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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: MAY 14 - 18

Source : 112 Ukraine

Donbas Conflict, Vyshyvanka Day, Kurt Volker visits Donbas, Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea, the arrest of RIA News-Ukraine agency head, Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, LGBT rights - main events of the week in Ukraine on one page
22:00, 18 May 2018

Donbas Conflict

Vyshyvanka Day in Ukraine

Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea

Kurt Volker visited Ukraine

Arrest of RIA News Ukraine agency head 

Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia

LGBT rights in Ukraine

112 Agency

Donbas Conflict

Hostilities in the combat zone in Eastern Ukraine go on.

The Russian mercenaries disrupted disengagement of troops and vehicles near Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk region, scheduled for May 15.

Oleg Bokach, the combat medic of Ukraine's Armed Forces deceased in the war-torn Donbas on Saturday. He was saving his comrade who was under fire and was fatally wounded in the process.

Another two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and four others were injured on May 17. Yet it is also reported that due to the ‘active defense’ Ukrainian units eliminated five militants, and another eight were wounded.

Militants shelled civilians – a school in Svitlodarsk, Donetsk region. The attack was carried out at around 09:30 on Thursday and lasted for several minutes injuring one civilian who was driving past the school at the moment of an explosion. According to him, windows of the school were damaged and the building is now being examined by the experts. A criminal case on “terrorist attack” was opened.

Pro-Kremlin mercenaries in Donbas launched another attack, using heavy artillery. In the small hours of May 18, they shelled Troitske, Luhansk region. The 122-mm artillery strike resulted in three civilian fatalities.

The HQ of the Joint Forces Operation claimed on May 17 that the government troops released Pivdenne village in Donetsk region. The Ukrainian forces developed the operation plan and brought it to life; the fight occurred in the vicinities of the village. The Ukrainian side took no casualties; the enemy lost one man killed, and another man wounded.

Pavlo Zhebrivsky, the Donetsk region governor claimed that fifteen explosions occurred in the living quarters of Troitske, Luhansk region. 'The Rushists ('Russians' and 'fascists' in one word, - 112 International) shelled the residential houses and killed 13-year-old boy and his father...critically wounded his mom. An elder brother had his leg injured, too... I just got the word that the woman also deceased at hospital', he wrote. Read more details here.

Related: Shelling of Troitske: new details of tragedy

Vyshyvanka Day in Ukraine

On May 17, Ukrainians celebrated Vyshyvanka Day, a day to honor traditional Ukrainian embroidered clothes.  Vyshyvanka Day does not have a fixed date, it is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of May. Thursday was not chosen randomly. Its founders insisted that the holiday falls on a working day, instead of the day off.

Open source

A lot of events related to Ukrainian culture and vyshyvankas take place on this day in Ukraine and in a number of other states. Among them are concerts, marches, lecture halls, exhibitions, and flash mobs.

Ukrainian vyshyvanka in recent years has become not only a national brand, but also a world one, having settled in the wardrobes of the famous sportsmen, actors and singers. You can see it more often at the fashion shows. Celebrities wear the embroidered shirt both on the stage and in their daily life.

There are 60 countries around the world in which Ukrainians take part in the International Vyshyvanka Day. The ethnic motives are not only a part of Ukrainian embroidered garb but a real hit in world fashion, which brought Ukrainian costume on to the top catwalks of the US and Europe.

Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea

On May 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Kerch Bridge that unites annexed Crimea and Krasnodar Krai. Putin at the wheel of Kamaz headed the convoy of the vehicles and cargo equipment that made the first trip over the bridge.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko responded to this saying that Russian occupants will need this bridge when they have to leave the Ukrainian peninsula.

A number of countries, including the US, France and Canada condemned the opening of the bridge.

In its turn, Russia claimed that it will not ask anyone the permission for the construction of the transport infrastructure in the interests of the citizens of the Russian regions.

Related: Ukraine marks anniversary of 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars

Kurt Volker visited Ukraine

At the beginning of the week, the U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker came to Ukraine and first of all to Donbas. And at the end of May 14, he arrived there to talk to Ukrainian soldiers, OSCE observers and local residents. 

