Weekly Ukrainian media digest, October 11-17, 2016

Situation in eastern Ukraine

Situation on the ground. Over the last week combat actions in eastern Ukraine continued, escalation was observed in the Donetsk sector. A total of 298 attacks were registered over the last week. Three Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action and 31 were wounded in action over the period in question.

According to the ATO press center in the Luhansk sector yesterday Russia-backed militants used 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, 122-mm tube artillery, grenade launchers, machine guns and small arms near Novooleksandrivka, Krymske, Bohuslavske, Novozvanivka, Oikhove and Popasna.

In the Mariupol sector Ukrainian positions came under fire near Hranitne, Novotroyitske, Pavlopil, Talakivka and Maryinka. Militants shelled Vodyane and Lebedynske with 152-mm artillery. Massive attack upon Vodyane destroyed a street with two dozen of houses (photos). In the Donetsk sector Ukrainian positions near Druzhkivka, Zaitseve, Novhorodske, Luhanske and Verkhnyotoretske came under fire. Militants used heavy weapons in all sectors.

OSCE under attack. Monitors of the OSCE’s special monitoring mission came under fire near Zolote, Luhansk region on October 16. Mission reports about the incident on October 17. Monitors claim they were not able to identify the direction where the fire came from. Zolote is one of the sites on the contact line where disengagement of troops is to take place in accordance with the framework agreement signed in Minsk.

Murder of a “DPR” military commander. On October 16, in Donetsk militant nicknamed “Motorola” (actual name Arseniy Pavlov) was killed in a mine blast in the elevator of a residential house. His murder was also confirmed by the so-called “Defense Ministry of the DPR”. According to them “Ukrainian subversives” are suspected in the murder, they also blame Ukraine in staging a terror act. A plan for interception and detention of the murder suspects has been announced in the occupied city.

Murder of “Motorola”: an excuse to escalate the conflict or mop-up of uncontrolled personnel? “DPR” leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko may use the murder of Pavlov as a pretext to not fulfill the Minsk protocols and derail the relative ceasefire. Thus, he stated that the Ukrainian side violated the “ceasefire”. Zakharchenko said he qualifies the militant’s murder as proclamation of war on the part of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. In his statement Zakharchenko threatens Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. Motorola’s murder may become a pretext for militants to start a new stage of combat actions.

At the same time Ukrainian experts say that starting from the beginning of this year Russian commanders started “mopping up” militants and their leaders considered to be unwanted. Motorola’s murder can be to Russia’s benefit, said Semen Kabakayev, coordinator of “Stop Terror” group and military blogger.

Amassment of military equipment at the border with the Russian Federation. In the Donetsk region large amassment of weapons of the Russian Federation has been registered, reports volunteer OSINT group InformNapalm referring to aerial reconnaissance. An entire reinforced battalion tactical group of the Russian occupational troops is in focus on the aerial photo. Some pieces of the military equipment point at their Russian origin.

Smuggled Luhansk factory started operating in Russia. Russian newspaper – a periodical of the government of the Russian Federation, published an extensive article “Ukrainian factory starts operating in the Rostov region”. The article proudly describes the process of stealing and smuggling of Ukrainian property from the occupied territories. Luhansk mechanical engineering factory is now called Kamensky factory of transportation mechanical engineering. The factory used to have unique equipment that had no analogues in Russia.

#StopPutinsWarInUkraine: anti-war rally Stop Putin in 60 countries across the world

On October 14 and 15 Ukrainian diaspora held a massive civic action to support Ukraine under the motto “Stop Putin! Stop the war!” in over 60 countries across the globe. Ukraine’s diplomats in the EU as well as local activists joined the rally. Rome was the first city in Europe to start the event on October 13 at 6 p.m. In Ukraine, Kyiv started the event near the Russian Embassy at 4 p.m. Most of the rallies took place on October 14 – Defender of Ukraine Day.

Ukraine Crisis Media Center held a Skype marathon to support and cover the rallies in various cities in the Europe. Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora, local activists and Ukrainian diplomats reported on the course of the rallies. They were gathering on central squares of their cities, by their national parliaments, UN office in Geneva, embassies and consulates of the Russian Federation.

