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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: MAY 13 – 17

Read about Donbas conflict, inauguration of president-elect Zelensky, sanctions against Russia, Crimean Tatars, corruption and other important news of the week
22:30, 17 May 2019

112 Agency

About Donbas

Two Ukrainian warriors lost their lives in Donbas combat zone over the week. According to the reports of the Joint Forces Operation HQ, the servicemen were killed in action on May 15 and 17. Several more were wounded in combat.

Meanwhile, Iryna Gerashchenko, the First Vice Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament filed her resignation letter, expressing her will to leave the offices of the Presidential Commissioner on a peaceful settlement and Ukraine’s representative in the humanitarian subgroup in Minsk.

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About president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky

Finally, the Ukrainian parliament appointed May 20 as inauguration day of President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. ZeTeam commented that this decision was an attempt to “get back at the Ukrainians”, who want the new President to take office as soon as possible.

The inauguration on May 20 allowed Zelensky to dissolve the parliament but one of the parties, People’s Front, left the parliamentary coalition. Thus, the coalition of the Ukrainian Parliament has ceased to be and 30 days provided to form a new coalition, in other words, it is almost impossible to dissolve the parliament in such terms.

ZeTeam reacted to the happened and said that it is impossible to leave something that does not exist. Later it was specified that it is still possible to dissolve the parliament and team of Zelensky may use such possibility.

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About Ministers' resignation

A fight occurred during the protest action at the building of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine. Five law enforcement officers suffered as a result. The protesters demanded resignation of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin stated that he resigns from his post.

The Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksandr Turchynov wants to resign.

The Advisor of Petro Poroshenko Yuriy Biryukov wrote a letter of resignation.

First Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Pavlo Demchyna filed the resignation.

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About sanctions against Russia

On May 15, Ukraine’s Government imposed new sanctions against Russia, including expansion of the list of banned Russian goods and imposing of duties on all Russian products. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko stated that the sanctions against the Russian Federation are the effective ones.

Besides, Estonia stands for extra anti-Russian sanctions for issuance of Russian passports on the occupied territories of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian state also supports the idea of new sanctions against Russia for issuance of Russian citizenship in Donbas.

EU added that it would continue observing possibilities to sanction Russia for issuance of Russian passports to the residents of occupied Donbas.

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About Crimean Tatars

This week the Parliament of Canada refused to recognize 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars as the act of genocide. Boris Wrzesniewsky, the lawmaker of the Ukrainian origin tried to put the respective resolution on the voting procedure; however, the opposition MPs protested loudly, and the Parliamentary Speaker had to decline it.

On May 13, Tahanroh City Court in Rostov region extended preventive measure for four Crimean Tatars involved in the second case of Hizb ut-Tahrir detained during mass raids on March 27 on the annexed peninsula.

Besides, Russian courts ruled that 24 arrested Crimean Tatars will remain in detention for another three months, until the middle of August.

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About Ukrainian POWs, political prisoners in Russia

On May 16, it was reported that Ukrainian POW Vasyl Soroka was hospitalized as there are no proper conditions for his treatment in prison.

Ukrainian consul was able to meet with Ukrainian political prisoner Roman Sushchenko who is held in Russia.

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine urges Russia to provide political prisoner Balukh with medical help.

Sentsov’s health condition improved after hunger strike in Russian prison.

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About corruption

On May 14, National Anti-Corruption Bureau searched premises of the National Guard of Ukraine and Ukrbud company. After that, law enforcers detained ex-commander of National Guard Yuriy Allerov. He is suspected in the embezzlement of $5 million during the construction of the accommodation for the military. Later the decision to arrest Allerov for 60 days was ruled out. Court decided though that Ukrbud Development CEO was detained illegally. Oleh Mayboroda was released from custody immediately.

This week, Ukrainian Railways asked for $269,6 million from state budget. Earlier, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) finished investigations on the embezzlement at PJSC Ukrzaliznytsya in the amount of 3.7 million dollars. 

Ukroboronprom defense state enterprise has 10 days to prepare for financial audit.

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About language and sociology

Main results of the social surveys held this week showed that:

- 88,4% of the Ukrainian citizens consider ceasefire in Donbas the main problem in the country. 88,3% believe that the return of Ukrainian POWs is more important. 84,5% of the population think that prices level and inflation should be resolved first;

- anti-rating of Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity” is 43,9%, All-Ukrainian Union “Batkivshchyna” – 21,7%, “Opposition Platform – For Life” – 18,8%, “Opposition Bloc – Party for Peace and Development” – 16,7%;

- six political parties (Servant of the People, Opposition platform – For life, Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity, Batkivshchyna, Syla i Chest Party, Gromadyanska Pozytsia) might enter the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine;

- over 12% of Ukrainians believe that there is no need to learn Russian at Ukrainian schools.

This week, Ukraine’s Parliament unblocked signing of the law No. 5670-d on the provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language. Therefore, Verkhovna Rada Spokesperson Andriy Parubiy and President Poroshenko signed the document.  

It should be noted that this law provides for increase of quotas on television: up to 90% for national TV channels and 80% - for local channels.

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About Ukrainian Church

The Honorable Patriarch Filaret concedes a split in the newly formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine and states that he has the authority to convene a council.

On May 15, Honorary Patriarch Filaret is not happy with the current status of Kyiv Metrpopoly, claiming it is not enough; instead, he assumes that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has prospects to restore the status of Kyiv Patriarchate.

Honorary Patriarch Filaret stated that for now there is no visible way to get recognition of the other churches. According to him, one of the main reasons would be Moscow’s influence.

Tomos on autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine may be withdrawn by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It can take place if the church insists on the amendments to the document.

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About Eurovision 2019

One of the week’s most awaited music events is, of course, Eurovision 2019 in Israel. With two semifinals behind, the fans of those who made it to the final are eager to hear their favorites once again. The final is slated for May 18. In spite of the incident with hackers that attempted to ruin the party, the European Song Contest continues, and it will reach the decisive round on Saturday.

Most regrettably, Ukraine will not be able to vote, as it is not among the contestants this time.

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About football

Shakhtar Donetsk claimed the Cup of Ukraine. In the final game of the competition for the trophy, The Mountaineers defeated Ingulets FC from Petrovo, Kirovohrad region, central Ukraine. Thus, Shakhtar claimed their 13th Cup of Ukraine, which is the national record. The team won the trophy four times in a row.

Two Ukrainian footballers who play abroad also tasted the victory this week. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Man City became champions of FA Premier League, while KRC Genk’s Ruslan Malynovsky celebrated his team’s triumph in Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League.

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