This week’s developments in the combat area of Donbas included several attacks on residential quarters, another shelling incident at Donetsk water filtration plant.
A provocation by Russia-backed militants in Luhansk region put the end to an attempt to disengage troops and forces near Stanytsia Luhanska. The Ukrainian military reported that on Wednesday noon. The incident occurred at about 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Ukrainian side added that the government troops are ready for disengagement if the militants fully abide by the conditions of Minsk agreements.
A blast thundered at the police station in occupied Makiivka, Donetsk region on Wednesday. According to Telegram channel VMakeevke, the local residents heard a loud explosion at about 8.30 p.m. Tuesday. 'A powerful blast thundered not far from a local shop. The unknown people set the charge near the window of a police station and blew it up!', reads the message. 'The window glass is shattered, but it seems there are no casualties'.
On Thursday, residents of Lysychansk (Luhansk region) had the water supply system back online - after it had been shut down several days ago. The press service of Luhansk regional state administration reported this on Facebook.
The regional committee for environmental safety recommended to launch the water supply system - three days after the 'Luhansk Energy Union' enterprise cut nine water infrastructure objects off the grid for debts.
The Supreme Court of the Czech city of Olomouc confirmed its decision to disband the self-styled 'honorary consulate of Donetsk People's Republic'. Ceske Noviny outlet reported this on Thursday. The jury declined the appeal filed by Neli Liskova, the official representative of the 'consulate' of the Russian militants in eastern Ukraine. According to the decision of the court, the organization and its activity are illegal.
The U.S. and NATO urged Russia to cease the armed aggression against Ukraine – specifically that in Donbas, which, inter alia, foresees living up to Minsk agreements provisions. Heather Nauert, the official representative of the U.S. Department of the State reported that on Twitter.
Mike Pompeo, the new U.S. Secretary of State arrived at the NATO meeting to discuss the Russian aggression in Ukraine, Syria and Georgia. The recently appointed Secretary of State urges the NATO members to increase their military budgets to reach 2% of the GDP for the defense purpose until 2024.
A territorial defense unit will appear in Donetsk region. The brigade's main task will be to join efforts with the Ukrainian army in case the pro-Kremlin militants get too aggressive and the combat situation gets out of control. Pavlo Zhebrivsky, the head of Donetsk regional civil and military administration posted this on Facebook. The contact detachments of the brigade will be placed in the towns of Kramatorsk, Pokrovsk and Bakhmut. Another two will be stationed in Mariupol.
Measures to boost the security level on the Ukrainian border also take place. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine has begun the main stage of the joint special operation ‘Border-2018’ on April 24. It aims to decrease a level of an illegal activity at the state border areas and regions and the Border Guard Service reported. The special operation will last from April 24 until November 30. ‘The situation stabilization at the state border and in the central regions of the country will cover 15 border regions (excluding ATO zone) and Kyiv’, the message said.
April 26 is commemoration date of the disaster of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, - one of the most terrible technogenic catastrophes in the history of mankind. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov paid tribute to the liquidators of the disaster at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
Ukraine has observed one minute of silence in the tribute to the memory of the victims of the Chornobyl disaster. The explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant took place on April 26, 1986, at 1:23:47 am. Only one person died during the explosion at the 4th reactor, one person died in the morning from the injuries. On April 27, 104 suffered persons were evacuated in 6th Moscow hospital. Later, 134 workers of the nuclear power plant, fireman and rescuers got the radiation sickness. 28 of them died during the next few months.
The new safe confinement at Chornobyl nuclear power plant will be put into service in December 2018. President Petro Poroshenko said this during his visit to the working ground of the NPP. He added that the mounting works on the object are almost over.
April 26, 1986, 32 years ago, a notorious accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant took place, which was the largest technogenic catastrophe in the history. How does state support for Chornobyl victims change?
Yunkom mine flooding in Donbas might become the second Chornobyl. Ukraine has frozen in panic expectation of the militants’ flooding of the Yunkom mine, located in the occupied part of Donetsk region, where an underground nuclear explosion was conducted in Soviet times. The reason is quite simple: the separatists have no money to pump the water. With reference to "scientists" (including from the Russian Federation), “DPR” is assured that the mine flooding will not have a radiation impact on the environment and will not pollute the groundwater. However, scientists from Kyiv consider only "bad or very bad consequences", declaring the threat of the emergence of the "second Chernobyl" and ask international partners to prevent a serious environmental catastrophe.
The week has begun with PACE’s decision to refuse to hold the urgent debates on the request of Ukraine on illegal election in annexed Crimea.
