The UN Monitoring Mission released another report with the official number of casualties in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Specifically, it recorded 55 civilian deaths in Donbas in 2018, as Fiona Frazer, the Head of the UN Monitoring Mission on Human Rights during the 25th report. “In 2018, we have recorded 279 victims among the civilians – 55 died and 224 got injured,” the report says.
Crews of Ukrainian MLRS conducted an exercise in the combat area in Donbas. The fighters worked on the effectiveness of long-range strikes and land navigation. They also designated enemy positions. The HQ stated that the maneuvers proved successful.
Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has exposed the spy ring of the Chief Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Donbas. Head of Military Counterintelligence of SBU Serhiy Levchenko said this on Tuesday, March 12.
The occupation authorities of Luhansk region have actually implemented the forced labor for local citizens as OstroV reported, citing the decision of the so-called “Council of Ministers” of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR). The order of the involvement of the local citizens to the fulfilling of the work “for the needs of the defense, liquidation of the consequences of the use of the weapon by enemy, restoration of the damages (destroyed) objects of the economy, life-support systems” was developed in accordance with the so-called “martial law” of non-recognized republic.
A mercenary of Luhansk People’s Republic was taken in on the administrative border with the occupied Crimea. The 27-year-old man actively participated in the combat actions against Armed Forces of Ukraine as the member of Zaria battalion of the illegal armed formation. He used the code name “Kosa” in 2014.
The recent reports of psychiatric examinations for Ukrainian sailors illegally held in Russia evoked concerns and outrage. 'Rather than conduct psychiatric exams on Ukrainian sailors that violate their rights, Russia should release immediately all Ukrainian sailors and all Ukrainian political prisoners. We are deeply concerned by Russia’s treatment of the Ukrainians it has unjustly detained', the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said in the statement on the issue.
Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova claimed that Russia delays the necessary treatment for the captured sailors without any visible reason.
Ukraine’s Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group Yevhen Marchuk stated that Russia refused to discuss Ukraine’s demands concerning release of the Ukrainian sailors captured in Kerch Strait last year. “The Russian side categorically refused to discuss this issue, they have even tried to leave when I expressed Ukraine’s position in this regard. Yet, they stayed and listened,” he said.
The EU took some action in this regard this week. On Friday, the European Union has officially imposed the sanctions against the citizens of Russia involved in the capture of the Ukrainian sailors. It was officially announced about the freeze of the accounts and ban for the issuance of the visa to eight Russian officials. Their names were put on the list of persons and entities involved in the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which was extended for another six months. Thus, the list consists of 44 entities and 171 persons.
Upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine
This week, it was reported that presidential candidates Yulia Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko faces the majority of the criminal proceedings on vote buying.
Besides, Central Election Commission registered 217 official observers for the presidential elections in Ukraine on March 12. Thus, the total number of observers from the international organizations and foreign states made 635 people.
Moreover, you can familiarize with all candidates for presidency in Ukraine here.
Corruption scandal in Ukraine
This week, President Poroshenko appointed Serhiy Kryvonos as a new Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), as earlier, Oleg Gladkovsky, who held this post, was dismissed amid the case on embezzlement in Ukraine’s army.
March 12, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said the Military Prosecutor’s Office and Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) did not cover illegal schemes in the defense sector.
National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) denied the accusations of the involvement in the embezzlement at Ukroboronprom and suspended two detectives mentioned by journalists of Bihus.info in the investigation of the case from their posts.
While Nazar Kholodnytsky, the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) suspended Senior Prosecutor from management in this case.
This week journalists revealed an audio recording where a person whose voice is very similar to Sytnyk’s (NABU Head) says he helped the headquarters of the U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Nord Stream 2
This week it was reported that the U.S. is preparing to impose the sanctions against European companies, which participate in the financing of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Rick Perry, the U.S. Secretary of Energy said the government of president Donald Trump stands against the construction of Nord Stream II.
Naftogaz and gas price
On March 14, Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev urged the Government to liberalize gas supplies for all the consumer categories since April 2019, which will keep gas prices same in May.
The next day, Ukraine’s PM Volodymyr Groysman stated that he would entrust Naftogaz and Finance Ministry to discuss gas prices with the International Monetary Fund. Groysman called Naftogaz’ offer to cancel state regulation of gas prices for the population, a trap (to sell gas for the population for $319 per 1000 cubic metres). He added that State Treasury did not get money from Naftogaz victory in the Stockholm Arbitration.
The week has begun with the news that Russia builds up military presence in Crimea. By the way, at least 21 people were convicted for deferring from service in the Russian Armed Forces in annexed Crimea over 2018.
Russia plans to officially launch two power plants in occupied Crimea on March 18, the fifth anniversary of the annexation of the peninsula and it “coincides” with the visit of President of Russia Vladimir Putin to occupied Crimea.
Besides, another emission of chemicals took place in annexed Crimea this week.
On March 12, U.S. Congress House of Representatives has approved the draft bill, which defines the non-recognition of the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea, its airspace or waters as the policy of the U.S.
On March 13, Russia stated it will demand the compensations from Ukraine for “economic loss of Crimea when it entered its structure”.
Some important legislation
Agreement between Ukraine and Ecumenical Patriarchate was made public. The agreement has the total of 6 articles. It provides for the agreement of both parties to work on the creation and constitution of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine on the grounds of Tomos on autocephaly.