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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Thursday 15 December. [Ukrainian sources]

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:53 am
THURSDAY

Please scroll to view news items added during the day.

NEWS:
Protesters picket Russia’s embassy in Kyiv.  Lithuanian President Grybauskaite says extension of EU sanctions against Russia done deal.  Moscow court extends arrest of Ukrainian political prisoner Sushchenko.   "Putin, stop bombing babies," - dolls covered with artificial blood brought to Russian embassy in Kyiv. PHOTOS+VIDEO.  EU Leaders Discuss Ukraine, Syria, Brexit At 'Minefield' Summit. Mogherini: EU to extend Russian sanctions, ready for deal-oriented relations with U.S. State Department issues travel warning for Ukraine. Trump's choice for top diplomat is no fan of sanctions.

WEATHER:
Kyiv, Ukraine
-3c / 26f HI | RealFeel® -8c / 17f
Precipitation 60%
Chilly; cloudy this morning, then intervals of clouds and sunshine this afternoon
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Protesters picket Russia’s embassy in Kyiv

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:00 am
Protesters picket Russia’s embassy in Kyiv

A picket to protest Russia’s bombings of Aleppo has gathered outside the Russian embassy in Kyiv, Hromadske TV reports Dec. 15.

The protesters demand that Russia stop its criminal bombing of civilians in Aleppo.

The picketers also put up 6 demands to Ukrainian lawmakers entailing support and solidarity with the Syrian people and condemnation of Assad’s cabinet and Russia.

zik.ua


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Lithuanian President Grybauskaite says extension of EU sanctions against Russia done deal

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:02 am
Lithuanian President Grybauskaite says extension of EU sanctions against Russia done deal

The EU member states have already agreed upon extension of the anti-Russian sanctions.

This was stated by President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite upon arrival at the year's last EU summit held in the Belgian capital, Censor.NET reports citing TASS.

"As for the sanctions, everything is already agreed. All member states realize that it is inevitable," she said noting that the formal procedure for the extension of the restrictive measures had already been initiated.

On Dec. 15, the EU leaders intend to take political decision to extend the economic sanctions against Russia for another six months as their current term expires Jan. 31, 2017.

In 2014, the European Union, the United States and several other countries imposed sanctions against Russia following its occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. These restrictive measures were repeatedly extended and expanded. In particular, the talks on visa waiver and a new basic agreement on cooperation were suspended; several Russia's officials were banned to travel to the EU while their assets were attached. Trade, financial, and military restrictions were introduced.

The sanctions list included a total of 151 individuals and 37 entities. The sectoral sanctions were imposed against 20 Russian financial, oil-producing and defense companies.

The Russian Federation introduced a package of retaliation restrictions against the EU, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Norway in August 2014. The so-called counter-sanctions prohibited imports of fruit, vegetables, as well as dairy and meat products to Russia from these countries for a one-year period.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Moscow court extends arrest of Ukrainian political prisoner Sushchenko

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:05 am
Moscow court extends arrest of Ukrainian political prisoner Sushchenko

Moscow city court on Thursday authorized prolongation of arrest to Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko who was illegally detained in Russia on espionage charges.

This was announced by journalist's lawyer Mark Feygin on Twitter, Censor.NET reports.

"The Moscow city court has dismissed the appeal against arrest of Roman Sushchenko," the lawyer said.

As previously reported, members of Moscow's Public Monitoring Commission found Ukrinform news agency correspondent Roman Sushchenko in Lefortovo prison Oct. 2. The Lefortovo court of Moscow remanded the journalist in a two-month custody on charges of espionage (article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) the following day. Ukraine's Information Policy Ministry also confirmed the detention of Sushchenko. The ministry said its legal department was collecting necessary information on the circumstances and reasons for the detention.

In turn, the FSB claims Ukrainian journalist Sushchenko is an agent of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's MoD.

On Oct. 8, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) officers apprehended an agent of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in Rivne. A spy turned out a Ukrainian citizen currently residing Russia. His task was to recruit a senior staff officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові




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"Putin, stop bombing babies," - dolls covered with artificial blood brought to Russian embassy in Kyiv. PHOTOS+VIDEO

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:11 am
"Putin, stop bombing babies," - dolls covered with artificial blood brought to Russian embassy in Kyiv. PHOTOS+VIDEO

A protest against Russian atrocities in Syrian Aleppo is held outside the Russian embassy in Kyiv. The participants intend to draw attention to the children in Aleppo, who suffer at the hands of the Russian army.

A correspondent for Censor.NET reports from the scene.

The rally is attended by over 100 people. The protesters call the Russian authorities to stop bombing Aleppo.



The activists also demand the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to express solidarity and support to the Syrian people and condemn the policy of Bashar al-Assad and Putin.



The protesters attached pictures showing Russian atrocities in Aleppo to the fence surrounding the Russian embassy in Kyiv.




