MONITORING

MONITORING EVENTS OF THE WEEK ELAPSED

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.

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.

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.

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.

April 11 – 17, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

After joining the terrorists in Donbas, the militants did not refuse from the Ukrainian pensions. SBU officials blocked pensions for seven D/LNR militants, reported the press service of the Security Service of Ukraine. Thus, by the end of the year, terrorists could have received over UAH 300 thousand. As noted the SBU, pensions have been suspended under Article 49 of the Law of Ukraine “On Compulsory Pension Insurance.”

Two Ukrainian soldiers were captured near Horlivka, Donetsk region, stated ATO spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanyk.

After two years of conflict in Donbas 1.5 million people are on the brink of starvation, stated the UN with reference to the World Food Programme (WFP), reports Ukrinform. According to the organization, 300 thousand Ukrainians are suffering from shortage of food and require emergency assistance. WFP intends to provide monthly food to 270,000 people in eastern Ukraine, but asks, in turn, all parties to the conflict to ensure full and unhindered humanitarian access to those people.

D/LNR representatives claim that armed conflict will affect the West and threaten Ukraine by a full-scale war in the event Kyiv introduces international police contingent in Donbas, stated Denis Pushilin, DNR representative, and LNR representative Vladislav Deynega in a joint statement of the Minsk contact group. In particular, D/LNR indicate that it is contrary to Minsk II and does not contribute to security in the region during the elections.

The prosecutor’s office sent to the court indictment in absentia for the so-called “DNR foreign minister,” reported the press service of the prosecutor’s office of Donetsk region. “During the investigation it was established that in November 2014, a 38-year-old resident of Makiyivka, Donetsk region, on its own initiative joined the terrorist organization “DNR,” and occupied the post of “the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DNR,”- said the statement. According to investigators, the powers of the “minister” included inter alia providing diplomatic and consular relations with foreign states and international organizations to ensure cooperation with other bodies of executive security, institutions and other facilities of the unrecognized republic abroad, and promoting relations and contacts with compatriots living abroad.

Head of SMM OSCE to Ukraine reported about the worsening of the situation in Donbas. According to him, the situation created by the parties along the boundary, is unacceptable. Ertuhryul Apakan voiced his concern about the increasing number of violations of the ceasefire in Donetsk region. According to him, it is the most serious aggravation since September 2015. Numerous cases of the use of heavy weapons and mortars are being recorded.

Militants shelled the OSCE vehicle. None of the observers was hurt. The incident happened on April 7, near Snizhne, at the administrative border of Donetsk and Luhansk region. The report of the SMM states that the driver of one of the vehicles heard the bullet hit the glass.

PACE rapporteurs expressed concern about the situation in the ATO area and the impossibility of holding elections in Donbas, stated the press service of the PACE official website of the organization.

In Donetsk, on Lenin Square, few people put up campaign tents and distributed the newspapers “Donetsk Republic.” A group of students joined the so-called rally, though very soon many of them abandoned the place of gathering.

The European Union once again called for a ceasefire in the occupied Donbas, said the statement of the spokesman of the EU foreign diplomatic service.

Politics and Economy

National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine commented on the situation regarding the investigation of the “Panama papers,” reported the press service of the NABU. Thus, the press office noted that under the Law of Ukraine “On the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine” and the Criminal Procedure Code, the Bureau investigates the cases with involvement of higher officials authorized to perform state functions or local government, including the President of Ukraine, whose powers are terminated.

The EU will provide EUR 97 million for the Ukraine government development program, said the Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Ian Tombinski, reports UNN. He noted that the funds will be directed to the Regional Development Fund in Ukraine. In addition, the EU representative participated in the presentation of the “School of Mayors” which will teach mayors from regions.

In 2015 agricultural enterprises of Ukraine received a record-high net income UAH 89.5 billion, reported the press service of the Agriculture Ministry. According to the Agriculture Minister Oleksiy Pavlenko, net income of agricultural enterprises in 2015 compared to 2014 increased by 2.5 times and in USD equivalent net income of farms increased by 1.4 times, up to USD 4.1 billion. The Minister added that the overall profitability of crop was 50.9%. In particular, the most profitable crops are traditionally sunflower 80.3%, rapeseeds 44%, grain 43.2% and soybeans 38.4%.

