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Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko announces that Ukraine is going to lodge a claim with the International Court of Justice, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), against Russia for support of terrorism.

"The next year will be associated with the initiation of a large-sized lawsuit at the International Court of Justice, where Ukraine will sue Russia under the convention [for the suppression of] the financing of terrorism," Petrenko told Channel 5 on Tuesday, January 5.

The minister claims that the evidence has already been collected, the pre-trial process of communication with the Russian party is close to the end and "we'll go to court."

What is more, Petrenko said, state-owned Savings Bank of Ukraine, or Oschadbank, and oil and gas giant NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine are individually suing Russia in The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.

He also noted that more than 700 Ukrainians, namely internally displaced persons from Crimea and Donbas, had filed private lawsuits at the European Court of Human Rights against Russia's annexation of the Crimea and aggression in Donbas.

According to the minister, Ukraine's government alone has submitted three inter-state...............
Procrastination in launching the National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) threatens to undermine a visa liberalization process and the introduction of visa-free travels for Ukrainians to the EU, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine Oleksiy Khmara told Radio Liberty.

Khmara said Ukraine had voluntarily undertaken a commitment to set up an agency and demonstrate its work by the end of the first quarter of this year. Only then the European institutions, which have yet to ratify the visa-free regime with Ukraine, can vote in favor of it. That means the European countries can, at any time, backtrack as for their decision on the visa-free regime based on the fact that Ukraine has also failed to live up to its commitments and has not carried out the anti-corruption reform, according to Khmara..............
on Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:24 pmAdmin

Odessa Oblast Prosecutor's Office sent to the court an indictment against the separatists, who are suspected of preparing for a "People's Republic of Odessa" by overthrowing the constitutional system of Ukraine, the seizure of state power and the creation of extra-legal militias. But for me, this thing is extremely important not only for citizens and MPs. I'm still shocked that they were also planning an attempt on my life, what the investigation themselves and confessed.

But intimidate them I could not - I will continue to advocate for the unity of our country and against Putin's aggression, like any citizen, is unacceptable to the ideals of war, chaos and obscurantism that is trying to spread the Kremlin regime in our land. For myself, I decided long ago that I can forgive the assassination attempt, but a crime against the people and the country's unforgivable. No "OHP", of course, will not, and I urge the court to bring the case these scoundrels to its logical conclusion - honestly, transparently and across the rigors of the law. In Russian

strongest leaders in modern German history but let Vladimir Putin come to town peddling some questionable deal and she has an unfortunate habit of falling for it. As pointed out below, the time has come to set the chancellor right and explain to her all the reasons – mostly wrong – for which Putin is trying to offload the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline as “a commercial project” that makes market sense. Any clear-eyed analysis comes to a totally different conclusion and Merkel needs to get that message. Probably the only one she might listen to is Barack Obama.

Commentary by Jim Hoagland for The Washington Post
Published: January 3, 2016

Germany’s citizens and leaders have earned the world’s respect over the decades since World War II by repeatedly taking the moral and political high ground. From Willy Brandt’s imaginative Ostpolitik approach to relations with the Eastern bloc to the peaceful and effective reunification of their divided country in 1990, and on to Angela Merkel’s principled welcome of Syrian refugees in 2015, Germans have set standards that the rest of us have to admire.

So why in the world are they risking that hard-earned reputation for the sake of a seemingly corrupt gas pipeline deal with Russia’s Vladimir Putin
— especially since the vast changes in the global energy markets of the past year have made the Russian deal obsolete, as well as damaging to European unity? And why is the Obama administration doing so little to discourage Chancellor Merkel from going along with Putin’s pipeline skulduggery?

This makes no sense. Putin’s objective is blatant. He intends to lock in revenue for his Gazprom corporation while deepening Western Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and strangling Ukraine’s ability to resist his faltering destabilization campaign there. And yet Merkel persists in describing the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline as “a commercial project” that makes market sense...................

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Don't push this on Obama. Push it on the weak European leaders and the ones who voted for her and them. Let Europe fix its mistakes. They went to bed with Putin, now they have to get out of it for good, not just temporarily. Don't even try pushing it another country. Typical Washington Post and the New York Times. They love going after a Democrat administration. Wonder how much the GOP's paid them for these juvenile comments.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says a plan should be developed to substitute overseas destinations in tourism industry.

As reported by Censor.NET, the PM claims huge potential of Russia's domestic tourism, while the internal flow of tourists at the end of the last year might reach some 50 million people.

"It's almost one third of our country. There is a growing interest of foreign tourists in Russia as well. Last year was record-breaking. More than 20 million people visited Russia. Developing tourism in our country has a huge potential. And we must take advantage of all the new opportunities out there," Medvedev said.

He stated it was necessary to provide affordable tickets for those planning their travel, as well as secure leisure and accommodation, the opportunity to verify travelling information via the Internet. In Russian
Two gas turbine power plants with the capacity of 22.5 MW went out of order in the occupied Kerch (Crimea).

Censor.NET informs referring to Ukrinform citing Crimean media.

"Power engineers in Kerch have been informed about the breakdown of two gas turbine power plants with the capacity of 22.5 MW, brought from the Far East to ensure energy supply to Crimea. Therefore, all settlements must reduce the consumption of electricity," the message notes.

At the moment, city's network load makes 42 MW. Household consumers connected to several city lines are likely to experience blackouts. In Russian
Lawmaker Iryna Herqashchenko is angered by the decision of the leaders of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow Orthodox church to stop delivering prayers in the Ukrainian in the central part of the country.

Writing in Facebook Jan. 5, Herashchenko says, “In many villages in central Ukraine where the locals communicate only in Ukrainian the Moscow-affiliated church take the dominant positions. Now, its leaders decide not to deliver prayers in Ukrainian. I was stunned to hear the news.”

