All posts by en.takagero

June 27-July 03, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

During the week, the army intelligence has recorded 30 deaths and 37 wounded Russian soldiers, reported the representative of the Defence Intelligence Vadym Skybytskyi. According to him, about 60% of Russian troops’ loss falls on sabotage and reconnaissance groups. He added that such losses adversely influence the moral and psychological state of personnel, leading to deserting, including among career Russian officers.

The Russian military command continues to use Donbas for testing new weapons and ammunition, in particular guided weapons CM-8 called “Gran” designed to destroy the single and group objectives, including fortification with the first shot and no additional zeroing, reported the AP spokesman on ATO Andriy Lysenko.

On June 30 the enemy opened fire 66 times, including 28 in Donetsk, 21 in Mariupol and 17 in Luhansk areas.

In Mariupol direction terrorists using small arms and grenade launchers shelled strongholds near Shyrokyne, Starohnativka, Pavlopil and Talakivka, and near Novotroitske even 120-mm mortars.

In Luhansk direction the enemy shelled the strongholds of ATO forces near Novozvanivka with automatic grenade launchers and heavy mortars. Terrorists carried out shelling with 122-mm self-propelled guns aiming to provoke our soldiers.

Russian occupation forces used banned weapons for shelling Armed Forces of Ukraine positions in violation of the Minsk agreements. In total there were recorded 51 cases of shelling, including 24 in Mariupol and three in Donetsk and Luhansk directions.

In Donetsk direction the strongholds near Pisk, Berezove, Luhanske and Troyitske the enemy shelled with machine guns and large-calibre grenade launchers of various systems, while Avdiyivka, Nevelske, Opytne, Novhorodske and Zaitseve were shelled with mortars.

Unaffiliated MP Dmytro Yarosh announced about a successful operation of Ukrainian intelligence, the result of which was captured eight terrorists.

Terrorists actively regroup divisions between Sparatak and Yasynuvata in Donetsk region, reported the head of the “Information Resistance” Dmytro Tymchuk. He mentioned 15-16 APCs, including six tanks.

Opera singer Vasyl Slipak was killed near the village Luhanske at about 6 am by a shot from a sniper rifle, said one of the soldiers who was in combat together with Slipak. He noted that Slipak arrived at the front a week and a half ago.

Politics and Economy

The Government has approved a restructuring plan for “Naftogaz Ukraine,” which provides separation of transportation and gas storage, reported the Minister of Economic Development. The Cabinet decision on the proposal of the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv will prevent members of the Supervisory Boards of separated companies to hold positions in selling energy.

For five months 2016, foreign direct investment has amounted to USD 1.8 billion, stated First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Yulia Kuznetsova.

Starting from July 1, under a decision of the National Commission which regulates energy and utilities, tariffs on heat will be doubled. Previously Kyivites paid UAH 37-41 per 1 cu. m for hot water, in July the sum in bills will amount to UAH 63-78 (depending on the service provider and the availability of heated towel rail). The same range of tariffs on hot water is expected in other cities. In particular, in Lviv UAH 70-80 in Odesa up to UAH67,9-72,28.

Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in response to the continuing Russian embargo of food until 2017 propose to extend Ukrainian counter sanctions, stated Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Trade Representative of Ukraine Natalia Mykolska.

During the visit to Azerbaijan, the Ukrainian side will present the preliminary program of the Ukrainian aircraft An-178 construction in Azerbaijan, reported the press service of the Ministry of Regional Development.

Ukraine will attract a credit from Germany worth EUR 300 million for energy projects, infrastructure and railway, announced the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ukrainian side at the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk asked for clarification on the “law on nationalization” in L/DNR as it completely dismantles Minsk II agreements, reported Darka Olifer, spokeswoman of the representative of the Ukrainian side in the contact group. She noted that during the discussions the representatives of the OSCE and Russia agreed that such actions are illegal and contrary to the spirit of the Minsk agreements.

The release of hostages is locked. Last week we got the warning signs of deterioration in the dismissal of people, reported Darka Olifer. According to her,

Ukraine demands L/DNR representatives to provide information on location of Ukrainian citizens.

The official website of the President of Ukraine registered e-petition claim, which asked Poroshenko to never change the Constitution without a referendum.

The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation said that they did not receive a request from Ukraine for conducting interrogation of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych via videoconference.

International Arena

The members of the European Union adopted a decision to extend sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017, reported a correspondent of the “Radio Liberty” in Brussels Ricard Yozvyak.

A project funded by the Ministry of Poland to support small and medium business in Ukraine started, reported the Polish Radio. EUR 800 thousand has been allocated for realisation of the project. Polish government agencies and Ukrainian partners will participate in it. The Project provides training, business counsel and the creation of dozen of centres to service businesses. The program will be implemented over the next eighteen months, i.e. until the end of 2017.

On June 28, near the port of Zavia, Libyan Coast Guard detained tanker “Temeteron” on suspicion of carrying out smuggling oil out of Libya, reported the MFA. According to available information, the crew consisted of nine members, five of who are citizens of Ukraine. Currently the tanker is in port of Tripoli. Investigation has started.

President of the Parliamentary Assembly Pedro Agramunt again called to maintain a dialogue with the Russian parliament, said his statement on the results of a two-day visit to Moscow. According to him, “on June 24, 2016 the Bureau of the Assembly adopted a declaration confirming the role of the Assembly as a pan-European forum for inter-parliamentary cooperation between parliamentarians from all 47 member states of the Council of Europe.”

Canada confirmed its participation in the formation of a new contingent of NATO in Eastern Europe. At the moment details are unknown, but in military circles they talk about sending Canadian soldiers to Latvia, reports Radio Liberty. In mid-June, NATO defence ministers agreed on the deployment of an additional four multinational battalions in the Baltic States and Poland in response to the intensification of Russian military activity.

During 2016-2018 SEED Grant scholarship program initiators plans to invest about USD5 million in business education of Ukrainian specialists, stated the message of

Fund Western NIS Enterprise. In 2016, the fund has allocated more than USD 1 million for studying 13 Ukrainian students in the US and Britain. They will study in the best American and British universities, including Yale School of Management, Duke Fuqua School of Business, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and others.

Ukrainian transporters got expanded quotas and were provided free transportation and additional one thousand bilateral and 500 transit permits, reported the Ministry of Infrastructure. This will enable domestic carriers to save more than EUR400 thousand by the end of 2016. Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuri Lavrenyuk noted that the Hungarian side initially advocated compliance with the rules of traffic on a parity basis, drawing attention to the fact that Hungarian transporters used no more than 30% of the permits for the first half, crossing the border with Ukraine about 4,2 thousand times, while Ukrainian carriers have done more than 19.3 thousand trips.

