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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Monday 3 July. [Ukrainian sources]

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 8:52
MONDAY

Please scroll to view news items added during the day

HEADLINES:
Russia is trying to create controlled chaos in the international arena.  Famous Russian spy debunked the myth of nuclear power RF.  Intelligence learned of massive withdrawal of passports of Russian military in Donbas.  Family Russians asked for political asylum in Ukraine because of the political persecution in Russia.  In Russia, they declared their readiness to create BZHRK "Barguzin" and a 100-ton heavy ballistic missile.  Russia unable to supply Crimea with water, Putin might deliver ultimatum to Ukraine.

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Family Russians asked for political asylum in Ukraine because of the political persecution in Russia, - VIDEO

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 8:55
Family Russians asked for political asylum in Ukraine because of the political persecution in Russia, -
VIDEO

Last night, in one of the crossing points on the border with Russia Russian family asked for refugee status in Ukraine.
As reported Tsenzor.NET , it said in a statement the press service of the State Border Service.

"During the passage of the border control for refugee status to the employees of the State Border Service of Ukraine asked 32-year-old Russian citizen and his 33-year-old wife, also a Russian citizen. They have come from a neighboring country on foot with a small child.



Russian citizens during the conversation said that, due to political persecution, they were forced to ask for refugee status ", - the report says.

In the State Border Service noted that according to the couples, their persecution began after saying a man of his position on the change of power in Russia. for this he was prosecuted and is currently experiencing further persecution.

"after registration I related documents seven Russians were sent to the State Migration Service of Ukraine ", - added in the press service of the State Border Service.

ua.censor.net.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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Russia unable to supply Crimea with water, Putin might deliver ultimatum to Ukraine

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 8:57
Russia unable to supply Crimea with water, Putin might deliver ultimatum to Ukraine

Russia is not capable to supply water to Crimea without Ukraine's participation.

Agriculture and industrial manufacturing of the peninsula suffer from dehydration, and the steppe might turn into a lifeless desert. The Kremlin is not able to recognize its own incapability. Moscow is preparing for Ukraine's future ultimatum: either Kyiv unblocks the North Crimean Canal, or the Kremlin will use force, Krym.Realii report is cited by Censor.NET.

Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, held a meeting in occupied Crimea. The official noted the catastrophic condition of the peninsula's water supply and accused "unfriendly" Ukraine of trying to destabilize the situation in the region. The Ministry of Defense of Russia reported of training of Marine Corps recruits deployed in Crimea. How are the two messages related? Directly.

At the meeting in occupied Simferopol, Patrushev covered several issues: lack of water, activities of "foreign agents" on the peninsula, "threats" from Ukraine, and cooperation of the Russian military-industrial complex with Crimean enterprises. The top-ranking official dwelled into the details of the water supply issue. The data voiced at the meeting might be called catastrophic. The Secretary of the Security Council of Russia said that since the beginning of the occupation the area of ​​irrigated land has decreased by 92%, the industry has suffered.

Prior to the occupation, Ukraine covered 85% of the peninsula's needs for water through the North Crimean Canal. The area of ​​irrigated land was about 437,000 hectares then. At the end of last year, the republican agency reported that now they water only 13,000 hectares.

Patrushev's statements are not just the words of an ordinary official. It's a person from the circle of cronies of President Vladimir Putin. Together with the head of the FSB, the Russian defense minister and the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, he reports to the head of state on the situation in the country and the world. The Secretary of the Security Council directly participates in the development of key political decisions.

If Patrushev has grown concerned with the supply of water, then the issue had been discussed at the highest level in the Kremlin. And this is of fundamental importance. Two major conclusions can be drawn from Patrushev's words. First, the Russian authorities failed to fulfill the task of providing Crimea with water. After Kyiv blocked the channel, the republican "authorities" and Moscow's curators made a good face in a bad game: they say Russia will not leave Crimeans in trouble and will find a way out. Official optimism has dried up quickly. At the end of the first year of the illegal annexation, "speaker" Vladimir Konstantinov accused the authorities of Ukraine of "water genocide," and demanded an international trial to force Kyiv to open the channel.