The activists hold banners demanding to stop military operations in Aleppo, the war in Syria, and evacuate people from the ruined city.



The protesters placed toys covered with artificial blood in front of the embassy.



As reported, in conversation with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko expressed opinion that the Russian Federation deserved new sanctions for its actions in Aleppo.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові




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EU Leaders Discuss Ukraine, Syria, Brexit At 'Minefield' Summit

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:12 am
EU Leaders Discuss Ukraine, Syria, Brexit At 'Minefield' Summit

EU heads of state and government met in Brussels on December 15 for a one-day summit to discuss what a senior EU official called a "minefield" of issues faced by the European Union.

The EU leaders are expected to prolong sanctions against Moscow over its interference in Ukraine for another six months, through July 31.

They were also discussing a special statement Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is trying to secure in the hope that it will enable the Netherlands to ratify an agreement on EU-Ukraine political and trade ties despite its rejection by Dutch voters in an April referendum.

The Netherlands, the only EU member state that has not yet ratified the deal, wants a statement clarifying that the pact does not put Ukraine on the path to EU membership and addressing other concerns held by Dutch voters.

"Failure of the ratification would be a huge defeat for the EU, Ukraine [and] a victory for Russia," the news agency AFP quoted an unidentified senior EU official as saying.................

Access complete text of the editorial:  rferl.org In English


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Mogherini: EU to extend Russian sanctions, ready for deal-oriented relations with U.S.

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:14 am
Mogherini: EU to extend Russian sanctions, ready for deal-oriented relations with U.S.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini says the EU is prepared for a "more deal-oriented relationship" with the United States after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office, but EU sanctions against Russia will be linked to peace implementation in eastern Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"The EU is set to extend sanctions against Russia for the next six months over the Ukraine crisis," The Wall Street Journal wrote on December 14, citing Mogherini. She also said that whatever decisions the Trump administration makes on U.S. sanctions on Russia, the bloc would continue to link economic restrictions to progress in implementing the Minsk peace agreements between Moscow and Kyiv. That decision is expected on Monday, December 19, officials say. "So here again, European decisions are not linked to political decisions in Washington," she said............

Access complete text of the editorial:   unian.info In English





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State Department issues travel warning for Ukraine

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:16 am
State Department issues travel warning for Ukraine

The State Department issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens in Ukraine, urging them to "be prepared to remain indoors" if violence erupts between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government during protests.

"The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly," the bulletin warns. "U.S. citizens throughout Ukraine should avoid large crowds and be prepared to remain indoors should protests or demonstrations escalate."

Ukraine is the central flashpoint between Russia and western nations, even though Syria has emerged as a more urgent crisis due to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Aleppo, where Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and the Russians are fighting jihadists and U.S.-backed rebels. Putin's annexation of Crimea, and support for a rebellion against the Ukrainian government in the eastern part of the country, marked the first land grab in Europe by one nation against another since 1938, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria.

The United States and European nations imposed a series of sanctions on Russia, including a round targeting the Russian energy sector that damaged the economy and cancelled a major deal between Putin's government and Exxon Mobil. Secretary of State John Kerry worked to negotiate a pair of ceasefires that have reduced the violence, but Putin hasn't reversed course....................

Access complete text of the editorial: washingtonexaminer.com  In English


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Trump's choice for top diplomat is no fan of sanctions

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:17 am
Trump's choice for top diplomat is no fan of sanctions

If there's one thing Republicans and Democrats have agreed on in foreign policy, it is the power of sanctions. But Donald Trump's choice for secretary of state has seen things differently.

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has said he has a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, opposed the sanctions levied on Moscow following its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014. They cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

It's not clear if Tillerson's view will change if he shifts from representing a USD 350 billion multinational company to becoming America's top diplomat. His position seems to put him at odds with Trump, who has favored some sanctions...........

Access complete text of the editorial:  uatoday.tv In English


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Vladimir Putin: what does a leader have to do to win awards?

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:58 am
Vladimir Putin: what does a leader have to do to win awards?

The Russian president takes some PR advice



In the Kremlin an unhappy Vladimir Putin has summoned his close ally Dmitry Medvedev.

You wanted to see me.

I’ve been reading the western media.

I wish you would not do that Vladimir Vladimirovich, its full of fake news. Also it makes you angry.

Angry! I’m astonished. Time, the Financial Times, Chapter 11 Monthly — they’ve all made Trump Person of the Year. How is this possible? Look at my record: I’ve invaded Ukraine; stolen Crimea; destabilised western Europe; recreated the Russian sphere of influence; flattened Syria; rigged the US elections, and got my guy in the White House. What does a man have to do to get some bloody recognition?

You’re always my man of the year, Vladimir Vladimirovich.