Number of victims of the terrorist attack at the airport in Istanbul was about 250 people, announced Health Minister Recep Akdag in Turkey, reported Reuters.

UK access to European Union single market is possible only if the state will ensure freedom of movement, stated the President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

Activists of the ‘Feel by Yourself” initiative presented a Video about its Activity

The initiators of the national project ‘Feel by Yourself” created a brief video, which refers to the first phase of the project – a public inventory of public places.

The authors of the video say that it is about the inspection of public places, which are free to all people, regardless of their health: government buildings, hospitals, and educational institutions, pharmacies, shops, apartments and so on. Practice shows that some buildings are considered accessible only formally, but in most cases it is difficult for people in wheelchairs to get into such buildings, and sometimes even dangerous

June 06-12, 2016

 

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

On June 6, Ukrainian troops repelled an attempt by terrorists to assault the strong hold in Mayorsk, reported the AP spokesman for the ATO Andriy Lysenko. According to him, the enemy made powerful shelling in Donetsk direction, using 120-millimeter howitzers.

On June 6, a Ukrainian military was killed in the ATO, another seven were injured, reported AP spokesman for the ATO Andriy Lysenko.

113 Ukrainian hostages remain in terrorist captivity in Donbas, 642 persons are considered missing, reported Yuriy Tandit, Advisor to the SBU Head.

The SMM OSCE confirmed the disappearance of its employee in Luhansk region. The Mission reported they have no additional information on the whereabouts of the missing man at the moment.

On June 4-6, two terrorists were killed; eleven were injured, reported AP spokesman for the ATO Andriy Lysenko.

Terrorists shelled ATO forces positions with the BMP-1 near the village Stanytsia Luhanska, wrote coordinator of the “Information Resistance” on his Facebook page. Terrorists also actively used anti-tank missiles to destroy light armoured vehicles of ATO forces, which are located directly on the front line, reported Dmytro Tymchuk.

Situation in the ATO area remains tense. On June 8, terrorists shelled 15 times ATO forces positions. The hottest spot was in Mariupol direction.

Politics and Economy

Due to introduction of energy efficiency programs Ukraine would be able in five years to reduce gas import to 1-1.5 billion cubic meters annually, stated the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during a meeting of the National Council reform.

Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin sees no possibility of the participation of the Russian side in the police OSCE mission in Donbas.

Budget Resolution for 2017 foresees growth of GDP by 3%, said Finance Minister Oleksander Danyluk.

For five months the general funds of local budgets in Ukraine have received almost UAH 54 billion, which is by UAH 17 billion higher than in the same period last year, said Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman.

In 2016, the Ukrainian side expects the gas price in the range of USD160-180 per thousand cubic meters, announced the Secretary of the National Council of Reforms, AP Deputy Head Dmytro Shymkiv.

In two years the budget deficit of Ukraine will be reduced from 12% to 3% of GDP, announced the Secretary of the National Council for Reforms, AP Deputy Head Dmytro Shymkiv.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has signed the law “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine” On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2016,” under which UAH5 billion is directed to subsidies for low-income citizens.

President Poroshenko has signed a law granting the foreigners the opportunity to serve under the contract in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

International Situation

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. Participants noted that sanctions against Russia should remain until full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin and Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Eliab Byelotserkovski signed the intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Israel on temporary employment of Ukrainian workers in certain labour market sectors of the State of Israel.

The International Monetary Fund stated that the size of the next tranche will be determined at IMF meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for early July, said the representative of the Fund in Ukraine Jerome Voucher.

Ukraine ranked 156 out of 163 countries in the Global Peace Index ranking of peace-loving countries. This is according to a study published on the website of the Institute of Economics and Peace. The closest neighbours of Ukraine in the ranking were Sudan (155) and the Central African Republic (157).

French Senate adopted a resolution easing sanctions against Russia. Russia is an aggressor, which started war in Europe and annexed the territory of Ukraine. I understand that the final decision will make the government – so I hope that this decision will be reasonable and wise, stressed in his appeal to the French Senate Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Speaker Andriy Parubiy.

44% of Ukrainians support NATO membership, 38% are against. These results of a nationwide poll published the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

International rating agency S & P Global Ratings (S & P) expects GDP growth in Ukraine in 2016 by 1%, due to improved confidence in the government, investment and political environment, reduced inflation and stabilization of the national currency. According to the agency, “accelerating of the economy should lead to GDP growth in 2016-2019 by an average of 2%.”

Deputy Managing Director of the IMF David Lipton praised the policy of exchange rate and monetary policy of Kyiv and said that Ukraine established the basis for recovery. He said this in an interview with “Novoye Vremia.”

The Council of the European Union and European Parliament will consider visa liberalization for Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo no later than September, reported The Wall Street Journal with reference to European officials and diplomats. It is indicated that the hopes of Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo that the EU approves visa-free travel to the EU by the end of summer disappeared against the background of problems, which recently were raised by most of the EU members.

May 30 – June 5, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

On May 30, three Ukrainian military were killed and eight were injured in ATO area, reported AP speaker on ATO Andriy Lysenko.

On May 31, Ukrainian military lost one fighter, two soldiers suffered injuries, said AP Speaker on ATO Aleksander Motuzianyk. In addition it was reported that two DNR terrorists were killed and six were wounded.

On June 1, Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk admitted the increasing number of attacks at Ukrainian military positions, including shelling with guns exceeding 100-mm, mortars and Grads. Only in May 2016 due to violation of truce 26 Ukrainian military were killed, reported Darka Olifer, Spokeswoman of the representative of the Ukrainian party in the contact group.

SMM OSCE representatives wanted to launch a drone near Ozeryanivka, where on the eve another OSCE drone had been hit, but DNR terrorists forbade them to visit the area, the press service of the SMM OSCE reported.

OSCE documented the escalation of the conflict in areas controlled by the DNR in Yasne and near the controlled by the government Berezove, which could lead to the isolation of people in Dokuchayevsk, reported deputy head of the SMM OSCE Alexander Hug.

On June 3, no military was killed, but eight soldiers were wounded in the ATO area (Zaitseve, Novoselivka Druha, Avdiyivka), said the AP Speaker on ATO Andriy Lysenko.