The rally was also held in Moscow where 15 people took part in it. Organizers of the global action demand “withdrawing Russian occupational troops from the territory of Ukraine, reinforcing the OSCE special monitoring mission so that it can monitor 24/7 as well as liberating Ukraine citizens illegally held in the territory of Russia or in Crimea under political charges.”

Human rights: “the case of Crimean subversives”

Crimean group for human rights protection reported that the well-known Russian lawyer Dmytro Dinze became a defense lawyer of Yevhen Panov, a Ukrainian detained in occupied Crimea. Dinze is well-known due to his participation in politically motivated cases. He was defending Oleg Sentsov, Crimean Ukrainian film director, as well as several Russian activists.

Yevhen Panov, charged by the Russian authorities in the so-called “case of Crimean subversives” along with another Ukrainian Andriy Zakhtey, was transferred from the occupied Simferopol to the detention center in Lefortovo prison in Moscow.

In Crimea Panov was subject to torture. His brother reported that, later Ukrainian human rights activists confirmed it referring to the medical examination documents of Panov provided by the Russian side.

Crimean Tatar businessman Lenur Islyamov speaking at the rally by the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on October 14 criticized the lack of action on the part of Ukrainian authorities as to the protection of citizens on the annexed peninsula.

Crimea: water deficit, new repressions against Crimean Tatars and sanctions

Stable water supply system in the Russia-annexed Crimea will be set up by 2019, said Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, Sergey Donskoy, following a meeting on the peninsula’s water supply. The Minister intends initiating checks of water consumers of Crimea who consume water illegally in the situation of its acute deficit.

In Crimea’s Kamyanka and Strohonivka houses of five Crimean Tatars were searched on October 12. According to preliminary data searches took place in the houses of Rustem Ismayilov, Uzair and Teymur Abdullayev, Emil Dzhemadinov and Ayder Saledinov. Later their lawyer Emil Kurbedinov said that the detained in Crimea had been charged with terrorism. Russian media referring to law enforcement agencies reported about “elimination of a Crimean center of Hizb ut-Tahrir.” A district-level court of Simferopol in the annexed Crimea ruled for two-month detention as a pretrial measure for the five. (Analytical material of the Kharkiv human rights group).

EU Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Hugues Mingarelli, does not think the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation for the annexation of Crimea will be lifted in the nearest time. “Firstly the annexation of Crimea is illegal. It contradicts the international law and we do not recognize it. There are sanctions linked to the annexation. I do not believe these sanctions will be lifted in the nearest time. Russia is trying to convince EU member states to lift the sanctions but it is very unlikely to happen,” said Mingarelli at a press conference in Kyiv.

Economy: development of renewable energy sources and IT industry

Fourteen new facilities for production of renewable energy with almost 39 MW capacity were constructed in Ukraine over the first six months of 2016. The data is part of the analytical report presented by the expert team at the International Sustainable Energy Forum SEF 2016 KYIV in Ukraine. Over EUR 42 million has been invested into renewable energy projects in Ukraine. Overall capacity of Ukrainian solar power plants is 453 MW, of wind farms – 426 MW, of the biomass fueled power plans -31 MW, of small water power plants – 118 MW. According to the report 34 new solar power plants are planned to be constructed in Ukraine by the end of the year, their estimated overall production capacity is to exceed 120 MW.

U.S. research company Clutch published a ranking of best software developers in the Internet of things (IoT) field. A total of 35 companies from all over the globe are part of the list. Analysts chose eight leaders from it. Three of the eight positions are with the Ukrainian IT companies – Stanfy and Lviv-based outsource companies Lemberg Solution and Eleks. Kyiv-based Eastern Peak Software and Lviv-based Devabit have been also included into the overall ranking.

Opinion poll. Moods in Donbas: NATO, the EU and compromising for peace

In an interview Maria Zolkina, political analyst of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Fund spoke about a recent research the fund conducted in the government-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine.

NATO and the EU. Until 2014 Ukraine’s population in eastern and southern regions as well as in Crimea expressed themselves in favor of Eurasian integration, while respondents in the central, western and northern parts of the country were in support of the integration with the EU and NATO.

In 2012 less than one per cent of population in Donbas saw NATO as Ukraine’s security guarantee. This figure is currently 24 per cent. Four years ago 50 per cent of Donbas residents were in favor of the military and political union with the Russian Federation, while in May 2016 they were 13 per cent.

