Summary of Ukrainian media review, October 21

PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT

Seeking a compromise on gas issue between Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the EU takes place simultaneously with activation of Russia’s aggressive policy towards the EU. Russia extends leverage of hybrid war tools in regard to the Baltic countries. For instance, the NATO Baltic group boosted an F-16 plane into the air in response to IL-20 electronic reconnaissance aircraft being detected by the Armed Forces of Latvia over the Baltic Sea. Prime-minister of Sweden Stefan Lefven stated that his country did not intend to enter NATO. The day before the Ambassador of Poland to the US assumed that the story with search of a Russian submarine in the territorial waters if Sweden was not an accident, as it was exactly these days that Sweden was considering the expediency of joining the NATO. On 20 October 2014 the Russian Federation expanded its import embargo on meat by-products, trimmings meat, tankage, beef fat, pork fat and poultry fat in connection with “safety standards violation”. Value of these contracts for the EU amounts to 11 billion euro per year. According to the Ambassador of Poland to the USA Ryszard Schnepf, the majority of European country would support prolongation of sanctions against the Russian Federation despite any hurdles. At the same time, the diplomat points out that the president V. Putin might have taken the upper hand in the Ukrainian conflict, as he considers negotiations between Poroshenko and Putin held in Milan to be unsuccessful, which is the evidence of “freezing” the conflict in the East of Ukraine. Western mass media, as opposed to the Polish diplomat, are writing about various standpoints of the leading European states on strategy in relation to the Russian Federation. For example, Italy disposes to the conflict mitigation whereas Germany in the person of Merkel “takes a strong stance” on prolongation of sanctions against the Russian Federation.

There is little information on the course of gas negotiations in Berlin. Nevertheless, one thing is clear – Russia is impeding Ukrainian adoption of the European standards of gas transit. European commissioner Oetinger presumed that this issue would be finally regulated on  29th of October.

Conditions both EU and Gazprom are advocating, temporary and fixed price of 385 dollar per thousand cubic metres of Russian gas for Ukraine till the end of March 2015, the contract is to be signed by “Naftogaz” and “Gazprom”. The Ukrainian party is less optimistic. The Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yury Prodan states that no agreement was reached on some key issues pertaining to “the legal arrangements” (Gazprom is refusing to sign a provisionary agreement) during trilateral negotiations of Ukraine, Russia and the EU for gas supply. Project manager of DiXi Group analytical center Roman Nytsovych explains that “Gasprom” signature is vital for this agreement, as this form of signing the documents will settle the most urgent problem – provide transit of gas through Ukrainian territory in compliance with European standards. Ukraine’s Prime-minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes that Vladimir Putin does not want to sign any agreement and aims at “freezing” Ukraine. At the same time Yatsenyuk noted that, first of all, the government made a 3.1 billion dollar reserve in its accounts to pay both for the supplied gas and for new deliveries in case the provisional agreement on gas supply. Second of all, gas price for Ukraine directly depends on interlocutory judgment of Stockholm arbitration court. There are posts shared in the social media saying that it is the tough stance of the government that irritates Kremlin and prevents negotiations from being brought to a conclusion. During A. Merkel’s visit to Slovakia when the Chancellor called upon the EU to provide Kyiv with financial aid in order to regulate the gas dispute with Moscow, it became known that Slovakia was going to consider the possibility of increasing the volume of natural gas reverse flow to Ukraine.

Head of “Gazprom” company Aleksey Miller, answering the European Committee proposal to become a mediator in gas purchase from Ukraine, stated that Russia would not consider options in which either a European broker company would be buying gas for Ukraine of gas for Ukraine will be bought by some European company in the Russian-Ukrainian border.

 

Ukrainian authorities, represented by the Ministry’s for Foreign Affairs spokesman Evheniy Perebyinis responds to controversial statements of the German Federal Intelligence Service (that “BUK” rocket launcher which hit “Malaysian Airlines” Boeing belonged to Ukraine) and human rights organization «Human Rights Watch» (that Ukrainian Armed Forces are using cluster bombs to outshoot densely populated areas).  Ukrainian diplomat stated that Ukrainian side will be retorting to international partners, Germany in particular, demanding to provide evidence of the data previously provided by Ukraine on MH17 flight aircraft being fraudulent.  Besides, Perebyinis emphasized that “Human Rights Watch” human rights organization fell a victim to simple fraud on the terrorists’ side, aimed at discrediting Ukrainian army troops located in the ATO zone.

Contradictions pertaining to the scale of OSCE monitoring of Russian-Ukrainian border (one of the provisions of “Minsk agreements”) grow. Ukrainian party insists that OSCE observers should monitor the whole segment of Ukrainian-Russian border in the ATO zone, whilst the Russian party supports preservation of the current mandate, according to which OSCE observation is exercised in two border crossing checkpoints only.   All OSCE decisions are made through consensus, thus, it is guaranteed that the change of mandate on the 22th of October meeting will be blocked.  Despite the difficulties with implementation of “Minsk agreements” by the Russian Federation, Ukraine intends to adhere to diplomatic solution of the conflict in Donbas, states deputy head of the Administration of the President Valeriy Chalyi.

According to Presidential Administration Deputy Head Valery Chaly, Ukraine is to take a line of a strong army development and defense of the country, at the same time receiving support from the world community. Without this support, without economic, political and military technical support from the EU it will be extremely difficult to win and complete the peace, Chalyi believes.

 

DONBAS RECONSTRUCTION.

Prime-minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated that Ukraine was going to resume control over Donbas when it has the potential to do so. “Restitution of territories run be terrorists is a task for many years, we will come and resume them when we are strong”, – emphasized the prime-minister.

German media inform that there is a “pseudo-country” being developed on ruins of Ukraine, the country under militants’ control which has no funds to make at least social welfare payments.

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