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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: AUG. 20 – 24

Read the main news from Ukraine: Donbas conflict, Independence Day, Oleg Sentsov and exchange of political prisoners, sanctions
22:30, 24 August 2018

Donbas conflict in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Independence Day and Flag Day

Meeting of Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin

Ukrainian political prisoners: Oleg Sentsov and exchange

Sanctions against Russia

Handziuk case

112 Agency

Donbas conflict in Ukraine

This week, the situation in the embattled Donbas has not changed much. Some mortar attacks were reported over the past four days; no artillery use was observed.

On Monday, Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko and his German counterpart Angela Merkel agreed on continuing of consultations at the level of ministers of foreign affairs of the Normandy format regarding the peacekeeping mission of the UN on the occupied territory in Donbas.

The Ukrainian capital city hosts a forum of war veterans on Wednesday; the event gathered participants in the ongoing Donbas conflict, civil activists, volunteers who have been supporting the military since the beginning of the conflict, and the leading Ukrainian statesmen. President Petro Poroshenko joined the event with the speech - on the occasion of the approaching national holiday, the Independence Day. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine is the guarantor of Ukraine’s independence. 334,000 participants of the battle actions in the east of our state guarantee our freedom, sovereignty, independence,” Poroshenko noted. He added that thousands of Ukrainian soldiers perished over 4,5 years of Donbas war.

Starting from midnight on August 29, a termless ceasefire was announced in the Joint Forces Operation zone. Meanwhile, Russia sent another so-called humanitarian convoy to the occupied Donbas.

Related: Financing terrorism is a good article for law enforcers

Ukraine’s Independence Day and Flag Day

This year Ukraine marks the 27th anniversary of its independence on August 24. Traditionally, a military parade is held in the capital of the country. This week, the rehearsals of the parade, which is to begin at 10 am on August 24, took place on August 18, 20 and 22.

In particular, on August 18 we reported that during the preparations to the military parade a buk anti-aircraft system crashed into the wall of the business center "Astarta", which is located on the corner of the Nyzhnyi Val and the Naberezhno-Khreshchatitska Street in Kyiv.

Another rehearsal of the parade took place on August 20 – check out the video about it here.

Reportedly, Stepan Poltorak, Minister of Defense claimed that soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the parade for the Independence Day. In addition, Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s Internal Minister, said that 30,000 law enforcers will protect public order in Ukraine on National Flag and Independence Day.

World leaders congratulated Ukraine’s President Poroshenko and Ukrainian on the 27th anniversary of the independence. Among them were Donald Trump, the President of the U.S., Emmanuel Macron, the Head of France, Willem-Alexander, the King of the Netherlands, Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden, and Philippe, the King of the Belgians. 

On August 23, Ukraine celebrated National Flag Day. Due to this holiday, many streets in Kyiv were blocked. Moreover, a national record was set - the longest national flag of Ukraine was unfolded on the streets of Ukraine’s capital.

Related: Steinmeier congratulates Ukraine on Independence Day

Meeting of Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin

On August 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hald a meeting during which they discussed Ukraine and Syria.

Also, Merkel stated that Ukraine should remain participant in process of gas transit to Europe.

We also gathered the key quotes of the meeting of Putin and Merkel in Meseberg, as well as the reaction of the world media on this meeting.

Related: Czech Republic recognizes Soviet troops enter in 1968 as occupation

Ukrainian political prisoners: Oleg Sentsov and exchange

On August 21, was the 100th day of the hunger strike of the Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov. PEN International, a London-based association of writers, delivered “messages of support from all over the world” to the Embassy. Also, a rally in support of Sentsov took place in Kyiv, near Russian Embassy.

Later it was reported that Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service will feed Oleg Sentsov by force, if a direct threat to his life emerges, however, the service belied this information.

Talking about the exchange of the prisoners, it was reported that Russia rejected the initiative of Ukraine to meet in Minsk for the discussion of the transfer of 36 Russian citizens in exchange of the Ukrainians. While Ukraine proposed to pardon two Russian citizens and convey them to the Russian Consul with a simultaneous exchange of the Ukrainian servicemen with Ukraine illegally kept on the occupied territory of Donbas.

Related: Enemy agent uncovered in Security Service of Ukraine

Sanctions against Russia

Anti-Russian sanctions are a trend this week. The U.S. President Donald Trump in his interview to Reuters stated that he would consider the question of removal of anti-Russian sanctions if it “took steps on such areas as Syria or Ukraine”.

“Trump said Putin did not raise with him the issue of U.S. sanctions on Russia but that he would consider lifting them if Russia took steps on such areas as Syria or Ukraine.”

Later Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the UK urged the U.S. and EU to coordinate the sanctions against Russia.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse, one of the largest in the State has frozen the accounts of $5 billion associated with Russia due to the USA sanctions. The bank doesn’t reveal the owners’ name of the frozen accounts. According to the Central Bank of Russia, $6.2 billion was transferred to the Swiss banks for the last year, which makes 14 percent of all amount of money withdrawn from Russia.

Related: Ukrainian Steshenko sentenced to two years of colony in Crimea

Handziuk case

On August 17, the Police and the Security Service of Ukraine detained two people. They were probably involved into the organization of the attack on Kateryna Handziuk, Administrator of the Executive Committee of the Kherson City Council.

On August 20, it was reported that the court in Kherson arrested Viktor Horbunov for two months without the right of bail. He is suspected of the attack on Kateryna Handziuk, Administrator of the Executive Committee of the Kherson City Council. The preventive measure was chosen at the closed court session.

Five people were considered suspects in the case of the attack, as Serhiy Knyazev, the Head of National Police, said on the next day. However, on August 22, six suspects of committing the crime were reported.

Later, the court released one of the suspects - Mykola Novikov. It was noted that due to the absence of evidence Novikov did not show up at the hearing. His lawyer was present.

On Wednesday, August 23, Spokesperson of the Police Yaroslav Trakalo claimed that four suspects in the case pleaded guilty.

Related: Ukrainian Marines practice with Uragan missile launchers

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