About 33 per cent of respondents in the government-controlled part of Donbas would like to see Ukraine be a non-aligned state. Thirteen per cent support cooperation with Russia and other CIS states, while 24 per cent support cooperation with NATO.

There is an almost equal number of those who support the idea of EU membership and of those who do not approve of the idea of membership with neither the Eurasian Union nor with the EU.

Compromising for peace. Until late 2015 almost 60 per cent of the people living in Donbas claimed ready to compromise in any possible way to stop the war. Over the last eight month the situation has changed. Currently about 42 per cent in the government-controlled part of Donbas are of the opinion that the compromises should be selective. Those who stand for accepting any compromises constitute the minority – 29-30 per cent.

Moreover the level of trust towards NGOs and volunteers in Donbas is the highest in Ukraine. Also this year the trust towards local authorities has increased. It results from the fact that local people find themselves connected in a closer way to those who are resolving their problems.

Culture: Ukraine at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Molodist film festival and Ukrainian Fashion Week

At the Frankfurt Book Fair (October 19-23) Ukraine will have the national stand (location: Halle 5.0 C127) and will offer a literary program. Writers and poets Yuriy Andrukhovych, Serhiy Zhadan, Kateryna Babkina, Iryna Tsilyk, Igor Pomerantsev will take part in literary readings and discussions. Several events will focus on Ukrainian avant-garde arts and on the figure of Kazymyr Malevych. On October 20 there will be a discussion “Stereotypes about Ukraine in the world media”. The program.

46th Kyiv International Molodist Film Festival starts this week. The festival is one of Ukraine’s most long-standing and authoritative ones. Ukrainian films are presented in both the competition and out-of-the competition program. Among the awaited Ukrainian films is the premier of the “Mustafa” documentary on the Crimean Tatar leader and Soviet dissident Mustafa Dzhemilev, “Austerlitz” film by Serhiy Loznytsia and “Mariupolis” co-produced with Lithuania. The program also includes a bloc of Ukrainian short films produced over the past two years.

39th Ukrainian Fashion Week is on in Kyiv. Check out daily reviews of the collections showcased by Ukrainian designers.

Our selection of materials in English by Ukrainian media


”Nationalist Azov Battalion starts political party” – KyivPost

“At least 17 soldiers killed in war with Russia since ‘back-to-school ceasefire” – KyivPost

“Saakashvili slams Georgian PACE delegation” – Ukraine Today

”Ukraine wins important battle in PACE: Russia’s revanche fend off” – Ukraine Today

”The fight for gender equality in Ukraine’s Parliament” – KyivPost

”Nadiya Savchenko admits visiting militants in Donbas” – Ukraine Today

”Donbas militants have more tanks and artillery than German army” – President Poroshenko – Ukraine Today

«Russia recruits 600 Donbas mercenaries for Syria” – spokesperson of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service – Ukraine Today

”Court to decide on October 19 if Yanukovych was stripped off the president’s title constitutionally” -Ukraine Today

”Stop Putin: rallies against the Russian aggression in Ukraine take place all across the EU” – Ukraine Today

”East Ukraine meets west: cultural festival in Kharkiv” – KyivPost


”Authoritarianism presenting itself as the new face of democracy” – interview of Hromadske International with Ivan Krastev

”Ukraine is confident on EU Association Agreement” – interview of KyivPost with Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration

”How Ukraine can become a global player in technology and innovation” – interview of Hromadske International with the Nobel Prize Winner Dan Shechtman


”Russia, China, US: Are WW3 and Cold War 2 on the cards?” –  column of the University of New South Wales (Canberra) Professor Greg Austin» – Ukraine Today

”USD 25 billion more needed to make Ukraine’s reforms irreversible – ex-finance minister Jaresko” – Ukraine Today

“‘Instability and separatism’: analyst reveals Putin’s plans for the US” – Ukrainian political expert Oleh Belokolos on Putin’s plans on the U.S. – Ukraine Today

Analytical materials

”Political consequences of the Russian aggression in Ukraine – full text of PACE’s resolution” – Ukraine Today

”Elections in Georgia” – Hromadske International

”Red lines of Minsk agreements for Ukraine – analyst’s warning” – Ukraine Today