This week’s developments in Donbas conflict included reports on the use of American weaponry by Ukrainian fighters; comments on the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the conflict zone; the report about the downing of Russia-made drone over Donbas, and many other news.
Bellingcat reported that the Ukrainian troops of the Azov regiment in Donbas have already received lethal weapons from the United States. Researcher Ariс Toler said that the Ukrainian troops of the Azov regiment in Donbas have already received lethal weapons from the United States. He wrote this in Twitter. “There's a lot of noise around the U.S. approving Javelin sales to Ukraine, but there are already American-made lethal weapons on the front lines of the Donbas with the Azov Battalion,” he wrote. Toler noted that fighters of Azov already had U.S-made grenade launchers in July 2017.
Ukraine’s permanent representative in the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko expressed doubts that the UN peacekeepers will be deployed in Donbas in the near future. 'Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other officials in Russia repeat they are ready to allow the UN peacekeepers to protect the OSCE. However, neither the OSCE nor the UN can understand what the point is. At least, the peacekeepers should be deployed at the state border between Ukraine and Russia. I think that there will be no progress in this issue in the near future. There was a chance but Russia did not use it or did not allow to use it', Yelchenko said. He added that Russia side rejected all conditions important for Ukraine, US, countries of Normandy Format and the representatives of the UN Security Council and returned to 'its idea of the strange operation where the UN peacekeepers will protect the OSCE observers'. Yelchenko also confirmed that the issue of the creation of the peacekeeping mission can be raised at the UN General Assembly but he also added that Ukraine is not at the end of the resources at the Security Council.
State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported that Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint will be operating one hour longer starting on January 10. "Citizens who cross the line of demarcation at Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint should pay attention that from January 10 the checkpoint will work from 7:00 to 17:00," the report said. It is aimed at reducing social tensions among residents of towns and villages of the Luhansk region and providing favorable conditions for crossing the line of demarcation.
The transition of the checkpoint work to wintertime was made to ensure the safety of the civilian population, which crosses the line of demarcation, because there are much fewer militants’ attacks during the daylight hours.
Militants of the so-called "LNR" transferred to Ukraine part of the debt for water supply. This was included in the mission's report published on the website of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. “From positions on both sides of the bridge south of Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the Mission monitored and facilitated a transfer of funds from non-government to government-controlled areas; a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC said that the funds were in relation to a water utility debt, "the earlier report said. “At the bridge south of government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the Mission monitored and facilitated a transfer of funds from non-government- to government-controlled areas. The funds were reportedly in relation to a water utility debt”.
Ukrainian servicemen shot down the drone of the pro-Russian militants in the zone of armed conflict on January 10, as the press service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported at Facebook. This appeared to be the second drone shot down since the beginning of the holiday truce in December 2017. The Ukrainian detachments of the radio-radar troops also spotted the intelligence flights of two more drones on January 10. 'These facts are the evidence of the rude violation of the New Year and Christmas truce and the Minsk Agreements by the pro-Russian militants', the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed. Previously, the Orlan-10 drone executed the gathering of the intelligence information at the route Zaitseve-Kodyma-Semyhiriya on December 28, 2017. It was also detected and destroyed.
Measles outbreak takes place in Ukraine, particularly 54 people, including 43 children sickened of measles since the beginning of 2018. 37 people were hospitalized.
Later it was also reported that 20 children in Kyiv got measles after visiting one of the circuses. It was noted that the epidemiological investigation takes place in the circus. The situation is under control of the local authorities. However, the first fatal case due to the measles already occurred, a 5-year-old child died in Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky district of Odesa region.
As at January 12, the number of people infected with measles increased to 74 in Kyiv. Out of them, 57 are children.
Russia offered to pass Ukraine the old military vehicles based in Crimea, - again. Russian president Vladimir Putin mentioned that at a press conference earlier this week. ‘We’re ready to give Ukraine back the combat vessels, aviation, and armored vehicles from Crimea. These vehicles – dozens of ships and combat aircraft – are in terrible conditions’, he said.
In 2014, Russia said it would pass Ukraine 350 firearms and military vehicles within the asset inventory in Crimea. It appeared to be basically Soviet-made vehicles of the 1970s; the Russian government said they could not be used in the regular Russian army.
On Friday, January 12, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said it is looking into the opportunities to organize this procedure. ‘We need to specify and solve a lot of things,’ Maryana Betsa, the spokeswoman of Ukraine’s foreign ministry said, commenting on the topic.
According to Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Ukraine has a lot of its vehicles stationed in Crimea – two battalions of IFVs and another two battalions of APCs (up to 20 percent of those IFVs needed repairs). Seven artillery battalions and four mortar batteries were located in Crimea as well. Voronchenko added that the Ukrainian Navy managed to withdraw its combat-ready aircraft from Crimea.
There is also some progress in the case of the murder of Iryna Nozdrovska, the human right activist and lawyer. The police detained the suspect in her murder on January 8. Later, the suspect revealed the details of the crime. It was also emphasized that the motive of Nozdrovska murder was revenge.
Vyshgorod district court ruled that Yuriy Rossoshansky, the suspect in the murder of Iryna Nozdrovska, will remain in custody for 60 days – without the right for a bailout on January 9.
On January 10, the police reported that the results of the expert study found out the DNA of Yury Rossoshansky, the suspect, on the body of murdered Iryna Nozdrvoska. The investigative and operational measures and questionings continue.
However, the family lawyers of Nozdrovska complained about the fact that they are not allowed familiarizing with the case documents and the pretrial investigation body attempts to restrict them from receiving information on the case. The defense claimed that it learns the information in the case from the mass media.
Later Vyacheslav Abroskin, the Deputy Head of the National Police claimed that he considers the murder of a lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska as a not planned murder, but a coincidence.
As it was also reported the farewell ceremony with to the deceased lawyer Iryna Nozdrvoska was held in Demydiv village of Kyiv region on January 9. Her daughter Anastasia, parents, relatives, colleagues and friends of the family came to say goodbye to the deceased.
After the last week’s Cyprus court $820 million freezing order, the SCM Group, which belongs to Rinat Akhmetov, said they would appeal the decision of the Nicosia court.
Later the Court of Amsterdam ordered to freeze the shares of Rinat Akhmetov, the richest Ukrainian businessman, for 820 million USD on January 5th in the execution of the decision by the Court of Nicosia on December 27.
Regardless of the fails in international courts, Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov rose from 439 to 393 in the ranking of the world top 500 billionaires.
The secret court ruling revealed the way that Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine stole 1.5 billion dollars from Ukraine and the fact that the former financial advisers of Petro Poroshenko, the current President of Ukraine were involved in the fraud as Al Jazeera reported at the 95-page document declared to be a state secret. According to Al Jazeera, the court order exposed in graphic detail the intricate company network used to steal the money, naming Investment Capital Ukraine (ICU) as brokering bond purchases made by Cypriot companies worth 1.5 billion dollars between 2012 and 2014.
In response to the Al Jazeera’s article, Investment Capital Ukraine (ICU) stated that the National Commission on securities and stock market an independent audit have confirmed that their work for Oschadbank and non-resident companies in 2013 was operated according to the law On the depositary system of Ukraine, which came into force in October 2013.
In their turn, the General Prosecutor’s Office first stated that they do not confirm originality of court ruling on asset forfeiture of Yanukovych's funds.