Weekly overview of the Ukrainian media between November 3 – 9, 2015

Situation in ATO zone

Ceasefire violations have become more frequent over the past week. According to the ATO Staff attacks are mostly conducted in the Donetsk sector. A total of 137 militant attacks on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were registered over the past week. One Ukrainian serviceman was killed and 17 were wounded over the last week as a result of combat actions, having tripped mines and following a road accident near Kurakhove on November 8.

In its report issued on Monday morning the ATO Staff says militants were firing upon the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in all sectors over the last day. According to the ATO Staff, Russia-backed militants were firing upon Mayorsk, Zaitseve and Shumy in Artemivsk sector from grenade launchers, large-caliber machine guns and small arms. In the Luhansk sector outskirts of Shchastia came under militant fire, in the Mariupol sector it was Shyrokyne. Moreover, for the first time in two months militants made an attempt to directly storm Ukrainian positions near Mayorsk.

Last week militants also resumed firing upon residential blocks. Thus, militants fired upon the residential blocks of Krasnohorivka, Donetsk region with 82-mm mortars, reports the ATO press center. No casualties followed.

ATO forces finalized withdrawing weapons of the caliber under 100mm, ATO press center reports (in English).

Last week militants of the so-called “DPR” blamed Ukrainian troops in attacking the center of occupied Donetsk with Grad multiple rocket launcher systems. Ukrainian side disproved the accusations saying that the above weapons had been withdrawn.

Ukrainian side at the Joint Coordination and Control Center for compliance with ceasefire in Donbas (JCCC) says Russia keeps supplying weapons to the militants in Donbas. Activities of the OSCE monitors are also hampered, says Head of the Ukrainian side at the JCCC Borys Kremenetsky in a statement on the current situation on the contact line and the state of Minsk agreements implementation. The Ukrainian representative also says that the “situation along the contact line between the parties has been drastically worsening since October 18, 2015. The date in question corresponds to the starting date of the second stage of weapons withdrawal, the situation tends to further escalate.” According to Kremenetsky Ukrainian side at the JCCC registered 26 ceasefire violations as well as 361 provocative militant attacks on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and on the “grey zone” to provoke Ukrainian troops to return fire (article in English).

Military experts are of the opinion that the situation in Donbas is being transferred into a frozen conflict. Ukrainian troops have withdrawn weapons from the contact line and are being constantly provoked to open return fire. In case militants succeed in those intentions they hope to be imposing their conditions on the central Ukrainian authorities. However, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak says it’s too early to talk about “freezing the conflict”. According to former Deputy Head of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ihor Romanenko, militants will be trying to keep the tension high to resolve political issues; one should not expect powerful confrontation to happen.

According to Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate, militants are reinforcing their frontline units in the Sloviansk sector and are hiding weapons thus violating the Minsk agreements.

Crimea

Representatives of Mejlis – Crimean Tatar representation body together with activists of Crimean Tatar civil society organizations organized the “Peninsula of Fear” picket outside the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on October 6, 2015. According to the organizers, the event was held “against the repressions towards Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians that the Russian authorities are conducting in Crimea.” Several event participants lined up into the chain with national symbols. Activists and Mejlis Head Refat Chubarov call on the UN to set up a permanent international human rights mission based in Crimea. According to Chubarov it will pave the way for Crimea’s de-occupation.

To remind, occupational authorities ransacked personnel of the ATR Crimean Tatar TV Channel on November 2. Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs emphasized that the above actions are actual repressions and violate human rights and the freedom of press (article in English).

Meanwhile a march commemorating the Soviet parade of 1941 on the Red Square in Moscow took place in Sevastopol on November 7. The event participants were carrying banners of the Communist Party of Russia, Lenin portraits and other Soviet symbols. A similar parade was held in Moscow.