It is a mean attempt to destroy Ukraine’s foundations via the language, she says.

“This idea, far from God’s commandments, could have been borne only by the NKVD-minded Orthodox leaders in Moscow. It will backlash against them because Ukrainian villagers won’t let them destroy their spiritual base, the Ukrainian language,” Iryna Herashchenko says.
on Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:57 amAdmin
The cabinet approved a respective resolution on December 30, 2015, the department said in a statement posted on the government's website.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak was authorized to sign the memorandum on behalf of Ukraine.

" The decision taken to sign the said memorandum will create legal grounds for cooperation in the defense sector," the statement said.......
At the moment, Putin appears like a heroic figure in contemporary Russian history. But when the political system finally reopens, his public image will be quickly reduced to that of yet another unfortunate dictator and self-serving distractor on Russia's long road to freedom.

Commentary by Andreas Umland for the New Atlanticist, Jan 4, 2016:

One of the mantras of today's Kremlin apologists, as well as of some self-described political realists, is that current Russian President Vladimir Putin is unusually popular among Russians. In the interest of pragmatism, they say, the West should acknowledge this allegedly hard fact and adapt its policies accordingly—i.e., try to rebuild a partnership with Russia's President. In as far as Putin appears to be an embodiment of the Russian national will, it is argued, we had better try to deeply understand and fully consider his views and plans for the world. For better or worse, Putin—as one of the texts on him claims—is Russia's choice, and we should get used to this sociological given.

But how genuine, sustainable, and historically relevant are the impressive pro-Putin polling results continually reported by public opinion research agencies

High rates of official public support for rulers of undemocratic systems are not unusual. The Germans, for example, once overwhelmingly supported a leader who was much more autocratic, expansionist, and aggressive than Putin. Yet should Hitler's popularity in the 1940s, even after his death, mean that we ought to have more empathy for him because the Fuehrer (leader) temporarily represented a large part of the German nation One could list dozens of dictators who were praised during and shortly after their repressive rules, but many of these once-admired hyper-patriots left behind ambivalent if not catastrophic legacies. More often than not, their crimes affected not only surrounding states and ethnic minorities but also the titular nations in their own countries.

Moreover, it is difficult to establish the validity of public opinion research results under conditions of ideological monism and political repression. What does Russian polling data actually tell us? Is Putin's popularity really as high as respondents' answers suggest? How ready are citizens to openly express their political views in an authoritarian system dominated by former Soviet state security officers? Are the preferences recorded in the polls reflective of the entire gamut of respondents' worldviews? To what degree are such views shaped by plural sources of information provided by professional journalists?..........................

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On January 5, for instance, "Russian Federation" in Ukrainian (Російська Федерація) was being translated as "Mordor," the fictional realm occupied and controlled by evil necromancer Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic, The Lord Of The Rings.

It was unclear if the mistranslations were the result of a hack, or whether they were due to a malfunction in the algorithms used by Google to power its translation tool.

Meanwhile, the surname of Sergei Lavrov, the long-serving Russian foreign minister who has been a prominent and outspoken figure since the crisis erupted between Ukraine and Russia nearly two years ago, was translated as "sad little horse."........

Some EU countries have in fact increased their trade turnover with Russia despite reciprocal trade restrictions that were introduced in 2014, Ukrainian weekly newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnia reported having analyzed relations between Russia and the EU countries as part of its project titled "The Abduction of Europe."

According to data of the Russian Federal Customs Service, seven EU states had their trade turnover with Russia increased in the last year: Belgium (8.8%), Denmark (23.2%), Latvia (18.2%), Romania (+0.2%), Slovenia (2.5%), Croatia (12.4%) and Estonia (10.6%). However, only three of them boosted own exports to Russia, namely, Romania - 8%, Croatia - 7.5%, and Estonia - by 104.8%.

Cyprus also increased its export to Russia by 2.1%, against the background of a 68.3% decline in Russian imports. Thus, total trade volume with Russia shrank 66.8% in 2014 as compared to 2013.

The major EU exports to Russia are machinery and equipment, chemical products, ground transportation, nuclear reactors and boilers, pharmaceutical, agricultural and food products, clothing and footwear, that is products with high added value..................

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on Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:19 amAdmin
The 2000 iteration of the national security agenda spelled out Putin's plan to strengthen central power, the state in all its Soviet and czarist glory. The 2015 iteration is a declaration of isolationist, defensive intentions. There is not a glimmer of hope that Putin plans to fight Russia's economic woes by making his country more accessible to foreign capital or deepening its integration into global markets; no, he plans to keep moving in the opposite direction.

An op-ed for Bloomberg View by Leonid Bershidsky, Jan 4, 2016

The evolution of Russia's National Security Strategy -- a document whose latest version was published on Dec. 31 -- provides valuable material for the study of the angst, paranoia and befuddlement now gripping the Kremlin.

It's well known that during his third presidential term, Putin has cultivated the image of a Western enemy out to destroy Russia. That this concept has found a way into the strategic document is not surprising or particularly important. The significance of the rewritten national security concept is that, for the first time in the 18 years since President Boris Yeltsin signed off on the first version, the Kremlin officially regrets opening up the country economically and culturally...............

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Russia’s ban on the transit of Ukrainian goods via its territory to other countries is another attempt to destabilize the economic situation in Ukraine, the ministry of infrastructure of Ukraine says in a statement Jan. 5, UNIAN reports.

“Russia’s rash decision has led to a full stoppage of transit,” the ministry says.

The ban will affect the third countries who will not be able to receive the goods they need, Ukraine officials say.

The ministry called on the carriers not to plan transit via Russia before the situation gets clear to avoid losses to their business.
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