However, the matter stuck at these talks and propaganda. Moscow did not dare to sue Ukraine with the demand to give water to the occupied peninsula. The Kremlin's lawyers were well aware that the claim against Ukraine would not even be considered. In accordance with international law, securing the seized territory is a responsibility of the occupying country. The lack of water in Crimea, lack of electricity, or high food prices are the problems of the Kremlin, not of Kyiv.

Moscow officials were trying to reassure the population that they could solve the problem. Measures to ensure uninterrupted water supplies were put as a separate line in the federal plan for the "development" of the peninsula. In the Russian and regional media, the idea of ​​building a water pipeline from the Krasnodar Territory was discussed. In spring of last year, the head of the State Committee for Water Management, Igor Vayl, said that the idea of ​​the water pipeline had been abandoned. There was not enough water in Kuban.

"Patrushev's statement shows that Moscow does not have any capabilities to give water to the peninsula without Ukraine's participation.They try to convince the Crimean population that it's not the fault of the Kremlin, who seized them, but of Kyiv, who blocked the canal because of being 'nasty.' The Russian Security Council is unleashing anti-Ukrainian hysteria. Everything leads to a development when Putin will accuse Ukraine of a "humanitarian catastrophe" on the peninsula and put forward an ultimatum: either Kyiv opens the canal, or the Russian military does it.The Kremlin can make claims at the most convenient moment for them. The main deterrent here is the fighting capability of the Ukraine Armed Forces and the tough stance of Washington and Brussels on the Kremlin aggression," the medium reported.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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Russia is trying to create controlled chaos in the international arena

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 8:59
Russia is trying to create controlled chaos in the international arena

The Russian Federation is seeking to undermine the existing world order and the entire system of international legal relations.

As the Tsenzor.NET with reference to UNIAN , about this Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine Ivan Klympush-Tsintsadze said during the 95th Rose-Roth seminar in Kiev.

"The main goal of Russia is precisely to prevent us to be successful, in order to destroy us by any means, it will not stop along the way", - said Klympush-Tsintsadze.

She also stressed that Ukraine's security challenges are not any secrets.

"It's starting with weapons, Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, the trading aggression, aggression, transit, energy aggression with illegal, illegal attempts to deprivation of Crimea in Ukraine, with the increasing military presence in Crimea and the military build-up along the perimeter of the borders of Ukraine, terrorist attacks, cyber-terrorism, campaigns - all of these things, unfortunately, are part of our life ", - said Klympush-Tsintsadze.

At the same time, it considers that these challenges are not the only challenges for Ukraine and for the whole region and the world.

"After all, Russia is not exactly intended to solely return influence on the country (former) Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact country It simply seeks to undermine. . the existing world order and the entire system of international legal relations She is interested in how to create a so-called controlled chaos in the international arena "," - said Klympush-Tsintsadze.

She is convinced that Russia can not realize their ambitions, because that it is built on the inefficient economic models and obsolete forms of government.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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In Russia, they declared their readiness to create BZHRK "Barguzin" and a 100-ton heavy ballistic missile

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 9:02
In Russia, they declared their readiness to create BZHRK "Barguzin" and a 100-ton heavy ballistic missile

Russian industry is ready for the establishment of military railway missile system (BZHRK) "Barguzin" and a 100-ton heavy ballistic missiles in case of acceptance and inclusion of such a decision in the state program of Russian arms to 2018-2025 years.

As reported Tsenzor.NET stated this in an interview with RIA Novosti Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

"In absolute industry readiness level to create, if decision will be made and incorporated into the state arms program," - Rogozin said, answering the question of at what stage of creation are BZHRK "Barguzin" and a 100-ton heavy ballistic missile.

