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THURSDAY

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NEWS:
Fighting in Avdiyivka: The Trump prepared statement.  Poroshenko ready for NATO referendum in Ukraine: If Ukrainians say 'yes,' president will do his best to get accession.  The expert estimated the probability of new EU sanctions against Russia because of aggravation in the Donbas.  Poroshenko has offered the EU a Russian-language TV channel to fight propaganda.  Russia, not Ukraine responsible for escalation of aggression in Donbas, - Klimkin.  The invaders bombarded the OSCE mission and hit the road to Avdiyivka 203-mm and 152-mm shells.  Georgia granted visa-free travel by EP's vast majority.

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US Ambassador to UN blames Russia for new violence in eastern Ukraine

Haley made clear that tensions over the Ukraine would not end soon, including the matter of sanctions slapped on Russia related to the annexation of Crimea three years ago.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blamed Russia on Thursday for the recent surge of violence in eastern Ukraine and warned Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will not be lifted until Moscow returns Crimea to Kiev. “I consider it unfortunate on the occasion of my first appearance here I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia,” Haley said, making her first public remarks inside the Security Council since being sworn in as the United States’ representative to the United Nations last month. “It shouldn’t happen, or be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.” Her remarks came amid speculation over US President Donald Trump’s intentions towards Moscow. Trump has praised Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and expressed a wish for improved relations between the two countries.

Haley made clear that tensions over the Ukraine would not end soon, including the matter of sanctions slapped on Russia related to the annexation of Crimea three years ago. “Eastern Ukraine of course is not the only part of the country suffering because of Russia’s aggressive actions. The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea,” Haley said.
“Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.” The United States and other Western powers imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, disputed Haley’s commentary on Crimea, but welcomed his American counterpart.

“It was friendly enough, given the circumstances and given the subject we were discussing,” the Russian ambassador told reporters. He noted the chance for a new start after ties between Russia and United States frayed in Obama’s second term. “If there is an opportunity to have better relations with the United States, if there is an opportunity for us to work better with the United States… then we should take this opportunity.”

He faulted the Obama administration for not doing enough to end the conflict in Ukraine and called on the Trump government to bring its influence to bear. “Clearly they are the people who are listened to in Kiev.”.

Ukraine and Russia had blamed each other for a surge in fighting in recent days around the government-held industrial town of Avdiivka that has led to the highest casualty toll in weeks and cut off power and water to thousands of civilians on the front line. At the Thursday Security Council session, Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Volodymr Yelchenko, who holds the presidency of the Security Council for February, said the strife around Avdiivka started with artillery shelling by the Russian army and Russian-backed fighters from the two suburbs they control abutting the town.

Churkin blamed Ukrainian security forces for starting the bloodshed. UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, painted a grim picture of the situation on the ground. “Hundreds of thousand of civilians on both sides of the contact line are still at risk of losing all access to water, heating and electricity, bringing the spectre of further displacements closer,” Feltman said.

“With every new day of fighting, the conflict becomes more entrenched and difficult to resolve. There is no military solution to this conflict.”................

Access complete text of the editorial:  indianexpress.com In English
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U.S. Ambassador To UN: No Lifting Of Sanctions Until Crimea Returned

The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has expressed "strong condemnation of Russia's actions" in eastern Ukraine and warned that Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will not be lifted until Crimea is returned to Kyiv.

"Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine," she said on February 2 in her first public remarks before the Security Council since being sworn in as the U.S. representative to the UN.

"Eastern Ukraine, of course, is not the only part of the country suffering because of Russia's aggressive actions. The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea," Haley said.................

Access complete text of the editorial:  rferl.org In English
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McCain called Trump "provide Ukraine with lethal weapons"

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona called on US President Donald Trump allow Ukraine supply lethal weapons to protect against offensive in the east.

It informs Tsenzor.NET, statement and letter to Trump published on the website policy.

"In light of recent Russian prospects for future attacks and aggression against Ukraine, I urge you to implement the authority granted ... and provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to protect its territory from further violations," - referred to in the letter.

