing on the Red Square,” – said Slobodyan.

Ukrainian language is now available in the audio guide of tour buses in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, reported the Guide-UA project. “On May 4, large sightseeing bus with audio guide in Ukrainian started to operate in Vilnius. The ceremony was attended by Ukraine’s Ambassador to Lithuania Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi, director of Lithuanian company” Valandėlė “Arnis Stankevichus, president of the Lithuanian Tourist Chamber Cidre Havelene, representatives of the Lithuanian community and foreign tourists and journalists of the leading Lithuanian media,”- said in a statement.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a constructive meeting with the head of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal and assured that he will continue to implement a program of decentralization and fight against smuggling. In particular, Poroshenko supported the idea to equip customs offices with special scanners, and direct the share of revenue from customs duties on regional infrastructure projects.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Ukraine is not fulfilling Minsk agreements, reported Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after a meeting of Heads of State, held in Sochi on May 6.

Poroshenko will offer a new composition of the Central Election Commission, announced the Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy in the air of Channel 5.

The President of Ukraine signed the law “On Peculiarities of Agreements with the State Guaranteed Debt and Local Debt” that allows to continue indefinitely a moratorium on the implementation of the payment of Ukraine’s debt to Russia amounting to USD3 billion, borrowed by the government of Yanukovych in 2013.

The working group on anti-offshore law identified 9 steps for implementation in Ukraine, reported the head of this group Nina Yuzhanina. Answering the questions she said: “This is exactly the steps of an action plan by BEPS that we offer to apply now in Ukraine. It is taxing of the foreign controlled companies, the recognition of foreign companies as residents in Ukraine, limiting of spending on financial transactions with related parties and preventing abuse in the application of agreements on avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of avoiding a permanent representative office status, and introduction of reporting for international groups of companies.” She stressed that each of these proposals is BEPS action plan, which is defined by OECD countries as the best practices that are related to the protection of its own economy.

Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dismissed Artem Shevalev from the post of Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine and appointed Yuriy Butsa instead. Earlier, Deputy Finance Minister became Oksana Markarova and Yevhen Kapinus.

National Anti-Corruption Bureau does not investigate the offshore companies of the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Oleksander Daniluk, “Ukrainian News” reported.

Monitoring March 14-20, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

On March 14, militants shelled 15 times ATO forces positions, reported ATO press centre. As noted, militants shelled the strongholds near Zaitseve with 82-mm mortars, grenade launchers and machine guns of various large calibres. Positions near Avdiyivka were shelled by Russian mercenaries at about 6 am with mortars and AGS. ATO forces positions near Novotroitske, Maryinka, Mayorske and Pisky were shelled with grenades launchers of various systems, machine guns and small arms.

Head of the Zakarpattia regional state administration Hennadiy Moskal said that pro-Russian MEPs prepare provocations in Zakarpattia. He says they prepare a “Ruthenian provocation in Zakarpattia. “In late March or early April pro-Russian MEPs from Hungary, France, Germany are planning to hold a meeting in the Zakarpattia region (in total about 5 people). The reason is to study “the rights of Rusyns” followed by a biased report, and reporting it in the European Parliament,” – Moskal wrote.

The leader of the DNR militants Alexander Zakharchenko said that holding elections under Ukrainian law is impossible.

The former leader of DNR Igor Girkin said that “people’s power in the occupied territories of Donbas is absent.” He said leaders of the L/DNR try to copy the Russian version of oligarchs. According to him, the militants and the locals are extremely unhappy with the situation.

LNR militants claim they detained in Stakhanov a gang led by Vladimir Timofeev, nicknamed “Babay,” who followed the famous DNR militant, a Russian citizen Alexander Mozhaev, also nicknamed “Babay.” “Babay” from Stakhanov kidnapped and killed people.

In Donetsk region a mobile group to combat illegal movement of goods across the line of collision was shelled, reported the spokesman of the Presidential Administration on ATO Andriy Lysenko. According to the colonel, the incident occurred in Bahmutka district, Donetsk region.

LNR militants intend to arrest MP Yuriy Boyko, in case he is appointed the Head of Luhansk region, and upon his arrival in the occupied territories, stated the LNR leader Ihor Plotnytskyi.

Ukrainian military can liberate Donbas in two weeks, stated MP Dmitry Tymchuk. “Ukrainian army is a real force that could free Donbas if not in a few days, then in a couple of weeks. And the militants only hope for Russia that Putin again brings troops,” – he said. Tymchuk added that the militants are afraid of large-scale attack by the Ukrainian army.

A military conflict in Donbas forced about a million Ukrainians to leave the country, stated a joint report of seven national institutions of Ukraine, “Interfax-Ukraine”. At the presentation of the report, Director of Demographic and Social Research, NAS Ella Libanova said that in the near future we should not expect significant changes in eastern Ukraine, due to high psychosocial stress and significant troops involved, primarily military forces of the Russian Federation.

693 persons are considered missing, 124 – in captivity, reported in the Parliament Iryna Herashchenko, the President Commissioner on Peace Regulation in Donbas.

Politics and Economy

In February 2016, electricity consumption in Ukraine amounted to 11.560 billion kWatt/h, which is 8.3% less than in the same month last year, the press service of the state company “Ukrenergo.” It also reported that the average consumption of electric power in maximum load control hours of the United Energy System of Ukraine was 17 938 MWatt, which is by 1988 MWatt, or 10% less than in February last year.

Agricultural production in Ukraine in January-February 2016 decreased by 2.1% compared to the same period in 2015, reported State Statistics Service of Ukraine. In particular, agricultural enterprises during the reporting period compared to January-February 2015 reduced production by 2.4%, and the population – by 1.7%.

In February compared to January, agricultural production decreased by 10%, while compared to February 2014 – by 1.6%. The report noted that the data are presented excluding the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, and the ATO zone.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the allocation of UAH 14.2 billion from various sources for the repair and reconstruction of roads in the country this year. Ukraine’s state budget will allocate 6 UAH.5 billion, other funds – from local governments and IFIs. The decision was taken during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting.

On March 9-14, reserves of anthracite coal in warehouses of the Ukrainian thermal power plants fell by 2.5% – to 822 thousand tons, said a statement of the state company “Ukrenergo”. According to the message, all types of coal at TPPs during this period decreased to 2.320 million tons.

Odesa City Council Deputy Sasha Borovik, who first took part in the plenary session and made a criticism of the local authorities, was taken out of the city hall by two colleagues – deputies. In particular, Borovik during his speech criticized the city authorities for corruption, lobbying its interests, and poor government. When Borovik came down from the podium, Dmytro Palpatin, who is close to the person of MP Dmytro Holubov, picked up and literally carried Borovik from the session hall. He was assisted by the representative of the BPP faction Denys Hryhoryev. Odesa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili regarded this act as an attack on the deputy Borovik and forcible removal him from the session hall of the Odesa City Council.

