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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: JUNE 4 - JUNE 8

Author : International 112

Read about Donbas conflict, the staged murder of journalist Arkadiy Babchenko, Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainians injured in Hungary, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Ukraine, Russian Gazprom
22:30, 8 June 2018

1. Donbas
2. Political prisoners: Sentsov, Kolchenko, Balukh
3. Film editor commits suicide
4. Ukraine in UNGA and NATO summit
5. FIFA World Cup-related developments

112 Agency

1. Donbas

Over the last week, the combat situation in Donbas has not changed much. Pro-Kremlin militants shelled both civilian objects and positions of the Ukrainian military; specifically, one of the shells hit the power line of Donetsk filtering station, which shut the facility down. The restoration works will not be taking place for some time, because no safety is guaranteed.

On Monday, Ukraine’s SBU, the state security service confirmed that Ukrainian citizen was released from the captivity of militants. Pavlo Lysiansky, human rights activists and the regional coordinator of the parliamentary envoy for human rights in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, posted this on Facebook. 'Ukrainian citizen, whom the illegal armed formation held in prison since 2014, was released - thanks to the joint efforts of the international society', reads the message. The identity of the released man is not revealed.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian forces detained a spy of Russian militants. The representatives of the military counterintelligence of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) established that 23-year-old man conducted reconnaissance of the military objects of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Mariinka at the request of the militants' tutors. The detainee was transferred to Volnovakha department of police of the Chief Department of the National Police in Donetsk region.

Isabelle Dumont, the extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of the French Republic in Ukraine visited Luhansk region. Yuriy Klymenko, the deputy head of Luhansk regional state administration posted this on Facebook. According to the Ukrainian official, the diplomat met with Serhiy Nayev, the Joint Forces Operation commander in Donbas. The sides discussed ways to solve the ongoing armed conflict. 

Ukraine's SBU, the state security service, managed to return another citizen from the captivity of pro-Russian militants in Donbas. This time, they brought home a student who hoisted the national flag of Ukraine over a school in the occupied Luhansk. According to the SBU press service, the Vinnytsia-based college student, native of Luhansk region, came to the occupied territory of Luhansk region, along with his parents - to sort out the property issues there. During his stay in Luhansk, the boy and some local supporters with patriotic views rose the Ukrainian flag over the school where he studied. They also put some Ukrainian national symbols on the forefront of the school's building. The local militants captured the boy and took him to the local penitentiary facility. The SBU pointed out that he and other political prisoners suffered both psychological and physical pressure.

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2. Political prisoners: Sentsov, Kolchenko, Balukh

The week has begun with the imprisonment of Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko in Russia. He was sentenced to 12 years in the hard labor colony for the espionage. Later, the defense of Sushchenko filed an appeal against the court’s session.

Talking about another Ukrainian political prisoner Sentsov, his health is deteriorating rapidly after three weeks of the termless hunger strike. The relatives of Sentsov note the deterioration of his health.  According to the sister, he gets injections of glucose in the amount of one liter daily.

Russian movie maker Askold Kurov noted that the Ukrainian political prisoner feels good.

Also, the international campaign in the support of Sentsov continues. A number of countries and international organizations, such as the OSCE, American PEN-center and others.

At the same time, Oleksandr Kolchenko, who started the hunger strike in the support of Sentsov, announced that he gives up as he is too weak. 
Later his lawyer specified that he visited Kolchenko and the Ukrainian political prisoner looks very thinner, pale and weak.

Ukrainian political prisoner in occupied Crimea Volodymyr Balukh also faces serious problems with health and he lost 30 kilograms since the beginning of the termless strike on March 19Ukraine reported that his life is now in danger - because of the long-lasting starvation.

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3. Film editor commits suicide

Leonid Kanter, director of film 'Myth' shot himself. A body of 36-year-old movie maker was found at his house in Chernihiv region. Police also reported on the suicide. 

In 2015 he along with Ivan Yasniy shot the documentary 'Volunteers of God's couple' about the defenders of the Donetsk airport – 'cyborgs' and in 2018 he shot movie 'Myth' about Vasyl Slipak, the Ukrainian opera singer killed in Donbas.

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4. Ukraine in UNGA and NATO summit

Talking about the political highlights, the UN General Assembly elected Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine's permanent envoy in the UN, as the Vice President of the 73rd session of the Assembly. He also noted that the Ukrainian delegation to the United Nations during the next sessional year would actively support the proper organization and effective work of the session of the General Assembly.

Moreover, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko will be invited to the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12.  

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5. FIFA World Cup-related developments

As FIFA World Cup in Russia approaches, the city hall of Yekaterinburg – and personally president Vladimir Putin – came up with an idea to cut the city off the gas supplies for the entire month, while the competition is running. This is due to safety reasons, the officials explained. Earlier, Russian leader Putin ordered to suspend all sorts of dangerous production, which includes high-pressure gas supplies to households.  

The official delegation of the Australian government decided it would not go to Russia to support the national team on the FIFA World Cup. The Australian ambassador in Russia will be the only official representative to express the support of the government, Julie Bishop, the Australian foreign minister said. The official claimed that the diplomatic boycott has nothing to do with the athletes; all questions related to the team's performance will be re-directed to the local football federation.

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