Opinion polling

On November 4 Institute of World Policy presented results of the opinion poll on how citizens of the eight EU member states perceive the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The opinion poll was conducted in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands. The figures demonstrate that the Netherlands have most skeptical opinion about Ukraine out of the EU member states covered by the poll. Top-3 associations that Dutch citizens have with Ukraine are the conflict / war (34%), MH17 crash of the Boeing that was heading from Amsterdam (33%) and Russia (23%). Almost half of the respondents (47%) could not answer why Ukraine needs to be part of the EU. It is a record-high figure among the eight key EU member states. The arguments against Ukraine joining the EU as quoted by the Institute of World Policy are as follows. Over one third of Dutch citizens (35%) think that Ukraine needs to overcome corruption first. 27% are convinced that Ukraine’s accession will become economic burden for the EU while 22% think that Ukraine has not yet proved its loyalty to European values. Only 1% of the Dutch think that it’s the war with Russia that hampers Ukraine’s membership in the EU. Full text of the opinion poll results: the Netherlands, Sweden.

Economy

According to published study conducted by Legatum Institute  Ukraine ranks 70th in the Legatum Prosperity Index. Over the past year Ukraine has lost seven positions. Ukraine shows the best indicators in the field of education (37th place), and the worst ones – in business (127th place) (complete study in English).

Ukraine is in the top three world exporters of grain in the 2015-2016 marketing season, with the index of 36 million tons. This was announced by Minister of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine Oleksiy Pavlenko.

In January-October 2015, natural gas delivered from Russia amounted to 39% of its total import to Ukraine, and to 61% of its total import to Europe, informed the press-service of PJSC “Ukrtransgas”. According to its data, during the first ten months of this year, Ukraine imported 14.8 billion cubic meters of gas from all directions.

National Bank of Ukraine revoked the licenses of 62 out of 180 commercial banks in Ukraine, informed Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko.

Ukraine in the world: Memorial to Holodomor victims in Washington

On November 7, 2015, an opening ceremony of the memorial to the 1932-1933 Holodomor (eng. ‘famine’) victims in Ukraine took place in center of Washington. That day thousands of Ukrainians from America and Canada, as well as numerous friends of Ukraine gathered at the Central Station of the U.S. capital, near which the ceremony took place. Maryna Poroshenko, the wife of the President of Ukraine was honorary guest of the event. She presented а video of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

Articles, reviews, reports in English

Reportage

«A day in a wheelchair: social experiment in Kyiv» – Hromadske International reportage.

«A blockade of Crimea suggests mistrust of the government»: KyivPost reportage.

«The new police takes the place of the old one in Ukraine»: KyivPost reportage.

«Situation in the East is aggravated again after the delivery of 44th “humconvoy” by Russia»: KyivPost reportage.

«On the Parliament vote on laws necessary for visa liberalization»: Ukraine Todar reportage.

Interviews

«An exhibition dedicated to LGBT will be opened in Kyiv»: Hromadske International interview with artist Carlos Motta.

«In Eastern Europe, the struggle for human rights is the most powerful»: Hromadske International interview with Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.

«How to break the power of the oligarchs Eastern Europe»: Hromadske International interview with Orysia Lutsevych, a Chatham House expert (London).

«Why is Ukrainian crisis of global importance?»: Hromadske International interview with Balázs Jarábik, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

«Lessons of the Russian-Ukrainian war»: Hromadske International interview with Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia.

Analysis

Weekly digest StopFake. This week’s digest includes the false report about the U.S. Secretary of State admitting ‘defeat’ in Ukraine, Ukraine’s Parliament proposing harsh jail terms for its critics, a bogus photo posted to depict a raided Ukrainian library in Moscow. In a real news item, StopFake is showcased in comments before members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee as an example of a strong civil-society initiative to combat Russian propaganda.

«Between homophobia and European integration»: KyivPost analytic article.

Homophobia Rules: Ukraine’s parliament rejects vital anti-discrimination legislation. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has failed to support a key provision on prohibiting the discrimination of sexual minorities in the new Labour Code. This is a critical requirement for the EU to waive visa requirements, but even this was not enough to overcome many MPs’ resistance to the move.

«Again we have not caught the European train»: I. Kucheriv Democratic initiatives Fund analytical article. Overview of political events of the week.

The events of last week have all the chances of being the last and successful step towards the start of preparations of the European Union to a positive decision in granting Ukraine a visa-free regime. However, a number of important bills were not passed by the Ukrainian parliament in the form that meets the requirements of visa-free dialog with the EU. What stands behind these political passions?

Оverviw of diversion of information in the RF: a new document in English, prepared by EU Task Force (StratCom East) of European Commission (Brussels).

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