Head of Rivne Regional State Administration Vitaliy Chuhunnikov requests National Guard to stop the illegal extraction of amber in northern areas of the region. With this request, he appealed to MoI head Arsen Avakov. Almost at every meeting with heads of security agencies, Chuhunnikov stresses on the need for more active law enforcement combat against illegal diggers.

“Naftogaz Ukraine” buys gas from European traders by USD 180 per 1,000 cubic meters. Gas price including delivery in Ukraine is USD 200, reported the head of “Naftogaz Ukraine” Andriy Kobolyev.

At the age of 78, died the stage and film director, People’s Artist of Ukraine, a former MP Les Tanyuk. More than a quarter century, Les Tanyuk led the Ukrainian Society “Memorial” named after Vasyl Stus, which he made before Ukraine gained independence.

AP Head Lozhkin believes that early elections in Ukraine will not take place as they could plunge the country into chaos.

Gross external debt of Ukraine in 2015 compared to 2014 decreased by USD7.6 billion, or by 6% – up to USD 118.729 billion, according to the website of the National Bank of Ukraine. According to the NBU, the main currency of external debt of Ukraine as of January 1, 2016 remains the US dollar, which accounts for 75.2% of commitments.

International Arena

On March 14, EU launched a new two-year twinning project that will help the National Commission for state regulation in the energy and utilities (NCSREU), to create a competitive, efficient and sustainable electricity market. With respect to proper regulation of the electricity market, the most vulnerable consumers will be better protected, and all Ukrainian consumers will benefit.

Ukraine is in the process of agreeing the terms of the opening of the Chinese market for meat from our country and intends to start exporting soon, said Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Vladyslava Rutytska at a business forum in Kyiv. She also noted that Ukraine intends to export fruits and berries to China.

Brussels addressed to European banks with a proposal to avoid participation in the placement of Russian Eurobonds, RBC reports referring to Financial Times. According to sources familiar with the EU provisions, despite the fact that the sanctions imposed against the European Union do not expressly prohibit the purchase of Russian debt, EU officials privately warned the European banks, previously voiced by Washington for US banks. The EU believes that the funds obtained from the placement of securities can be used “for other purposes,” said the FT. If this warning convinces European banks, Russia may be forced to abandon the first for the last few years attempt to enter the loan market, said FT.

During the two years of the sanctions amount of loss caused by the Russian financial sector is USD250 billion, stated presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev. He also complained about the rise in money policy pursued by the Central Bank.

EU leaders will continue to discuss until the date on which the agreement comes into force, Rosbalt reported with reference to Reuters. According to the source, the reality of returning migrants can take much longer than expected.

Greek officials warn that preparing for the expulsion of migrants arriving on the Greek islands may take several weeks.

The Government of Canada has introduced additional economic sanctions against Russia, announced Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion. Dion added that the economic restrictions against Russia will not be removed until “Russia completely fulfils its obligations under the Minsk agreements.” The expanded list of Canadian sanctions included additional 10 businesses and two individuals.

All 28 heads of states and governments of EU member states expressed their solidarity with Nadiya Savchenko, stated President of the European Council Donald Tusk at the summit in Brussels.

Russian Federation failed to disrupt the meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations on the issue of human rights in Crimea, announced the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, Volodymyr Yelchenko. He said that at the meeting were 11 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council. There were no representatives of Russia, China, Angola and Venezuela.

The Russian government has created an atmosphere of fear and repression in annexed Crimea, stated the report of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, published on March 18. Director of the Europe & Central Asia division Hugh Williamson noted that due to Crimea isolation by Russia, it is difficult to monitor the human rights situation there.

United Kingdom will sign a new defence agreement with Ukraine, saying that by doing this it increases its contribution for Ukraine’s confrontation with Russia, reported The Telegraph. British Defence Minister Michael Fallon said the new agreement is a signal that Britain is “firmly” on the side of Ukraine. The new agreement will have 15-year validity and will include increased participation of British military in joint military training and more training for Ukrainian armed forces. The countries will also cooperate in the exchange of military intelligence data.

EU assists Ukraine in reforming the electricity market

Ринок електроенергії_УКР

 

On 14 March, the EU launched a new two year Twinning project to assist the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission of Ukraine in creating a competitive, efficient and sustainable market for electricity. Through enforcing proper regulation of competition in the electricity market, the most vulnerable consumers will be better protected.

A key provision of the third EU Electricity Package ensures properly regulated competition on the electricity market, offering the best deal for consumers. Ukraine has committed to adopt the EU Electricity Directive 2009/72/EC in its energy sectoras expressed in the Energy Community Treaty and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Through the newly initiated Twinning project, the EU will help Ukraine move towards a better regulated electricity market. The project will also address the rights of electricity consumers. This includes a public service obligation in electricity supply, the free choice of electricity suppliers and access to information for consumers. The project will draw upon the expertise of the Slovak Republic and other EU member states of the Visegrad Group.

The EU Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Tombiński emphasised: “The reform of the electricity market is among the key steps Ukraine needs to perform. It is not because the country has taken the commitment within the Association Agreement, but for the benefit of the Ukrainian citizens. This reform will be difficult to implement without strong and independent energy regulator, whose role shall be not only to promote competition, but also to protect the consumers. In this context, adoption of the new electricity market law as well as the law on energy regulator will be a necessary start. The EU once more encourages Ukrainian authorities not to delay this important legislation”. Jan Tombiński also added that the EU is continuously supporting Ukraine on its path of complex reforms, and that this project is an important part of the bigger support package.

This Twinning project will help us  find better solutions for the on-going electricity market reforms. The issues of public service obligation and the role of the energy regulator in protecting the rights of electricity consumers is among the priority areas of our cooperation with the colleagues from the Slovak Energy Regulator“, said Dmytro Vovk, the Chairman of the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission.

The Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Ukraine Juraj Siváček expressed his confidence that the experience of Slovakia as well as of the other countries of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland) will be useful for the Ukrainian counterparts to reform its electricity market.

Background information: The EU-funded Twinning programme has been bringing together public bodies of Ukraine and the EU member states to share experience and best practices towards the agreed reforms since 2007.

This Twinning project will be implemented in the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission of Ukraine and will draw upon experience of Slovak Republic as well as experience of other EU MS from the Visegrad Group: Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary. It will be conducted in close coordination with the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

The project budget is €1,6 M and is for a duration of 24 months. The full title of the project is “Support the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission of Ukraine in the Process of Electricity Market Reform” The Member State Partner for the Project is the Regulatory Office for Network Industries of the Republic of Slovakia (RONI).

Monitoring March 07-13, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

A man, who tried to take ammunition from the ATO area, was detained at one of the roadblocks in the area of Mariupol, reported the SBU. According to information provided, law enforcement officers seized the malefactor with over 600 rounds of ammunition of various calibres and 21 grenades VOG-25.

Ukrainian intelligence published a list and photos of Russian staff officers sent by Russia to Donbas. Such data are published on the website of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defence Ministry of Ukraine. Thus, on March 5, a special Commission of the Central territorial troops (Novocherkassk, Russia) arrived in Donetsk, Ukraine to establish the reason of info leak. The basic version, the Commission considers – intentional leak owing to domestic conflict (settling) or for the early return to Russia (to avoid involvement in hostilities).

