Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that during the week of April 19-25, two Ukrainian service members were killed in action and six service members were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 68 times including 22 times using heavy weapons on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front.
Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation headquarters reported that while returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 17 and wounded at least 26 enemy troops in the last week.
2. CANADEM: Ukraine Concludes Free and Fair Presidential Election
Lloyd Axworthy, Head of Mission Canada 2019 observers reports on the second round of Ukraine’s Presidential Election
On April 22, Mission Canada 2019 issued its second Preliminary Statement of Findings of the 2019 Presidential Election in Ukraine reporting on the electoral process, voting and counting procedures on Election Day.
“Ukrainians have affirmed their commitment to democratic development and have now chosen their new president in a democratic election,” stated the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Head of Mission.
Some of the concerns mentioned by Mission Canada were hybrid warfare, the spread of disinformation, and the use of “black PR” by competing candidates’ teams as well as low number of women in politics, campaign financing, disregard for the quiet period by one of the candidates and issues associated with participation of 1.6 million internally displaced persons and the changing of temporary voting address.
3. Ukrainian World Congress: 2019 Presidential Elections in Ukraine Meet International Standards
Eugene Czolij, Head of the Ukrainian World Congress elections observers’ mission to Ukrainian presidential election 2019
On April 22, Eugene Czolij, Head of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) observer mission to Ukraine’s presidential election 2019 and Andrew Futey, Head of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Mission confirmed that presidential elections in Ukraine were in line with international standards for holding democratic elections. The turnout was over 62% meaning that Ukrainian people felt confident in their electoral system, as was stated by Czolij.
Having 337 short-term observers the two missions monitored the electoral process in 19 oblasts of Ukraine and in Ukrainian diplomatic missions in 25 countries.
Observers recorded a small number of violations that included the access of the elderly and people with disabilities to the polls, however they did not affect the election results, stated heads of missions.
“The biggest obstacle to these elections was the brutal hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” emphasized Eugene Czolij.
4. Ambassador Shevchenko: Election Results May Be An Example Of A New Political Culture
Ukraine’s Ambassador Shevchenko and Don Martin
On Monday, April 22, the host of the CTV News Channel Power Play Don Martin discussed the outcome of Ukraine’s presidential election that took place over the weekend.
“In a true democracy everything is possible even if you don’t have a political machinery behind your back and even if you have no political experience,” said Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko.
When speaking about the Mission Canada the Ukrainian official mentioned that out of 160 observers some stayed for several months emphasizing that “the reason they came to Ukraine wasn’t just to make sure that it was a free and fair election but also we hope that they had a chance to learn from our experience how we fight the Russian interference with the election, I m afraid that is something you might have to deal with this fall here in Canada.”
5. CBC Radio: Ukraine Election ‘a Wake-up’ Call to Canada on Russian Meddling, Warns Former Minister
Lloyd Axworthy. Photo courtesy of the University of Winnipeg
Despite the fact that Ukraine has been working for the last five years to fight against the cyber-attacks aimed at influencing people’s opinion Russia was able to influence the election, noted Canada’s former Liberal foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy as he spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off.
In his interview Dr. Axworthy talked about the president-elect, the reach of Russia’s influence – and why he thinks Canada is at risk ahead of the federal election. He also mentioned that it was a real tribute to Ukraine and Ukrainians that make it possible to change the government by the ballot box.
“But there’s no question that the agenda of Putin is to provide disruption where he goes. And I think we have an election in six months, and let’s not kid ourselves – the Russians are going to be involved. It’s a question of how well we’re able to counteract that,” emphasized Lloyd Axworthy.
Results of the second round of Ukraine’s presidential elections in 2019 by district election commissions. Green – Zelenskiy; red – Poroshenko. Source: the UNZ review
In his April 24 article Bohdan Ben offers a critical overview of the reasons that led to Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s winning the top political post in Ukraine during the last week’s presidential election. He analyzes the contradictory messaging of President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s team and expectations of the majority of Ukraine’s population as to what the new president should be like and how he should act.
Zelenskiy, in Ben’s opinion, used “draw your own candidate” tactic and asked his supporters to submit questions that he should ask Poroshenko, as well as to draft his program’s top priorities. “He portraits himself as a people’s candidate and actively uses participatory practices in his campaign. Being a pure form, virtual hero communicating through photos in Instagram and short film-style videos, Zelenskiy encouraged everybody of his supporters to fill this form with whatever they want,” contemplates the author.