I’m touched Dmitry, but that’s not the same. I mean, seriously, have you seen Aleppo? We’ve razed the place. We’ve got Assad back in control in Syria. The new American secretary of state has the Grand Order of Lenin and the National Security Adviser hosts a cookery show on Russia Today. You’d think that was worth at least a place on the shortlist.

Absolutely.

I got Opec to cut supply, the economy is beginning to stir itself.

A remarkable achievement.

Hacking the Democratic National Committee and feeding it to Wikileaks. I’ve got people actually hanging on the musings of Nigel Farage and Beppe Grillo, do you have any idea what an achievement that is? I personally medicated our entire Olympic squad but only half were disqualified. What do I get? Neeshto. Look at Trump with his hair and his trophy wives; he’s never had to fight his way up from the streets. He beats a 70-year-old woman in one election. He surrounds himself with plutocrats and white supremacists — OK, so he’s not all bad. But I bet he’s never chased away rats in his stairwell, grabbed a woman by her . . . or bumped off a Chechen in an outhouse. Those squealing western media liberals need to be whipped like a slave in a galley. You understand....................

Access complete text of the editorial:  ft.com In English


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Netherlands and EU ready to find deal on Ukraine issue to fend off Russia

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:08 pm
Netherlands and EU ready to find deal on Ukraine issue to fend off Russia

European Union leaders expressed confidence on Thursday that they would clinch an agreement that addresses Dutch concerns over a deal establishing closer ties with Ukraine, mindful that any failure to do so would hand a victory to Russia.

The EU's so-called association agreement with Ukraine is central to the former Soviet republic's efforts to move closer to the West. Mass street protests toppled a pro-Russian Ukrainian president in 2014 after he tried to ditch it.

The Netherlands is the only EU country that has not ratified the deal, which fosters closer political ties and aims to free up trade between Ukraine and the bloc, after Dutch voters rejected it in a referendum last April.

The Hague has asked the EU for additional guarantees to ensure the deal does not lead to EU membership for Ukraine.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte would then take it to his parliament for approval, which would overwrite the referendum result.

"I'm sure we will find an agreement. It's in the interest of all," Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said. "I'm sure we will find conclusions proposed by (Dutch Prime Minister) Mark Rutte that will be acceptable by all."

Rutte, arriving at the EU leaders meeting in Brussels, said he was "a bit more optimistic".

"I'm motivated to get this done," he told reporters, stressing the importance of a united European stance in the face of an emboldened Russia.

"Russia is an increasing risk, look what happened in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and rockets being placed between Poland and Lithuania. You cannot, as the Netherlands... break this unity, that is why I'm so motivated to get this done," he said.

Should Rutte fail to get extra guarantees from the EU leaders, or push it through his own parliament later on, the Ukraine agreement could cease to exist.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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EU agrees with Dutch proposals on Ukraine-EU Association Agreement ratification

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:27 pm
EU agrees with Dutch proposals on Ukraine-EU Association Agreement ratification

The leaders of the European Union have agreed to the proposals voiced by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, aimed at unblocking the ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which was suspended due to the negative outcome of the referendum in the Netherlands, according to an UNIAN news agency correspondent in Brussels.
The corresponding conclusions of the EU Council were published on its website Thursday, following the completion of the official part of the EU summit.

”After having carefully noted the outcome of the Dutch referendum on 6 April 2016 on the bill approving the Association Agreement and the concerns expressed prior to the referendum as conveyed by the Dutch Prime Minister, the European Council takes note of a Decision of the Heads of State or Government of the 28 Member States of the European Union, meeting within the European Council (Annex), which addresses these concerns in full conformity with the Association Agreement and the EU treaties,” the Conclusion reads................

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Savchenko banished from Batkivshchyna faction

on Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:09 pm
Savchenko banished from Batkivshchyna faction

The Batkivshchyna parliamentary faction has decided to exclude people's deputy Nadiia Savchenko from its ranks.

Censor.NET reports quoting faction's official statement.

"During 2014 parliamentary elections, Batkivshchyna party included Nadiia Savchenko in its electoral list seeking liberation of the Ukrainian woman and officer from Russian captivity.

"The time has proven that it is the high status of people's deputy and PACE member that allowed raising the issue of Nadiia at the highest global political level, which, combined with the struggle of the Ukrainian people, finally led to her freedom.

"If we could turn back time, we would have done the same to liberate Nadiia.

"However, the life has shown that the principles and political opinion of Nadiia Savchenko and Batkivshchyna differ. In particular, Batkivshchyna strongly opposes any negotiations with terrorists, an amnesty for the killers of Ukrainians, and the legalization of armed gangs in the Donbas.

"Nadiia believes that 'Ukraine's official stance on using exactly this terminology is not clearly defined and proven.'

"The Batkivshchyna faction has discussed all these circumstances with Nadiia Savchenko and decided to exclude her from its ranks," the statement reads.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Re: Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Thursday 15 December. [Ukrainian sources]

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