LNR militants continue to surrender, in particular in Luhansk region near the village Troyitske. According to the SBU, a man born in Slavuta, Khmelnitsky region, left in January 2014 to Russia, where he worked illegally at a construction site. In August 2015, he lost his documents and asked the Russian law enforcement agencies to recover, but he was recruited and threatened with imprisonment. After a month of military training in Stakhaniv, Luhansk region, the insurgent joined one of the LNR terrorist groups. He signed a fake contract and was promised 15 thousand roubles remuneration per month, said the agency.

ATO forces position continued to be shelled by Russian terrorists with banned weapons in violation of the Minsk II, stated the ATO press centre. In particular Russian terrorists shelled Ukrainian strongholds near Opytne, Pisky, Avdiyivka, Novhorodske and Zaitseve with grenade launchers and large-calibre machine guns.

Yasinuvata roundabout is still under the DNR control, reported head of the SMM OSCE in Ukraine Alexander Hug.

Pechersk District Court of Kyiv ruled to leave a former fighter of the patrol special police Tornado Mykola Tsukura in detention for 60 days as preventive measure. Law enforcers detained Tsukur (call sign “Hunter”) on the eve of March 10. Tornado company protected the public order in the village Pryvillya and Luhanske from December 2014 to June 2015.

Volyn Regional State Administration claims that the construction of defence objects in Donetsk region were built without violations. Police affirmed that construction companies built command and observation posts and bunkers under a contract with Volyn Regional State Administration in Volodarskyi, Telmanivskyi and Volnovakha districts. Thus, according to police, UAH 7 million was stolen, because marine metal containers were mounted instead of reinforced concrete structures, which are much cheaper. In turn, Volyn officials argue that they built objects only on the territory of Volodarsky district and with respect to design estimates.

Representatives of the OSCE at the Trilateral meeting of the contact group on Friday stated about continuation of firing exercises by Russian occupying forces in Donbas, reported Darka Olifer, the Spokesman to the Representative of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma.

Official Washington has expressed serious concern about the continuation of “joint Russian-separatist forces” provocative attacks in Donbas that threaten the peaceful conflict settlement and life of citizens, including international observers, announced Kate Bernes, Chargé d’Affaires of the US to the OSCE at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna. She stressed that the explosion of a 82-mm mortar shell in 60 meters from SMM position confirms the danger for the observers.

Politics and Economy

Tetiana Kozachenko, Director of the Lustration Department, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, said that Ukraine has already lustrated 897 officials. She stated this during a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) hopes the Verkhovna Rada will take solutions that eliminate barriers that hinder the work of financial institutions in Ukraine. This was discussed during the meeting of the Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groisman and EBRD Vice President Alan Pius. In this regard, Vice President of the EBRD hopes Verkhovna Rada will support respective decisions and simplification of bilateral cooperation.

On Thursday, in Kyiv, unknown people threw the Russian Embassy with bottles of flammable liquid, reported the press service of the National Police Directorate in Kyiv. It is reported that the police have established the three persons involved in the offense: a 32-year-old woman, with two men born in 1964 and 1979. The offenders were brought to Solomyansky Police Department for interrogation, and afterwards released,” – informed the police.

Russia will require compensation for damages caused to the building of the Russian embassy in Kyiv, stated Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview. As reported by the media, recently Ukrainians have held rallies at the diplomatic missions of Russia in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine with a demand to release Nadiya Savchenko. During the campaign the embassy was thrown with eggs and brilliant green.

President Petro Poroshenko ruled out holding early parliamentary elections and said he is ready to cooperate with any head of government, reported the Head of State in the air of Turkish television channel TRT World. He noted that the political forces represented in the Parliament have to find a way out of that situation.

The MoI condemns vandalism of property in respect of certain diplomatic and consular offices of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, says the statement released by the press service of the Ministry on Friday. MoI reminds that the protection of diplomatic and consular premises belongs to Ukraine’s international obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1961 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963: “Any assault on them is an attack on the inviolability of international prestige of our state and its international legal obligations.”

At the next plenary session MPs of Ukraine will concentrate on making the last decision required under the visa-free regime with the EU on the internal reform of the Parliament, and the most “burning” issues necessary for the defence, financial and economic spheres, announced Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman in an interview with the parliamentary television channel “Rada.”

The deputy head of the GPU, Odesa Region Prosecutor David Sakvarelidze reported on the course of the investigation regarding oil theft by entities associated with fugitive oligarch, Serhiy Kurchenko. In addition, Sakvarelidze said, “at the request of our employees the court seized more than UAH100 million, received from the sale of petroleum products. Yesterday police presented the court ruling to representatives of public enterprises and a bank, according to which they are obliged to transfer the funds to the account of the Main Directorate of the National police in Odesa region over the next few days.”

Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groisman signed a law introducing electronic declaration of incomes of officials after January 1, 2017. The passed law no.3755 was submitted to the President.

Ministry of Justice of Ukraine submitted respective documents to the Russian side regarding four previously illegally sentenced Ukrainian citizens – Sentsov, Kolchenko, Afanasyev and Soloshenko. At the moment, the Justice Ministry of Russia has 30 days to provide an answer, said Justice Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko in the air of Channel 5. The Minister said that now there is a chance to demand that Russia transfers only these 4 Ukrainians, because regarding only these cases the court sentences have become effective.

International Level

A Russian nuclear submarine was spotted in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France. The submarine was spotted in early January, reported French publication Le Nouvel Observateur, citing unnamed senior sources. Missile with nuclear warheads could be on board the submarine, according to sources. The newspaper notes that this is the first detection of the Russian submarine in the area of France from the end of the Cold War. The Defence Ministry of the country have neither confirmed, nor denied this information.

The Parliamentary Assembly should take immediate steps to release Nadiya Savchenko, in particular to increase pressure on Russia, as a member of PACE, and personally Putin, as the life of an MP and a PACE delegate is at threat, said Leonid Yemets, MP and a member of the permanent delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to PACE. He added that Russia must feel “very clear” pressure every day because Savchenko, as a delegate to PACE, according to international agreements, cannot be detained by a PACE member – Russia, although it is deprived the right to vote.

Ukrainian ombudsman Valeriya Lutkovska has not received a response from her Russian colleague regarding 2 letters requesting doctors’ access to Nadiya Savchenko. Savchenko’s sister, who alternates with friends at the Novocherkassk prison, expressed hope that Nadiya will get medical examination. It is known that dry fasting of a Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko is accompanied by severe complications.

Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in connection with another illegal decision of the Russian court regarding Nadiya Savchenko.

The initiative group “Christians of Russia to protect Savchenko” published an open letter demanding the return of Nadiya Savchenko home and compensate her the harm committed, reported one of the initiators of the appeal, the Orthodox priest Yakov Krotov to Radio Liberty. The members of the group called the trial of Savchenko “a mockery of the law” and demand to find those responsible for her abduction and “do everything to ensure that such tragedies do not recur and the state was unable to distort the truth and torment the innocent.” According to Krotov, “The Christians of Russia to Protect Savchenko” is bringing people from different cities of Russia, belonging to various Christian denominations.