According to preliminary data, Ukraine’s international reserves as of April 1, 2016 amounted to USD 12 billion 722 million. During the first quarter, the volume of reserves decreased by 4.4% or USD 578 million. Compared with March 2015, the reserves increased by 27.6%, the press service of the NBU. According to the press service of the NBU, the reduction of reserves in March was primarily due to payments of the government to repay and service public and publicly guaranteed debt in foreign currency. For this purpose, USD 853.2 million was spent in March.

In the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 Ukraine increased gas transit to Europe by 51.4% or 6.6 billion cubic meters, reported the press service of “Ukrtransgaz.” According to “Ukrtransgaz,” in January-March 2016 natural gas transportation through the national gas transmission system to customers in Europe increased to 19.4 billion cubic meters. It is stressed that the daily transportation of natural gas for the needs of European consumers is 193 million cubic meters.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine decided to raise the social standards from May 1, 2016, which will increase the living wage, minimum wage, minimum pension and salaries to state employees. As recalled by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in 2016 social payments will be raised twice in total by 12%.

Of the 390 municipalities that participated in voting on the Association with Ukraine, only 22 municipalities voted “in favour.” Turnout for the referendum exceeded 30%, therefore the referendum was declared valid. The most active voting “in favour” was in Wageningen 62.4%. Large cities such as Amsterdam (52.5%) and Utrecht (57.4%) voted “in favour,” while Rotterdam (64%) and The Hague (58.9%) voted against. Leader in voting “against” became Urk 83.3%. The overall result for Ukraine is disappointing. Only 31% of the Netherlands voted “in favour,” while 61.1% – “against”. About 1% of the ballots were blank or spoiled.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk has decided to resign, he said this during his address on TV. According to him, political crisis in the country made him do this. Recall, on February 16, the Parliament voted for unsatisfactory work of the Cabinet in 2015, though the MPs did not have enough votes for adoption of the resolution of no confidence against the government.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said he is ready to work with any Prime Minister, but expects that it will be present Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groisman. He said this in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels, reports UNN. He added that as soon as the new government is appointed, he will begin consultations with the leaders of factions on the candidacy of the future Prosecutor General. However, he hopes that on Tuesday, April 12, a new coalition will be formed.

International Arena

In Crimea the anthem of the RF was publicly mocked at. It happened during a meeting of the public and expert council under the “governor” of Sevastopol. It is reported that during the opening of the meeting a satirical version of the Russian national anthem appeared on the screen. The operator in charge of the text on the big screen, said he knew nothing, and not any picture was found on the computer. In this case, “deputy head of the department of internal policy of the government” Sevastopol Vladimir Tyunin said that it could be a provocation, or just negligence of the operator who uploaded the picture from the Internet without checking it. FSB is checking the facts.

Refugees are seeking ways to bypass Greece and Turkey on the way to Europe, writes the “TASS” with reference to the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development

of Germany Gerd Muller. He said that about 200 thousand refugees currently in Libya are waiting for bypassing the prohibited Balkan route.

Israeli exports of natural gas will help Europe to diversify its energy imports and reduce energy dependence on Russian gas, reported in an interview with Bloomberg Minister of Energy Ernest Moniz. In particular, he noted that the Israeli reserves of gas found offshore in the Mediterranean Sea, will help reduce the energy dependence of Europe from Russia. Israel will export gas to Jordan, and the relevant talks with Egypt are underway, including the prospect of using local plants for liquefaction Israeli gas and its subsequent delivery to Europe. He added that, probably, Turkey will be the first destination for Israeli transport gas from where it is pumped to a network that connects the Caspian fields to Europe.

Review of “Savchenko case” by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will take place during the spring session in Strasbourg on April 18. It is expected that the PACE session will be attended by Austrian President Heinz Fischer, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Daniel Mitov and other officials. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muyzhniyeks will present an annual report on his activities in 2015. In addition to Savchenko case, MPs from around the continent will consider a migration crisis and possible solutions, including human rights. Other items on the agenda include a debate on assessing the impact of measures to improve the political representation of women, prevention of children radicalization, the conditions of detainees at war in Ukraine, the situation in the field of health and combating anti-Semitism in Europe. The Assembly will also assess cooperation with the Palestinian National Council.