OSCE started discussions on introduction of the police mission in the occupied territories of Donbas and perhaps the process will be completed in 2016, stated the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

Since April 1, 2014, there have been found 1351 unidentified bodies in the territories controlled by the government, stated the 14th report on the human rights situation in Ukraine in the period from February 16 to May 15, 2016.

Politics and Economy

The final agreed text of the revised memorandum on cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF will be published by the Ministry of Finance immediately after signing the memorandum, which is expected within a month, reported the press service of the Ministry of Finance.

Deputy Prosecutor General, responsible for international legal activities, is appointed Yevheniy Yenin, announced Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko. Deputy Prosecutor General Yenin will deal with international legal activities, coordination of the Department of Supporting Public Prosecution, as well as cooperation with the Ombudsman.

Grain traders exported 36.5 million tons of grain as of May 31, 2016, according to the press service of the Agriculture Ministry, in particular wheat 15514000 tons, corn 16431000 tons, barley 4298000 tons and other grain 216000 tons. Thus, the volume of exported and prepared for exports grain is up to 37180000 tons

On June 1, the main work of the humanitarian subgroup was devoted to debates on the location of hostages and providing OSCE with facts of hiding by separatists info on the persons detained in the occupied territories, reported representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group Iryna Gerashchenko.

On June 1, in Starobilsk, Luhansk region, NABU detectives arrested the second suspect in the attempted embezzlement of UAH 480 million received by Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol, reported the press service of NABU. According to NABU, during the preliminary investigation it was found that the detainee by prior agreement with the Secretary of State Enterprise “Ukrainian Ecological Investment,” who was taken into custody on May 18, created a number of fictitious companies controlled by the group under the false name, designed for dummies. So he tried to create an imaginary competition in order fictitious business entities would win during the public procurement for the reconstruction of lighting networks totalling more than UAH480 million.

The Parliament abolished the taxation of pensions. By 274 votes MPs adopted the law. The draft law provides for the abolition of taxation of pensions that do not exceed UAH10 740. Pensions exceeding UAH 10740 will be taxed at the rate of 18%. Herewith, working pensioners, as explained the chairman of the respective committee, Nina Yuzhanina, will have downward coefficients.

By amending the Constitution regarding justice, ratification of the Rome Statute will be postponed for three years, stated the human rights organization Amnesty International in Ukraine.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko does not exclude that the issue of releasing Ukrainians Gennadiy Afanasyev and Yuriy Soloshenko, convicted in Russia, will be decided in June. He said this during a press conference.

Elections in Donbas will be possible in case the security component is guaranteed, stated the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at a press conference. “… Security is not only in stopping firing. Permanent effective observation posts should be

established on the contact line, which would guarantee the implementation of the security,” – said Poroshenko.

Foreign Affairs

President of Turkey Erdogan has accused Russia of supplying militants from ‘Kurdistan Workers’ Party “(PKK), which Turkey considers a “separatist terrorist organization,” with air defence missiles, reports Deutsche Welle.

On May 27, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Netherlands, supported the proposal of the European Commission to grant Ukraine visa liberalization, reports ANP. It is noted that the resolution, presented at a government meeting by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Bert Kunders, was approved based on the findings of a working group to assess the proposals of the European Commission.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin said that Berlin reaffirms its promise given to Kyiv on visa-free regime, announced Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine Andriy Melnyk.

IMF and EBRD recognized inflated starting price of privatization of Odesa Portside Plant, for which Ukraine wants to get more than USD 500 million and offered Kyiv to reduce it to not to scare away foreign investors, reports Reuters.

The German Bundestag passed a resolution that qualifies as genocide the mass destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16, reports DW. As noted, after discussions that lasted more than an hour, MPs almost unanimously approved the joint draft resolution submitted by the parliamentary groups of the CDU/CSU, SPD and “Green”. Only one MP voted “Against.” It is reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel were absent at the session of the Parliament.

US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt welcomed the adoption of a judicial reform by the Verkhovna Rada and said the United States stands ready to support its implementation and work hard to transform the judiciary as an independent institution.

US Agreement on granting Ukraine USD 1 billion loan guarantees will contribute to the implementation of programs of the International Monetary Fund, stated US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt during the ceremony of signing the declaration of intent and agreement to guarantee borrowing between Ukraine and the United States.

About 2.7 million people living in areas controlled by armed groups are experiencing significant restrictions of their freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and association, announced Assistant UN Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović during

the briefing. He added that since the beginning of the conflict in Donbas 9 404 people have been killed.

The Security Service of Ukraine regularly detains and tortures people suspected of sympathizing with terrorists, as well as presence of secret prisons in Ukraine, – writes The Times referring to the United Nations. According to Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović, in some regions “contempt for human rights” by Kyiv became ingrained and systematic, requiring immediate intervention in the situation.

May 23-29, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

Recently, two Armed Forces soldiers were captured by terrorists, reported AP spokesman for ATO Andriy Lysenko. It happened in Donetsk area. Currently, military are in Donetsk. Ukrainian government and military command make efforts for their release.

On May 25, no Ukrainian military was killed, but two soldiers were wounded in Avdiyivka “industrial zone,” reported AP spokesman for ATO Andriy Lysenko.

In Donetsk area terrorist snipers fired ATO forces positions, reported AP Speaker for ATO Oleksander Motuzyanyk. The fighting was in Luhanske, Zaitseve and Avdiyivka, mostly at night. Terrorists used mortars, APCs and sniper fire, said O.Motuzianyk.

As of today SMM OSCE consists of 701 observers, including 589 in eastern Ukraine, reported deputy head of OSCE Mission Alexander Hug.

The OSCE observers could not get into occupied Novoazovsk as LNR terrorists prevented them from this, reported Deputy Chief of mission Alexander Hug. Patrol had to go back to Mariupol. In addition, an incident occurred in Avdiyivka – one of the mission drones was shot down by a missile above Horlivka.

Near Novotroitske, terrorists shelled ATO forces with Grads, ATO press centre reported. In the same area terrorists used 120-mm mortars and powerful 152-mm artillery systems to shell Ukrainian fortifications near Mykolayivka. In Luhansk area terrorists used heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and weapons on APCs against Ukrainian soldiers near the village Luhanske and ATO fortifications near Popasna. It was reported about a combat clash with enemy sabotage and intelligence group in Mariupol direction. As a result, enemy sabotage and intelligence group receded.

Terrorist military units began to spread rumours among its gunmen to raise their combat readiness, reported the coordinator of the “Informational Resistance,” MP Dmytro Tymchuk. Militants talk about the planned massive attack at positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a couple of months.