Any new US President who comes to power after the elections will support Ukraine, if Ukraine itself will demonstrate progress in reforms and stop the slide into political chaos, said US Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt during a speech before students of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Pyatt said that recognition of the place that Ukraine ranks in the global scenario today is important as never before. Ambassador remembered as the leader of one of parliamentary factions after the recent visit to Brussels shared the most memorable moment of this trip, namely how little he felt Ukraine being in Brussels and observing everything that happens around the world.

Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev assured that the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor, under which Bulgaria and other EU countries will receive Azerbaijani, Iranian and Turkmen gas goes according to plan, regardless of the complications associated with low prices for fuel, reported the press service of the President of Bulgaria following the meeting in Baku. Plevneliev said that the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor, together with the creation of Interconnectors – Greece, Serbia and Romania – will help the country diversify sources of natural gas supply, get fuel at more acceptable prices, and not depend on a single supplier. Bulgaria currently receives natural gas only from Russia.

At a meeting of the Trilateral contact group in Minsk, representatives of Russia refused to consider the offer by the Ukrainian side to discuss the issue of Nadiya Savchenko’s release, reported Advisor to the SBU Head Yuriy Tandit. According to the adviser of the SBU, the Ukrainian party “is open to any options.” “We are ready for any compromise to release our hostages,” – he added.

The International Monetary Fund expects Ukraine will carry out a more radical fight against corruption, said the IMF representative in Ukraine Jerome Vacher at the annual investment conference. According to Vacher, the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau in the context of the fight against corruption in Ukraine is “a very critical issue.”

Turkey expressed interest in participating in the privatization of power assets in Ukraine. This was discussed during the talks of the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Volodymyr Demchyshyn and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Berat Albayrak, according to Uryadovyi Portal. In addition, the meeting discussed the possibility of joint projects to ensure supplies of Caspian and Iranian gas to Ukraine and building gas storage in Turkey. The Ukrainian side also expressed readiness to cooperate in the field of nuclear energy. It was about the potential involvement of Turkish specialists to study at Ukrainian training centres and prospects of uranium ore extraction and production of uranium concentrate.

NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU”invites to visit the photo exhibition “Displaced. 12 Stories from Ukraine”

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NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” in partnership with the British Embassy to Ukraine and the Canadian organization “Stabilization Support Services” are happy to announce the opening of the photo exhibition “Displaced. 12 Stories from Ukraine,” reported the Spokesperson of the NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” Anna Yavorska.

The photo exhibition consists of twelve life challenging stories that internally displaced persons had to face in modern Ukraine.

The exhibition will take place on March 17 – April 3, 2016 (opening hours 10:00 – 18:00 local time).

The grand opening of the exhibition – March 17, 19:00 local time, at 23 Place Saint-Gery, Brussels 1000, (basement level).

Monitoring February 29 – March 6, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

On Feb. 25 one soldier was killed and another was captured by militants due to trap undermine, reported Spokesman of the Presidential Administration on ATO Andriy Lysenko. This happened in Bahmutka district Donetsk region.

On March 1, in Donetsk, a powerful explosion thundered, reported the local site 062. It is noted that the explosion was also felt by residents of Yasinovata, Avdiyivka, Chervonyi Pakhar and Horlivka. Residents of Donetsk reported about the artillery gunfire at night.

On March 2-3, militants carried out 62 attacks, the Armed Forces of Ukraine opened fire in response, reported the ATO press centre. In Donetsk direction terrorists carried out 34 attacks at Ukrainian fighters’ fortifications. Russian mercenaries shelled Troyitske, Krasnohorivka, Opytne, Zaitseve and Luhanske with grenade launchers and machine guns of various large-calibres.

In Mariupol direction terrorists used 82- and 120-mm mortars at the position of the Armed Forces in Hnutove and Talakivka.

On March 2, checkpoints in ATO zone switch to spring mode. According to the ATO press centre, the checkpoints will increase the working hours from 7:00 to 18:30.

In Donbas, terrorist forces are managed by the officer of the Russian army Colonel Eugene Chirkov, who is deputy brigade commander of 28th separate motorized rifle brigade in Russia, stated the Main Intelligence Department.

The Commander of the European Command US General Philip M. Breedlove said that Russia will continue fighting in Donbas, to keep Ukraine in tension. He said this during the hearings in the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, said “Ukrinform.” Bridlav said that the Pentagon is closely monitoring the situation in Donbas. He also drew attention to the need for US assistance to Ukraine, including lethal and non-lethal, and exercises to strengthen its defence capabilities. Breedlove reminded that he gave his recommendations on the issue to the US Administration.

In two weeks UN Working Group on mercenaries and human rights will visit Ukraine, in particular Donetsk and Luhansk, reported the head of the UN Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine Fiona Fraser. According to her, the group consists of independent international experts, whose mandate is defined by the Council for Human Rights. They should prepare a report to the UN Human Rights Council within six months.

Terrorists in eastern Ukraine are preparing to intensify military operations in order to expand their controlled territories, stated the representative of the Defence Intelligence Vadym Skybytskyy at a briefing. According to him, they carry out activities to maintain “the vanguard units ready for immediate use in harsh environment changes – including by movement of the hidden enemy units to the boundary line.”

During the last week in Donbas intensive use of Grads was recorded, reported deputy head of the SMM OSCE Alexander Hug at a briefing in Kyiv. He said SMM recorded the presence of Grads in violation of the withdrawal line identified in the Minsk agreements. OSCE also recorded the increase in the number of heavy weapons in the so-called secure areas, in particular SMM unmanned aircraft recorded 11 tanks in the residential district of Donetsk.

Politics and Economy

The government created the State Bureau for Investigation and approved six of the nine members of the nominating commission, stated Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Monday. The nominating commission on the part of the Cabinet will be represented by Eka Zguladze, Deputy Interior Ministry, Natalia Sevastyanova, Deputy Justice Minister and MP Anton Herashchenko. As part of the President’s quota the commission is represented by Professor Roman Maidanyk, LLD, Head of the Civil Law Department of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Viktor Samokhvalov, Professor of theory of law and state law department of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University and Tetiana Slipachuk, Partner at the law firm “Sayenko Kharenko.”

Serhiy Lyovochkin, MP “Opposition bloc” declared more than UAH24 million in 2015, and his sister MP Julia Lyovochkina – more than UAH28 million, according to their declarations, published on the website of the Parliament. Liovochkin declared UAH2.07 million of income in Ukraine and another USD950 thousand (UAH21.99 million) in Cyprus. The declaration doesn’t contain family members and, accordingly, their income.

On March 1, representatives of Kyiv construction companies came under the walls of Kyiv City State Administration to rally against “titushky,” reported TSN. They demand to initiate criminal proceedings against “titushky” for hindrances during construction process.

