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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: MAR. 5 - 9

Author : News Agency 112 International

Developments in Donbas, Detention of Ruban, grenades in the downtown of Kyiv, International Women's Day, Shevchenko's anniversary, etc - the whole week on one page
23:00, 9 March 2018
  1. Developments in the combat zone of Donbas
  2. Detention of Ruban
  3. Grenades explode in Kyiv
  4. Naftogaz-Gazprom gas wars
  5. International Women's Day
  6. 204th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko's birth
  7. Close East on 112

112 Agency

1. Developments in the combat zone of Donbas

This week, namely Monday, was supposed to mark the beginning of another ceasefire in Donbas, offered by Minsk talks group. In its statement, the group underlined the importance of peace and tranquillity of the population in the eastern Ukraine conflict area.

Later that day, Ukraine's defense ministry confirmed the information that Russian regular army units and the illegal armed formations of terrorists attacked Ukrainian positions seven times over past 24 hours. The attacks included frequent use of the weaponry banned by Minsk agreements. Thus, the enemy again violated the ceasefire offered by the Minsk talks group. Mortar strikes were observed near Luhanske, Schastya, Pavlopol, Shyrokyne and Mariinka; 50 mines hit Ukrainian positions. The enemy units also used tank armaments and infantry weaponry. The militants carried attacks on Ukrainian positions an hour after the armistice officially began in Donbas.

Ukraine and Russia have exchanged detained border guards; employees of the State Border Service Bohdan Martson and Igor Dziubak, kidnapped by the Russian special services in October 2017 eventually returned to Ukraine. The exchange took place next to Hoptivka checkpoint in Kharkiv region (northeastern Ukraine).

On March 6, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission patrol reported that armed Russian militant threatened them with an assault rifle. The incident occurred at Kozatske checkpoint in Donetsk region. The SMM also saw him pointing the assault rifle directly at the first SMM vehicle, which was then about 120m west of the checkpoint, reads the message on the OSCE website. “When the SMM reached a distance of approximately 100m west of the checkpoint, it saw the man kneel down and continue to point his rifle at the SMM vehicle. The SMM immediately stopped there. The driver of the first SMM patrol vehicle then slightly opened the door and asked the man to lower his rifle and call his superior. The armed man used hostile language and said, in Russian, “Leave immediately, and if you come closer, I will shoot,” while continuously pointing his rifle directly at the first SMM vehicle,” it said.

The SMM immediately left the area towards the west and returned safely to its base in Mariupol.

 

2. Detention of Ruban


As we reported earlier, Volodymyr Ruban, the head of the Center for Release of prisoners of war 'Officer Corps', was detained on March 8 at the Ukrainian checkpoint at the demarcation line in Donbas Conflict zone. It is stated that Ruban is suspected of preparing a terrorist act and illegal handling of weapons.

Kyiv District Court arrested Volodymyr Ruban for 60 days without the right to bail.

Ruban denies all accusations and claims that he didn’t know about the weapons and the incident was an operation organized by the officer with a call sign “Cedar.”

'They make terrorist #1 of me. I deny all accusations and I have the explanations', he claimed.

Vasyl Grytsak, the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) held the briefing on the details of the detention of Volodymyr Ruban. He said that it was a long-term operation, that this detention prevented a number of the terrorist actions in the downtown of Kyiv.

Rubam is already listed in Myrotvorets database as "the accomplice of the terrorists".

3. Grenades explode in Kyiv

Two grenades were detonated in Kyiv near Lisna metro station on March 6. The grenades in Kyiv were thrown by policeman suspected of the arms trade. The offender turned out to be a police officer with connection to the former Berkut. The Security Service reported that it was a special operation of the Security Service.

Apart from that, on the night of March 8 unknown people fired from the grenade launcher at the restaurant in Kyiv. Around 50 mof the place burnt out. A few tens of meters from the explosion point the investigators found a launching tube.

4. Gas wars of Naftogaz and Gazprom

Following last week’s ruling made by the Stockholm Court of Arbitration, this week brought about a plethora of new developments within the dispute between Naftogaz-Ukraine and Russia’s Gazprom. On Monday, 5 March, the Ukrainian corporation claimed that Naftogaz would demand the Russian firm to compensate 34% for emergency gas purchases from Europe. That same day, it was revealed that stocks of natural gas in Ukraine’s underground storage facilities had dropped by 783 million cubic meters within a week due to Gazprom’s failure to comply with its contractual obligations, which made Ukraine rely on the gas from storage and to purchase 60 million cubic meters of gas from Poland’s PGNiG. Naftogaz-Ukraine also introduced heightened security measures throughout the nation’s gas transport system. Then, the Ukrainian party requested Gazprom to adjust the existing agreement so that it would comply with Ukraine’s energy law. By the end of Monday, it became known that Naftogaz had decided to shut down its office in Russia from 12 March.

Related: Kyiv to dictate terms: What does decision of Stockholm Arbitration mean to Ukraine?

The following day, Tuesday, Naftogaz’s chief financial officer announced that the cost of gas transit through Ukrainian territory had in fact been underestimated by a factor of two, which has led the nation to lose around $20 billion between 2009 and 2017. Later that day, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry announced the end of the gas crisis, which forced Ukraine’s generating companies to shift from gas to fuel oil and suspended many kindergartens, schools and universities. On the other hand, Gazprom decided to file an appeal against the Stockholm Court’s decision. Moreover, the chief financial officer of the Nord Stream II said that the ongoing dispute would not compromise the implementation of Gazprom’s new project. On Wednesday, 7 March, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman asked the country’s Justice Ministry to enhance penalty measures and suggested the arrested Gazprom shares to be sold at a public auction. Finally, on 8 March, the U.S. Department of State praised Ukrainians for cutting gas consumption by 14% to ensure reliable gas supply to Europe. Hence, Gazprom had failed to portray Naftogaz as an unreliable transit partner.

5. International Women's Day

Ukraine celebrated International Women's Day on March 8th. March for women's rights took place in the center of Kyiv (photo report is here). Several hundred participants of the march require equal rights for men and women. 

The event was peacefull, though there were some attacks and provocations in Kyiv and Uzhgorod, driving the attention of Amnesty International and Ukraine's law enforcers to the acts of violence.

6. 204th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko's birth

It’s been 204 years since the Great Kobzar was born. On March 9, Ukrainian society marks the anniversary of Taras Shevchenko the prominent poet and painter of the 19th century. 

The person of Taras Shevchenko has been examined, reinterpreted and re-estimated .many times since then by different biographers and historians.

Ukraine’s President awarded the laureates of 2018 with Shevchenko National Prize. According to Petro Poroshenko, 70 nominees were going after high state award and only eight of them won the race.

According to the decree, the awards went to a writer Emma Andijewska for her poetry books; to artist Pavlo Makov for his creative project 'Lost Paradise'; to publicist Serhiy Plokhiy for the book 'Gates of Europe' and to composer Viktoria Poliova for the choral symphony to the canonical texts 'Light Chants'.

Related: Taras Shevchenko: What he was? What he is? And what he will be?

7. Close East project

This week we publish another 3 stories about ordinary people making positive changes next to teh combat zone in Donbas.

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