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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: OCT. 29 – NOV. 2

Donbas conflict, Ukrainian gas, Russian sanctions, Crimea, Oleg Sentsov, Merkel's visit to Kyiv, Ukrainian political prisoner in Russia Oleg Sentsov - the whole week on one page
22:30, 2 November 2018

112 Agency

About Donbas conflict

Belarusian capital city Minsk hosted Munich Security Conference. Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko and Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko participated in the conference.

UN Security Council condemned preparations for the local election in Donbas. Eight EU members urged the Kremlin to apply pressure on the militants in Donbas to cancel the elections. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor who visited Kyiv on November 1, added that the election contradicts the Minsk agreement. PACE delegation visited Donbas combat area on November 1.

Mark Etherington, former British airborne trooper re-joined the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine – as the new deputy head of this mission. He replaced Alexander Hug, who served in this office since March 2014 until October 2018. 

The Red Cross sent to the occupied Donbas five trucks with humanitarian aid aboard.

The Ukrainian army successfully tested a new mortar carrier vehicle; it lets the crew deploy a mobile firing position, which also enjoys an automatic fire control system.

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About Russian sanctions

On November 1, Russia imposed sanctions against 322 Ukrainians and 38 Ukrainian companies, while the President Poroshenko was not included into the list and the Kremlin explained why. Besides, the sanctions list can be extended or shortened as the Russian government reported.

In his turn, Poroshenko stated that 'the Russian decision on the sanctions was not unexpected'.

The National Bank also commented on Russia’s actions – the representatives of the institution stated that the sanctions would not significantly influence Ukraine’s macro-stability.

Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called this a beginning of a 'multi-episode series'.  

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About Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian political prisoner in Russia

Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian political prisoner who just had his last will published seems to be recovering after the long-lasting hunger strike. At least that’s what the Russian side claims. Valery Maksymenko, the Deputy Head of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service reported that the treatment process is almost over, and Sentsov returns to a normal nutrition mode.

Sentsov wrote a letter to his supporters; thanks to the efforts of Russian human rights activist Nikolai Shchur, it appeared on the Web. 'I feel better - much better than I did a month ago. My lab tests are not very good yet, but not as bad as they were before.

Russian presidential administration declined the appeal of Russia’s party Yabloko (Apple in English) on the pardoning of Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian political prisoner. 'This is an exclusive prerogative of the President,' the party noted. Yet, Vladimir Putin’s administration responded that according to the pardon procedure, the convicted has to file the appeal by himself. It has to be sent to the commission of pardon headed by the governor. Then, the president has to confirm this decision.

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About Merkel’s visit to Kyiv

The Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel paid an official visit to Ukraine on November 1. She had meetings with the President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

Besides, they held a joint press conference, where Markel, in particular, stated that the local elections in Donbas contradicted with Minsk agreements. The Chancellor claimed Germany’s support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

During this visit, Poroshenko and Merkel agreed on the conduction of the 10th session of the Ukrainian-German group on the high level in Berlin on November 28.

At the meeting with Ukraine’s Parliament Spokesperson, Merkel said that Germany insisted on the provision of the guarantees of the maintenance of gas transit through the territory of Ukraine after the construction of the Nord Stream 2.

In addition, the Chancellor announced new allocation for Ukraine – to develop the science sector, in particular.

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About gas prices in Ukraine

Gas prices hike in Ukraine from November 1. The tariff has risen by 23,5 percent, the price is $305 for a thousand cubic meters. Gas getting more expensive, Ukrainians getting poorer. 'Why so expensive?' How much does Ukrainian gas really cost? Ukraine's politicians could be manipulating increase in gas prices in the run-up to elections.

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About Crimea

Ukraine had to block the adoption of the annual budget of the Commission on the Black Sea Protection due to the participation of the so-called 'representatives of Crimea'.

It was also announced that the first hearing on the case of 'Ukraine against Russia' on Crimea is scheduled for February 27, 2019. The ECHR should establish the date when Russia tool control over the Crimean peninsula

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About Ukraine-Hungary relations

Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Occupied Territories said that Hungary took pro-Russian position. Whereas, Foreign Minister of Hungary Péter Szijjártó claimed that Budapest does not plan to conquer particular areas of Zakarpattia region or to ensure its autonomous state.

Hungary has also changed the name of 'the minister for Zakarpattia' to the 'minister responsible for the development of the cooperation of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and Zakarpattia regions and coordination of the development program for education facilities for children of Zakarpattia region.'

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