SBU has all opportunities for interception of Viber and WhatsApp info, stated the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine Artem Sytnyk in an interview with Dzerkalo Tyzhnya. Thus, Sytnik commented repeated proposals to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko by the US Vice President Joseph Biden to provide a separate office of SBU for such possible wiretap. He also announced collaboration with the Office of the FBI.

In 2016 the European Union will decide on visa liberalization for Ukraine. This was announced by Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Groisman in the air of the TV channel “1 + 1.” The Speaker stressed that as of January 1, Ukraine has fulfilled all the tasks of the Action Plan to liberalize the EU visa regime for Ukraine. At the same time, Groisman said, two issues remain to be resolved, including the establishment of the National Agency for Preventing and Combating Corruption and technical amendments to the Law On Electronic Declaration.

As of March 4, 222,996 people have registered for independent external evaluation, reported the press service of the Ukrainian Centre for Educational Quality Assessment. The most participants for the IEE is registered in Dnipropetrovsk region 18 935 persons, Lviv region 16 286, and Kharkiv region 15 399, in Kyiv city 14893, and in Odesa region 14 005.

The draft law On Circulation of Agricultural Land, developed by Derzhheokadastr, provides for the launch of the land market in Ukraine in two stages, reported the Head of Derzhheokadastr of Ukraine Maksym Martyniuk in an interview with “Uriadovyi Courier.” “In the first phase, which will last two years, you can only buy and sell state land via auctions. During this time we will see how the market functions and market infrastructure, afterwards we will correct legislative shortcomings, and then will lift the moratorium and launch the sale of all land,”- said Martyniuk. The official said that currently the issue of selling the land to foreigners remains unresolved, as well as the concentration of land in the same hands.

President Petro Poroshenko has signed the law On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine to Improve the Process of Privatization, adopted by the Parliament on February 16 this year. In particular, the law prohibits participation in the privatization of businesses and individuals that are registered in countries that are recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as an aggressor State or subject to sanctions under the law, as well as legal entities owned by residents of the state-aggressor. The law also provides for the involvement of advisers by the government decision to prepare for the privatization and sales of strategic enterprises in the manner prescribed by the Cabinet, which will facilitate privatization procedures in accordance with international standards.

The Ministry of Finance stated that currently the memorandum with the International Monetary Fund is being considered, and hopes it will be signed after all details agreed, said Finance Minister Natalia Jaresko.

National Bank of Ukraine decided to alleviate administrative restrictions on the foreign exchange market. Thus, the NBU Board decided to increase the limit on hryvnia cash withdrawal through ATMs from UAH300 to 500 thousand per day, and increase the maximum amount of foreign currency cash from UAH3000 to 6000, said the head of the NBU Valeriya Hontareva.

International Arena

The EU will hold serious discussions on the implementation of Minsk agreements by Russia, thus no one expects automatic sanctions, stated Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, informs Reuters. The Hungarian Government supports the restoration of pragmatic and good relations with Russia.

In March, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stilianides will visit Ukraine, reported MP Iryna Herashchenko. She said the deteriorating of security and humanitarian situation, which negatively affects the possibility of providing aid to civilians, was also admitted by Stilianides as well. Herashchenko stressed that Ukraine considers the humanitarian aspect of the Minsk agreements as a priority, “the European Commissioner was informed about the process of unlocking the release of hostages, and the difficulties that Ukraine faced in the release of prisoners and the search for missing persons.”

The government of North Korea conducted missile launch of several short-range missiles toward the Sea of Japan, stated the Ministry of Defence of South Korea, reports Reuters.

In Warsaw Ukraine signed the Declaration on the Construction of the International Transport Corridor from north to south Europe with branches toward Ukraine and Belarus called Via Carpatia. Turkey also joined the Project.

On March 3, Ukraine submitted to the High Court of England acknowledgment of its procedural documents, under which the country declared its intention to oppose all claims brought against it by The Law Debenture Trust Corporation Plc in connection with the so-called debt to the Russian Federation, reported the press service of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. The Ministry involved Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a leading international law firm specializing in the representation in the courts, for representation of Ukraine in these proceedings.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has offered the European Union a plan of six points to resolve migration crisis, reported Reuters citing the Press Secretary Melissa Fleming, UNHCR. “The plan envisages the creation of centres in each EU country to” take responsibility for the registration of individuals and their distribution within a coherent system,”- said Fleming. In addition, it is noted that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called to settle around the world 10% of Syrian refugees currently in neighbouring countries in the next three years.

President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt called on the Kremlin to stop the trial of Nadiya Savchenko and free her.

Ukraine Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska appealed to the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Ella Pamfilova requesting help in solving the issue of examining Nadiya Savchenko by Ukrainian doctors. Lutkovska is sure what the issue will help prevent deterioration of Nadiya’s health and avoid irreparable consequences.

Member of the Public Supervisory Commission (PSC) of Chelyabinsk Region, Russia, Tatjana Shchur described the conditions of imprisonment of the Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov in the local detention centre №3, reported RIA “Novosti.” According to the human rights activist, Sentsov will be transferred in a week. Ukrainian director, according to Shchur, treats his time in prison as some life experience and feels optimistic.

Ukraine in terms of creating Energy Efficiency Fund has real support of the European Union and the German government. In particular, Berlin is ready to allocate 25 million euros, reported Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing Hennadiy Zubko. He stressed that both Germany and the EU are ready to allocate funds.

Monitoring February 22-28, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

After a fighting near Zaitseve Russian mercenaries abandoned their positions and left numerous weapons: anti-tank guided missiles, “Shmel” flamethrowers, etc. There is evidence that all these weapons were manufactured in Russia, as they all labelled and are in service with the Russian army. This situation once again proves that the armed aggression in Donbas continues. Russia initiated it, supplies weapons and is funding it.

Ministry of Culture of Ukraine invited everybody to visit a charity auction “Art Volunteer” in St. Sophia Cathedral on Saturday. The event intended to gather a million hryvnia for a modern rehabilitation centre for ATO members.

Ukraine wants to attract international humanitarian organization experts to Donbas for de-mining, reported Darka Olifer, a spokeswoman to the representative of Ukraine to the Trilateral contact group to resolve the situation in Donbass Leonid Kuchma. She stressed that the constant shelling does not allow experts to fully work on de-mining.

A consolidated operational detachment from the special purpose units of the GRU and FSB of Russia amounting to 150 people arrived in Donetsk to eliminate uncontrolled individual commanders, reported Intelligence of Ministry of Defence. Moreover, there were established facts of regular arrivals of Russian troops, military equipment and ammunition for the purpose of 1 and 2 AK.

Military sappers have cleared 29,647 mines and explosive devices since the beginning of the ATO, reported Defence Ministry Spokesman Oleksiy Chornobay. According to Chernobay, last week 641 explosive devices were defused. 105 objects have been neutralised during the ATO.

