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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Saturday 11 March. [Ukrainian sources]

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:20 am
SATURDAY

Please scroll to view news items added during the day.

NEWS:
Merkel to advise Trump on dealing with Putin. McCain commended apprehension of Nasirov and encouraged to continue anti-corruption efforts.  Secret FBI division investigates Russia's influence on US presidential election.  Two soldiers killed, 16 wounded in ATO zone yesterday.  Russia demanded change to PACE rules to regain voting rights.  UN Warns Of Possible Threat Of Chemical Disaster In Eastern Ukraine. Netherlands denied entry to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey. Trump invited the Palestinian leader to the White House. 

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McCain commended apprehension of Nasirov and encouraged to continue anti-corruption efforts

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:29 am
McCain commended apprehension of Nasirov and encouraged to continue anti-corruption efforts

U.S. Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the statement on the arrest of the director of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine Roman Nasirov, pending embezzlement charges.

Censor.NET reports citing McCain's official website.

"The arrest of Roman Nasirov, Ukraine's top tax official and director of the State Fiscal Service, pending embezzlement charges is a positive step forward for the Government of Ukraine in its fight against the corruption," the statement reads.

According to McCain, the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has done commendable work on this investigation and in its tireless efforts to tackle official corruption.

"Ukraine's long-term stability and success depend on its commitment to reform, including strengthening rule of law and fighting corruption. I commend the Government of Ukraine on its progress and encourage it to continue its anti-corruption efforts," he added.

March 2, NABU and SAP agents arrived at Feofania hospital to serve an indictment for criminal offence against Ukraine's chief taxman Roman Nasirov. The doctors barred the investigators and prosecutor from entering the ward saying Nasirov had allegedly suffered a heart attack. SAP head Nazar Kholodnytskyi said the decision to launch procedural activities into the case was made due to possible Nasirov's departure abroad and elimination of evidence. A video footage of Nasirov being served an indictment in Feofania hospital has been posted online.

SAP accuses Nasirov of taking unreasonable decisions on restructuring rental fees for the extraction of minerals, which helped Ukraine's fugitive MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko implement corruption schemes he is being charged with. This had lead to 2 bln hryvnia damage to the state ($74 million). Onyshchenko said the investigation would "prove nothing: there were no money in my relations with Nasirov."

Later, NABU said it was preparing a bail hearing inquiry regarding Nasirov. The detainee's lawyers say that Nasirov's health deteriorated and he underwent another surgery. SAP head Kholodnytskyi said he doubted Nasirov's diagnosis.

March 3, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine suspended Nasirov from office pending investigation. Myroslav Prodan was appointed acting head of the State Fiscal Service.

Nasirov said in an interview he had cooperated with the investigation since mid-2016.

Tax and customs service chief Roman Nasirov was first taken to the courtroom on March 4.

However, after he was examined by a doctor, the judge ruled to postpone the meeting to choose a preventive measure against Nasirov until the next day. On March 5, after the judge refused to adjourn the session again, the defense demanded his recusal, and the hearing halted.

Meanwhile, Automaidan activists gathered outside the courthouse to stay overnight and prevent Nasirov's possible escape. In the morning, more activists began to arrive at the court building.

After the session started, the court denied the disqualification of the judge and rejected a forensic examination of Nasirov's state.

ua.censor.net.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Secret FBI division investigates Russia's influence on US presidential election

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:31 am
Secret FBI division investigates Russia's influence on US presidential election

A closely held number of FBI agents face the daunting task of determining how the Russian government sought to manipulate the US presidential election.

Censor.NET reports citing CNN.

The Counterintelligence Division is responsible for protecting the secrets of the US intelligence community, the advanced technologies of American institutions and countering the activities of foreign spies, including cyberintrusions.

There are 15 to 20 FBI agents assigned to the Russia investigation.

The Counterintelligence Division is so secretive that even former agents are reluctant to speak publicly about their tenure there.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Two soldiers killed, 16 wounded in ATO zone yesterday

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:34 am
Two soldiers killed, 16 wounded in ATO zone yesterday

Cases of shelling from Grad rocket systems reported in the Luhansk sector.

The militants launched 107 attacks over the past 24 hours. Nine Ukrainian servicemen were wounded, seven suffered injuries, two were killed, Censor.NET reports citing the ATO press center.

