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Firtash detained in Vienna on Spain's arrest warrant. Washington believes better US-Russia relationship possible after Kremlin fulfils its Minsk commitments and returns Crimea to Ukraine.  "I am certain there will be case in The Hague's Criminal Court against Putin and his cronies,".  Russian militants opened fire upon Ukraine Army's positions 59 times yesterday, employed mortars, IFVs, tank.  UNSC requires immediate reform; abuse of veto power must end.  "Russia seeks to make Ukrainians believe they live in a fake state,".

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Ukraine opposes advanced force, needs lethal arms, - US Congressman Quigley

Two U.S. lawmakers, Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Mike Quigley, say the time has come for the United States to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons to better defend itself against Moscow-backed separatists.

Censor.NET reports referring to RFE/RL.

In an interview in Kyiv on Feb. 22, Durbin (Democrat-Illinois) told RFE/RL that the conflict in eastern Ukraine has "reached a point now where we have to be honest."

"What [the Russians] continue to do in eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, gives no indication they're backing off," he said. "We have to give to Ukraine the tools and weapons they need to protect their own people."

Among other things, Durbin cited Putin's recent order formally accepting "passports" and identity documents issued by the separatists who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.

"That says to me he has no plans of leaving [Ukraine] soon," he said.

U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (Democrat-Illinois), who spoke to RFE/RL along with Durbin, said that lethal arms were necessary "because it is a new world and there's new technology out there, and [the Ukrainians] are competing against an advanced force."

Durbin and Quigley said they would appeal to Congress, where they said there was bipartisan support for helping Ukraine.

Senior U.S. officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have both recently delivered strong statements of support for Ukraine and called out Russia for its aggression here.

So far, Washington has provided Kyiv with only nonlethal assistance, including military training. , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
Thousands March In Kyiv To Honor 2014 Maidan And Challenge Government

Thousands of activists are marching in Kyiv to honor protesters who were killed during the pro-European Maidan demonstrations in 2013-14 and to challenge the government.

The so-called March of National Dignity was organized by three nationalist parties -- Svoboda (Freedom), the National Corps, and Right Sector.

Activists gathered on Kyiv's central Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) early on February 22 and began marching toward parliament, where they planned to announce their demands to lawmakers, the cabinet, and President Petro Poroshenko.

Organizers have said their demands include calls for full investigations of the deadly dispersal of demonstrators in Kyiv in February 2014 and the immediate cancellation of all trade with Russia, which demonstrators called "the aggressor country."......
Yanukovych: I and my associates dream of returning to Ukraine and get back to normal life

Fugitive President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych’s dream is to go back to his homeland to contribute to the country’s restoration.

As reported by Censor.NET referring to the Russian TASS news agency, he said in an interview to Russian and Ukrainian journalists.

"I live in a small rented house in Rostov (Rostov-on-Don, the Russian Federation). I stay in touch with my friends and relatives and, certainly, with my associates. They have also found themselves in difficulties and, just like me, they also dream of doing something good for Ukraine, the Ukrainian people. And, of course, we all dream to return home to take part in restoring normalcy so that our children live in a prosperous country," Yanukovych said.

He stressed that he had "no illusions or big ambitions."

"I just have to take a principled stance today. I am obliged to seek political means to end the war in Ukraine, to start restoring the devastated Donbas - my lesser motherland where I was born and lived for more than 50 years," he said.

The fugitive president is convinced that Ukraine and Russia still have great prospects for restoring good relations because of the countries' "shared history."

Viktor Yanukovych is known to be charged with high treason, aiding the Russian authorities in their deliberate actions aimed at changing the territory and the state borders of Ukraine in violation of the procedure stipulated by the Ukrainian Constitution, and waging of a war of aggression., Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
Russian militants opened fire upon Ukraine Army's positions 59 times yesterday, employed mortars, IFVs, tank

The Russian occupation troops continue unilaterally violating the cease-fire agreements.

As reported by Censor.NET, this was announced by the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) Staff's press center in a report posted on Facebook.

In Mariupol direction, invaders employed 120 mm and 82 mm mortars to shell Shyrokyne and Vodiane. Hnutove, Talakivka, Vodiane, Pavlopil came under grenade launcher, large-caliber machine gun and small arms fire. Taramchuk and Shyrokyne were impacted with IFV weapon.

In Donetsk direction, Russian mercenaries shelled Avdiivka, Luhanske and Opytne with 120 mm and 82 mm mortars. Grenade launchers, large-caliber machine guns, and small arms impacted Luhanske, Zaitseve, and Kamianka. A sniper operated in Kamianka. A tank fired upon Avdiivka.

In Luhansk direction, Katerynivka and Novooleksandrivka came under 82 mm mortar fire. Stanytsia Luhanska was impacted from grenade launchers.

"A total of 59 cases of fire were recorded yesterday," the report says.

On Feb. 20, militant committed 74 cases of fire upon Ukrainian positions. , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
"I am certain there will be case in The Hague's Criminal Court against Putin and his cronies," - Justice Minister Petrenko

Ukraine's Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko believes that the International Criminal Court will hear a separate case on Russian President Putin's involvement in the Donbas war crimes.

As reported by Censor.NET, Petrenko said in an interview with

"I am certain there will be a case in The Hague's Criminal Court. I have no doubts about that. Against leadership of the Russian Federation - against Putin and his cronies," the justice minister said.