Related: Ethnic Russians fight against each other in Donbas, - Volker

After the stay in Donbas, Volker came to Kyiv for a number of the meetings. In particular, Kurt Volker and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko discussed the deployment the UN peacekeeping mission on the territory beyond Ukraine’s control in Donbas.

Presidential Administration press office

Also, Volker claimed that Ukrainians cannot take back the territories already taken by Russia as it too powerful.

In its turn, Ukraine provided evidence of the involvement of Russian Federation military personnel in a large-scale hybrid aggression in Donbas to Kurt Volker.

Arrest of RIA News Ukraine agency head 

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea have exposed the network of the media entities controlled by the Russian Federation.

Social media

Actions of Kyrylo Vyshynsky, Head of RIA News-Ukraine were preliminarily qualified as the state treason. Ihor Ponochevny, the Head of Supervision Department for Criminal Proceeding of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea claimed this. They held five authorized searches: two at the offices and three at the apartments. It was claimed that Vyshynsky initiated active actions on the support of the terrorist organizations 'Donetsk People's Republic' and 'Luhansk People's Republic' after his return from Russia to Kyiv.

Related: What is RIA Novosti news agency's director accused of?

Russian embassy in Ukraine sent the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry a protest note due to the searches in the main office of RIA News agency. Also, Harlem Desir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media expressed concern over the searches at the office of RIA News-Ukraine.

On May 16, the advocates of Vyshynsky claimed that their client is transferred to Kherson for choosing of the restrictive measure. Later, Kherson city court ruled that RIA Novosti news agency editor-in-chief Kyrylo Vyshynsky remains in custody until July 13, 2018.

Related: The specter of diplomacy: Why Kurt Volker visits Ukraine?

Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia

On May 16, Rozdolnensky District Court of occupied Crimea had a court hearing on the fabricated criminal case against Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh. The court rejected the motion of Volodymyr Balukh’s defense to examine video recordings from the CCTVs of the temporary detention facility. The judge refused to conduct a technical examination of video recordings from the prison cell surveillance cameras, which recorded the incident between Volodymyr Balukh and the head of the detention center Valeriy Tkachenko. The latest filed a suit against Balukh, who had already been jailed for 3 years and 7 months for supporting movement began in Ukraine and hoisting Ukrainian flag https://112.international/politics/crimean-resident-may-get-five-years-in-prison-for-hoisting-ukrainian-flag-19464.html over his house. Balukh said he never recognized the peninsula as part of Russia. As off today, Balukh is on a hunger strike for almost 60 days.

May this year marks the fourth anniversary of the arrest of a movie director Oleg Sentsov and a Crimean activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. On May 16, Oleg Sentsov announced a hunger strike. He is protesting against the illegal detention of Ukrainians in Russia and the occupied Crimea; this is how he demands to release them. He is now under the observation of the prison doctors of the prison.

Open source

“His heath condition is satisfactory. Health workers will continue observing Sentsov after he announced a hunger strike, and they will also conduct analysis for heath observation,” reads the message of the press-office of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service Regional Office.

The diplomats are not optimistic either. Iryna Gerashchenko, President's Humanitarian Envoy at the Minsk peace talks regarding the War in Donbas, states the absence of the progress in Ukrainian hostages release and search for missing.

“This causes enormous concern, especially amid recent distressing news on the deterioration of the health of our political prisoners and hostages, on Sentsov’s hunger strike, as well as prolonged hunger strike of Volodymyr Balukh. The hostages' issue requires the entire world to put pressure on Russia,” Gerashchenko stressed.

LGBT rights in Ukraine

Ambassadors of 16 countries urged Ukraine to tolerate LGBT society on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia celebrated on 17 May. Diplomats of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Canada, EU, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and U.S. made a joint statement on May 16. As we reported earlier, the radical nationalist groups violently disrupted a discussion on LGBTI rights in Kyiv on May 10, 2018. Despite the aggressive behavior of intruders, Kyiv police did not remove them from the premises, and the owner of the place had to cancel the meeting.

Related: Militants shell school in Svitlodarsk, one civilian injured

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