McCain accused Russia and militias in the escalating conflict. He also called on to save the current sanctions against Russia, while Moscow will not abandon the Crimea.

The senator stressed that the United States should again help free people, "giving our Ukrainian friends help they need and deserve that."

"Given Russia's attempts to influence our elections, I urge you to extend the current sanctions against Russia", - concluded McCain.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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"No I have not weakened the sanctions," - Trump on "clarification" anti-Russian sanctions

The US Treasury on Thursday introduced amendments to the restrictive measures imposed against the former president Obama to allow American technology companies to export products to Russia.

As the Tsenzor.NET, this newspaper writes The Hill.

In the management of the Treasury Department of Foreign Assets Control explained that US technology companies can apply to the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) for permission to export products to the country in the event that they do not intend to continue to use the Crimea and if does not contradict sanctions imposed earlier.

The White House has denied allegations of easing sanctions on Russia, the Obama administration in response to the possible intervention of Russia in the US presidential election.

"No I have not weakened the sanctions," - said Trump journalists during a press conference in the so-called Roosevelt room, a conference hall in the West Wing of the White House.

A spokesman for the White House Sean Spicer said that "to do certain exemptions for various industries, products or services after the imposition of sanctions - is the usual practice of the Ministry of Finance." "It is common practice Ministry of Finance after the introduction of sanctions", - said Sean Spicer.

ua.censor.net.ua, In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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Putin says “certain Ukrainian oligarchs” funded Clinton’s presidential campaign

President Vladimir Putin of Russia said Ukrainian oligarchs were allegedly involved in funding campaign of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Censor.NET reports citing Interfax.

"As we know, the current Ukrainian government took a unilateral position in support of one of the candidates in the course of the U.S. presidential campaign and, moreover, certain oligarchs provided financial assistance to this candidate, or female candidate, to be more precise, definitely doing this with the approval of the political leadership," Putin said at a press conference after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

According to Putin, Ukrainian authorities are now need to establish ties with the Administration of 45th U.S. President Donald Trump and "it will also be achieved through a conflict since it is always better, always more convenient, easier to involve the new administration in addressing Ukraine problems thus building some dialogue."

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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EU leaders not to discuss sanctions against Russia at informal summit Feb 3

Leaders of the European Union member states do not plan to discuss the issue of sanctions against Russia at the informal summit in Valletta (Malta) on February 3, due to an escalation of the security situation in eastern Ukraine, a European diplomat told an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels.

"We extended the sanctions for another six months in December, and the EU leaders are not expected to discuss this issue in Malta," he said....

unian.info
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The US Treasury just amended Obama's sanctions order to 'authorize certain transactions' with Russia's FSB

The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control on Thursday published an amendment to President Barack Obama's sanctions order against Russia to "authorize certain transactions" with Russia's Federal Security Service.

The new authorization will allow US companies to pay up to $5,000 a year to the FSB — which oversees technology imports into Russia — to secure licenses from the security services to export information technology products to Russia, as long as other aspects of the sanctions order aren't violated, according to the document published by the Treasury.

Obama issued harsh sanctions against the FSB — first in April 2015 and again in December of last year — which it accused of playing a role in hacking campaigns targeting US citizens and infrastructure during the 2016 presidential campaign.

US citizens and companies were prohibited from doing business with FSB entities under Obama's Cyber-Related Sanctions Designations, known as Executive Order 13694. But that may have been an "unintended consequence" of the original sanctions order, according to Eric Lorber, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance.

"The new General License permits US persons who are shipping technology goods to Russia (which is generally permitted) to get certificates/licenses, etc. from the FSB to continue exporting those goods to Russia," Lorber wrote on Twitter................

Access complete text of the editorial:  businessinsider.com In English
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Russia is deliberately destabilising Ukraine (Financial Times)

From Natalia Galibarenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK

Sir, Regarding your report “Violence rises in east Ukraine as each side blames the other” (January 31): Ukraine is committed to a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Donbas in line with the Minsk Agreement, as President Petro Poroshenko reaffirmed alongside German chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. We do not want, and have not sought, a war with Russia. Unfortunately, Russia has once again escalated attacks in eastern Ukraine, in violation of the ceasefire, claiming the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Just in the past two days, the occupying Russian forces carried out attacks with weapons prohibited under the Minsk agreements, including MLRS “Grad”, 152mm and 122mm artillery, 120mm and 82mm mortars and tanks. Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 24 wounded.