However, on April 24, PACE has recognized the occupation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine by Russia. In the adopted amendment, the formulation ‘uncontrolled by government territories’ was replaced by ‘the territories temporarily occupied by the Russian occupation administration’.
Moreover, a resolution on the support of the counterwork to Russian propaganda at the EU level was adopted at the PACE session on April 25. Also, PACE approved the resolution about counteracting the hybrid war.
In its turn, Ukraine reported that editorial integrity and the independence of the media are today put at risk by a dramatic decline in revenues of the traditional media and by increased threats from organised crime, terrorism, armed conflicts and authoritarian excesses in certain States. Journalists are often subject to harassment and intimidation, arbitrarily deprived of their freedom, physically attacked, tortured and even killed.
Also, Ukraine’s delegation head Volodymyr Ariev made a report concerning the “Legal challenges in hybrid war and human rights obligations.” And on April 27, Ukraine reported on the drug-resistant tuberculosis in Europe.
This week a lot of things happened in Crimea or concerning Crimea.
On April 23, the PACE refused to hold the urgent debates on the request of the UK, Ukraine and other countries on the poisoning of ex-GRU officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury and illegal election in annexed Crimea.
Also, Ukraine asked the member countries of the International Maritime Organization not to recognize the illegal actions of Russia in the waters of the Black Sea.
At the same time, the National Bank of Ukraine introduced a coin dedicated to annexed Crimea. The coin is issued within the program dedicated to the regions and the territorial organization of Ukraine.
Also, on April 23, the Ukrainian law enforcers detained a woman who was the 'confidant' of Vladimir Putin at the recent election of Russia's president in the peninsula at the administrative border with annexed Crimea. On April 25, the City Court of Kherson decided to arrest a detained woman for two months.
On April 26, Russia’s FSB held another wave of the search of the Crimean Tatars in annexed Crimea. Crimean Solidarity group reported that Ali Bariev was detained in the result of the searches.
One of this week’s most anticipated events was Ukraine’s appearance at the meeting of foreign ministers of G7 countries. This country’s leading diplomat Pavlo Klimkin paid visit to Canada in order to participate in an outreach session dedicated to Ukraine’s situation within the meeting of Foreign Ministers of G7 member countries. Specifically, the minister focused on the issue of deployment of UN peacekeepers in Ukraine; after the respective session in Toronto, he claimed that Foreign ministers of G7 member countries are standing with Ukraine in terms of the peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine. Canadian Foreign Ministry confirmed their respect for the world order based on the norms of the international rights, adding that the sanctions against Russia for its unacceptable actions remain in place.
Later that week, several announcements followed from G7 sidelines about the Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister expressed doubts that Russia would re-join the line-up of the G7 in the near future. 'Currently, it is not even on the agenda; the fact that Russia is not here is tied to the annexation of Crimea in breach of the international law... Lately, Russia became a complicated partner', he said, cited by Deutsche Welle. Boris Johnson, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs added that G7 Foreign Ministers agreed to create a special group to monitor Russia’s actions in foreign policy and security area.
Christine Freeland, the foreign minister of Canada expressed traditionally strong support for Ukraine, which ‘is all too familiar with the real consequences of Russia's bad treatment’. ‘The G7 countries will continue to support Ukraine during the next elections in the face of aggression," she said. The official added that G7 members will also contribute to "carrying out the necessary anti-corruption and economic reforms" in Ukraine.
On 23 April, various media outlets reported that Russia would supply the Syrian government with “Favorit” S-300 missile systems free of charge. Syria requested Russian S-300 missile systems back in 2010. Now, the issue was raised again by Sergei Rudskoy, the Chief of the Operational Director General of the Russian Armed Forces on 14 April. Then, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister mentioned it twice on 16 and 20 April. On that day also, the Russian president held a meeting with the heads of the General Staff and Defense Ministry.
On 24 April, Ian Martin, who is a former UN official and Amnesty International chief called for bypassing the Russian veto at UN Security Coucil, which has been used 11 times since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis. On 25 April, the press service of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons reported that its experts had visited the second possible site, from which the Douma chemical attack might have emerged. The next day, the Russian delegation brought supposed eye witnesses to the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, claiming that the Douma chemical attack was a hoax. UK and French representatives denied this, saying that the OPCW is not a theatre.
On Thursday, 26 April, the Suddeutsche Zeitung reported that the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had signed a decree effectively confiscating land rights from Syrian citizens. The decree obliges landowners to confirm their estate to the land by the local authorities within a 30-day period, or they would lose their property rights to their land.