Soviet BZHRK with a missile, "Good" was withdrawn from service in 2005 in connection with the provisions of the START-2 Treaty. New START-3 does not prohibit the creation of new missile systems.

noted that BZHRK "Barguzin" will be developed by 2018. New BZHRK will significantly exceed Soviet predecessor in terms of accuracy, the missile range and other characteristics.

In turn, the chief of staff of the Strategic Missile Forces in 1994-1996, Colonel General Viktor Esin announced in May 2016 that the terms of creation BZHRK "Barguzin" are defined in the state armaments program for 2018-2025 years.

In January of this year, a source in the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation told the Russian newspaper that the flight tests of the missile is scheduled for 2019.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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Intelligence learned of massive withdrawal of passports of Russian military in Donbas

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 9:03
Intelligence learned of massive withdrawal of passports of Russian military in Donbas

Command Russian mass deletes documents of Armed Forces personnel who are in the Donbas to hide their participation in hostilities.

This on its Facebook page reported by the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine.

"According to the order of the commander of the 1st Army Corps (Donetsk) in the housing units shall seizure of personal documents in the Armed Forces soldiers and mercenaries -hromadyan Russia, proving their citizenship," - said in a statement.

According to the investigation, at the same time, the headquarters of AK 2 (Lugansk) collects information about personal data servicemen serving in the intelligence corps units. In particular, the number of personnel and it belongs to the units of the Armed Forces to prevent leaks of proprietary information.

In addition, intelligence reported that officers tactical level 3rd separate motorized infantry brigade (Gorlovka) AK 1 and 7 th separate motorized infantry brigade (Bryanka) 2 AC for their own enrichment of higher command conceal the real number of soldiers.

apostrophe.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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The famous Russian spy debunked the myth of nuclear power RF

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 9:06
The famous Russian spy debunked the myth of nuclear power RF

Today the West is not afraid of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This in a recent interview said former Soviet spy, writer Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Rezun real name).

"There is only one thing on which the West so wary of. It is a nuclear power," - he said.

According to Suvorov, armed with Russian nuclear missiles are now produced in Ukraine, and their warranty period has long expired.

He stressed that the nuclear power of Russia - a bluff.

Moreover, Suvorov said that the Russian Federation is waiting for the inevitable decay. So, now the Far East is controlled by the Chinese.

apostrophe.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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PUTIN-TRUMP BROMANCE HELD BACK BY SORE LOSERS AND 'FAKE NEWS,' SAYS RUSSIA

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 9:11
PUTIN-TRUMP BROMANCE HELD BACK BY SORE LOSERS AND 'FAKE NEWS,' SAYS RUSSIA

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin's budding relationship has been stifled by those who “cannot make peace” with the former's victory in the 2016 American election, according to Russia’s deputy foreign minister.

Sergey Ryabkov, told pro-government newspaper Izvestia: “I would not say that relations are in a worse crisis than at the time of the Barack Obama administration’s exit but genuinely relations continue with great effort. Largely we have not attained the needed dynamic for improvement.”

Since Trump took office in January 2017, the U.S. and Russia have been on opposing sides over the conflict in Syria, with the U.S. bombing an airfield of the Russian-allied Syrian regime and then downing a Syrian jet. And despite reports that Trump has toyed with lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, the White House is yet to do so.

But Ryabkov laid the blame for strained U.S.-Russia relations firmly at the door of Trump's critics.

“There are very serious and influential circles who, to this day, cannot make peace with Donald Trump’s election victory and they are using relations in Moscow for an internal political contest,” he said.

“They are trying to limit the new administration’s ability to maneuver on matters regarding Russia and they are trying to create obstacles for the administration on internal matters of furthering its agenda, which is a stark departure from the one presented by Trump’s opponents on how and where America should be heading.”

The Russian deputy minister echoed Trump in blaming “fake news” coverage of spoiling a tightening of relations between Russia and the U.S..........................

