Ukrainian media digest, August 30 –September 5, 2016

September 05, 2016.

Situation in the zone of military operations in eastern Ukraine

Ceasefire is generally observed in the ATO zoneexcept for sporadic armed provocations from theadversary’s side, according to the press center of the ‘anti-terror’ operation (ATO).

In Donetsk sector, the Russian occupation troops made provocations using heavy machineguns and small arms in Verkhniotoretske yesterday. The enemy used grenade launchers and small arms near Avdiivka andYasynuvata. In addition, militants fired 82 mm mortars on Avdiivka and an enemy’s sniper targeted the Ukrainian ATO positions in the region. The positions of the Ukrainian army near Vodiane, Pavlopil, Talakivka, and Maryinka were shelled with small arms. In Mariupol sector, near Shyrokyne, the adversary attacked the Ukrainian positions using APC armament and small arms as well as grenade launchers at 9am.

Over the past week, 249 attacks of Russia-backed military groups were recorded. As a result of hostilities and blasts of the self-explosive devices, two servicemen were killed, 20 Ukrainian servicemen and one border guard were wounded (4 Armed Forces servicemen and a border guard were wounded by grenade blast in a medical car).

Ceasefire: political statements. The US Department of State welcomed cease-fire in Donbas, noting that a sustained ceasefire would enable the parties to fulfill their commitments under the Minsk agreements. “The United States welcomes the “school year” ceasefire recommitment made by Ukraine and Russia and witnessed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” declared John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, in the statement. Berlin also welcomed the observance of ceasefire in Donbas, and expressed hope that it would lead to further implementation of the Minsk agreements, said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer.

We note that the ceasefire in Ukraine holds from September 1, and it can become the basis for a lasting solution to the conflict. We continue to insist on full implementation of the Minsk agreements,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Saturday, September 3, on the results of the informal meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers.

The Ukrainian party is less optimistic. The Russian military decision makers in the temporarily occupied territories of the east Ukraine use ceasefire to install military infrastructure in Ukrainian enterprises. This was reported by the Defense Intelligence at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Military facilities are installed at the enterprises the equipment of which was taken out to Russia. Russian occupying forces use the ceasefire for hiddenmining, including anti-personnel mines prohibited by international conventions.

Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko says that Russia is going to increase the number of servicemen in Donbas. Russia sends more soldiers across the border and thousands of servicemen to Crimea. According to him, Russia plans to create the third Army Corps in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which will consist of professional Russian soldiers.

Media in the occupied territories. Analogue broadcasting of Ukrainian TV channels “1 + 1” and “Novyi Kanal (New Channel)” was jammed in the occupied territory . This was reported by the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine in Facebook. The signal was jammed with the help of special equipment, which is catered for by Russian experts only. Instead, they broadcast Russian “post-mainstream journalism” TVprograms with “alternative information”. The informationis selected by officers from disinformation and counter-propaganda department of the Center for Information confrontation (Novocherkassk) СTV, South VO, Russian Armed Forces.

Annexed Crimea: the continuation of international trade

Crimean winery “Massandra”, which was seized by Russia during the annexation of the peninsula, will deliver its products to Kazakhstan. A contract for 50 million rubles was concluded in the framework of the Eastern Economic Forum. This was reported by Director General of JSC “Massandra” Yanina Pavlenko. In addition, an agreement was reached on the delivery of the second batch of Massandra wine to China, said Pavlenko. The company also had negotiations with the Far East partners and expects to come to this market soon. As is known, the Crimean enterprises are under international sanctions.

Arson at Inter Channel: attack on freedom of speech?

The building of Inter channel was set ablaze in Kyiv.Some unidentified persons were under the windows of the three-story building holding banners “Inter “- Kremlin agent ” and accused the channel of a pro-Russian position. There was smoke in the building for an unknown reason.

Head of Kyiv National Police Andriy Kryschenko reported that, according to eyewitnesses, someone had thrown a smoke bomb in the building. Six persons were taken to the police stations. They were detained at the scene and their involvement in the incident will be checked,” said Kryshchenko. According to the channel,the fire destroyed the television studio of the TVprogram “Podrobytsi (Details)”. The channel estimates the event as an armed attack. No one was killed in the incident.

Head of “National Information Systems” Olexandr Pylypets said Inter TV channel had received repeated threats but the government ignored appeals of the channel representatives. The channel called to investigate the incident as soon as possible.

Such actions have been condemned by MPs (Mustafa Nayem and Volodymyr Aryev), Vice Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko and Director of Policy and Communications Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Olexiy Makeev, First Vice Speaker Iryna Gerashchenko. The violence intensified public debate on freedom of the press.