Russian shelling has also left 400,000 civilians around the cities of Yasinovata and Avdiyivka with no access to water, electricity and heating........

(Financial Times)
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Brussels hits out at ‘worrying’ words from Trump administration (Financial Times)

Donald Tusk warns noises from Washington put Europe in ‘difficult situation’

The head of the European Council has hit back at Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of the EU, saying “worrying declarations” from the US president have ratcheted up the uncertainty facing Europe.

In a hard-hitting letter to the EU’s 28 national leaders, Donald Tusk, president of the council, ranked the arrival of the Trump administration in Washington alongside China’s assertiveness and Russian aggression as some of the biggest global forces making Europe’s future “highly” unpredictable.

Mr Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said there should be no surrender “to those who want to weaken or invalidate the transatlantic bond, without which global order and peace cannot survive”.

“We should remind our American friends of their own motto: ‘United we stand, divided we fall’,” he wrote..............

Access complete text of the editorial:  Financial Times In English
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Reports of treason and CIA spies shed light on Russian hacking (Financial Times)

Moscow cyber agents and shadowy ‘Humpty Dumpty’ unit put focus on murky underworld

Soon after two top Russian cyber crime officers vanished late last year, the rumours began to spread.

One newspaper reported that Sergei Mikhailov, head of cyber security at the FSB, the KGB’s successor agency, was abruptly escorted from a meeting with a dark bag over his head. A far-right website suggested that Mr Mikhailov had been plotting to overthrow Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In the past few days, a flurry of news reports has suggested Mr Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev, his deputy, have been arrested and face charges of treason for passing information to the CIA. If found guilty, they could face jail sentences of up to 20 years. Two other men from outside the agency, including a senior official at Kaspersky Lab, the cyber company, have been arrested.

Trials for treason are held in secret and the FSB rarely comments on them. This makes details of the case difficult to confirm. But detailed clandestine security briefings to the press have shed light on Russia’s murky hacking underworld, including the shadowy Shaltai-Boltai outfit, named after the Humpty Dumpty character in the Russian translation of Alice in Wonderland.

“The issue here is that people from a very responsible agency — the FSB — were playing games with information, ” said Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin spin-doctor. “From what’s been published, it seems believable.”.............

Access complete text of the editorial:  (Financial Times) In English
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Poroshenko: We do not expect military aid from West

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has told German media that unity in the EU policies is what he expects most from Europe.

"We do not expect military aid," said Poroshenko Berliner Morgenpost. "We have our own army and we can fight for our independence on our own," the Ukrainian president said. "If you ask me, what kind of support I need most from the European Union, I have a simple answer: unity."........

unian.info/politics
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Poll: Most Russians have "bad," "very bad" attitude to Ukraine but do not consider it "foreign land"

At the same time, the majority of Russians do not consider Belarus a foreign country, according to the findings of a survey by the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling and sociological research organization.

Answering the question on what is their attitude toward Ukraine, 39% of respondents said "mostly bad," 15% – "very bad," 31% – "mostly good," only 2% – "very good," and 13% failed to give a definite answer. At the same time, 53% of respondents said they did not consider Ukraine a foreign land, 42% did so, and another 5% could not answer the question.

At the same time, 61% of respondents do not consider Belarus a foreign land, 33% did so, while 5% could not answer........

unian.info/politics
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Georgia granted visa-free travel by EP's vast majority

More than 500 MEPs supported the decision.

As reported by Censor.NET referring to journalist Rikard Jozwiak's Twitter page, the European Parliament has voted for granting visa-free travel for Georgia.

