Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – November 3-9, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
November 3-9, 2018
UAF training exercises. Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported that during the week of November 2-8, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and twelve Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 117 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 26 times with heavy weapons. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation headquarters reported that returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 11 and wounded 26 enemy combatants in the last week.
2. US Treasury Sanctions Officials and Targets Entities Supporting Russia’s Occupation of Crimea and Forcible Control of Eastern Ukraine
The US Department of the Treasury reported on November 8, “The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today imposed additional sanctions in response to Russia’s continuing malign activity and destabilizing behavior by designating three individuals and nine entities under Ukraine-related authorities.  […]
          ‘The United States is leveraging new authorities to target Russian actors for serious human rights abuses in parts of Ukraine that the United States government has determined are forcibly occupied or otherwise controlled by the Russian government, and other reprehensible acts in furtherance of the Kremlin’s malign agenda,’ said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  ‘Treasury remains committed to targeting Russian-backed entities that seek to profit from Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea.  Our sanctions are a clear reminder that efforts seeking to normalize investment and economic relationships with those operating in Crimea will not be tolerated and are subject to U.S. and EU sanctions authorities.’
          Today’s designations underscore the United States’ steadfast partnership with Ukraine and the European Union (EU) and our unified opposition to Russia’s purported annexation and occupation of Crimea and use of force to control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.  OFAC’s action targets those engaging in serious human rights abuses in furtherance of Russia’s occupation or control over parts of Ukraine, as well as entities and individuals supporting Russia’s attempts to integrate Crimea through private investment and major privatization projects.
         This activity includes, among others, the Russian-backed sale of Ukrainian assets unlawfully seized and nationalized to actors supporting the Kremlin’s agenda.  As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”
More information on the US Treasury’s designations is available here
3. Ukrainian civic activist Kateryna Handziuk dies after battling injuries from acid attack
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on November 4, “Kateryna Handziuk, a Ukrainian civic activist and adviser to the mayor of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, has died from wounds she suffered from an acid attack three months ago.
           The 33-year-old Handziuk died on November 4 in a Kyiv hospital where she was being treated for burns from the attack, colleagues and officials said. Local media suggested that Handzyuk’s death was caused by a blood clot.
           Several hundred supporters gathered around Ukraine’s Interior Ministry building in Kyiv late on November 4, demanding that those responsible for her death be brought to justice. The activist, who was known for her scathing criticism of police corruption, was doused with sulfuric acid outside of her Kherson home on July 31 by an unknown attacker.
           Her death comes amid a wave of attacks against Ukraine’s civic activists, with rights campaigners claiming law-enforcement agencies have failed to thoroughly investigate the cases and may even be complicit in some of the attacks. […] Five suspects have been detained for their alleged involvement in the attack, but there was no information about its mastermind.”
4. Ukraine’s President appeals to the law enforcers regarding the death of well-known activist Kateryna Handziuk: Evil must be punished
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on November 4, “President Petro Poroshenko expressed condolences over the death of well-known activist Kateryna Handziuk. The President called on the law enforcement agencies to do everything in their power to bring Kateryna’s killers to justice.
              ‘I want to address the law enforcers to do everything possible to find and punish the murderers, so that they find themselves in the dock. And we all need to unite efforts in order to make it happen. To help the law enforcement agencies together, to help the police punish the evil,’ Petro Poroshenko said.”
5. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General submits resignation to President
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on November 7, “Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko has submitted his resignation to President Petro Poroshenko amid the public outrage over the handling of an investigation into an acid attack that killed anticorruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk, whose funeral was held the same day.
          However, it remains uncertain whether Lutsenko will actually step down after Iryna Herashchenko, the first deputy parliament speaker, a day earlier said Poroshenko’s governing coalition would not support his resignation and a later vote in parliament showed little support for his departure.
          Larysa Sarhan, Lutsenko’s press secretary, said the prosecutor’s resignation letter was sent to the presidential office on November 7. Poroshenko has not publicly commented on whether he will accept the resignation and submit it to parliament for a vote. Lutsenko had earlier said he would offer his resignation in order to eliminate concerns that he was ‘clinging to power.'”
6. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and President Poroshenko Sign Agreement on Cooperation and Coordination
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew meets with President Poroshenko. To view video, please click on image above
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew meets with President Poroshenko. To view video, please click on image above
The Ecumenical Patriarchate reported, “On Saturday, November 3, 2018, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Excellency President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine reaffirmed their desire to enhance the cooperation between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Nation-within the framework of the process for granting Autocephaly to the unified Orthodox Church in Ukraine-during the President’s visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s headquarters at the Phanar. […]
           Immediately following their private meeting in the Patriarchal Office, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and President Poroshenko signed a Bilateral Agreement on Cooperation and Coordination before their colleagues and numerous representatives of the mass media in the Chamber of the Throne.
           His All-Holiness characterized the day as historic for relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ukraine, while underscoring that the signed Agreement ‘will expedite the granting of the Tomos recognizing the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.’
          ‘This autocephaly, which for years – not to say centuries – you have so fervently and nostalgically awaited is your right, just as it was the right of all the other people of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, whose churches received autocephaly from the Mother Church of Constantinople. It is also the exclusive prerogative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in accordance with the Holy Canons, to grant this autocephaly when it deems fit, whenever circumstances have matured.
           Here at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we are convinced that our decision will lead the Ukrainian people and the Orthodox faithful there to greater unity-which they have been deprived of for about the last thirty years-and that almost all of the country’s Orthodox faithful will rally around this new Autocephalous Church of Ukraine. In this way, this Autocephalous Church will enter the family of Orthodox Autocephalous Churches and we shall all work together for the good of our faithful and the glory of the Lord’s name.’
           The Ecumenical Patriarch thanked the President of Ukraine for conceding the magnificent Church of Saint Andrew in Kyiv to the Mother Church ‘so that the permanent presence of your Mother Church of Constantinople may be there in the Capital of Ukraine.’ He also expressed his wish ‘that the Lord may grant [him] the opportunity to visit once more, in the near future, your beautiful and hospitable country [of Ukraine].’ The Patriarch then asked the President to convey the blessing of the Mother Church and his love to the entire Ukrainian people.”
7. EU report: Ukraine makes important progress on reforms but more needs to be done on judiciary and fight against corruption
Commissioner Hahn presents report to Prime Minister Groysman. Photo – Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers

The European Union stated, “Ukraine has made progress in a number of important areas over the past year, but several outstanding reforms still need to be reinforced so that Ukrainian citizens can fully reap the benefits of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
          The EU published today the Association Implementation Report, which monitors the implementation of the commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement over the past year – since November 2017. […]
         ‘Ukraine has advanced in a number of important and demanding reforms over the past year, including healthcare, pensions, decentralisation, public administration, public procurement and the environment. These are all vital for the implementation of the Association Agreement and therefore for a more prosperous and stable Ukraine. Now, in Ukraine’s pre-election period, it is crucial to maintain the reform momentum and to make these changes irreversible. There cannot be roll-back on issues such as anti-corruption efforts. Continued reforms in the economic and justice sectors will send a strong signal not only to the citizens, but also to domestic and international investors and help boost the creation of jobs in Ukraine,’ said the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn.
           At the same time, the report notes the slower pace of reforms in the areas of the judiciary and anti-corruption measures, and emphasises the need to reinforce the reform momentum. While the renewal of the judiciary continued, there have been only few convictions in high-level corruption cases so far. The establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court remains a test case in this regard. The selection earlier this week of the international experts who will assist Ukraine in selecting the judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court is an encouraging sign.
The report is available here: Association Implementation Report

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