Politics and Economy

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed into law no.1369-VIII “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine to Strengthen Social Protection of Persons who Care for Disabled Children and Disabled Group I,” adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on May 17, 2016. The Law is aimed at strengthening state support for families with disabled children, subgroup A.

Public and publicly guaranteed debt in April increased by 2.8% – up to USD 67.090 billion compared with March 2016, reported the official website of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. According to the Ministry, in particular public debt in April totalled USD57.527 billion, including domestic debt USD21.73 billion. At the same time, foreign debt in April totalled USD35.796 billion. State guaranteed debt for this period amounted to USD9.563 billion.

The eldest son and a daughter of Ilma Umerov, the deputy head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, refused to give evidence during the interrogation in the Crimean Department of the FSB of Russia, said Umerov’s youngest daughter Aishe. Earlier, the Kurultai CEC chairman Zair Smedliayev said that the FSB invited children of the Deputy Chairman of Mejlis for interrogation in Simferopol. Recall Ilma Umerov is accused by Russian law enforcement authorities in Crimea of separatism under Article 280.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia. On May 19 after interrogation by the Russian FSB in Crimea he was indicted and released on bail.

The Pension Fund has a problem, its deficit compared to last year increased by UAH65 billion and constitutes UAH 145 billion this year. The Fund has provided only UAH 112 billion, reported the press service of the Ministry of Social Policy.

Investigators of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine together with the employees of the Security Service of Ukraine carried out searches in the offices of former Consul General of Georgia Teimuraz Nishnianidze who is currently advisor to the head of Odesa regional administration, reported the official website of the GPU. According to the GPU, the investigators of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine together with the employees of the Security Service conducted searches in criminal proceedings on the fact of illegal VAT refund by the officials of the Consulate General of Georgia in 2012-2013.

Between January and April 2016 payments from Ukrainian customs to the general fund of the state budget amounted to UAH 69.8 billion. In particular, most of the revenues were received from the Energy customs UAH 14.4 billion, Kyiv customs UAH 12.4 billion and Kyiv City customs UAH 11.5 billion.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has plans to free Ukrainian political prisoners detained in Russia and Crimea, announced Nikolai Polozov, the lawyer of

the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko. As M.Polozov reported, in AP they discussed a happy return of Nadiya Savchenko home. The President thanked them for the work done and thanked them for their support in this matter.

Ministry of Finance of Ukraine attracted UAH2.395 billion and USD271.07 million under the planned placement of T-bills. According to the Ministry, a loan in the amount of UAH 2.395 billion was drawn at 17.3% per annum and foreign currency bonds – at 7.52% per annum. Bonds in UAH need to be repaid on May 23, 2018 and in foreign currency on November 22, 2017.

The governments of Ukraine and the US signed an agreement on mutual assistance between customs administrations. The signing ceremony was held with the participation of Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeoffrey Pyatt, reports UNN.

Ukraine agrees on participation of international donors to build confinement at Chernobyl in time, stated the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during the humanitarian UN summit in Istanbul.

International Arena

US expects that EU sanctions against Russia will be once again renewed this summer, said Sanctions Policy Coordinator of the US Department of State Daniel Fried, reports UNN citing TASS. In addition, the State Department said that Washington is governed by the fact that sanctions against Russia due to hostilities in eastern Ukraine will be kept for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

President Petro Poroshenko met with the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland in the framework of his visit to Turkey, during which the President asked Secretary General of the Council of Europe to increase pressure on Russia because of systemic violations of the rights of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea, reported UNN with reference to the press service of the Head of State.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Vaschykovski said that the decision to extend the European Union economic sanctions against Russia had been taken, reported UNN with reference to Polish Radio. According to him, such a conclusion can be drawn from informal conversations on this topic. The debate on this subject took place in particular during the April meeting of leaders of the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Italy in Hanover. As noted Vaschykovski, it was recognized that the Minsk agreements are “absolutely ignored by Russia, so it is obvious that the sanctions will continue.”

The European Union will provide Ukraine with additional EURE 20 million to reform the institutions of the Ministry of Infrastructure, stated the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Ian Tombinski.

EU Council on Foreign Affairs has decided to complete the procedures for ratification of the Association Agreement with Georgia, reported UNN with reference to the press service of the Foreign Ministry of Georgia. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, the agreement will take effect from the beginning of July. “Association Agreement is another important date in the history of relations between Georgia and the EU, as the Association Agreement have officially become the basic legal framework that defines a completely new, high level of cooperation with the EU.”

EU Parliament will speed up consideration of the visa-free regime with Ukraine. This was discussed in a telephone conversation between the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the European Parliament President Martin Schulz, reported UNN with reference to the press service of the President of Ukraine. President of the European Parliament welcomed the Head of State and the Ukrainian nation with the release of Nadiya Savchenko.

The United States does not see grounds for easing sanctions against Russia after the release of the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, said the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt. The Ambassador said that the sanctions, the US imposed in response to Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, will be eased when Russia fulfils its commitments under the Minsk agreements.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed the government to prepare proposals for Putin on extension the food embargo from the EU and the US until the end of 2017, reported TASS.

The leaders of the “Big Seven” (UK, Germany, Italy, France, USA and Japan) called on all parties to fulfil their obligations without delay in order to hold local elections as soon as possible in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions under the Minsk agreements, stated the final declaration of the G7 Summit in Japan, reported UNN.

May 16-22, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to come to Ukraine this summer. Details of the visit are being agreed, most likely he will arrive at the beginning of July, UKRINFORM reported citing its own sources involved in the preparation of the visit. It is planned that the parties will sign the agreement on free trade zone between Ukraine and Canada. According to the insider publication, at the time of the visit the agreement must undergo legal and linguistic proofreading and will be ready for signing.

Deferral of free visa regime could become one of the great mistakes of Europe, said the First Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Iryna Herashchenko. Europe must learn from previous mistakes made regarding Georgia and Ukraine: “Statements by some German and French officials that the visa regime is not at the time and we need to wait, remind me of 2008, when the position of France and Germany blocked granting the MAP to Ukraine in NATO”, – said the MP, adding that “it was the largest possible error that made possible aggression against Georgia in summer 2008 and in spring 2014 against Ukraine.”

Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Ian Tombinski said that Ukraine pays a high price for an association agreement with the EU. The democratic world should support Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The President of Ukraine stressed the need for additional financing of the state defence order for 2016. Ukraine’s NSDC chaired by President Petro Poroshenko considered the Strategic Defence Bulletin and issues related to the planning and implementation of the state defence order. The document concerns not only the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but its aim is establishing the terms and specific targets for the integrated reform of defence and security sector.