Sociology

Ukraine ranks 15 in Expat Insider’s Feeling Welcome subcategory. Also, Ukraine holds the 19th place in the Friendliness rating and comes fifth as a country good for Finding Friends according to ‘Ease of Settling In’ index. These results have been revealed by Expat Insider – 2016 rating compiled by InterNations – one of the largest expat surveys worldwide.

More than 14,000 respondents representing 174 nationalities and 191 countries took part in the survey.On the whole, Ukraine holds the 34th place in the set of indices, among which are “quality of life,” “family life,” “relationships and sex,” “personal fortune” and so on. Full text of the study

According to the results of a survey conducted by sociological group “Rating”, if presidential elections in Ukraine took place in the near future, 17.7% of Ukrainians would vote Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of “Fatherland”; 11.5% would support Yuriy Boyko, the head of “The opposition bloc” faction; 10.7% would support President Petro Poroshenko; 9.8% would support Oleg Lyashko, the leader of the Radical party.5.6% of the voters would support Nadiya Savchenko;4.3% – Oleg Tyahnybok, the leader of “Svoboda”; more than 2% would vote for Dmitro Yarosh and SerhiyTyhypko.

Compared with December 2015, the rating of the incumbent president Poroshenko has decreased by almost half (from 23% down to 11%), the level of support to Tymoshenko has increased from 13% up to 18%.

E-declaration system launch: the second attempt

The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruptionhas decided to officially launch the e-declaration system.On September 1, the system was to get started.

Natalia Korchak, the Chief of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption announced that as ofSeptember 1, 260 keys were activated, ie 260 declarants could submit declarations; they have 60 days to complete their declarations.

Despite the launch of the system, the activists notedproblems in the system operation. As of September 3,none of the declarations was in the system. Observers noted that the system had to reflect the declarations submitted during the testing period from 15 to 22 August. Besides, there were problems with submitting declarations, because the portal received not all electronic key certificates. However, on September 4,declarations appeared on the portal, but the declaration search did not work.

The start of this system is necessary for greater control over the fortunes of Ukrainian public officials, and is aprerequisite for the IMF tranche and visa-free regime with the EU.

Economy: Conditions for EU and IMF loans

The EUС voiced the conditions for granting a new tranche of € 600 million to Ukraine. The European Union urges the Verkhovna Rada to approve the bill, which will strengthen the independence of the electricity market regulator ( “On the National Commission, carrying out state regulation in the sphere of energy and utility services”), as well as a bill on electricity market. This will determine whether Ukraine will receive a new macro-financial assistance tranche of 600 million euros from the European Union, as stated the vice-president of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič on Friday.

Meeting of the IMF Board of Directors devoted to the second review of the cooperation program with Ukrainemay be held in the second half of September. This was informed by Gerry Rice, Fund spokesman. According to Rice, the parties now continue to coordinate some technical issues. As previously reported, in March 2015, the IMF approved the program of cooperationwith Ukraine using the EFF of $ 17.5 billion for 4 years. Last year Ukraine received two tranches of $ 5 billion and 1.7 billion under the program. Now the third tranche of 1 to 1.7 billion dollars is being considered.

Culture: Meridian Chernowitz

On September 9-11, Chernivtsi will host the Meridian Chernowitz – the Seventh International Poetry Festival. Poets from Ukraine, Germany, Austria and Switzerland will participate in the event. The Holocaust and Jewish fate are the central themes of this year’s event. The festival will continue with poetry readings at Babyn Yar,and then in Germany – in Berlin and Frankfurt. Festival official web sitel

News in English

Reportages

«Ukrainians commemorate two years since Ilovaisk tragedy» – Ukraine Today’s photo-report

«Forbidden Trade: despite sanctions, international trade with Crimea continues» – KyivPost

«E-declaration system doesn’t work despite fomal launch» – KyivPost

Interviews

«Ukraine should be one of the most prosperous countries in Europe given its people, potential and resources» –  Ukraine Today’s interview with former EU Jan Tombinski, former Head of EU delegation to Ukraine

«Ukraine UN Ambassador: «UN Secretary General guilty of ‘Complete inaction’» – HromadskeInternational’s interview with Volodymyr Yelchenko, Permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations

Ukraine Today’s interview with Kyiv’s mayor VitaliyKlychko

«Illegal detention practices in Russia and Ukraine» -Hromadske International’s interview with Amnesty International researcher Kazimir Yankov

«The mechanics of Russia’s information war» -Hromadske International’s interview with Peter Pomerantsev

Analyses

«Now or never? – Will the full-scale Russian military attack on Ukraine start?» – Ukraine Today

Hromadske International’s analytical dossier on the new Head of the Presidental Administration of Ukraine

KyivPost’s weekly roundup

«Ukraine ranks among top 20 friendliest countries in the world according to Expat Insider» – Ukraine Today

«Bellingcat: thousands of Russian servicemen involvedin fighting in Eastern Ukraine» – Ukraine Today

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