EVENTS

The Activists of the “Feel by Yourself” Figured out “Disappearance” of ATM in Svitlovodsk (+ video)

Mariya and Daryna Podatel, citizens of Revivka area in Svitlovodsk, informed the “Feel by Yourself” initiative about the dismantled ATM at 2 Robitnycha Street where they usually get their pensions.

Mother of girls with disabilities complains that dismantled ATM was the only one in the whole Revivka area which is far from the city centre, and people with disabilities have to get to the nearest ATM about 4 km to get their money.

Activists of “Feel by Yourself” initiative immediately appealed to the local branch of PrivatBank to clear up the situation. As the head of the local branch reported, they know about the problem but cannot solve it at the moment. However, she promised that the issue would be resolved within two weeks. Activists of the PU “Civic Guard” and NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” will appeal to the main branch of Privatbank to get official explanation.

Comments of EU Ambassador Tombiński on recent developments with regarding the Prosecutor General´s Office

I note that the Verkhovna Rada today accepted the resignation of the Prosecutor General. This decision creates an opportunity to make a fresh start in the Prosecutor General’s Office. I hope that the new Prosecutor General will ensure that the Office of the Prosecutor General becomes independent from political influence and pressure and enjoys public trust. The Prosecutor General’s Office should contribute to ensure the justice and rule of law that the Ukrainian people expect and deserve so much. The work of the PGO is also essential for Ukraine’s overall institutional modernisation as well for the implementation of the Association Agreement.

Over the past period I have been very concerned about all the news coming from the Prosecutor General’s Office. There is still a lack of tangible results of investigations into serious cases, including the dramatic events in Kyiv and Odessa in the beginning of 2014, the activities of officials from the previous regime, who were put on the sanctions list at the request of Ukrainian authorities, as well as investigations of high-level officials within the Prosecutor General’s Office. Those prosecutors who were considered reform-oriented have either left office or have otherwise been prevented from pursuing investigations or reforms. Unfortunately, the concerns in this regard expressed by civil society, experts and the international community have been ignored.

In addition, I am concerned about recent reports about investigations by the Prosecutor General’s Office into the activities of a highly respected non-governmental organisation, which does a great public service in combating corruption in Ukraine. Without prejudice to the outcome of any investigation, these decisions by the PGO fuel suspicions of pressure on independent experts critical of the PGO. The EU and other partners of Ukraine will monitor closely all the developments in this area.

Natalia Sevidova: “Kremlin Humiliation of the Ukrainian Prisoners Equals to Humiliation of Ukraine”

Nadiya Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in prison and a fine of RUR 30 thousand. Donetsk Court of Rostov region declared a Ukrainian pilot guilty, as they believe her alibi was not proven.

Head of the NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” Natalia Sevidova commented on her vision for the trial of the Ukrainian pilot.

Today the Ukrainian inmates personify the whole Ukraine. Humiliation, that Kremlin uses against them, is equivalent to humiliation of Ukraine“, – said the public figure.

Natalia Sevidova stressed that today, European and world community should be side by side. This injustice and violation of human rights, democratic values that the civilized world has been building up for centuries, is blatantly violated by Russia. “Taking into consideration the Kremlin treachery towards Ukraine, our people should unite and show that we are a nation that never leaves its people, – said Head of the NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU.”

However, Natalia Sevidova stressed that not only Nadiya Savchenko is a victim of the criminal regime of Putin. “We must draw international community attention to other prisoners and victims of the bloody Kremlin regime, namely: Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Malafeiev, Oleksandr Kostenko, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klyha, Mykola Karpyuk and many others. Now the list consists of more than 30 people who are illegally detained in Russia,” – said Ms.Sevidova.

EU assists Ukraine in reforming the electricity market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE Do Exist: Life on the Knees. The Story of Vasyl Pohodayev

Shooting of the documentary “WE Do Exist” is going to be finished with a story of Vasyl Pohodayev, a citizen of Vlasivka, Svitlovodsk district.

Disabled since childhood Vasyl has spent all his life in a wheelchair. Life on the knees our hero knows not from the stories. The man treats the concept of “accessibility” with irony. He notes that it was absent either in the soviet times or in the independent Ukraine. Life in a village near Svitlovodsk, where he has lived since 1992, the man describes as one of the best periods in his life. “I’ve got more freedom, it’s more accessible and easier to breathe,” – he says.