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


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Russia openly violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine - NATO

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 10:52
Russia openly violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine - NATO

Before Ukraine today are of the greatest challenges since independence, said Dukaru

Russia the most straightforward way violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Crimea and illegally annexing supporting, open and hidden, the use of force in eastern Ukraine.

This at a solemn meeting on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO, said NATO Assistant Secretary General Sorin Dumitru Dukaru.

"When Ukraine gained independence and became a respected member of the international community, we all hoped that the hard times behind that in the new Europe, geography no longer determine the fate of the country. Unfortunately, Russia - the state, which once promised to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine, this violated the territorial integrity in the most straightforward way illegally annexing Crimea and supporting, open and hidden, the use of force in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine is not the only victim of the classic forms of military aggression, but also a modern hybrid threats", - said the assistant secretary general of NATO.

He noted that Ukraine is suffering not only from military aggression by Russia, but also from "almost daily cyber attacks." He added that Ukraine today are of the greatest challenges since independence.

Also, NATO Assistant Secretary General expressed confidence that Ukraine will overcome all challenges and NATO will help in the Ukraine. However, he added that NATO supports peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity.

[url=http://glavcom.ua/news/rosiya-vidverto-porushila-teritorialnu-cilisnist-ukrajini-nato--423796.htmlglavcom.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українському [/url]


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Crimea on agenda of Trump-Putin talks amid G20 summit

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 11:20
Crimea on agenda of Trump-Putin talks amid G20 summit

The issue of Russian-annexed Crimea is among other subjects on the agenda of talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany, according to CNN.

"Even without the election question, the meeting between Trump and Putin is key for the future of Europe and the Middle East. The question of U.S. sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Crimea, the future of Syria after the impending fall of ISIS and how to prevent American and Russian forces active in the country from clashing, and willingness of the US to stand by NATO allies are all in the balance," CNN reported.....

unian.info/politics


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Two Ukraine oligarchs face threat of asset seizure

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 15:20
Two Ukraine oligarchs face threat of asset seizure

Founders of PrivatBank miss deadline to restructure related-party loans

Two of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs face potential confiscation of multibillion-dollar assets after missing a deadline to voluntarily restructure related-party loans at PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank that was nationalised late last year.

Igor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov, PrivatBank’s founders, had been given until July 1 to act after Ukraine’s central bank in December found a $5.5bn hole in the balance sheet. The central bank alleged that as much of 97 per cent of the lender’s commercial loan book was to businesses linked to the two oligarchs.

The threat to seize assets from the two men, whose businesses range from mining and ferroalloy plants in Ukraine to the London-listed hydrocarbon producer JKX, was made in statements on Sunday and Monday by two of Ukraine’s top government bodies.

The development sets the stage for a potentially protracted legal struggle between Ukraine’s government and two aggressive businessmen who have frequently clashed in London courts and other jurisdictions with other Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs.

Ukraine’s nationalisation of the systemically important PrivatBank last December was the culmination of a sweeping, two-year clean-up of the sector that saw more than 80 “zombie” banks shut down.

The sector overhaul was widely praised by Kiev’s western backers and has been deemed one of the most successful reform efforts by the war-torn country under a $17.5bn International Monetary Fund programme.

Mr Kolomoisky did not respond to Financial Times inquiries. But in comments aired on his 1+1 television channel, he insisted that loan restructuring discussions would continue and disputed the central bank’s claims that PrivatBank was operated as a “pocket bank” to funnel consumer deposits into the two men’s businesses.

He said central bank officials exaggerated the scale of related-party lending.

The National Bank of Ukraine said on Monday that PrivatBank’s former owners had “failed to fulfil their obligations” to restructure related-party loan portfolios. It added that authorities “have moved to a legal procedure for the repossession and application of an appropriate legal strategy, the specific steps of which cannot be disclosed now”.

“The banking procedure will be similar to the usual procedure for repossession in case of overdue debts, so it is more about foreclosure,” the central bank added.....................

