Weekly Ukrainian media digest, July 5-11, 2016

Situation in the Antiterrorist Operation zone

Situation in the Antiterrorist Operation (ATO) zone escalated over the last week.Russia-backed militants intensified their activities all along the contact line.

Highest number of attacks was registered in the Donetsk sector. According to reports by the General Staff adversary was firing from Minsk-banned 152-mm artillery upon the strong points of Ukrainian troops in Novhorodske, Donetsk region, and from 122-mm self-propelled artillery systems in Mykolayivka Druha, Donetsk region. Combined Russian-and-militant troops fired 120mm mortars upon the positions of Ukrainian army in Mayorsk, Pisky, Avdiivka, Novhorodske and Troyitske. In Mariupol sector the ceasefire regime was also violated by the use of 120mm mortars (near Talakivka, Vodyane, Novohryhorivka and Maryinka) and 82mm mortars (near Shyrokyne, Krasnohorivka, Hnutove and Maryinka).

Over the past week 14 Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action and 70 more were wounded in action. A total of 454 attacks by the combined Russian and militant troops were registered in the period in question.

Monitors of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) are also registering both sides of the conflict in Donbas on high combat alert, said Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM. The monitors registered both sides using the types of weapons banned in the area in question according to the Minsk agreements. Hug emphasized that over the last week the monitors registered 77 types of weapons that were supposed to be withdrawn. He said the number of attacks in ATO zone increased three times compared to the previous week, the triangular Avdiivka – Yasynuvata – the Donetsk airport remains the hottest spot.

At night between July 10 and July 11 a subversive group of over 20 persons were trying to get into the rear of Ukrainian troops near Troyitske in Donetsk region. Ukrainian troops repelled the attack of the group. One of the subversives, a citizen of the Russian Federation soldier Natan Tsakirov, native of Omsk, the Russian Federation, died from serious wounds. Photos of the ID of the killed Russian citizen were published by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Two other assaulters were detained. The wounded were rendered medical assistance that they required. They are currently in hospital. The detained are the commander of a military company and platoon commander of the Russian occupant troops.

Political dimension. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that the so-called “Big Five” countries (the U.S., the UK, France, Germany and Italy) together with Ukraine will work out a road map that is set to provide security in eastern Ukraine. On July 11 foreign policy advisors started consultations with the participation of Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin on the development of the road map in question. In this regard, the security situation needs to be discussed, OSCE SMM needs to be granted unimpeded access, consistent ceasefire needs to be established and sides need to secure the regime through the respective resolution, withdrawal of heavy artillery needs to be guaranteed, sites where heavy artillery will be withdrawn to need to be monitored.

OSCE Permanent Council extended the work of the monitoring mission at the border between Russia and Ukraine for three more months. Thus, the monitors will continue their mission at the border crossing points “Gulkovo” and “Donetsk” on the Russian side of the border until October 31, 2016.
NATO Summit: Conclusions for Ukraine

Heads of states and of governments of the NATO member states declare their intention to increase the support for Ukraine and Georgia (full statement in English). NATO will provide Ukraine with an assistance package that consists of 40 practical directions as well as 10 consultative ones, said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s vice-prime minister on European integration.

Among the practical directions set to provide all-round support to Ukraine are both the new trust funds and extended operation of the old ones. Thus, one of the new trust funds will help finance demining work in Donbas. Assistance package also foresees purchase of equipment set to reinforce cyber defense and training on its use.

NATO leaders confirm their unity in supporting sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Heads of the states and of governments of the member states of the Commission Ukraine-NATO were considering reinforcement of cooperation in the framework of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. In course of the meeting, reform plans in Ukraine and their implementation progress were discussed, Comprehensive Package of Assistance to Ukraine was approved, they also exchanged opinions as to the situation in the security sector of Ukraine.

Leaders of NATO and Ukraine also call on Russia to influence militants in Donbas and implement the commitments under the Minsk agreements, says joint statement adopted after the high-level meeting of the Commission NATO-Ukraine.The statement also condemns bolstering of military capacities by the Russian Federation in the occupied Crimea that impacts stability in the Black Sea region.
Crimea: resolution of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE called on Russia to stop the annexation of Crimea. Respective resolution was adopted at the Assembly session in Georgia.

“Resolution of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly yet another time confirmed the fact of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, decisively condemned the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and violation of basic human rights in the occupied Crimea by Russia as by the state-aggressor,” says the statement of Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs welcomed the adoption of the resolution of the General Committee of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly that condemns the fact of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Opinion polling: skepticism with signs of hope

An Opinion poll conducted by Rating sociological group commissioned by theInternational Republican Institute shows that the dominant mood among Ukrainians is skepticism, but not devoid of hope.