The White House launched an approval by the US Senate of the candidacy of Marie Jovanovich for the post of the US Ambassador to Ukraine, stated the message of the administration of President Barack Obama.

Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy said that he supports the idea of creating the Baltic-Black Sea Union, wrote UNIAN. According to the Speaker, a fleet should become for Ukraine “one of the centres of decision-making, one of the centres of influence as a great powerful state,” adding that currently he seeks an appropriate platform for the creation of the fleet as geopolitical space, “which can have its own weight both in political and economic cooperation, as well as in defence sector. “

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Peter Paul rejected the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. According to Paul, NATO should support the Ukrainian side, but not to inflame the conflict. In addition, NATO conducts training of Ukrainian soldiers, supplies non-lethal equipment and implements measures that can increase the defence capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukraine is preparing a petition to the European Court of Human Rights against the Russian Federation regarding the ban of Mejlis. This is already the fifth state claim against Russia.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Moscow assured that the United States will not recognize the elections in the occupied Donbas. She stressed that they must comply with the Minsk agreements.

Participant in the US presidential race Donald Trump does not approve the policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin in eastern Ukraine. Trump also said that Putin’s favourable comments will not help him in negotiations with the United States. Earlier, Russian President called Trump an “absolute leader” of the US presidential race. Trump also expressed willingness to negotiate with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Ynom. Though Trump refused to give details of the plan for a political settlement of the situation with North Korea. In addition, Trump announced his readiness to put pressure on China. “Economically, the US has an impact on China,” – he said.

MPs failed to adopt a European integration draft law on the environmental impact assessment. MPs lacked two votes, reports European Pravda. The draft law is developed based on EU directives. It aims at introducing the European model of environmental impact assessment, i.e. the responsibility for damage and environmental protection are equally born by the community and business. This law must be passed by the end of 2016, as provided for by the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Anna Vronska from the post of Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources on European integration issues. Anna Vronska temporarily acted as a Minister, until the appointment of a new Minister Ostap Semerak.

The VRU may consider candidates to the CEC this week. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will make a presentation of the CEC candidates in the Parliament this week and it could happen as early as Thursday. A source in the Presidential Administration said that the President does not want to see any of the current committee members – Mahera, Okhendovskyi, Usenko-Chorna, because these people have occupied their positions since the time of Yanukovych. Recall that the CEC has appointed midterm elections to the Verkhovna Rada in a single-mandate constituency №23 (Volyn region) on July 17.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the reform of the State Penitentiary Service. Reform Concept was presented at a government meeting by the First Deputy Minister of Justice Sevostyanova, UNIAN reports.

MPs did not support in the first reading the draft law no.1188, which establishes criminal liability for “thieves in law” and strengthens accountability for crimes committed by criminal groups.

The Verkhovna Rada registered a draft law to change the regime of its work in September, providing for plenary sessions only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is proposed to amend the regulations under which the Parliament will operate in a three-week cycle – two weeks in a row will be allocated for plenary sessions and committee work, the third – for work with voters (under the current rules the first and third weeks of the month VRU works in plenary regime, the second – in the committees, the fourth – with voters).

The Parliament supported in the first reading a draft law to abolish the 15% tax on pensions. Recall that in Ukraine pensions are subject to 15% tax from 2015. Tax applies only to that part of pensions exceeding three minimum wage (UAH 4134 in 2016). As announced in January 2015, tax affected only 3% of pensioners.

The “hottest” point in ATO is Avdiyivka industrial zone, reported AP Spokesman on anti-terrorist operation Motuzyanyk. The situation in ATO is characterized by activation of terrorists across the front. In Luhansk area terrorists were shelling the village Trohizbenka, Stanytsia Luhanska and the ATO forces positions near Staryi Aidar with small arms and grenade launchers and grenades. In Donetsk area, terrorists violated the Minsk agreement by shelling ATO positions using artillery, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.

In Avdiyivka terrorist attacks caused fire, reported press officer of the sector “Donetsk” Vladyslav Voloshin. Terrorists used 122-mm artillery. First, they shelled the industrial zone, and then residential areas in Donetsk.

Ukrainian military did not open fire in response of the terrorist shelling, reported spokesman of the ATO press centre Anton Myronovych. He said that we have no artillery on the front edge, thus it was senseless to open fire with small arms or grenade launchers. According to Myronovych, Ukrainian military were forced to open fire several times in response at the demarcation line. It was necessary to suppress enemy firing points.

Enemy snipers are especially active in the suburbs of Donetsk near Krasnohorivka. At Zaitseve and Luhanske terrorists staged provocations with the use of small arms and heavy machine guns. Shelling of Ukrainian units on the Mariupol direction continued. Fortifications in Shyrokyne are constantly being shelled by terrorists with heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and 120-mm mortars.

The enemy uses massively reconnaissance drones.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained in Donetsk region two men suspected of collaboration with DNR terrorists, the SBU press service reported. The terrorist informant was recruited in summer of 2014 and since then informed terrorists about the ATO unit’s movement near the villages Pershotravneve, Pisky and Vodiane. The terrorists used this info to adjust artillery and mortar attacks at Ukrainian positions, as well as civilians. The detainee is charged under Part. 1, Art. 256 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The second detainee in May-July 2014 used to guard the seized building

of Kramatorsk City Council. According to current information, he also participated in the capture of Kramatorsk City Police Department. He is charged under Part. 1, Art. 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In both cases preliminary investigations have been conducted.

Terrorists recruit immigrants from Ukraine, including former military, reported the representative of the Defence Intelligence Vadym Skybitskyi. He said that to encourage mercenary fighters, terrorists provide a number of benefits, among these benefits are increase of the cash rewards, promotion, non-competitive entering military schools, including academies of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

Near Slavyansk, terrorists are trying to seize some parts of the so-called “gray zone,” reported the press service of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Fact-finding mission of MEPs from the Committee on Budgetary Control to Ukraine on 16-19 May

A delegation of four members of European Parliament will visit Ukraine from 16 till 19 May for a fact-finding mission into the EU financial assistance provided since Maidan revolution to support Ukraine’s stabilisation and reform process. The members of the Budgetary Control Committee responsible for controlling the spending of EU money visit Ukraine to see how the aid is being used on the ground. They also want to know how Ukraine is coping with corruption and whether it affects the EU funds.