"The European Parliament have voted in favor of visa-free travel for Georgia. 553 for, 66 against, 28 abstained," he said.

ua.censor.net.ua, In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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The invaders bombarded the OSCE mission and hit the road to Avdiyivka 203-mm and 152-mm shells

Occupants beat Avdeevka not only on the prohibited "Grad", but with 203-mm "Peonies" and 152-mm "hyacinth". Also during attacks invaders vtrapyla OSCE.

As the Tsenzor.NET about it in Facebook told journalist Dmitry Aces, referring to comments press officer 72d Ombre Armed Forces Public Radio .

"For Avdiyivka beat not only" city ". There were also documented exploding shells that indicate the use of the occupants of 203 mm" Peonies "and 152-mm" hyacinth ". 72nd Brigade received assistance and confidently holds the position. Ask convey that elevated mood for protecting Ukraine ", - wrote the journalist.

also the press officer of 72 Brigade Mokrenchuk Elena at the request of journalists verify yesterday's shelling by militants from Avdeevki road on which the civilians were taken, said: " Yes, the road fired continuously. with Avdeevki can go two ways, and when people went two days ago, stood and voted on one of these roads, over their heads flew "Grad". Well, that shells were torn in the field and no injuries . But imagine how people were scared. It was also shelled and second road, near which there are two craters from shells of a large caliber, as we were told gunners, or "Peonies", or "tulip." This is such a huge pit tall man. in Chora also fired OSCE mission, so we see that the occupiers have lost a sense of proportion and fear. "

As previously reported in the press center of the headquarters of ATO, yesterday Russian-occupation forces continued to shell Avdiyivka with heavy weapons, using MLRS BM-21 Grad, 152 and 122 mm artillery, tanks. The invaders had made several attempts to attack the defenders of Ukraine and, having suffered many losses, they each had to retreat.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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Russia, not Ukraine responsible for escalation of aggression in Donbas, - Klimkin

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says Russia's allegations about Ukraine provoking the escalation in the Donbas are absurd.

Censor.NET reports quoting Klimkin's Twitter.

"Mr. Lavrov's claim that Ukraine is responsible for the recent escalation in fighting in the Donbas, and furthermore that the purpose behind this action is to draw attention to Ukraine, is both absurd and completely untrue.

"The truth is that Russia has invaded sovereign Ukrainian territory with thousands of regular troops and many more thousands of Russian financed mercenaries in addition to thousands of pieces of military hardware, finances terrorists in the Donbas and continues to commit war crimes by shelling residential areas and critical infrastructure.

"The truth is that Russia has for over two years flagrantly violated the Minsk agreements that have been put in place to resolve the situation.

"The truth is that this is a cynical and inhuman attempt by Russia to further destabilize Ukraine and indeed the rest of Europe. This is also an attempt to move Ukraine and all of us away from the path of democracy and international law at a particularly difficult time in international affairs.

"But the truth as people across the world are increasingly coming to recognize is the quality for which the Kremlin has little if any regard.

"It is Russia and not Ukraine that is responsible for the most recent illegal and inhumane escalation of aggression in the Donbas," the foreign minister said.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the spike in hostilities and powerful attacks on Avdiivka as provocations orchestrated by the Ukrainian authorities and President Petro Poroshenko.

The fighting in the vicinity of Avdiivka has been underway since late Saturday, Jan. 28.

After three days, Ukrainian soldiers managed to take enemy positions and improved their tactical set-up in the area. Unfortunately, casualties were reported among the military.

On Jan. 30, enemy strikes left the government-controlled town of Avdiivka without electricity, water and heat.

In the evening of Jan. 30, a state of emergency was declared in Avdiivka.

As reported by the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) Staff press center, militants carry out not stop attacks on Ukrainian positions near the town.

A regional coordination center to aid local population has been set up.

According to the National Police, six civilians had been wounded and 26 houses damaged as of morning, Feb. 1. A female body of a civilian was found in Avdiivka downtown on Feb. 1.