In the Mariupol sector, the militants mortared Vodiane and Hnutove with 122 mm shells. Marinka came under tank and 120 mm mortars attack. Vodiane, Mykolaivka, Krasnohorivka, Talakivka, Pavlopil, Hnutove were shelled with 120 and 82 mm mortars. The militants fired at Taramchuk, Shyrokyne, Pavlopil and Vodiane from grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms. Vodiane also came under militants' IFV fire.

In the Donetsk sector, Russian hybrid forces fired at the Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka from tanks and mortars. The militants shelled Kamianka, Nevelske, Zaitseve, Novoluhanske, Butivka Mine and Luhanske with mortars. Opytne, Novhorodske, Kamianka, Butivka Mine, Zaitseve and Pisky were fired from grenade launchers and small arms. Militants' IFV fired at Luhanske.

In the Luhansk sector, the militants shelled Krymske with BM-21 Grad rocket systems, 152 mm artillery, 120 and 82 mm mortars, as well as anti-tank missile systems. Smolianynove came under 152 mm artillery fire. The militants' snipers were spotted at Novooleksandrivka. The militants also fired at Valuiske, Novozvanivka and Novooleksandrivka from grenade launchers and small arms.

ua.censor.net.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Russia demanded change to PACE rules to regain voting rights

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:12 pm
Russia demanded change to PACE rules to regain voting rights

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Russia was also deprived of its voting rights in PACE.

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada delegation to PACE, Petro Poroshenko Bloc MP Volodymyr Ariev says the Russian delegation has not restored its right to vote.

Censor.NET reports citing Ariev's Facebook page.

"The debate with the Russians has ended. They demanded a change to the PACE rules to ensure their return. They had been told to come and talk, participate in discussions. They were eloquent in saying they longed for a dialogue, but explicitly refused to stay to discuss the escalation in the Donbas. The PACE Standing Committee has not taken any decision on the Russian delegation," the Ukrainian lawmaker said.

On April 10, 2014, the Russian delegation was stripped of the right to vote because of the occupation of Crimea and aggression in the Donbas.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Theresa May can begin Brexit for 14 March

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:24 pm
Theresa May can begin Brexit for 14 March

British Prime Minister Theresa May Brexit can start as early as Tuesday, March 14
This writes The Telegraph .

The publication notes that such steps ochilnytsya British government is ready to go after EU leaders showed their readiness to start the process.

"Ministers believe that the launch of the bill proposed article 50 May, successfully passed through both houses of the British Parliament on Monday 13 March," - said in a statement Edition.

The rapid passage of laws through parliament will initiate Brexit May in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

According to government officials, in May under pressure in order to as soon as it launched the procedure under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Earlier it was reported that the House of Commons to discuss a bill that allows the government to begin the withdrawal of Britain from the EU, amended it to the House of Lords amended on 13 March.

Recall, EU leaders have scheduled a summit to enter the UK for the first week of April, although the final date will depend on the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

espreso.tv , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Merkel to advise Trump on dealing with Putin

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:36 pm
Merkel to advise Trump on dealing with Putin

U.S. President Donald Trump will ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel to share her opinion on how the United States can help resolve the issue of Russia's occupation of part of Ukraine during their meeting next week.

Censor.NET reports referring to Reuters quoting Trump administration officials.

According to them, Donald Trump will ask Angela Merkel for advice on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The president will be very interested in hearing the chancellor's views on her experience interacting with Putin," an official said. "He's going to be very interested in hearing her insights on what it's like to deal with the Russians."

They are also expected to discuss Germany's level of defense spending for the NATO alliance, the Ukraine conflict, Syrian refugees, the European Union and a host of other issues, said three senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters.

As previously reported, German chancellor's official visit to Washington is scheduled for March 14.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Mineral reserves worth 11 trillion dollars concentrated in Ukraine

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:11 pm
Mineral reserves worth 11 trillion dollars concentrated in Ukraine

98 kinds of minerals are mined in 3,5 thousand deposits in Ukraine.

This was announced by deputy minister of ecology and natural resources of Ukraine Dmytro Hurskyi, Censor.NET reports citing Pavlo Sebastianovych's Facebook.

"Mineral reserves worth 11 trillion dollars are concentrated in Ukraine. It's hard to imagine such a rich country as ours," Hurskyi said.

According to Ukrainian experts, the cost of mineral resources is estimated at 7.5 trillion dollars. But foreign specialists, in particular the state geological services of Canada, U.S., Australia, and the South African Republic, estimate Ukraine's reserves at 11-11.5 trillion dollars, Hurskyi added.

