Even though the combat activity in Donbas has somewhat dropped, compared to that of the last week, pro-Kremlin illegal armed formations continue to attack positions of Ukrainian troops. The enemy used mostly small arms, heavy machienguns, RPGs, and mortars – from time to time. No use of artillery was observed.
As the guns talk, so do the politicians – at least they intend to in the near future. According to Ukraine’s Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Iryna Gerashchenko, the upcoming meeting of Minsk trilateral contact group will include such topics as hostage exchange and release of Ukraine’s political prisoners who are now held in Russia.
On August 8, servicemen of Signal Troops of Ukraine's Armed Forces marked their professional holiday.
OSCE SMM came up with the refreshed report on civilian casualties in Donbas since early 2018. Besides, the Mission’s observers noticed an increased traffic of Russian military trucks in the militant-held section of Ukraine-Russia state border.
Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint is going to be shut down for several hours on August 11, as the technicians intend to defuse the remaining explosive items, many of which were found near the checkpoint.
Last weekend two rallies in support of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov were held in Moscow with 100 people participating.
Unknown drew graffiti with a political prisoner Sentsov and Kolchenko in Simferopol right under the mural with the portrait of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and a sign “Crimea is our common heritage”.
However, the chief doctor of Labytnangi hospital (Russia) threatened to tie him, give him medicine and feed with artificial nutrition forcefully. Meanwhile “The end is near” – Sentsov writes to his sister.
Ukrainian ombudswoman states that the situation is critical and Oleg Sentsov needs hospitalization to Moscow as local hospital does not have specialists able to pull him out of hunger process.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Ombudswoman receives the images of Oleg Sentsov with the note “Oleg looks active; he watches TV, reads books and writes something from time to time”.
Today is the 89th day of Sentsov's hunger strike.
Another figurant in Pavlo Gryb’s case found.
The case of the Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko was filed to the Russian Supreme Court.
Stanislav Klykh was transferred from the hospital back to the penal colony.
On August 8, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a phone conversation. The administration quoted Pompeo saying that 'U.S. approaches towards policy regarding Russia remained clear and unambiguous - as long as the Kremlin refuses to change its confrontational policy, the price of aggression for Russia will continue to grow'.
On the next day, the US imposed new anti-Russian sanctions because of poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The sanctions will come into force on August 22, 2018.
Russian Embassy in the US called new anti-Russian sanctions “draconian.” Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev said that the implementation of new U.S. sanctions against Russia might be seen as the declaration of economic war. Medvedev said one would have to react, using economic, political and 'other' means, as he put it. He added that there's 'nothing good about sanctions.'
Some development appeared in Manafort case. Alexandria federal court (Virginia, U.S.) heard the testimony of Rick Gates, the former political consultant of Paul Manafort, the ex-leader of Donald Trump's presidential campaign; Gates is considered the witness in the case where Manafort is charged with grave financial crimes, including tax evasions. The official admitted that he and Manafort stashed money in foreign bank accounts and faked bank loan documents.
Rick Gates also told that his former chief provided assistance to Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko during the presidential campaign in spring 2014. People's deputy of Petro Poroshenko Bloc Ihor Hryniv commented on this, saying that Paul Manafort had offered his services to Poroshenko during the 2014 presidential campaign, but was turned down.
On August 9, Michael Welch, the officer of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), stated in the court that Paul Manafort earned $60 million in Ukraine, $31 million of which – in 2012. Half of the Ukrainian income, $15 million, he spent for accommodation, clothes and other private purchase. Gates told that Ukraine paid Manafort millions of dollars for political work, transferring money from the companies in Cyprus to Manafort’s foreign bank account in Cyprus, which was not registered.
Kyiv Shevchenkivsky District Court extended pre-trial restrictions for Borys Herman, who is suspected in organizing the attempted murder of Arkadiy Babchenko, according to the Spokesperson of the court facility Olha Piven. Therefore, the suspect will be in custody till September 23.
The Russian Federal Security Service paid Vyacheslav Pyvovarnyk, the co-owner of Kyiv Consulting Group company, $100,000 for the “murder” of the Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko, which did not take place. In his turn, Babchenko supposed that the organization of the attempted murder could cost $250,000.
On August 7, the Belarusian Investigation Committee reported on the detention of three journalists suspected in hacking a website of a state news agency BelTa.
The detainees are Maryna Zolotova, Chief Editor in online news agency Tut.by, Anna Kaltyhyna, news editor in Tut.by and Tatyana Korovenkova, the journalist in BelaPAN agency. According to Radio Liberty, the law enforcers came to conduct a search in Tut.by office at 7 am. They have taped up a few floors of Omega Tower business center. According to the witnesses, the law enforcers are seizing documents, several people were summoned for questioning to the Investigation Committee.
On the next day, it was reported that the searches in Tut.by subdivisions were underway.
Additionally, today at 8:30 am Pavel Bykovsky, DW freelancer, wrote on Facebook that the Investigation Committee visited him.
On August 8, the journalists detained earlier in Belarus for the questioning at the Investigation Committee were released.
The week appeared to be rich in terms of sport events, where Ukrainian athletes and teams were involved.
Ukraine's football teams, Zorya Luhansk and FC Mariupol underwent another test in the qualification stage of UEFA Europa League. Mariupol lost the home game to Bordeaux (1-3), while Zorya and Braga SC played a 1-1 draw in Zaporizhya, southeastern Ukraine.
Prominent tennis player, Ukraine’s No.1 Elina Svitolina successfully outmatched Johanna Konta from the UK, making it to the quarterfinal of Canadian Open. It took her an hour and a half to win; Svitolina dominated in two sets (6:3, 6:4). In the next round of the tournament, she will stand against Belgian Elise Mertens. Earlier, the Ukrainian provided first medical aid to her opponent Mihaela Buzarnescu - right at the tennis court. The Romanian got her ankle injured and collapsed. Svitolina assisted Buzarnescu before the medics eventually appeared and escorted her away from the court.
BWAA, the Boxing Writers Association of America, has once again put Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko as No.1 among the world's top boxers - regardless of their weight category. The Hi-Tech (Lomachenko's well-known nickname, - 112 International) has been placed first on this rank for two months in a row. Another Ukrainian boxing star appeared in the top 10 of the list; Oleksandr Usyk, the undisputed cruiserweight champion comes eighth.