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


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Putin, Macron and Merkel will discuss the situation in Ukraine, Poroshenko would not - presidential aide

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 17:00
Putin, Macron and Merkel will discuss the situation in Ukraine, Poroshenko would not - presidential aide



July 8 at the summit, "Big Twenty" in Hamburg (Germany) will hold talks Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Makron to resolve the situation in Ukraine.

According to Tsenzor.NET with reference to RIA Novosti , This was stated by Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.

"July 8 will have a working breakfast with the two European leaders, Mr Macron and Ms Merkel, during which will be discussed issues of" twenty ", topical issues of the international agenda in particular, the focus is meant to do in the settlement around Ukraine.", - he said, .

According to him, Ukraine is not among the specially invited countries at the summit of the "twenty", so the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will not be there.

ua.censor.net.ua , Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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Manafort to be called by House Intelligence Committee on the case of Russian intervention in US elections 2016

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 17:50
Manafort to be called by House Intelligence Committee on the case of Russian intervention in US elections 2016

The former chief of staff Donald Trump President Paul Manafort answer questions of members of the US House of Representatives Intelligence

This American journalists reported on Twitter.

American journalists have received confirmation that Manafort act in Congress soon. The exact date is not reported. Manafort speak during the hearings in the case of a possible Russian intervention in US elections 2016.

In late June, about Manafort challenge to the Committee on the House Intelligence was published edition of Bloomberg.



Earlier media reported that Trump asked the leadership of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency help it postpone the FBI investigation for possible ties his campaign to Russia.

Trump's lawyer said that evidence of the former head of the FBI James Comey regarding intervention in US elections of 2016 fully met the US president Donald Trump.

The US Department of Justice has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller adviser investigating possible links campaign headquarters Trump Russia during the election of 2016.

Media reported that Mueller will pay special attention to research actions the former head of the election campaign of US President Donald Trump , Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

June 29 in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau said they have no evidence to obtain the former head of the election headquarters of Paul Manafort Donald Trump $ 17 million from the Party of Regions.

espreso.tv, Original in Ukrainian / на українському


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Ukraine’s prosecutor investigates journalist, not the corrupt judges he exposed

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 20:39
Ukraine’s prosecutor investigates journalist, not the corrupt judges he exposed



Two years after a journalist investigation found evidence that certain Kyiv judges had ‘issued court rulings’ from their holiday spots abroad, the alleged probe into the judges’ behaviour has been quietly shelved, unlike the criminal investigation involving the Slidstvo.info journalist, Dmytro Hnap.

On April 1, 2015, Slidstvo.info broadcast a program entitled “Beach Control”.  This was presented by Hnap who began by explaining that they had already revealed details about the “sumptuous lifestyle” of Ukrainian judges – their multiple properties and vast amounts stashed away in bank accounts.  Now they were turning their scrutiny to where judges from the Kyiv District Administrative Court relax.  Pavlo Vovk, President of the Court was reported to have visited 18 countries in the past four years, some of them more than once.

The program produces evidence suggesting that “some judges like warm sea so much that they manage to issue their rulings literally on the beach”.

One judge – Ruslan Arsiriy – was alleged to have ‘passed’ several rulings while outside the country. Over the past four years he had holidayed in 11 countries, in some more than once.  The journalists explain how Arsiriy while abroad, together with judges Oleksiy Ohurtsov and Ihor Pohribnichenko, issued a ruling preventing the state from reclaiming 20 gas fields received by the firm Golden Derrik during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych.  The report asserts that Golden Derrik is controlled by two people close to Yanukovych – former energy minister Edward Stavitsky and ex-minister of agriculture Mykhailo Prysyazhnyuk.

Ohurtsov is the judge who back in 2012 issued a ruling which freed the firm linked with Mezhyhirya, Yanukovych’s scandalous residence, from paying two million UAH in tax.  He also appears to have issued a ruling while in Mauritius in March 2012.

These were very serious allegations which demanded a reaction.