SBU officers detained two commandos in Lysychansk who last year blew up a strategic bridge over the river Siverskyi Donets, connecting Siverodonetsk and Lysychansk. “In May 2014 a subversive terrorist group “Ghost” destroyed a bridge to stop the ATO forces. SBU employees quickly identified the militants who remained after undermining on the temporarily occupied territory. In February 2016, saboteurs returned to the territory of Luhansk region, controlled by Ukrainian authorities to carry out new attacks. As a result of special operation, enforcers detained them in two different locations in Lysychansk. During searches SBU employees seized improvised explosive device, a grenade with zeal, sixty rounds of ammunition of various calibres and climbing equipment.

At the end of the last week terrorists shelled 14 times the positions of Ukrainian military, reported ATO press-centre.

Another three captives have been released, reported President Poroshenko in his Twitter. LNR militants confirmed the exchange of the prisoners under the formula “3 to 6” near settlement Shchastya.

In Donbas, militants carry out provocative attacks at captured by them settlements to blame the Ukrainian Armed Forces for this, Vasyl Laba reported. He said that on Friday the military of JCCC recorded three such cases: Staromykhailivka and Donetsk were shelled from a settlement Trudivskyi several times.

Residents of the village Shyrokyne near Mariupol are urged not to return to their homes. Ukrainian sappers are working on de-mining Shyrokyne. Leaving the village, the gunmen mined almost every house and set dozens of booby traps,” – said Andriy Lysenko, AP Spokesman.

Politics and Economy

Prosecutors and investigators involved in the case of the so-called “diamond prosecutors” have been dismissed from the GPU. According to the source of the agency Ukrinform, on February 5 Korniyets was reported suspicion of embezzling garbage business of the the company “Nikolsan.” And the same day, the Office for the investigation of criminal proceedings in respect of prosecutors was abolished by order of the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. In addition, on February 10 Procedural Department was eliminated. According to the source, after the elimination of the department and a division, there were reassigned only those workers who were not related to the criminal case against deputy prosecutor of Kyiv region Oleksander Korniyets and the first deputy chief of the GPU Central Investigation Department Volodymyr Shapakin.

Odesa region governor Mikheil Saakashvili is carrying out a tour to regional centres of Ukraine and takes part in anti-corruption forums “To Cleaning”, while on the short vacation, informed the spokeswoman Iryna Chyzh.

By early summer, the new patrol police will work in 29 cities, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov reported. According to him, “step by step, all regions will be switched to the new system.”

Mariya Stoliarova, news producer of the program “Podrobytsi tyzhnya” on the TV channel “Inter,” was fired because of the scandal with foul language during the live broadcast, according to the website of “Podrobytsi.” Mariya Stoliarova wrote an explanatory note in which she called the incident of abusing the Heavenly Hundreds Heroes a “technical error.” On February 24, SBU expelled her from Ukraine, reported SBU spokeswoman Olena Hitlyanska.

In terms of the info campaign “Crimea is Ukraine” dedicated to the second anniversary of the peninsula occupation, Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine has prepared an information campaign to support people who are in occupied Crimea. The first part is video. They will be about 20 videos. This is sort of a message to people, dedicated to February 26, when 12-15 thousand of people rallied at the walls of the Crimean parliament and didn’t let the Crimean parliament to vote for a separatist solution. There will be a video devoted to the overall assessing of offenses for 2 years. “The second part is the boards and the respective campaign. At the beginning of March in Kyiv, Kyiv region and other regions famous people will tell on boards about their Crimea,” – reported Adviser to the Minister. At the end of the information campaign a documentary will be filmed about the occupation of Crimea.

Pensions should be awarded only to people who are permanently registered and live in territory controlled by Ukrainian authorities, reported Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Pavlo Rozenko.

Information that Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk agreed to resign came on Friday evening. Such data confirmed three sources in the coalition. However, other parties close to the President and Prime Minister denied this information. In particular, the retraction came from Olga Lappo, the Press Secretary to head of the government and the president spokesman Svyatoslav Tseholko. The head of the “People’s Front” faction Maksym Bourbakin said to the “Ukrainian Pravda” that he will not comment on this information, because he is on a business trip. “But I think it’s fake,” – he said. One of the interlocutors, confirming the info on Yatsenyuk’s dismissal said that the decision was allegedly made at a meeting of the so-called “strategic Seven,” which took place on Friday afternoon in the Presidential Administration.

Ukraine expects to return Crimea due to rapid development of its economy, stated President Petro Poroshenko in his address on the second anniversary of the resistance to the Russian occupation of Crimea. According to the President, Crimea was, is and will remain an integral part of the Ukrainian state, while the country-thief will be forced to return the stolen.

Leader of the BPP faction Yuriy Lutsenko said that the old coalition “virtually collapsed” and it is necessary to form a new one to form the government. Lutsenko said that Yatsenyuk’s reluctance to step down “leads to expansion of the crisis of trust not only between the government and Ukrainians, but also between Ukraine and its Western partners.”

“Pravyi Sector” experiences uncontrolled processes, stated MP Dmytro Yarosh, who presented Movement “Yarosh Statehood Initiative” in Ivano-Frankivsk. He also said that there is no personal conflict between him and the “Pravyi Sector.”

International Level

Situation in eastern Ukraine, where recently regular shelling has resumed from the Russian side, is causing concern in Washington and is a matter of constant personal attention of the Pentagon head, announced Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook. However, he stressed that the United States continue to act in support of Ukraine and conducting training with the Armed Forces of Ukraine “is a measure of the seriousness of the” intentions of the United States.

US support for ongoing interaction with allies and partners in Europe to ensure safety on the background of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the threats of terrorism, refugee crisis and other challenges, said US Secretary of State John Kerry during a hearing in the Committee on Foreign Relations of the US Senate.

In the town of Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, one person died as a result of collapsed building on the territory of the power plant intended for demolition, reported BBC. Another five are reported wounded. Deputy Head of Oxfordshire County Council confirmed the death of one person. He said that “at present it is considered as the collapse of the building, not an explosion.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the situation in Ukraine is complicated, and he will continue to require reforms from Kyiv. German minister has no clue when the needed for reforms majority appear, and whether it could be formed at all. Steinmeier reiterated once again the old truth that only when there is internal stability one can successfully repel threats from outside.

On February 22, in Batoshytse, northeast Poland, unknown vandals destroyed a wooden cross in the local Greek Catholic Church of St. Andrew’s, set two years ago in memory of the Maidan Heroes. Local priest Yuliy Kravetskyi emphasizes that the attackers were well prepared as they knew when it can be done discreetly, informs Internet portal Ukraincy.wm.pl. According to Kravetskyi, the act of vandalism occurred about 15-20 minutes after the service in the church, when it was empty. After nearly half an hour after the service he noticed that the cross was demolished, and immediately called the police.

US chocolate maker Mars, Inc. announced the withdrawal from sale of chocolate bars Mars, Snickers, Milky Way Mini and Miniatures. The problem was found in the consignments in dozens of countries. This decision was taken due to pieces of plastic found in one of the products, NEWSru.com reports with reference to the German media. It is stated that it applies to chocolate, shelf life of which ends in the period between 19 June 2016 and 8 January 2017. The manufacturer warns that it is better to refrain from eating chocolate if it has already been purchased. The problem was detected in Germany and the Netherlands. Later it became known that French consumers are also under threat.