The Russian Federation will recapitalise “VEB bank” at the expense of the president’s reserve formed by ex-funded contributions of pensioners, writes “Vedomosti” with reference to federal officials. Participants reported that the size of the reserve is RUR 345 billion, of which RUR 150 billion will be directed to support the bank this year. It is agreed by the supervisory board of the bank, which is headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. It is noted that the following fact should be considered as cash performance. However, officials said that otherwise, they would have to amend the law, which is more unlikely in the Duma.

Starting from 2017, Ukrainians will travel to Belarus only with foreign passports. Innovations will be gradually introduced. In the beginning, from January 1, 2017, passports will be mandatory for Ukrainians entering Belarus by air. And from April 1, 2017 this provision will take effect for the Ukrainians travelling by car and train, from January 1, 2018 – for pedestrians, reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

March 28 – April 3, 2016

Situation in Eastern Ukraine

Representatives of the SMM OSCE were provided information about Grads, artillery systems calibre over 100-mm and tanks in areas of Yasynuvata, Donetsk and Nova Maryivka, reported the Defence Intelligence.

On March 29 militants carried out 33 attacks at Ukrainian military positions, reported ATO press centre. It is reported that militants continue to use prohibited by the Minsk agreements weapons. Luhanske, Mayorske, Avdiyivka, Opytne, Novhorodske were under the enemy shelling. Particularly “hot” was in Zaitseve. Pro-Russian mercenaries shelled Ukrainian army positions with 158 mortar charges of 82- and 120-mm calibre. The enemy also used intensively automatic grenade launchers and small arms in the area of Avdiyivka.

Ten local residents of Makiyivka were arrested on suspicion of participating in mythical Ukrainian reconnaissance troops, reported “Information Resistance.” According to data of IR group “MGB DNR” began a massive operation in Makiyivka to search and neutralize “disguised subversive groups” of the Ukrainian troops.

A train with ammunition for AK 1 needs arrived in Ilovaisk from Russia, stated the official website of the Defence Intelligence.

Three generals of the Russian Armed Forces who performed criminal orders of the military and political leadership of Russia on the temporarily occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine, were transferred to Syria to share with “experience,” reported the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine.

In Avdiyivka SMM observers heard one hit of artillery shot (calibre 122-mm) and counted 15 bursts of fire from heavy machine gun. SMM OSCE reported on the huge number of violations of the ceasefire in the area and Yasynovata and Avdiyivka on both sides of the delimitation line.

120 Ukrainians remain captives in Donbas, 800 are considered missing, announced the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during his speech at the forum “The fight for Freedom of Ukraine, which Continues.” He said Russia is using people’s lives as a bargaining chip.

On April 4-9, AK 2 Command of the Armed Forces under the guise of training exercises plans to carry out provocative attacks at ATO forces position, as well as settlements and civilians near the demarcation zone, reported the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine.

By shelling ATO positions militants want to provoke Ukrainian Armed Forces to return its artillery and tanks to the front, reported ATO headquarters.

Trains with military hardware, ammunition, fuel and lubricants for the needs of AK 1 and AK 2 arrived in Khartsyzsk, Krasnodon and Luhansk from Russia, reported the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. In particular, in Khartsyzsk arrived the echelon with military equipment (4 MT-LB, 10 trucks), fuel and lubricants (120 tons) and spare parts for tanks (three cars), in Krasnodon arrived the echelon with fuel and lubricants (240 tons), in Luhansk – 15 tanks and 7 trucks of ammunition.

Politics and Economy

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during his visit to the ATO zone announced about readiness to restore sovereignty in the Ukrainian Donbas.

Deputy Prosecutor General Davit Sakvarelidze was exempted from prosecution, reported the press service of the GPU. General Prosecutor’s Office repeatedly received collective parliamentary appeals and requests for non-compliance with article 8.15 of the Law of Ukraine “On Prosecution” regarding the initiation of a position Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine – Odesa Oblast Prosecutor, which holds D.Sakvarelidze. Also, the validity of the decision on the establishment of that office was the subject of judicial review in the District Administrative Court of Kyiv at the suit of MP of Ukraine.

The Parliament gave a consent to dismiss the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. The decision was supported by 289vMPs. Prior to voting, the representative of the President in the Parliament Stepan Kubiv reported about Shokin’s letter of resignation.

