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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: AUGUST 19 – 23

Read about Donbas conflict, Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, Azov crisis, G7, Independence Day of Ukraine
22:31, 23 August 2019

112 International

About Donbas conflict

A British investigation group has released new pieces of evidence of the Russian army fighting in the 2014 Battle of Ilovaisk. The Guardian came up with a report about T-72B3 tanks, which at that specific time were used only by the Russian military. These were employed in that battle, which cost the Ukrainian military hundreds of lives.

An employee of the National Guard of Ukraine lost his life in an ammunition mishandling accident in Donbas combat zone on Sunday evening. Three more men were injured.

Lysychansk water service company situated in Luhansk region is cut off from the power grid due to the debt for electricity supply, as Ukraine’s State Emergency Service reported. 80,000 locals are left without water.

The workers of Ukraine's State Security Service (the SBU) found a solid stash of guns and ammunition hidden by a pro-Russian occupant in Luhansk region. The weaponry was found in a stash located in the woods near Nyzhnioteple, the settlement in Stanychno-Luhansky district. 

Regular military drills took place in Donetsk region, as Ukraine's Air Force and units of anti-aircraft defense practiced in a number of combat disciplines. The exercise plan foresaw repelling an air attack of the conditional enemy, setting defense perimeters around military infrastructure objects and preventing the unauthorized landing or take-off of military aircraft.

Yevhen Moysiuk, the Ukrainian army's Major General has been appointed the new Commander of Ukraine's Assault Airborne Forces. He is the first Ukrainian general promoted from the rank of battalion commander of the 25th Assault Airborne Brigade since 2014, when the Donbas conflict started. 

Ukrainian demolition experts finished the mine-clearing works in the area of Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint. OSCE confirmed this information after the session of the Minsk talks group.

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About Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia

Ukrainian political prisoner Mykola Karpyuk is “out” of the Vladimir Central prison in Russia as parcel to him was returned.

Moreover, Lefortovo Moscow prison accepted the parcels for five Ukrainian prisoners: Volodymyr Balukh, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Pavlo Gryb and Mykola Karpyuk.It is also supposed that some Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia could return to Ukraine soon.

On August 21, Russia released Ukrainian political prisoner Roman Ternovsky convicted for the participation in the Right Sector organization.

It was also reported that Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov may be transferred from the medical unit of Simferopol remand center to the house arrest on the results of the medical examination.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine requires coordination between the leaders of the two countries. Meanwhile, Russian ombudsman arrived in Kyiv.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky expects the first results in the exchange of Ukrainian and Russian captives in the next few days.

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About Ukrainian sailors

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About G7

On August 21, French President Emmanuel Macron offered U.S. President Donald Trump to invite Russia at G7 summit in 2020. Trump supported the idea of Russia’s return.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky stated that until Russia returns Crimea and ceases hostilities in Donbas, there could be no talk of its return to the ranks of the G8 countries.

Russia responded to this statement claiming that Zelensky’s words are useless jumble of letters.

However, Spokesperson of the German government Steffen Seibert, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Ministry of Canada stated that their countries are against Russia’s comeback to the G7 Group.

Later Johnson promised Zelensky that he will express his position against Russia’s return to G7 during the next summit of the Group of Seven in France on August 24-26.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America also opposed this decision.

The White House emphasized that Russia’s return to G7 will be discussed at the summit but the member countries are not going to vote for this yet.

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About Orthodox Church in Ukraine

Filaret, the Patriarch of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate continues to struggle for the rights of this religious organization, standing against the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On one occasion, he sued Yevstratiy Zorya, the archpriest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On another, he even claimed that Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople wanted to destroy the Kyiv Patriarchate to get the influence over Ukrainian Church.

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About Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu

The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu came on a working visit to Kyiv on August 19. Zelensky reminded the Israeli Prime Minister that this was his first visit to Kyiv in 20 years.

Sara Netanyahu, his wife, kicked up a row during the flight from Tel Aviv to Kyiv. She reprimanded the crew commander, claiming he did not welcome her appropriately. Later, she showed disrespect for Ukrainian traditional greeting ceremony at the airport. Benjamin Netanyahu, already familiar with the procedure tasted the offered bread loaf and the salt, and his wife accepted it and then just threw it down.

Zelensky and Netanyahu agreed to solve the issue of the refusal for Ukrainians to enter Israel, commemorated deceased in Babyn Yar.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov discussed issues of citizens' joint travel.

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About upcoming Independence Day of Ukraine

On Saturday, August 24, Ukraine marks Independence Day, the main national holiday. Preparations are almost complete, with rehearsals of the government-organized Procession of Dignity in Kyiv. The Ukrainian capital will also host another solemn event, the March of Defenders of Ukraine.

The Procession will begin at 9.30 a.m., with a moment of silence for those who gave their lives for Ukraine's Independence. Flowers will be laid to the Cross of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred. Later, the main square of the Ukrainian capital will host a music flash mob, with the awards ceremony for some of Ukraine's most prominent and successful people. The March of Defenders will start at 11 a.m. Donbas conflict veterans and families of the deceased Ukrainian warriors will be marching down the streets of Kyiv to pay tribute for the heroes of the ongoing conflict.

On August 23, Ukrainians also marked the Flag Day.

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About sports

Zorya Luhansk succumbed to the pressure of RCD Espanyol in the first game of the UEFA Europa League qualification playoffs. The match took place in at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona Thursday night.

Viktor Skrypnyk's men did not go down without a fight, once again showing they were quite capable of surprising any opponent, even a more skillful and experienced one. Espanyol lost the first goal in the game, allowing the opponent to dominate in the first half. However, the Spaniards recovered in the second half and hit back, making the final score 3-1.

Zorya will need all of its skills, luck and a lot of home stadium's support in the return leg that is scheduled for the next week. It will take place in Zaporizhya.

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