Unfortunately, the main response reported at the time was the first summons received by Hnap on June 16.  He was called as a witness for questioning in a criminal investigation initiated by Ukraine’s military prosecutor over alleged divulgence by Security Service [SBU] officials of information on restricted access – about travels by Ukrainian judges.

The criminal investigation was terminated at the end of December 2016, however Hnap has told Skhemy that it has now been restarted.

Skhemy, a joint investigative journalism program by Radio Svoboda and Ukraine’s UTV-1, has just published its probe into the fate both of the allegations of judges breaching the law by passing court rulings while sunbathing abroad and of the investigation involving Hnap.

Serhiy Andrushko points out that a search was carried out of the Kyiv District Administrative Court back in February 2015 over the suspected court rulings passed by judges in absentia.

Volodymyr Keleberda, Deputy Head of the Court, reportedly stated at the time that judges were allowed to pass rulings from outside their “workplace”, although he did not directly justify holiday resort court rulings.

Skhemy’s Serhiy Andrushkho spoke with Pavlo Vovk, the Head of the Court and a candidate who seems set to be appointed a Supreme Court judge despite a number of serious corruption allegations and a current investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau into suspected illegal enrichment.  

Vovk said that all cases initiated against judges for alleged court rulings while abroad had been terminated “because judges can’t pass rulings abroad”. He claimed that the cases had been initiated purely to undermine their authority.

It proved difficult to verify the fate of these criminal investigations.  After multiple formal requests for information, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told them that “information about a criminal investigation can only be divulged with the consent of the investigator or prosecutor”.

Rights lawyer Vita Volodovska rejects this and points out that information as to whether an investigation is underway is public information which should be on open access.

Two months later, on April 11, the journalists were informed that all investigations had been terminated more than a year earlier, because no elements of a crime had been found.

It appears to be asserted that the dates in almost 50 rulings issued by 10 judges while abroad were ‘typos’.  The prosecutor’s office had questioned the judges and their assistants and been assured that the dates were simply ‘mistakes, with the judges “at their own initiative” passing new rulings to rectify the ‘errors’.

The criminal investigation into how the information about the supposed typos and judges’ travels has proved much more resilient.  The investigation into “disclosure of documents with limited access was lodged on the basis of a complaint by one of the most jet-setting judges, Ruslan Arsiriy.

Hnap explained to Skhemy that he had been questioned several times as a witness, with the prosecutor demanding to know where he had received the information and from whom.  He has refused to provide any information, citing his rights under the Constitution to not reveal his sources.  The information in question, he says, can also not be considered the judges’ personal data in this case and it should be revealed as clearly in the public interest.

The judges challenged the termination of that investigation and this has now been reinstated, unlike the investigations into a highly improbable epidemic of ‘typos’ affecting only incriminating dates.

khpg.org , Original in Ukrainian / на українському  

This is an ongoing problem that has to be confronted. The corruption MUST start from the top, not the bottom. If there's someone on top in question, you go after that person. Whom is protect whom here?

The fight of corruption in Ukraine must start with the Pechersk District Courts, which of what I know of them, they've allowed criminals to go free.

A good job has been done against corruption in Ukraine, but sometimes it just looks like icing on a cake. Just to make it look like something's being done.

It's time to cut it from the roots!


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Russia’s last Yukos Victim Aleksei Pichugin has spent 14 Years Behind Bars without a Fair Trial

on Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 21:08
Russia’s last Yukos Victim Aleksei Pichugin has spent 14 Years Behind Bars without a Fair Trial



19 June 2017 marks fourteen years that the unlawfully convicted Aleksei Pichugin has been behind bars. He has been recognised by the Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) as a political prisoner.

For 14 years Aleksei Pichugin has been behind bars without a fair court decision, eight of which have been spent in the strictest conditions at the Black Dolphin prison colony. In my opinion this is comparable to sentences from the Stalin era.