7. Russia’s Absurd and Destabilizing Decree Triggers International Outcry and Ukraine’s Appeal to the UN Security Council
Tweets from Ukraine’s mission to the UN and from U.S. Embassy in Ukraine
On April 24, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that simplifies the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship by the Ukrainian citizens who live in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
This action has been recognized as yet another unprecedented interference of the Russian Federation in Ukraine’s internal affairs, breaching the framework of the Minsk agreements and violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. Ukraine has requested the United Nations Security Council to consider the “provocative” move by the Russian Federation.
“The Russian Federation has again crossed the red lines, openly and brazenly undermining the peace process in Donbas. The fake elections in 2014 and 2018, the introduction of the ruble zone, the expropriation of Ukrainian enterprises, the official recognition of documents issued by illegal bodies – this is not a complete list of destructive steps the Russian party has taken in recent years,” stated the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
“The Russian Federation has acknowledged its responsibility as an occupying state by issuing Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens who reside in the territories that are temporarily not controlled by our country. This is yet more proof of Russia’s real role as an aggressor state that’s waging a war against Ukraine,” stated the President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office.
Tweet from the Canadian government condemning Russia’s actions
Russia’s actions has already triggered reaction from the democratic community including Canada and the United States who condemned the “ongoing Russian-backed violence in eastern Ukraine and its destabilizing proposal.”
8. Hromadske: Zelenskiy’s Head Digital Marketer on Their Winning Election Campaign
Mykhaylo Fedorov, head of the Digital Campaign in “ZeTeam” at Zelenskiy’s campaign HQ on the day of the second round of the presidential elections, Kyiv, April 21. Photo courtesy of Hromadske
Mykhaylo Fedorov was the mastermind behind the President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s digital election campaign. In today’s interview with Hromadske he unveils some of the intricacies of the campaign as well as offers a deeper overview of technological advancements that may be used in the present-day politics on the national scale.
According to Fedorov there were almost 600,000 volunteers that worked throughout Ukraine. He was responsible for social networks that hosted this community of volunteers who joined Zelenskiy’s campaign on the Internet.
Click here to learn more about the “state within the smartphone” concept, global HR strategy, and bot attacks.
9. Ukrainian Parliament Passes Ukrainian Language Bill
Activists rally outside parliament in Kyiv in support of the language law on April 25, 2019. Photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters
On April 25, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted the Bill protecting Ukrainian language [the Bill “on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as that of a state language”] in the second reading. The Bill was supported by 278 MPs after preliminary deliberations and amendments. Now the Bill needs to be signed by the president to come into effect and become a law.
It is expected to formalize rules governing the usage of Ukrainian language in the media, education, and business. It aims at strengthening the role of Ukrainian in a country where much of the population still speaks Russian.
The current Head of State, Petro Poroshenko, has declared his support of the Bill. The new President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy has also expressed his support, however he also said that he would “analyze whether any of the clauses of the bill violate citizens’ rights, and would react according to his constitutional authority. He argued that Ukrainian should be the only state language, but added that the text of the bill had not been sufficiently discussed with civil society,” as reported by the media.
10. Canadian MP James Bezan: We Need to Start Moving Towards Sectoral Sanctions Against Russia
Conservative MP James Bezan. Photo by Elif Beyaz
Canada needs to champion the UN peacekeeping mission on Ukraine-Russia border, expand its UNIFIER military mission, and provide lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine says Canadian shadow minister for National Defence and Conservative MP James Bezan during his recent interview with QHA Media in Ukraine.
According to Bezan, more training at a larger level including the officers would help Ukraine on its path to NATO membership on countering Russia. As to lethal defensive weapons that Ukraine has been asking for, Bezan mentions anti-tank missiles, rocket Falcon 8, sniper rifles, machine guns, hand guns, scopes, mortar systems, anti-mortar systems that were supposed to be delivered to the Kurds in Iraq but now could be given to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“I think that there is so much more that we can be doing on the sanctions list, and part of it that any international boats that dock in Crimean ports should be denied access to any other ports in the world, we should be putting sanctions on all Russian companies operating now in Crimea, so that they are not allowed to sell to the rest of the world, and I think overall on Russia we need to start moving towards sectoral sanctions, hit them where it hurts: energy, agriculture and financial markets,” emphasized Canadian Conservative MP James Bezan.