The Donetsk regional civil-military administration said the sides had agreed to cease fire until 5 p.m. Feb. 1. At around 3:30 p.m., the enemy violated the agreement by opening fire on repair workers. The town remains de-energized so far.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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Poroshenko ready for NATO referendum in Ukraine: If Ukrainians say 'yes,' president will do his best to get accession

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says he intends to hold referendum on NATO accession.
As reported by Censor.NET citing 112 Ukraine TV channel, Poroshenko said in an interview to German Berliner Morgenpost.

Four years ago, only 16 percent of Ukrainians supported Ukraine's membership in NATO, the president said. Now it is 54 percent. As a president, Poroshenko says, he hears the Ukrainian people and is willing to hold a referendum on NATO accession. If Ukrainians vote 'yes,' the president says he will do his best to get NATO accession for Ukraine.

In 2016, five battalions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were trained under NATO standards.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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SBU detained militants "DNR" on suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks in Kharkiv. PHOTOS + VIDEO

The Security Service of Ukraine detained a militant terrorist organization "DNR" on suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks in the Kharkiv region.

Reported Tsenzor.NET with reference to the press center of the SBU.



"27-year-old local resident at the beginning of 2014 he participated in the capture of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration and beating patriotic activists . in April of that year he went to Slavonic, which voluntarily joined the illegal armed groups, directed terrorist girkin. During the years 2014-2016 consisting gang "Sparta" intruder took part in the fighting against the Ukrainian units "- the in a statement.

"In Kharkiv terrorist came from the temporarily occupied territories by Russia. According to its curators task he had to blow up railroad tracks in the direction of Donetsk region and strategically important objects of the energy sector", - the SBU.

January 30 SBU operatives with the employment of special unit "Alfa" saboteur detained in the village Balakliysky Donets region. Law enforcement officials seized 1.2 kg of TNT attacker almost 0.5 kg of plastid, two hand grenade RHN, means of initiating an explosion and cartographic materials and labeled them with facilities to commit terrorist acts.




Detained announced on suspicion of Part. 1, Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the preventive measure in the form of detention. Decides on additional training for his actions ch. 2, Art. 260 (participation in the law of unintended militias) and h. 1 tbsp. 110 (encroachment on territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine) of the Criminal Code. The investigation continues.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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Poroshenko has offered the EU a Russian-language TV channel to fight propaganda

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has advised the European Union to create a Russian-language TV channel to fight the propaganda of. The Head of Ukrainian state said in an interview with German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost.

"Europeans must resist the populist propaganda - namely from Russia. You need a new communication strategy. It would be advisable to create a transnational European Union TV channel in Russian," - said Poroshenko.

According to him, then it would be propaganda channels like Russia Today would not be able so to influence the voters of Russian origin in the EU.

"This would contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe", - concluded the president.

Recall that in November 2016 the European Parliament adopted a resolution against the Russian propaganda.

apostrophe.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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The expert estimated the probability of new EU sanctions against Russia because of aggravation in the Donbas

A change in attitudes towards Russia within the European Union, Ukraine should not expect to introduce new sanctions against Russia.

About this in his column on the website "apostrophe" said the German political scientist and senior fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kiev Andreas Umland.

According to him, the decision on anti-Russian sanctions must be taken by all member states, some of which are not critical of Russia.

"For Ukraine in this issue - stalled, a quick solution to the EU will not wait. We can only hope that bilateral relations can be reached any agreement," - said Umland.

Thus, Ukraine may count on the continuation of existing sanctions, but not making new ones.

Read more about the future of relations between Ukraine and the EU in the context of the conflict in Donbas at "Apostrophe".

apostrophe.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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Fighting in Avdiyivka: The Trump prepared statement

President of the United States Donald Trump informed of the latest developments in eastern Ukraine. The press secretary of the White House Sean Spicer.

Spicer asked to comment on the fighting taking place in Ukraine. In particular, journalists asked Press Secretary of the White House: "Does the president feels that Russia feels it?".

"President regularly inform representatives of US National Security Council about what is happening in Ukraine," - said Spicer.

A spokesman for the White House said that will provide more information on another occasion: "In the future we will make public message on this subject."

Recall, the press service of the State Emergency Services issued a fresh photo effects Avdeevki powerful attacks.

apostrophe.ua, In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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