Unidentified persons attacked, and then shot both legs of one of the leaders of the “Free Democrats,” the former State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic integration Aleksiy Petriashvili, reported “Georgia-online,” citing the Interior Ministry. Emergency call “112” was received from a resident of a neighbouring residential house. The investigation is conducted under Article 117 of the Criminal Code of Georgia – deliberate causing of grievous bodily harm. Health condition of Petriashvili is now stable.

The Greek government ordered local authorities on the islands near the Turkey to reduce the number of migrants who are allowed to travel by ferries to the mainland. The following steps of the authorities were caused by closure of borders by other countries, leaving thousands of migrants in a difficult situation, informs Associated Press. According to Minister of Merchant Marine of Greece Theodoros Dritsasa, up to two-thirds of the migrants who arrived on the island of Lesvos and other Greek islands have to stay there at least until Sunday.

Russian State Duma adopted in the second and third readings a draft law that equates a motor rally to a mass meeting, and the setting of tent camps – to picketing. The draft law was supported only by members of the “United Russia,” but 238 votes were enough for approval of the law, according Meduza. 199 deputies voted against and three abstained. The authors of the document propose to penalize citizens for 300 thousand roubles for holding the motor rally or setting a tent city without permission of the authorities. A repeated breach leads to criminal penalties – up to five years in prison.

Ukrainian party must provide Liechtenstein with evidence of the illegal origin of the funds of former officials from the environment of Viktor Yanukovych to continue to block them, said the head of the Liechtenstein Financial Intelligence Daniel Telesklafa. According to him, part of the frozen assets in Liechtenstein, 25 million euro, is still subject to sanctions. The money, said Telesklafa was frozen in conjunction with EU sanctions.

NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” and PU “Civic Guard” Organised a Training “Problems and Their Solutions for War Participants,” Led by American Psychologist Ottis Winston “Chip” Taylor

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On February 22, in Kyiv, NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” together with PU “Civic Guard” organized a one-day training on “Problems and their Solutions for War Participants,” as part of the initiative to develop All-Ukrainian network of Centres for socio-psychological rehabilitation and adaptation of ATO military, people with disabilities and IDPs.

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Coach – Ottis Winston “Chip” Taylor, an experienced American psychotherapist, who for 8 years has been living and working in Ukraine to overcome the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of military personnel, treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide prevention and related phenomena.

The event was attended by public leaders, volunteers, wives of military, representatives of Defence Ministry of Ukraine, psychologists and practitioners who work with Ukrainian soldiers.

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The training concentrated on the issues of the physical and psychological changes that occur in people who have experienced stress as a result of participation in hostilities. They are servicemen and members of their families who actually are co-dependent on post-traumatic stress disorder. There were discussed “flashbacks” when a soldier being at home, mentally returns to war. “Chip” showed the participants of the training some practical “hints” that allow you to minimize the negative effects of the above syndromes.

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One of the organizers of the training, the head of NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” Natalia Sevidova stressed the particular importance of such practical exercises in Ukraine. “Only together, uniting efforts of caring people and developing a system of professional social and psychological assistance, we can help soldiers, people with disabilities, IDPs and other groups of the population in need of such assistance,” – she emphasized.

“I am confident that information received at the training will be useful, – said Head of the NGO “Kyiv City Civic Guard” Oleksander Zaichenko. – Maybe it will help save the love, relationship, and perhaps even the life of a soldier, a person with disabilities or an IDP.”

Monitoring February 15-21, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

The leaders of illegal armed groups in Donbas bring in buses false local residents to influence observers, stated deputy head of the SMM OSCE Alexander Hug. He also said that when a group of OSCE observers went with him to Zaitseve, Basurin surpassed them in his car on the way to Donetsk. Responding to a question clarifying how observers found out that they were not locals, Hug said: “They looked at the church and tried to find the entrance in it.”

In Minsk finished the meeting of Trilateral contact group, after which the Ukraine’s representative Leonid Kuchma said that without the implementation of Minsk agreements resolving of the situation is impossible. The report notes that Ukraine remains faithful to its obligations and is ready to move towards implementation of the Minsk agreements in full.

49th humanitarian convoy from Russia crossed the Ukrainian border, reported the press service of the RF Emergencies Ministry. As usually, the column divided into two groups. The first arrived at the checkpoint “Donetsk,” the second at the “Matviyiv-Kurgan” checkpoint. It is noted that 100 trucks with humanitarian cargo weighing a total of more than 1000 tons continued their movement to Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to the report, the cargo is mainly food: canned food, flour, sugar, cereals and educational materials, as well as fire-fighting property. This is the first humconvoy in 2016.

In Slavyansk police arrested an assistant to DNR “ex-Minister of Defence” Igor Girkin (“Strelkov”), reported the press service of the Administration of the National Police in Donetsk region. According to police, in April 2014, this person, while in occupied building of the police station in Slovyansk, was recruited by a militant called “Shield.” Then, he was invited to take the post of a deputy for Girkin (Strelkov) on administrative and economic affairs of Slavyansk.

In Vodyane, Donetsk Region, a volunteer was wounded, reported in the press service of National Police in Donetsk region. The victim, who was injured in the arm, was provided medical care. According to preliminary reports, the man was wounded by a sniper. The circumstances of the event are being investigated.

Recently situation in Maryinka near Donetsk has escalated significantly. The checkpoint “Maryinka” has been shelled 15 times. Earlier, ATO press centre reported about the intentions of terrorists to seize the settlement. ATO Staff representatives repeatedly noted that with the arrival of the OSCE, militants often cease fire, but after the observers leave the area, militants restore the shelling.

OSCE observers reported about calm situation in Maryinka and Zaitseve during their stay in there, reported SMM OSCE deputy head Alexander Hug.

14 wounded ATO military, three of them in serious condition, were taken from Dnipropetrovsk to Odesa, reported volunteer Andriy Tantsyura.

A new road map with new terms to implement Minsk agreements is being developed, reported the representative of Ukraine in political subgroup of the talks in Minsk Roman Bezsmertnyi. He believes that the new “road map” may not be presented and accepted as it is not a signed document, but a “process logics.”

Politics and Economy

Ukraine plans to reduce the rate of gas transit in 2020 by 9 times that should make transit through Ukraine the cheapest in Europe, reported business development director of “Naftogaz Ukraine” Yuriy Vitrenko. Among the reasons for this substantial reduction of tariffs Vitrenko called low depreciation.

The Parliament acknowledged the government’s work unsatisfactory by 247 votes. The decision was adopted after a government report. President Petro Poroshenko said that time for a partial restart of the government has already expired. The Prime Minister, reporting in the Parliament, said that the Cabinet made everything possible.

The Parliament failed to adopt a draft resolution on no confidence in the government led by Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This decision was supported by only 194 MPs, out of 226 necessary votes.