4 Members of Parliament will take part in the mission:
∙ Ms Inge Gräßle (Head of Delegation, EPP, Germany),
∙ Mr Joachim Zeller (EPP, Germany),
∙ Mr Derek Vaughan (S&D, UK)
∙ Mr Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR, Poland).

The delegation will be accompanied by a Member of the Court of Auditors (Mr Szabolcs Fazakas (tbc)), representatives of the EU Delegation to Ukraine and two representatives of the Support Group for Ukraine of DG NEAR of the European Commission.
The program of the visit is split into two parts.
The first part in the Lviv region aims to monitor EU funded projects and trans-border cooperation with the EU. The delegation plans to go outside the Lviv and visit projects in towns like Drohobych or Sambir and villages like Morshyn, Pisochne or Luky where EU funded projects have been conducted.
The second part of the delegation will take place in Kyiv where the Members will meet with the central authorities – the Verkhovna Rada and the newly sworn in government. During the meetings they will ask how Ukraine is coping with systemic corruption and how is it managing centrally the EU funds. In the Parliament the CONT Delegation will meet with its homologue in the spirit of the recently signed cooperation agreement between the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada. The delegation will also meet with the anti-corruption bodies created after the Maidan revolution. Meetings with the civil society, anti-corruption watchdogs and investigative journalists are also foreseen.

May 09-15, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

A train with personnel and military equipment from Russia arrived at the occupied territories of Donbas, reported the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. It is reported that after the echelon unloaded in Khartsyzk, three tanks, eight APCs, two 122-mm Grads, six trucks and 100 military were sent to Donetsk. Russia continues to supply fuel and lubricants.

OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier announced his readiness to discuss a possible introduction of a police mission in Donbas, reported Deutsche Welle. However, Zannier said that specific proposals for the mission have not been received. “There are ideas, including the police contingent, as well as proposals to arm monitoring mission in the contact area, so I’m very open to discussion,” – said the Secretary General.

In Luhansk two gunmen in a car blocked the road and prevented SMM OSCE observers to pass, reported the mission. As noted, when leaving the occupied Izvaryne, the mission car, which was heading towards the village Vlasivka, was blocked by the militants’ vehicle. It happened on the way to the pedestrian border checkpoint in Verkhnoherasymivka, located in 56 kilometers southeast of the occupied Luhansk.

In the occupied Donbas, terrorists enhance combat readiness of marines, reported Head of “Information Resistance” Dmytro Tymchuk. In particular, he wrote about the joint training of DNR Marines together with Russian divisions of the Marine Corps of the Armed Forces. Training took place between settlements Bezimenne and Samsonove. Terrorists also involved vessels and a small craft, 4 APCs, radar and fire control system “Zoopark – 1.”

Situation in ATO area has deteriorated, reported ATO press centre. In Donbas terrorists continue shelling ATO Forces. Hostile snipers were especially active near Maryinka. Thus, terrorists opened fire along almost the entire boundary.

Ukrainian intelligence reported about the threat of stooping supply drinking water to most of the occupied Donbas, through the actions of militants, stated Chief Defence Intelligence of Ukraine on the facts of destruction of infrastructure and industrial projects in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas.

In Luhansk region, Rubizhne City Court has sentenced Volodymyr Kochevenko, the former mayor of Zolote. According to the SBU press centre, the former official stood

trial for the organization of the so-called “referendum” in support of the act of establishing LNR on May 11, 2014.

“Information Resistance” group revealed serious environmental problem in the area of Novhorodske, close to the front line. “Dzerzhinskyi phenol plant with tailings pond of 400 thousand cubic meters of waste phenol and naphthalene production is located in the village. Tailings pond dam is partially damaged due to terrorist shelling. In addition, the shelling damaged a pipeline which pumps water, while the liquid level in the pond reached a critical point. Dam can break at any moment,”- wrote Dmytro Tymchuk.

In Debaltseve, Donetsk region, there was recorded a unit of the RF National Guard, about 70 people, who arrived in the city on May 11, reported the press service of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence also reported about the transfer of arms, military equipment, fuels and lubricants from the Russian Federation to the settlements of Krasnodon and Novoazovsk.

Politics and Economy

Submission to the Parliament for the arrest of Yuriy Boyko, the leader of the Opposition bloc faction, is already in the safe of the General Prosecutor, announced the MP from the BPP Serhiy Leshchenko during the talk show “Shuster live.” He said the draft document for the consent to detain and arrest Boyko was made by “honest investigators at the time of ex-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.” Leshchenko said that investigators made it under “the episode regarding LPG and Kurchenko.”

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko introduced a new Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to Prosecutor General’s Office staff. According to UNIAN, the presentation ceremony was also attended by the Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman and heads of security agencies.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko noted a significant deterioration in the protection of the rights of Crimean Tatars in Crimea occupied by Russia, including the ongoing arrests and persecution of members of the Mejlis. He added that in this situation the EU sanctions against Russia for actions in Crimea should not only be continued but also significantly strengthened. Poroshenko welcomed the European Parliament resolution on the situation with human Crimean Tatars in Crimea.

“Norman Four” has made some progress in security issue in the occupied Donbas, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin. However, according to him, the issue of elections remained without changes. Foreign Minister also noted that the security issue was raised several times and some compromises were achieved.

Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze resigned, announced Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

The International Monetary Fund is ready to continue to support Ukraine, said the head of the European Department of the IMF Paul Thomsen. The Foundation’s mission began its work in Kyiv and its purpose is to review the EFF program. It was opened over a year ago, it included four tranches, generally about USD12.5 billion, but Ukraine received only half of the sum and the program was stopped in autumn. Groisman said that the new government is committed to the course of reforms, its acceleration and taxation. One of the key conditions of the IMF was raising gas prices. This decision was approved by the new government immediately after the appointment.

The next tranche of financial aid from the IMF may be postponed until the fall, and devaluation of the hryvnia will reach the level of 28 UAH / USD till the end of the year. The report of the analytical group Da Vinci AG Ukrainian Economic Trends Forecast for the second quarter says, the delay in granting the third IMF tranche will trigger deterioration in the foreign exchange market. Since external debt payments this year are not significant, the impact of this factor on the exchange rate will be moderate, wrote UNIAN.

The IMF report on the problems of combating corruption says that the amount of bribes annually received by officials around the world is about USD1.5-2 trln or 2% of the global GDP.

