Archive for Ukraine
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine brought suspicions against the country’s former defence minister. Journalists learnt it from Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema. “We brought suspicions against former defence minister Yezhel some days ago,” Yarema said. The suspicions were presented in a criminal case over undermining the army’s defence capability, according to him. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine launched an investigation in May 2014 into activities of the country’s former defence ministers in recent years. In particular, investigators assess the legality of decision of ministers and their actions during the processes of reorganisation or reduction of the Armed Forces. Mykhailo Yezhel was appointed ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus in April 2013 by former president Viktor Yanukovych. He was a minister of defence in 2010-2012.
Hundreds of refugees gathered near the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow, but no one came out to meet with them. Women and children stood at the fence for more than an hour, asking for help to process documents and demanding to open humanitarian corridors. “When I left, on July 11, all the borders were closed. We failed to go to Rostov. It was luck that we managed to get to Moscow,” Elena, a woman from Donetsk, told ITAR-TASS. “But we all are grateful to Russia for a place where we can escape, where our lives is out of danger,” said a woman from Luhansk, who came with her small daughter.
Pictures placed on Twitter by US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt, claiming to show weapons being fired on Ukrainian troops from Russian territory, are fake, a Russian official told ITAR-TASS. Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said it was not accidental that the materials appeared on Twitter since it was impossible to establish whether they were authentic. Low-resolution pictures made it unclear what was being shown and they could not be used as photographic evidence, the official said. It was no secret that such fakes were being prepared by a group of American advisers working in the Ukrainian Security Service building in Kiev under the supervision of General Randy Kee, he added. Earlier, Kiev officials repeatedly presented such pictures to justify the use of artillery and other heavy weapons by Ukrainian troops against civilians.
Ukrainians turned out at the Dutch embassy in Kiev to pay tribute to the hundreds of people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. A somber crowd of mourners presented wreaths and messages outside the embassy. One took the moment to make a political statement with a sign that read: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a terrorist.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ordered all Dutch flags to fly at half-mast following the tragedy. “The whole of the Netherlands is in mourning,” Rutte said. Coming just months after Flight MH370 disappeared on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, this is the second loss for Malaysia Airlines in a year. Reports differ on the number of passengers on board the plane. Reuters has reported that 295 people on board the plane have been killed while Associated Press has put the number at 298.
Vietnam’s embassy in Ukraine has started to evacuate nearly 300 Vietnamese from Donetsk due to the national government’s plan take back the rebel-occupied city in what many anticipate to be a bloody siege. The embassy has asked Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport to help evacuate any person in need. Several Vietnamese students have been brought to Kiev in the past week, and offered places to eat and sleep by community evacuation officials from Vietnam’s embassy. Many businesses and shopping malls owned by Vietnamese expatriates in Kiev have helped shelter the refugees. Nguyen Phuong Thao, a community official from the embassy, said the first Vietnamese evacuees were mostly women and children as men tried to stay behind to protect the family’s property for as long as possible. Vietnam’s ambassador to Ukraine, Nguyen Minh Tri, has visited the evacuees and called for all Vietnamese to leave Donetsk as soon as possible, noting that the conflict could escalate in unpredictable and complex ways.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has called for the immediate release of Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian helicopter pilot currently being held in a Russian detention facility on suspicion of having abetted the killings of two Russian journalists. Savchenko was captured by separatists in Luhansk in June. She is now being held in the southern Russian city of Voronezh. Ukrainian officials maintain that she was illegally trafficked across the border by Russian intelligence officers, while Russia maintains that she crossed the border voluntarily under the guise of a refugee. Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Wednesday that Savchenko was believed to have provided crucial information that led to the deaths of journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin of Russian public broadcaster VGTRK, who were killed by shelling in Luhansk on June 17. Citing court orders, Markin said that Savchenko would remain behind bars until the end of August as an investigation runs its course. The U.S. Embassy condemned Savchenko’s “kidnapping by separatists, her illegal transfer to Russian authorities and her prolonged detention,” U.S. Embassy Press Secretary Joseph Kruzich told Kommersant. The embassy’s condemnation echoed that of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s, which described Savchenko’s transfer to Russia as “illegal trafficking” in a statement.
In an incident that may be a first in diplomatic history, Kiev’s top diplomat publicly ‘effed’ the head of another state. Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchitsa chanted “Putin’s a f**ker” with a cheering crowd that earlier vandalized the Russian embassy. Deshchitsa arrived at the scene of the heated protest – which involved overturning cars belonging to embassy staff, the desecration of a Russian flag and pelting the building with firecrackers and paint – in an apparent attempt to defuse the crowd. He confronted some of the protesters – or rather sided with them. Footage of the encounter shows the minister saying he is all for the protest and its goals. “I would stand up here with you can say, Russia, get out of Ukraine,” he said. “Putin’s a f**ker, right!” This treasure of Kiev-style diplomatic language was met with a joyous cheer among the crowd, which erupted in a concerted chant. The profane phrase comes from a chant of Ukrainian radical football fans and is very popular among anti-Russian-minded Ukrainians at the moment. The minister looks a bit astounded by the overwhelmingly welcoming response and even sings a bit along with the protesters.