Public initiative GoGlobal plans to organize language camps at schools, press service of the Ministry of Education reported. Currently, more than 3,000 schools from all over Ukraine agreed to organize language camps at the schools this year. About 150 of them following the results of the motivational contest will receive status of «GoGlobal camps». One of the features of «GoGlobal camps» will be attraction of native-speaker volunteers.

Since the beginning of the epidemic season in Ukraine 289 deaths have been confirmed as a result of influenza, reported the press service of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. According to the Centre for influenza and SARS, and State Epidemiological Service of Ukraine for the period of February 8-14, 2016, 271 165 people got influenza and SARS, of which 53.3% are children under 17. Incidence rate of influenza and SARS (total) in Ukraine compared to last week decreased by 21.4% and is 69.6 per ten thousand people. The highest influenza and SARS incidence in Ukraine has been registered in Kyiv region, the lowest is in Kharkiv.

Faction “Batkivshchyna” announced its withdrawal from the coalition, stated the leader of the political force Yulia Tymoshenko.

Detained in Yalta Crimean Tatar Damir Minadirov, whose house was searched on February 11, told about tortures of FSB. According to him, FSB employees during interrogation put a package on his head to cover the air access, and promised to make him “lost.” During the search, which was held with numerous violations, Damir’s phone was seized, as well as his notebook with passwords and phone numbers, a weekly and several books on Islamic subjects. The injunction to search contained the wording “possible involvement in a terrorist organization banned in Russia.”

The population of Ukraine for the year decreased by 168.8 thousand, reported the press service of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine. As of the 2015, the population was 42 million 760.5 thousand people, by the end of 2014 it was 42 million 929.3 thousand people. Thus, for the year it decreased by 168.8 thousand. State Statistics also reports that the resident population at the end of 2015 amounted to 42 million 590.9 thousand. Natural decline in 2015 amounted to 183 thousand 012 people.

Minsk II will not release the Ukrainian land and reclaim sovereignty, said First President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk. “There will be no result, as signatories of the Minsk-2 signed a document that no one can fulfil. Russia does not want, Ukraine cannot” – said Kravchuk. According to him, the Minsk agreements were required, the other format Ukraine could not create.

On February 12, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) sent “Gazprom” a decision to recover a fine in the amount of nearly UAH86 billion, press service of the AMCU. “Gazprom” has to pay the fine within two months after receiving the decision on the penalty. The defendant, the third party shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine in whole or in part to the economic court within two months after receiving the decision. This term may not be renewed.

Viche participants went to St. Michael’s Square and in Desyatynna Street threw stones at SCM office (belongs to oligarch Rinat Akhmetov). The building was surrounded by police. Protesters shouted “To hang Akhmetov!” broke several windows in the office, and then went to St. Michael’s Square. Men with flags told UKRINFORM that they represent “Vradiyivskyi movement.” A police spokesman said that among the participants was the commander of the OUN Mykola Kokhanivsky. No casualties among the police officers were recorded.

“Sberbank of Russia” premises also suffered. About 100 activists of the OUN threw cobblestones at bank office near the metro station “Arsenalna” in the center of Kyiv. They broke windows of financial institutions. Then they went to the “Alfa Bank” premises, and also broke several windows there. According to police, no victims of the incident were recorded.

International Level

British department store Selfridges will sell Ukrainian embroidery shirts by Ukrainian brand Yulia Magdych, known for its embroidered blouses and dresses in traditional style, reported Vogue. In addition, the brand presented in Paris its cruise collection. Its leitmotif was the theme of duality – aggression and tenderness, militancy and peace that cannot fully exist without each other. The main colours are orange, turquoise and spring grass tint. TM was the first from our country, which is honoured to be represented in the legendary London department store, founded more than a century ago.

As a result of the explosion in the centre of Ankara 28 people died, another 61 people were injured, reported the Associated Press, citing Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Numan Kurtulmush. As reported, according to witnesses, the car bomb exploded near the military hostel. As noted, the target was a vehicle with soldiers. Local media reported that the incident occurred during rush hour in front of the Chief of Staff. Due to explosion at least two or three buses burnt to the ground.

The EU emphasizes on the need for continued reforms in Ukraine, including countering the influence of oligarchs on politicians, reports Ukrinform. This was stated by spokesman of the EU Commission Kosyanchych Maya, expressing the EU position on hearing and decisions in the VRU on the activities of government. The EU expressed the belief that “the current crisis is an opportunity to improve the quality of work and to convince citizens that the leaders of Ukraine are able to overcome the challenges of systemic transformation.” Kosyanchych reminded that reforms must take place in accordance with the Association Agreement EU-Ukraine, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area, and focus on the rule of law, fighting corruption and democratic accountability.

Uzbekistan prematurely cancelled previously introduced additional import fee against Ukrainian goods. This is stated in the ruling of Uzbekistan government no.45 as of February 18, 2016, reports the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of the country.

In order to support the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean basin affected by Zika virus, the World Bank allocates USD150 million for assistance. As the press service of the international financial institution, the funds will be used to conduct medical and preventive measures in the region. According to preliminary estimates of the World Bank, which published its estimates, the damage caused to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean basin by Zika virus will be relatively small: USD 3.5 billion or 0.06% of total GDP.

Ukrainian delegation will make trade-mission trips to India and China, stated Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade – Trade Representative of Ukraine Natalia Mykolska. She noted that China for Ukraine is very important in terms of many industries, ranging from agricultural and engineering industry to large investment projects. She said the trade mission is planned for September.

Ukraine will prove that “Yanukovych credit” was a bribe in form and content, reported Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin.

Argentina and Venezuela will challenge in the WTO duty-free import of Ukrainian goods to the EU in 2014-2015, and has already filed a lawsuit, according to “Izvestia.” This is the zeroing of EU import duties on a number of Ukrainian goods, while the agreement on free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU came into effect only January 1, 2016. Countries argue that the EU has created discrimination regarding the access to the European market of goods from Russia, Argentina and Venezuela. In turn, the WTO explains that before the economic part of the deal came in force, the EU gave its customs preferences within a single system of tariff preferences of the WTO (GSP), under which developed countries can unilaterally clear duty on certain good catalogue for all recipient countries.

“Naftogaz Ukraine” has sent an official notice of investment dispute on assets in occupied Crimea, the press service of “Naftogaz.” The company explained that the dispute caused by the unlawful seizure of group “Naftogaz” investments by Russia in Crimea. “Naftogaz” added that if the dispute is not settled by negotiation, the company intends to submit it to arbitration.

The Foreign Ministers of France and Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Jean-Marc Eyro will make a joint visit to Kyiv on Monday, February 22, reported German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer, reports “TASS”. “The purpose of the trip is together on site to make a picture of the political situation in the country,” – he said. Schaefer said that it is expected to hold meetings with the leadership of Ukraine – President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the heads of parliamentary factions. “This trip is a signal of a single German-French, European foreign policy and our efforts in ensuring peace in Europe,” – said the representative of the Foreign Ministry of Germany.