With great pride the man remembers his first wheelchair. Vasyl says that when he got it, he discovered a lot new opportunities.

“When I got a wheelchair, it may be very first feeling that I can freely drive around the village in the summer. Although when I did not have any – what I could? I could climb the fence on my knees and sit on a bench.”

The man treats life philosophically – he never complains, often travels in his wheelchair to nearby cities. In 2015, for the first time in many years he managed to visit his homeland – Russia, where the man, despite his condition, was fishing along with healthy relatives.

Shooting is completed and now it’s turn of the film editor to take the lead. The author of the idea Natalia Sevidova promises that the presentation of the film, which was created as part of the initiative “Feel by Yourself,” will take place in autumn 2016.

“WE DO EXIST”: The Will to Live. The Story of Anna Khmurina

Shooting of the documentary “WE DO EXIST” by Production Studio “HEADMEDIA,” which began on February 15, 2016, as part of the initiative “Feel by Yourself,” initiated by the PU “Civic Guard” and NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” continues.

Hero of the next story from Svitlovodsk is a 48-year-old Anna Khmurina. She was born without any deviations. Then there was a kindergarten, school, university, and a profession of a teacher in math. A simple rheumatism made terrible changes in life – a number of complications and as a result – a wheelchair.

There is nothing to talk about accessibility in our country, however. For twelve years she could not get out of her apartment due to high stairs and narrow elevator. Absence of ramps, call buttons and other social “benefits” of the civilized world influenced much the life of Anna Khmurina. But despite this, Anna continues to live and enjoy life, attend courses of foreign languages and handmade craft, and help students study math.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“WE DO EXIST”: Inaccessibility for Two. The Story of Podatels

The family of Podatels from Svitlovodsk continue a series of stories for the documentary “We Do Exist,” as part of the initiative “Feel by Yourself,” initiated by PU “Civic Guard” and NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU”.

This story has a special place in our film, because it is about two sisters Mariya and Daryna Podatel. Spastic toxia – such diagnosis doctors made with the girls on the fourth year of their life. Both girls are “dependent” on the disease, and at the same time, due to the fall, Mariya’s disease is manifested much sharper. Therefore, Maria is forced to move in a wheelchair, while her sister is moving independently.

“Despite the possibility of moving of one of us – the issue of accessibility remains our priority,” – the girls say.

Despite the fact that Mariya has moved in a wheelchair since her childhood, she genuinely loves life and it is mutual. The graduate of Svitlovodsk secondary school no.9, Mariya works as logistician at a local company. In his spare time, she likes reading fantasy books, and writes her own stories, which she gladly shares with her friends.

“Two years ago I accidentally watched on TV an excerpt from the contest “Beauty without Limits” and longed to participate in it. This year an organizer of the contest contacted me and invited to participate. I submitted an application and, surprisingly, I was invited to the competition.”

Sisters live in a remote area of Svitlovodsk and every day they feel all the peculiarities of architectural inaccessibility of a multi-storeyed building in which they live. Mariya’s wheelchair is practically broken because of bad roads. It is almost mission impossible for girls to go to the city centre: the only bus equipped with a ramp does not reach the area of their habitation. While other buses the girls cannot use due to difficult mounting.

Natalia Sevidova: “Heavenly Hundred Heroes – angels that guard the Heart of our Country”

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In honour of the Day of Heavenly Hundred Heroes the head of NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” and its activists laid flowers in the places where Heavenly Hundred heroes died.

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“I cannot stop sympathizing with the families of the victims and admitting that the price we have paid and continue to pay for our freedom is very high, – said Natalia Sevidova. – I hope that those lost lives in Maidan, and other precious lives that we’re losing at war are not in vain. And all political regimes – the current and the subsequent ones – will remember the price we paid for our freedom. And they will be held accountable to their people for the policy they implement. “

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Natalia Sevidov  laid flowers at the spot where a sniper killed her fellow countryman from Kirovohrad – the Hero of Ukraine Viktor Chmilenko. “His death is a great loss for his family and for the whole Ukraine, – said Natalia Sevidova. – Being on the Maidan, we feel that each of Heroes of Heavenly Hundred is still with us. They are angels that guard the heart of our country.”