At the end of March 2016 public and publicly guaranteed debt of Ukraine amounted to UAH1.71 trillion. This is by UAH30.558 billion (1.8%) lower than it was in late February. However, in USD equivalent the debt increased by 1.4% (by USD 887 million) or up to USD 65.237 billion, reported Ministry of Finance. At the end of 2016 the national debt was 79% of Ukraine’s GDP, which, according to authorities, was within the approved state budget indicators. Meanwhile, Kyiv hopes to receive the next tranche of USD1.7 billion from the IMF.

International Arena

International Criminal Court investigation of crimes committed by Russian Federation and the leaders of terrorist L/DNR groups in the eastern Ukraine will be the best way to bring to justice all those responsible for the mass murder of people in Donbas.

Former Minister of Finance of Ukraine Yuriy Kolobov was not extradited to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office due to a false letter. It is officially confirmed by Kyiv Pechersk Court. The order is already in the single register of judgments. Information about the forged document appeared in October. Spanish investigators

then asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to clarify information about the arrested Kolobov.

The Turkish government supports the deployment of armed police mission under the auspices of the OSCE in Donbas. In this case the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was assured by the Minister of National Defence of Turkey Ismet Yilmaz, the press service of the Ukrainian state reported. In addition, Poroshenko and Yılmaz expressed outrage at the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied Crimea, including the recent arrests of leaders of the Crimean Tatar people. Poroshenko stressed that the international community should react firmly to the actions of the occupiers and to strengthen sanctions against Russia.

The European Parliament supported the initiative “Geneva +” and urged Russia to start negotiations with Ukraine on return of Crimea. The resolution adopted by the European Parliament called on Russia to provide permanent and unhindered access to Crimea for relevant international institutions to protect human rights for the purpose of monitoring the human rights situation in the peninsula, writes UNIAN.

Russia and China occupy the first position in the list of global challenges to the United States, said the Pentagon chief Ashton Carter. “First, it is Russia with its aggression, especially in Europe, and conspiracy. The big problem is the spread of Chinese influence in the Pacific region,” – he said. Also among the challenges he mentioned “aggressive actions” by the North Korea, policy of Iran and the threat of “Islamic state.” According to Carter, “ISIS extends its vicious ideology”, and this terrorist organization “should be destroyed.”

US President Barack Obama said that his country and the Scandinavian states are unanimous in the need to preserve the anti-Russian sanctions. According to the agency, Obama said this during a meeting with leaders of Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Finland. The US leader said that all these countries are concerned about the presence of Russian troops in the region – in their opinion, such presence can be described as “aggressive” and the sanctions should remain in force. Heads of State in a joint statement called on Russia to ensure the safety of all its military manoeuvres in accordance with the international law.

President Petro Poroshenko during a telephone conversation with Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden agreed on the next tranche from the United States. While talking Biden welcomed the appointment of Yuriy Lutsenko as Prosecutor General and confirmed the US readiness to support Ukraine in the reform of the Prosecutor’s Office and fighting corruption. Politicians also agreed on signing the billion tranche grant of aid to Ukraine.

Russian drones invade the airspace of Poland. This statement was made by Defence Minister Anthony Matsarevych. “The incidents occurred on the border of Poland with the Kaliningrad region of Russia. Fortunately, we have strengthened borders so that the last 2.5-3 months there were only few cases,” – the minister said, commenting on the interception of Russian warplanes over the Baltic Sea.

Washington appealed to Russia with a call to withdraw heavy weapons from the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by terrorists. This was announced by the US representative to the OSCE Ambassador Daniel Bayer during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

UK, USA, France and Ukraine blocked in the UN the Russian proposal to put Syrian rebel groups “Dzheysh al-Islam” and “Ahrar al-Sham” on the blacklist, reported Reuters, citing diplomats. Russia made this proposal late last month. US diplomats made it clear that they will be against this initiative. According to Washington, this could undermine attempts to achieve a truce in Syria. Sanctions Committee under the UN Security Council, consisting of 15 members, must come to a consensus to put individuals or groups on the blacklist. The Committee has competence to maintain the regime of sanctions against terrorist structures such as “Islamic state” and “Al Qaeda.”

Ukrainian delegation to the UN joined the “Principles of Kigali,” a document that defines the priority operations for UN peacekeeping Protection of Civilian Persons in all possible ways. Ukraine as an active participant in UN peacekeeping fully shares “Principles of Kigali” and recognizes that the protection of civilians is the defining task of UN peacekeeping operations. “Principles of Kigali” were approved at the International Conference on May 29, 2015. In particular, they determined that in order to protect civilians peacekeeping operations of the United Nations should take all necessary measures, including, if necessary, by force. The founding conference in 2015 was attended by 12 countries, which immediately put their signatures under the document.

April 18-24, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

Presence of 122-mm Grads, 100-mm artillery systems and tanks was recorded in Luhansk, Mykhailivka, Khartsyzsk and Donetsk. According to the Army General Intelligence, an echelon with military equipment: three tanks, two 122-mm Grads, two vehicles “Ural” and diesel fuel (160 tons) arrived at the railway station Debaltseve from Russia.

NATO believes the presence of Russian soldiers in Donbas is provocation aimed at aggravation of the conflict, stated the NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow in an interview with TSN. According to Vershbow, Russian troops are still present in Syria as well as in eastern Ukraine. However, recruited mercenaries are fighting in Donbas apart from Russian soldiers.

The terrorists threatened to use weapons against SMM OSCE in the village Styla. Thus, the militants want to force the mission leave the territory otherwise, its sniper can shoot the OSCE as provocation.

The PACE report states that the occupied territories are being governed by Kremlin authorities. Occupied territories of Donbas are actually under the control of Russia, stated the report presented by Christine Zelenkova and Mariluise Beck at the hearing of the political and legal committees of the Assembly devoted to the situation in eastern Ukraine, which took place in the framework of PACE session in Strasbourg, reported Deutsche Welle. “To our knowledge, the Kremlin created five “ministries” that actually run the so-called “LNR” and “DNR,”- said Beck.

In Luhansk, a Russian secret service agent tried to create anti-Ukrainian underground. With the help of residents he had received information about the details of the state border of Ukraine. In the area of Troyitske, Luhansk region, the SBU jointly with border guards and the police detained a Russian secret services agent during the raid.

The terrorists continued shelling the ATO forces positions, informs the press centre for ATO. Ignoring the Minsk agreements fighters shelled with 120-mm mortars at Popasna and the Ukrainian fortifications near Zaitseve and Maryinka.

