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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: FEBRUARY 4 – 8

Author : News Agency 112 International

Donbas conflict, Ukraine’s Health Minister Suprun, amendments to Constitution, upcoming presidential elections, political prisoners, Yanukovych and other news from Ukraine for this week
22:30, 8 February 2019

112 Agency

About Donbas conflict

There are a few things to remember this week, in terms of the latest developments in Donbas conflict.

The crews of Smerch multiple launch rocket systems held an exercise in Donbas, outside the combat area. The drills took place under the order of Serhiy Nayev, the Commanding Officer of the Joint Forces Operation.

The pro-Russian militants of “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR) have passed 33 prisoners to the territory controlled by Ukraine for the further serving of their sentence as Ukrainian Ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova reported on Facebook.

Ukraine's State Border Guard reported that the servicemen of the Joint Forces and the boat crews of the Ukrainian Navy held drills in the Sea of Azov, responding to the staged hostile attack from the sea. According to the legend of the drills, a vessel-violator performed the dangerous maneuvers at high speed and tried to approach the coast for the assumed boarding of the diversion group. The crews successfully repelled the aggressive act.

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About Ukraine’s Health Minister Suprun

This week, one of the greatest reformers in Ukraine Ulyana Suprun was suspended from her position of Ukraine’s Health Minister. The court made such decision due to her dual citizenship – Suprun has Ukrainian and U.S. passports.

These changes have a huge influence on Ukrainians in particular, as without Suprun’s signature, medical facilities cannot receive the required medicine for sick – people with cancer, hepatitis, HIV and AIDS positive patients.

Suprun herself explained what exactly she can not do, having pointed out that this “puts health of Ukrainians at risk”.

The President of Ukraine expressed support for Suprun, as well as the Cabinet of Ministers did.

Moreover, the Justice Ministry informed it would appeal against such court’s decision. The court will consider this on February 11.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv informed it was closely watching the ongoing developments in the story.

'We join Ukrainian citizens and colleagues from other diplomatic missions in closely monitoring this concerning situation', the body stated.

In addition, the World Bank informed it was satisfied with the work of Acting Healthcare Minister of Ukraine Ulyana Suprun and expects further cooperation in the reforms.

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About EU, NATO-related amendments to Constitution

The Ukrainian Parliament passed the bill, which settles the strategic course of Ukraine’s membership in the EU and NATO. 334 MPs voted for the document, with 300 necessary to pass. The Speaker of the Parliament Andriy Parubiy signed the law and passed it to President Poroshenko, whose signature is needed to complete the legal procedure.

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About upcoming presidential elections

On February 4, Ukraine's Central Election Committee registered two more presidential candidates and the registration of candidates for presidency stopped.

Ukraine's Parliament wants to ban Russian observers from attending presidential elections.

On February 7, US Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker recommended Ukraine to allow Russian ODIHR observers to elections but later changed his point of view.

On February 6, two Russians included to OSCE observers list at Ukrainian elections. It was reported that Russian observers would arrive in Kyiv on February 11.

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About political prisoners

On February 4, the U.S. demanded release of Ukrainian political prisoner Edem Bekirov. Later it was reported that the state of health of Bekirov is estimated as critical. It was specified that he become much worse an allergic reaction through the fungus in the cell. 

Besides, Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Gryb was allowed to see the consul after the verdict.

On February 7, Roman Sushchenko and Mykola Semena, the Ukrainian reporters and political prisoners of Russia were announced as the candidates for UNESCO's Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

Considering Donbas prisoners, this week, the Luhansk pro-Russian militants passed 33 prisoners to the territory controlled by Ukraine for the further serving of their sentence.

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About Yanukovych press conference

This week, the fugitive President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych held a press conference in Moscow on February 6.

First of all, he commented on the court’s decision to put him behind bars for 13 years. Yanukovych called the verdict “illegal”.

Answering the question whether his freedom is limited in any ways, ex-President replied: “I freely move over the territory of Russia. Moreover, I am not on the databases of Interpol and can visit any country of the world. I have no problems with it”.

Secondly, Yanukovych stated that Ukraine should set polling stations in Russia, as there are many Ukrainians.

“Sometimes I go out on the streets, and it seems like I am walking around Donetsk: “hello-hello, hello-hello”. This is Rostov today. Indeed, Ukrainians are everywhere in Rostov,” he pointed out.

He also raised the issue of prisoners’ exchange pointing out that he was ready to discuss this issue with Russia’s leader Putin.

During the press conference he also stated that Medvedchuk, the representative from the “Opposition platform – For Life”, always had his own opinion, which quite often was different from Yanukovych’.

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About corruption

This week Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau opened a criminal proceeding upon a possible organization of illegal persecution of the former First Deputy of the Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin by Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, and his Deputy Yuriy Stolyarshuk.

Besides, the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office asked Kyiv court to arrest $300,000 that belong to Roman Nasirov, notorious ex-head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine. 

Moreover, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau held searches at the PJSC Agrarian Fund of Ukraine in case involving theft by the company's leaders of around 9 million dollars during the purchase of fertilizers.

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About measles

On February 4, it was reported that 15,000 Ukrainians sickened with measles in January.

Later, it was announced that mass vaccination against measles would take place in Lviv.

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About sports

Footballer Yaroslav Rakytsky who left Shakhtar Donetsk and is currently defending the colors of Zenit (St. Petersburg) is very likely to be ousted from the national team. Fans severely dogged him while he played in Shakhtar because he did not sing the Ukrainian anthem along with other players.

Dynamo Kyiv filed the application to play in UEFA Europa League. In the Round of Last 32, Ukrainians will face Olympiakos. The first leg is to be played in Greece on February 14. Kyiv is to host the return leg on February 21.

Andriy Pavelko, the leader of Federation of Football of Ukraine has been elected the member of UEFA Executive Committee. Nine candidates ran for seven offices in the Committee. Pavelko was elected last, that is, seventh out of seven. 55 UEFA member associations joined the voting process. 

Svyatoslav Mykhailiuk, the small forward of Ukrainian descent will leave LA Lakers and move to Detroit Pistons. This is part of the deal between the teams, The Athletic reported. Lakers want to exchange the Ukrainian for Reggie Bullock; the deal is expected to be complete on Wednesday.

FedCup, the top level tennis competition took place this week; unfortunately, Ukraine did not succeeded much in it. Ukraine’s No.2 Lesya Tsurenko lost her fixture against Rebecca Peterson. However, the rising star Dayana Yastremska defeated Johanna Larsson. The victory in that match made a small nice contribution to far more prestigious achievement; as is known, last week, Yastremska won the WTA Thailand Open and made it to the Top 40 of the WTA ranking.

 

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