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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: MAY 6 – 10

Read about Donbas conflict, Russian passports for Ukrainians, president-elect Zelensky, Ukrainian sailors, political prisoners in Russia and other important news of the week
22:30, 10 May 2019

112 Agency

About Donbas

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Donbas recorded 20 Grad missile systems in the occupied area of Luhansk region; the vehicles were in the breach of the line of withdrawal, as the report of the Mission reads.

Ukrainian forces suffered several fatalities this week; one of the deceased men was Volodymyr Koval, warrant officer of the 79th Detached Airborne Assault Brigade.

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Ukraine marks the Day of Memory and Reconciliation and Victory Day

Ukraine joined those observing the days of memory and reconciliation in Europe on May 8 and 9.

On May 9 Ukraine marked the Day of Victory over Nazism in the Second World War. About 700,000 people took place in 1,400 memorable events all over Ukraine.

President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky visited grave of his grandfather,  who served during the Second World War, this day. He emphasized that the contribution to the victory by Ukrainian people is enormous and we should be grateful to them.

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About president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky 

This week, President-elect Zelensky met with the representatives of the international community.

On May 6, he had a meeting with the Ukrainian Rabbits Council. At the event, Zelensky shared his ideas about building a dialogue with the residents of the temporarily occupied territories in the east of Ukraine.

On  May 7, Zelensky met with European Commissioner for EU Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn. The Commissioner congratulated Zelensky on his victory and offered full support of the EU in all reforms.

The President-elect also had time to met with the head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Svyatoslav Shevchuk. Zelensky congratulated the Patriarch Svyatoslav on the occasion of his birthday and the head of the UGCC has congratulated Volodymyr Zelensky on his election win.

May 8, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent met with President-elect of Ukraine and stated that the U.S. was ready to continue supporting partnership with Ukraine for promotion of the political and economic reforms.

Later, Zelensky met with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Chrystia Freeland. They discussed the fight against corruption and Minsk format for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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About issuance of Russian passports for Ukrainians

The office, which accepts documents for receiving of Russian passport opened in occupied Luhansk. Besides, authorities of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic began to receive local residents' applications for Russian passports.

Ukrainian Prime Minister stated that Ukraine will not recognize Russian passports issued to Donbas citizens. Moreover, Ukraine’s government wants to sanction Russia for illegal issuance of its passports.

Meanwhile, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko discussed this issue with a number of foreign politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.

U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker emphasized that the U.S. may impose new anti-Russian sanctions due to the issuance of the passports. Besides, Estonia intends to impose sanctions against Russia due to the same reason.

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About Ukrainian sailors

The session of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea took place in Hamburg on May 10; the jury considered the case of the Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian special service in the Sea of Azov in November 2018. Ukraine was represented by Olena Zerkal, lawyer Nikolai Polozov, Ukraine's Deputy Navy Commander and the Navy HQ Chief Andriy Tarasov; Russia refused to participate. 

'Today, Ukraine asks the Tribunal to assign the temporary measures, which demand that Russia immediately release the naval military vessels of Ukraine and their crew members, and return them to Ukraine', Zerkal said. 

The Tribunal ruled that the captured Ukrainian naval vessels were not involved in any military activity; there merely tried to return to their home port.

The authority will have its decision announced May 25.

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About political prisoners

This week, Crimean so-called “Supreme Court” prolonged detention for Crimean Tatar blogger Nariman Memedeminov till June 15. The defence will appeal against the decision.

On May 8, it was reported that the representative of Ukraine’s Consulate to Russia was not let to visit the Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh. Russian Federal Penitentiary Service has informed that Balukh is a Russian citizen, which was the reason why the diplomat was not allowed to see him.

Speaking of Edem Bekirov, the results of three expertise concerning his case were passed to the court in annexed Crimea.

Mother of the Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov Lyudmyla told that she talks to her son once a month for 20 minutes. She also stated he felt fine, he always asks about his children.

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About sanctions against Russia

Ukraine's diplomats discuss anti-Russian sanctions with American Senator from the Republican Party Suzanne Collins. They also discussed cooperation of Ukraine and the U.S. within counterwork of the construction of Nord Stream 2.

The special representative of the U.S. State Department on Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker does not rule out the possible implementation of the new package of sanctions by Washington against Russia due to Putin’s order of issuance passports to Donbas citizens. 

Foreign Minister of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu also intends to impose extra sanctions against Russia due to its passportization in simplified order for citizens of occupied Donbas and Crimea.

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