"There is plenty of evidence that could be considered in the context of war crimes. But the Court practices monitoring of such conflicts, and consideration of a case in essence starts only after a conflict is over. I.e., at least the hot phase of the war needs to end, as it was in Georgia," Petrenko said.

On Nov. 15, 2016 International Criminal Court has for the first time said the simmering conflict in Ukraine should be considered an international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The following day, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree stipulating for Russia's refusal to be a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands. , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
"Russia seeks to make Ukrainians believe they live in a fake state," - Lutsenko

Russia is trying to represent Ukraine as a failed state.

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yurii Lutsenko said, Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN.

"After the Ukrainian army got to its feet, Moscow launched an offensive on Ukraine's internal political statehood," he said.

"Russia seeks to make Ukrainian citizens believe they live in a fake state, a failed state that can not control its political life," the prosecutor general said.

"All the round table meetings held at the expense of Moscow that call for the federalization of Ukraine, free economic zones, the erosion of the country's vertical structures are intended to show Ukraine is ineffective in its current form. The law enforcement system has done and will do anything to prove otherwise: Ukraine is a unitary state that will defend its territorial integrity," Lutsenko stated., Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
Firtash detained in Vienna on Spain's arrest warrant

Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash was arrested in Vienna on Tuesday, minutes after an Austrian court granted a request for his extradition to the U.S.

A spokeswoman for Vienna's prosecutors said on Tuesday, Censor.NET reports citing Reuters.

The spokeswoman said Firtash's detention was technically separate from Tuesday's extradition ruling as it was based on a Spanish request for Firtash's arrest for which she could give no details.

She said it was too early to tell how the implementation of the European arrest warrant would impact Tuesday's decision to extradite Firtash to the United States over bribery allegations which he denies.

Earlier, Vienna's Higher Regional Court considered an appeal by Austria's prosecution against the decision to overturn the extradition of Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash to the United States.

On Oct. 23, 2015, Vienna's prosecution, following a request by the Ministry of Justice of the United States, appealed a decision by the Vienna Higher Regional Court taken on April 30, 2015. On that day, the court refused to extradite the infamous Ukrainian tycoon to the United States. The judge explained his ruling was based on assumption the extradition request was politically charged. , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
UNSC requires immediate reform; abuse of veto power must end, - Klimkin

Ukraine insists that a country involved in an international conflict be deprived of the U.N. Security Council veto power in decisions to resolve this conflict.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said presiding at a Ukraine-initiated UNSC open debate on the issue of conflicts in Europe, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrainski Novyny.

"We require strong institutions protecting international law. Only strong institutions, and first of all the U.N. Security Council, can ensure international security. We need to urgently reform the Security Council in order to remove the veto power abuses. The Security Council should be capable of efficiently addressing 'bloody conflicts' regardless of possible presence of a party to the conflict at this table as Security Council permanent member," he said.

Klimkin said Russia tends to exploit institutional weaknesses, in particular abusing its power of veto at the U.N. Security Council.

He also noted the U.N. should take more initiative in providing options for the resolution of conflicts in Europe.

"We also believe it is worth reflecting on existing experience of conflict resolution in other regions. For example, the establishment of a Security Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Europe, similar to that dealing with conflicts in Africa. This could make the Security Council pay more heed to conflicts in Europe," he stated.

Klimkin stressed a growing trend of instability in the world and warned that a crisis can quickly evolve into a large-scale war if appropriate response measures are not taken.

"In recent decades, Europe has faced a number of conflicts. Those conflicts that remain unresolved have one common feature - active involvement of one state, Russia," the minister said.

"If Russia's aggression goes unchecked, every protracted conflict may become a hot one, and the aggressor will continue to create new threats and challenges in stable places," the diplomat said.

He said the appeasement of aggressors and lack of consequences encourage more aggression. , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
Washington believes better US-Russia relationship possible after Kremlin fulfils its Minsk commitments and returns Crimea to Ukraine

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley admits possibility of better relationship between America and Russia after Moscow fully honors its Minsk commitments and returns control over Crimea to Ukraine.

As reported by Censor.NET citing the U.S. Mission to the U.N., Ambassador Haley said at a U.N. Security Council open debate on Conflicts in Europe Feb. 21.

"The United States thinks it's possible to have a better relationship with Russia. After all, we confront many of the same threats. But greater cooperation with Russia cannot come at the expense of the security of our European friends and allies. That is why the United States calls on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. That is why we continue to urge Russia to show a commitment to peace - by fully implementing the commitments under the Minsk agreements and ending its occupation of Crimea," she said.

Haley also believes Russia's recognition of the documents issued by the "DPR"/"LPR" terrorist organizations to be another direct challenge to peace efforts.

"Russia has tried to prevent the change that the Ukrainian people demanded. Russia occupied Crimea and attempted to annex this piece of Ukrainian territory - an act the United States does not recognize. Russia then armed, financed, and organized separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, leading to a devastating and senseless conflict that has cost more than 10,000 lives," U.S. ambassador to U.N. said.

"Russia's recognition in recent days of purported passports and other illegitimate documents distributed by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions is another direct challenge to efforts to bring peace to eastern Ukraine," the diplomat said.

"The United States and the EU remain united in this approach, keeping sanctions in place until Moscow fully honors its Minsk commitments. Our separate Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine," Haley added. , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові
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