The political prisoner was twice convicted in violation of the right to a fair trial enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

This means that the sentence handed down on 6 August 2007 by Moscow City Court judge Petr Shtunder (as well as that of Judge Natalia Olikhver on 30 March 2005), about which HRO.org has already written, should be quashed.

This is the point of the ruling, and not the monetary compensation of 15,000 euros which was reported on by an overwhelming majority of the media, while they failed to mention what was most important. Why half-truths have been spread in the media is another issue. After all, the violations that have been revealed are so all-encompassing and blatant that in my opinion not to talk about them would be not to talk about the ECtHR ruling.

So what exactly did the Strasbourg court establish in the Pichugin case?

In the first place, the decision of the ECtHR, which has been translated into Russian, talks about the violation of the principle of the presumption of innocence. This is one of the fundamental principles of criminal justice. No one can be considered guilty until their guilt is proven by due legal process and established by a court verdict that has entered into force.

According to the facts set out in the judgment of the ECtHR, on 5 June 2005 – that is, literally the day after charges were formally laid against Pichugin in his second prosecution – pronouncements of his guilt were broadcast on federal TV channels.

These statements came from Vladimir Kolesnikov, then Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, and Yury Burtovoi, leader of the investigative group in Pichugin’s case.

Note also that Aleksei had previously drawn attention to these statements a preliminary hearing at Moscow City Court on 9 July 2007: “Even at the preliminary stage of the investigation into this criminal case, on 5 June 2005 Deputy Prosecutor General V.V. Kolesnikov publicly stated on the ORT and NTV TV channels that I was guilty of the charges laid against me. Likewise at the stage of preliminary stage of the investigation, on 11 September 2005, Yu. A. Burtovoi, head of the group of investigators in the case, appearing on the TVTs channel’s “Moment of Truth” programme, stated that I was guilty of the charges laid against me. And because of this I had to abandon the prospect of a jury trial.”

At that stage, before the trial proper at Moscow City Court had yet started, Aleksei planned to request that his case be heard by jury. But because of the nature of the TV broadcasts, he was forced to give up his right to a jury trial. After all, jurymen and women also watch TV and they can see declarations made by prosecutors that are broadcast. As a result, before the trial was held, public opinion was already being persuaded that Pichugin was guilty.

Pichugin also sought to appeal against the actions of his accusers in Moscow’s Tver and Basmanny district courts.

But Tver district court ruled that the information announced had been established by the investigation and confirmed by the materials of the criminal case, while the Deputy Prosecutor General had legal grounds for his actions and had not violated the rights of the applicant.

Basmanny court also dismissed Pichugin’s application on the grounds that the statement by Burtovoi was his personal opinion.

Secondly, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the refusal by Moscow City Court to take into account the opinion of graphologist Volodina was unlawful. At issue was the authorship of a note which contained the Vienna address of Еvgeny Rybin, a victim in the case and manager of the Austrian company East Petroleum Handels. The prosecution alleged that this note was written by Aleksei Pichugin and gave instructions to those who carried out the crime.

Yet Volodin considered that the examples of Pichugin’s handwriting provided for comparative analysis were insufficient to draw any conclusion of the kind. During the 2007 trial Aleksei Pichugin had requested that a new evaluation be conducted, but the chair of the panel of judges, Petr Shtunder, refused his request, saying there was no need for additional analysis.

The judgment in the case of Pichugin v Russia handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is final and cannot be appealed. On the day of its publication, 6 June, the Ministry of Justice of Russia hurriedly issued a statement that the ruling of the Strasbourg Court does not automatically quash Pichugin’s conviction.

That is certainly the case. The European Court never interferes in national judicial proceedings, does not consider criminal cases on their merits, neither hands down judgments nor quashes them. It merely pronounces on violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Russia is obliged to observe.

In cases when a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights is found, new legal proceedings are necessary. According to Articles 413 and 415 of the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure, when violations of fair trial have been found, a person has the right to a review of their case on the grounds of new circumstances...........

khpg.org


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