The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs supported the resolution on the suspension of diplomatic relations with Russia, reported MP Volodymyr Parasyuk. He said the discussion lasted almost an hour and it was very difficult to watch as representatives of the executive power and some MPs behaved as lawyers of the aggressor country.

The agreement, which was signed between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Australia for cooperation in the nuclear field creates conditions for the supply of uranium to Ukraine to use nuclear energy, reported Ministry of Energy and Coal of Ukraine. It is noted that Australia is a major supplier of uranium and has similar agreements with Canada, the US, China, France, India, Japan, South Korea, Britain and Russia.

During the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with US President Barack Obama. The Heads of State discussed the situation in Donbas and Crimea and coordinated efforts for the full implementation of Minsk agreements by Russia. Obama reiterated readiness to provide the third tranche of loan guarantees worth USD 1 billion by the US upon completion of the process of forming the government in Ukraine.

Russia is placing elements of its nuclear potential in occupied Crimea, disrupting the regime of non-proliferation, said the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the

Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. Poroshenko stressed that for Ukraine, as well as for other non-nuclear countries, security guarantees is an important challenge. Unfortunately, guarantees obtained under the Budapest memorandum were not only ineffective, but were affected by a nuclear power – Russia.

Discount on gas for Ukraine at USD 17.77 provided by Russia in the first quarter of 2016 was abolished from April 1, 2016, says the public statement by the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak, reports UNN. He noted that the discount arrangements were established in the “winter package” and agreed by Russia, Ukraine and the EU.

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine predicts inflation at 8.1% in 2017, stated Deputy Finance Minister Roman Kachur during a government meeting.

Ukrainian real disposable income in 2015 compared to 2014, based on the price factor, has decreased by 22.2%, indicated the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

International Arena

The President of Poland Andrzej Duda said that Russia must leave Crimea. He said this during a speech at a forum in Washington, reports UNN with reference to Polish Radio. In his speech, the Polish leader spoke about NATO strengthening and Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko shall be released as part of the Minsk agreements, said the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon during his meeting with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, reports UNN with reference to the press service of the President. According to the AP, the sides paid special attention to human rights in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory, as well as all illegally held Ukrainians in Russia, including Nadiya Savchenko.

On March 18-25, 2016 Russia’s international reserves decreased by USD3.4 billion, reported the press service of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. According to the Central Bank of Russia, Russian international reserves decreased by 0.9% – from USD386.9 billion as of March 18 to USD 383.5 billion as of 25 March.

President Barack Obama said about the lack of progress in talks with Russia to further reduce nuclear arsenals. This Obama said at a press conference after the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC. “I prefer to further reduce our nuclear arsenals. And after we signed the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II, for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty – UNIAN), our team turned to the Russians to seek the next stage of arms reduction,”- said Obama.

Enhancing cooperation between Ukraine and NATO must take place in a few months as part of the Warsaw Summit, reported the press service of the President of Ukraine.

Holding such a meeting in the international format was discussed by Petro Poroshenko and Andrzej Duda at the meeting during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

The US will allocate an additional USD 335 million to reform the security sector in Ukraine, including the Armed Forces, National Guard and the State Border Service, announced US Vice President Joseph Biden during a meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Washington.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad said he is ready to hold early presidential elections if the people want to, reported RIA “Novosti”. At the same time, he noted that early presidential elections “were not put forward as part of this political process.”

In one of the apartments in the suburbs of Paris there was found an arsenal of weapons that could be used by terrorists to attack, reported Deutsche Welle. Paris prosecutor Francois Molen reported about such discovery. According to investigators, they found 105g of explosives, similar to that used during the terrorist attack in Paris in November and 1.3 kg of industrial explosives. Moreover, the storage contained 7 pistols, five Kalashnikovs and a submachine gun. Meanwhile, among the weapons investigators found stolen passports and telephones, and a computer containing instructions on the use of explosives and documents of jihadist nature.

Russian submarine was recorded near the Latvian border, reported on Twitter National Armed Forces of Latvia.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte is sure that most of the Dutch will vote on the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, he said this in an interview with “Nieuwsuur.” He noted that although Ukraine is not a member of the EU, but it is geographically in Europe.

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.

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.

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.