This week was rich in terms of news from Donbas conflict zone.
On Monday, armed members of Russian occupant troops attacked an armored car of the Ukrainian military. Luckily, there were no casualties in this particular incident.
On July 17, OSCE observers in Ukraine expressed concerns that an internal document of the OSCE SMM was possibly handed over to Russia. It was said that they contained a lot of personal information about the OSCE workers, including the types of women they were attracted to, their financial situation and whether they were susceptible to alcohol. Later, the Organization stressed it never collected personal data from its operatives.
Ukraine’s special service, the SBU, detained an accomplice of the Russian mercenaries, who appeared to have provided financial support for the so-called DNR, or ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’.
An armed provocation by pro-Kremlin militants resulted in civilian casualties in Yenakieve, Donetsk region; four people deceased due to the gas leak at a waste-pumping station.
On Wednesday, the media reported that DNR mercenaries arrested Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Aseyev. The militants claimed he was involved in the murder of their leaders, Givi and Motorola. Yegor Firsov, ex-MP, wrote that on Facebook. According to him, publications started appearing in the militants’ online media which tell about allegedly found Stanislav’s diaries. In particular, some chapters are being published in which the militants are trying to show him as a spy, who was carrying out the orders of allegedly Ukrainian security forces.
On Friday, the Ukrainian military conducted tests of multiple rocket launch systems ‘Smerch’ (Ukrainian for ‘Tornado’). While these weapons remain withdrawn from the combat area in Donbas, the HQ of the Joint Forces Operation ordered to test them from time to time – in case of the full-blown military offensive.
Trump congratulated Putin on holding one of the best World Cups in the world, however, he also claimed that the US will compete with Nord Stream 2, the Russian gas pipeline.
In his turn, Putin stated that the issue of Crimea is closed for Russia and it legally became the part of the Russian Federation. Also, Russia's President passed the note with the set of proposals on nuclear disarmament to Trump.
Later it became known that the Russian leader offered Trump to consider the possibility of the referendum's holding in Donbas.
Totally, this meeting was highly criticized by a number of the politicians and media.
Talking about the Ukrainian political prisoner in Crimea, it was stated that Natalia Balukh, the mother of political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh said she would not ask Russian leader Vladimir Putin to pardon her son.
Later, Deputy Leader of Mejlis of Crimean Tatars Akhtem Chyigoz said that the detention facility administration in Simferopol pays no attention to the grave condition of Balukh.
Also, the Emir-Usein Kuku's condition, Crimean who is detained in the pre-trial penitentiary system on the Russian territory is getting worse.
Talking about Kremlin political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, he recently had the second health crisis; however, he refused from the hospitalization. Later, Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova told the press about Oleg Sentsov's current health conditions.
On July 18, Ukraine's Justice Ministry claimed that Ukraine will file a comprehensive lawsuit to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the coming weeks concerning the Ukrainian political prisoners illegally kept in Russian Federation.
Tragic anniversaries: downing of MH17 flight and murder of journalist Pavlo Sheremet
On this particular week in July, many people – not just Ukrainians – bowed their heads to pay tribute to victims of two horrible accidents, which appeared to be close in time. Whilst one of these tragedies is to be remembered as a mass murder, the other one is viewed as a possible political assassination.
On July 17, rallies in memory of MH17 victims took place in Ukraine and the Netherlands. People mourned for the 298 civilians, the passengers of Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines, which was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. In the afternoon of July 17, 2014, the plane was shot down by the anti-aircraft missile, fired from Buk, the AA missile system. None of those onboard survived. The tragedy took place in the sky over the militant-held section of Donetsk region. Most of the victims, 196, were Dutch, but there were citizens of other nine countries as well. Previously, the Netherlands and Austria have officially condemned Russia in crashing the MH17 flight. In particular, after the investigators from the Netherlands have found confirmation that the MH17 flight had been shot by Russia.
July, 20th marks the second anniversary of the murder of Pavlo Sheremet, the famous reporter of Belarusian origin. On this day in 2016, Sheremet deceased in a bomb explosion in Kyiv, as he was going to work by car. A mourning action took place at the crossroads of Ivana Franka and Bohdana Khmelnytskoho streets in Kyiv, where the tragedy occurred. About a hundred of people – Pavlo’s friends and colleagues came to pay tribute. Among those present was U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine Marie Jovanovitch. Another rally in the reporter’s memory took place in his homeland, in Minsk, where the journalist was laid to rest.
On July 17, it was reported that Kyiv may run out of liquid chlorine stocks in one month. And the residents of the Ukrainian capital could be left without drinking water, as this substance is used to disinfect the water. The stocks of the liquid chlorine in Kyiv are running extremely low.
At this rate, Ukrainian cities will last at most until September. Why did this happen? On June 15, Dniproazot chemicals company producing liquid chlorine (which belongs to Privat group of billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky) has suspended its work for indefinite time. The official reason is growing prices foe gas. There is also an unofficial version: owners are resorting to political blackmail. By the way, Dniproazot for the recent years became de-facto a monopolist in this sector. In Ukraine, there is no other enterprise producing this compound so important for water disinfection.
Officials started negotiations on importing chlorine from other countries and on July 19, it has started arriving to Ukraine from Romania. And the next day, Security Service of Ukraine began checking the actions of Dniproazot officials that led to the liquid chlorine deficit.
On July 20, Dniproazov announced it would start producing the substance starting the same day. The enterprise says the suspension was a "necessary measure" connected with the high prices on energy resources and unprofitability of further production.
Russian law enforcers held new searches at Crimean Tatars in annexed Crimea on July 19 in the house of Muslim Aliev involved in “Hizb ut-Tahrir case”. The search protocol was issued on the name of Gulsum Alieva, who was served charges due to the publication in “Crimean Solidarity”.
Eskender Bariyev, the member of the Mejlis reported that 66 illegal searches were recorded on the territory of occupied Crimea during 6 months of 2018, 56 of them – at the houses of Crimean Tatars. 89 interrogations (61 of them with Crimean Tatars) and 98 arrests are also reported. 73 persons were detained, 51 of them – representatives of the native people. The number of attacks on Crimean Tatars - by both law enforcers and various social elements - has vastly increased.
Besides, the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people has grounds to believe that Russia intends to banish Crimean Tatars from the occupied peninsula, removing them with Boers, the South Africans of European descent, according to Eskender Bariyev.
Earlier this week President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced that diplomats will prepare a new resolution on Crimea for the next session of the UN General Assembly. He reminded that the General Assembly had twice supported the Ukrainian position, including in regard of the Crimean Tatars rights violation in Crimea.
And the UN International Court once again urged Russia to cancel the ban, which prohibits the activity of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people.