Another 51st in a row Russian humanitarian convoy moved to Donbas in the amount 100 vehicles. They are delivering about 1 200 tons of humanitarian supplies, including food, daily necessities, medicine, fire-technical stuff, art and literature for the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, reported Russian Ministry of Emergency. All cars will pass customs and border control at two points, and then continue to move to Donetsk and Luhansk.

The DNR head Alexander Zakharchenko has signed the decree to postpone the election of local heads on July 24, reported the DNR website.

Ukrainian side passed to DNR/LNR a list of 25 Ukrainians who have been long imprisoned and need primary health care, to be further released. Instead, Kyiv is ready to transfer 50 persons wanted by representatives of some regions of Donetsk region, informed Commissioner of the President on the peaceful settlement of the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Iryna Herashchenko.

Politics and Economy

The Parliament asks for international assessment of the actions of the Russian authorities to ban the Mejlis, announced the Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy.

Local authorities have the full confidence of only 4.6% Ukrainians, stated the survey conducted by SOCIS. 34.6% Ukrainians rather trust local authorities and 59.2% – do not trust. All other did not answer the question of sociologists. The highest level of support in eastern regions 8.9%, and the highest rating of no confidence is in Kyiv (39.5%). However, the least trusted turned out to be the Ukrainian parliament – only 0.7%. 8.4% Ukrainians rather trust and 90% do not trust the Parliament. The lowest level of support for the Parliament is in Kyiv and in the South, where this rate is zero. In central regions the Parliament finds trust with 2.3% residents, the highest rate in the entire country. The Parliament has distrust in the western regions (65.7%) and in the South (62.4%).

The Ministry of Justice worked out a statement from Nadiya Savchenko on its return to Ukraine under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons 1983, reported Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko. Savchenko stressed that she does not recognize guilt and sentence of the Russian court. However, Minister Petrenko said that the Convention provides for certain bureaucratic procedures, while due to health status of Savchenko, terms defined in the Convention are not acceptable for the Ukrainian side.

Finance Minister of Ukraine Oleksandr Danyluk confirmed that he is still the head of the three foreign companies. Danyluk is going to check other things that he “forgot” to specify in the declaration. The official was sure that his partners have long removed him from the leadership of these firms.

Activists say that “puppet” prosecutors of Shokina will employed people for work in GPU. Head of the BPP parliamentary faction and one of the candidates for the position of the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko claims that due to changes in the law, the Prosecutor General’s Office will soon be deprived of any power.

During the search at the figurant of the “Diamond prosecutors case” Alexander Korniyets, law enforcers seized copies of personal documents of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Among them, police seized weapons storage permit of Victor Shokin, passports and property documents. This is stated in the minutes of items inspection of July 6, 2015.

When asked about a potential increase in gas tariffs, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman in the air of “Channel 24” said that there are obligations of the

Ukrainian side that gas tariffs will cover 100% of the cost. He assured that the Cabinet will find “compensatory things” that could resolve the issue.

International Arena

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Poroshenko said Ukraine urges Russia to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko. During the conversation they also discussed the issue of Russian military Yerofeyev and Alexandrov. They also agreed on urgent admission of the Consul General of Ukraine in Rostov to N.Savchenko. Due to the deteriorating health of Savchenko, Poroshenko also called on Putin to allow Ukrainian or German doctors visit her.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation with the US President Barack Obama discussed the developments in Ukraine and Syria. According to the press service of the Kremlin, “the leaders discussed in detail the situation in Syria, confirming, in particular, the desire to promote the consolidation initiated by Russia and the US on cease fire, and to ensure access of humanitarian aid to the relevant areas.”

Foreign Minister of France, Jean-Marc Ayrault said that Kyiv must fulfil the Minsk agreements, particularly on the issue of decentralization, holding elections in Donbas. He said this during a press conference.

The Dutch Parliament rejected the proposal of the Dutch Socialist Party to repeal the ratification of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, reported NOS. The initiative failed to gain the majority in the Parliament, despite the fact that at the request of the Socialist Party, voting took place not on the party principle as usual, but by name.

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker informed on submission of a legislative proposal on visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens to the EU Council and the European Parliament.

Romania has decided to allocate EUR 250 thousand of military-technical assistance for Ukraine and EUR 500 thousand for the Trust Fund Ukraine-NATO on cyber security. President of Ukraine stressed that these decisions demonstrate principled position of Romania to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.

The European Commission is ready to provide Ukraine with the second tranche of financial aid of EUR 600 million, but upon the fulfilment of certain conditions, said European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Negotiations on EU enlargement Johannes Hahn. “We are ready to allocate the second tranche of financial aid of EUR 600 million, provided reforms continue,” – he said.

The Polish Foreign Minister Witold Vaschykovski believes that the European Union should think about how to further shape the program “Eastern Partnership”, the Polish Radio. Vaschykovski noted that at the Polish point of view this is an important issue.

Ukraine is actively negotiating with the European Union for more optimal use of FTA, announced Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin during the meeting with representatives of the European Business Association. “We are currently conducting very active negotiations with the EU on the possibility of more optimal use of the FTA, the possibility of increased access to the EU market, not only in terms of agricultural production, not only in terms of increasing existing quotas, but also in terms of more effective and rapid adaptation to EU standards, “- said Klimkin.

European Commission proposes visa-free travel for citizens of Ukraine

The European Commission is today proposing to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to lift visa requirements for the citizens of Ukraine by transferring Ukraine to the list of countries whose citizens can travel without a visa to the Schengen area.

This proposal comes after the Commission gave a positive assessment last December, confirming that Ukraine successfully met all benchmarks under the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Today we follow up on our commitment to propose short-stay visa-free travel to the EU for Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports – facilitating people-to-people contacts and strengthening business, social and cultural ties between the EU and Ukraine. This is the result of the success of the Ukrainian government in achieving far-reaching and difficult reforms in the Justice and Home Affairs area and beyond, impacting on areas such as the rule of law and justice reform. I am very satisfied with the progress achieved, it is an important achievement for the citizens of Ukraine, and I hope that the European Parliament and the Council will adopt our proposal very soon.”

Once the proposal will be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports will no longer require visas when travelling for short stays of up to 90 days to the Schengen area. The visa-free travel will apply to all EU Member States except for Ireland and the UK, as well as the four Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The exemption concerns only short-stay visas valid for up to 90 days of travel in any 180-day period for business, tourist or family purposes. The visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the EU.

Other entry conditions for accessing the Schengen area will continue to apply, including the need to be able to prove sufficient financial means and the purpose of the travel.