Currently 71 per cent of Ukrainians are convinced that events in the country are developing in the wrong direction in comparison to 48 per cent in April 2014 and 51 percent in September 2014. Seventy eight per cent of citizens note that over the past 12 months the financial situation of their families has worsened. Eighty one per cent of citizens tend to disapprove of the activities by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament), 9 percent approve them. The government of Groysman enjoys higher support – 20 per cent of citizens tend to support the government, while 59 percent do not. Nadiya Savchenko is currently on top of personal preferences of Ukrainians, she enjoys the support of 45 per cent of citizens. Twenty eight per cent support Mikheil Saakashvili, 19 per cent – President Poroshenko. The poll was conducted all across Ukraine (but in occupied areas of Donbas and in Crimea) on May 28 – June 14, 2016. A total of 2,400 Ukraine citizens aged 18 years and older who are eligible to vote were interviewed.

According to the poll 47 per cent of Ukrainians do not support presumed early elections to the Parliament. Thus, 25 per cent of the interviewed do not support early parliamentary elections, 22 per cent are more likely to not support them, 17 per cent are firm in their support of the early elections, 21 per cent are likely to support them, 16 per cent are undecided.

Should the referendum on NATO membership be held in Ukraine now, 78 per cent of the voters would vote “yes”. Fifty eight per cent of Ukrainians would take part in it, the figures come from the results of the public opinion poll conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. Forty three per cent of the interviewed are supporters of NATO membership. “Along with the increase of support to NATO membership, support to the non-aligned status has dropped,” says political scientist Maria Zolkina. “In 2013 42 percent of Ukrainians supported the non-aligned status, they are only 25 percent now.” (Text of the polling results in English).

Arts and culture

Exhibition entitled “Sentsov’s Camera” is to open at the Leipzig Museum for Contemporary Art. The project is centered around the figure of Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian film director from Crimea sentenced to 20 years of prison in Russia on fabricated charges in terrorism. Works of visual artists and documentary filmmakers from Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Russia will bring up the themes of Crimea annexation, Ukrainian prisoners in Russia as well as wider topics of military conflicts and isolation.

Heaven’s Hundred public garden received the Special Mention award at theEuropean Prize for Urban Public Space 2016 competition initiated by the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona. The place used to be one of the key spots during Euromaidan revolution in 2013-2014. Right after the space was rearranged into a public garden by volunteer efforts.

Ukrainian films including full-length ones, shorts, documentaries and TV series produced over the past two years will be showcased at the Odesa International Film Festival along with international ones. Among the most awaited Ukrainian films in the national competition program are “Kholodny Yar. Intro” by Alina Gorlova and “The Nest of the Turtledove” by Taras Tkachuk – Italian-Ukrainian co-production.
News in English


“Ukraine is implementing Minsk agreements, the U.S. is providing humanitarian assistance,” – press conference of John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State broadcast by Hromadske International

“How Ukraine is fighting corruption” – Hromadske International

“Hybrid warfare à la russe: Russian researcher presents a book on Russian aggression“ – Ukraine Today

“NATO stands in solidarity with Ukraine and condemns Russia’s war as Warsaw summit ends” – KyivPost

“Sanctions to continue if Russia refuses to address Donbas and Crime issues – John Kerry” – Ukraine Today

#IamNotAfraidtoSayIt hashtag campaign helps Ukrainians come to terms with sexual abuse – KyivPost

“Ukraine’s new patrol police celebrates its first anniversary” – Ukraine Today

“Held prisoner and tortured by Kremlin-backed militants for wanting to see his parents” – KyivPost


“What the results of the NATO summit for Ukraine are”: interview with journalist Zhanna Bezpjatchuk who visited the summit by Hromadske International

Ukraine Today’s interview with Ukraine’s Police Head Khatia Dekanoidze
Analytical materials

“White House fact sheet on U.S. and NATO assistance to Ukraine” – KyivPost

“IAmNotAfraidToSayIt” (social media campaign against sexual violence): discussion on Hromadske International

“Public’s confidence in government is still low but grows under Groysman, poll finds” – KyivPost

StopFake: This week’s fakes include claims that President Poroshenko might face a UN Tribunal, more noise about national autonomy for the Bulgarian minority in Ukraine, more attempts at recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea and a doping accusation that never was. Crimean Tatars call on Turkey to recognize Crimea as Russian.