Ukraine mines 98 kinds of minerals in 3,5 thousand deposits. Almost 9 thousand deposits are recorded in total. In particular, there are 385 explored deposits of fuel and energy raw materials.

"Today, we have 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves prepared for operation. We have 4.7 trillion cubic meters in proven gas fields, and about 3 trillion cubic meters of gas are being investigated," the expert said.

Ukraine also has 68 billion tons of coal of different grades. The country ranks number five internationally for its uranium reserves.

ua.censor.net.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Netherlands denied entry to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:35 pm
Netherlands denied entry to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey

The Netherlands Government canceled permission for landing Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
Reported Dutch television station NOS .

Such actions by the authorities resorted intentions Cavusoglu held in the Netherlands propaganda campaign on the Turkish referendum on constitutional reform. The Turkish minister planned to speak at Rotterdam, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs but voted against the visit Cavusoglu.

The Turkish side has threatened the Netherlands the introduction of political and economic sanctions in case of keeping Cavusoglu.

Earlier it was reported that the Foreign Ministry of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu refused to provide sites for campaigning in hotels Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

espreso.tv, Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Ukraine lawyer seeks probe of alleged hacked texts of Manafort's daughter

on Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:57 pm
Ukraine lawyer seeks probe of alleged hacked texts of Manafort's daughter

A Ukrainian human rights attorney representing the victims of mass police shootings in Kyiv in 2014 has asked prosecutors to investigate what are purported to be the hacked text messages of one of Paul Manafort's daughters, saying the texts point to possible influence Manafort had with Ukraine's president during that period, according to CNN.

"You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly," Andrea Manafort allegedly wrote of her father in March 2015 in an angry series of texts to her sister, Jessica, about her father's personal and professional life, CNN reported.

"Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not," reads another text in reference to the bloodshed in Kyiv.

"Do you know whose strategy that was to cause that, to send those people out and get them slaughtered."

"He has no moral or legal compass," Andrea allegedly wrote about her father earlier as part of the same conversation.

The messages were obtained from a hacker website that in February posted four years' worth of texts, consisting of 300,000 messages, apparently taken from Andrea Manafort's iPhone.

Paul Manafort currently faces an FBI investigation over millions of dollars' worth of payments he allegedly received while working as a political strategist for Ukraine's Russia-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort has denied receiving the undeclared cash payments.

Protesters descended on Kyiv's central square in a peaceful protest in the winter of 2013 when Yanukovych unexpectedly backed out of a trade deal with the European Union under pressure from the Kremlin. Close to 100 people died in the shootings in the weeks before Yanukovych fled in February 2014.

Ukrainian authorities say Yanukovych created conditions that allowed security forces to kill the pro-Western protesters in Kyiv, but so far have not been able to charge him because he is in Russia. Manafort has not been linked to the shootings.

Asked by CNN to comment, Manafort said via text message: "Comment on what. There is nothing."

Manafort would not confirm whether the texts were genuine, but in a Politico story last month on the texts, he indicated that some of them were.

The texts suggest that Manafort and his daughter were together in Florida on the day of the worst violence in Kyiv on February 20, when close to 50 people died.

Thursday, the human rights lawyer, Eugenia Zakrevska, filed a motion in Kyiv requesting that prosecutors verify the contents of the text message dump and take measures to compel U.S. authorities to question Manafort.

"I call on Mr. Manafort to clarify the allegations contained in the text messages and to contact us with any information he may have on those events," Zakrevska told CNN.

Zakrevska and a special prosecution unit have been working together on several concurrent cases looking into the violence in and around Kyiv's Independence Square.

Zakrevska said all of the killings would have already taken place by the time Manafort met his daughter the evening of the 20th if the texts' timestamps are accurate, and she thought it was unlikely that Andrea actually witnessed Paul Manafort personally directing Kyiv police forces.

"But this doesn't rule out Manafort's influence on Yanukovych's actions and decisions during that period," Zakrevska said. Serhiy Gorbatyuk, Ukraine's prosecutor for special investigations, confirmed to CNN that his office received Zakrevska's motion and said the text messages would be investigated and potentially entered into evidence. "We will check thoroughly to verify if they are real or not."

Asked by CNN about the prospect of an investigation by the general prosecutors' office, Manafort replied: "Total BS on GP (general prosecutor).".................

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


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