UAF training exercise. Photo Joint Task Force – Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that during the week of May 3 – 9, two Ukrainian service member were killed in action and eleven service members were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 110 times including 33 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 13 and wounded at least 19 enemy troops in the last week.
2. Foreign Minister Freeland: Canada Committed to Supporting People of Ukraine
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Chrystia Freeland meets with President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 8. Photo courtesy of Ukrinform
On May 8, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs had a working visit to Ukraine to meet with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin and Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy.
The press service of Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that the president-elect and Canada’s official have met and discussed the fight against corruption and the Minsk format for settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that he wanted to defeat corruption instead of talking about fighting it emphasizing that his team would do its best to employing digital technology to limit interaction between Ukrainian citizens and officials.
Minister Freeland highlighted the importance of continued international support for Ukraine. “Now is a key moment when Canada’s support, and the support of the international community, is of tremendous importance,” she noted.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Chrystia Freeland
During her meeting with Ukraine’s President Poroshenko the parties discussed Moscow’s latest provocations and strengthening of sanctions against Russia in response to so-called citizenship decrees. Ukraine’s leader stressed the importance of deploying a UN peacekeeping mission to the temporarily occupied part of the Donbas, including the uncontrolled section of the state border between Ukraine and Russia and applauded Canada for introducing the Azov package of sanctions in March in coordination with the EU and the USA. The parties also discussed the release of 24 sailors and all Ukrainian hostages illegally detained by Russia. Ukraine’s Head of State recognized Canada’s important role in building the defense capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Canada’s support in obtaining NATO Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and discussed the ways to deepen security cooperation between Kyiv and Ottawa. Minister Freeland expressed her admiration with free and democratic nature of presidential election in Ukraine.
Chrystia Freeland and Volodymyr Groysman
At the meeting with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman Foreign Minister Freeland said that Russia’s provocative actions were a part of hybrid warfare and they would be addressed at the level of world’s leading countries including the G7 and during top international forums. She noted that Canada doesn’t recognize Russian passports issued in the occupied Crimea and could extend this practice to other occupied territories of Ukraine. Canadian diplomat has noted that the Third Ukraine Reforms Conference which will be held in July in Toronto is a great forum to discuss top issues as well as promote Ukraine’s cooperation with the whole world.
Chrystia Freeland and Andriy Parubiy
During her meeting with Andriy Parubiy, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Foreign Minister Freeland discussed the role that Canadian election monitors played in Ukraine’s presidential elections and will play again parliamentary elections later this year.
3. Atlantic Council: Why We Can’t Get Enough of Ukraine
Map of Ukraine. Picture courtesy of BBC
In his April 18 speech at the Atlantic Council Francis Fukuyama highlighted the importance of Ukraine in several perspectives that included geopolitical value, education and gaining power by the people who are not corrupt and want to change the status quo – the new generation of reform-minded younger Ukrainians.
“As soon as Brazilians found there’s a Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program, they said how about a Brazilian Emerging Leaders Program, and you know Brazil is an important country. Of course it is, but Ukraine plays an outsized role in Europe as a whole. It’s both a symbol and also a geopolitical role that is much more important than other countries, other post-Soviet or post-communist countries,” emphasized Fukuyama. He reiterated that “the Russians understand fully well how important it is that Ukraine [does] not succeed. The speaker noted the disappointing backsliding in some Eastern European countries.
“Ukraine is doing better because it still believes that Europe and the European Union and the idea that liberal democracy coupled to an open capitalist economy is still the wave of the future and the way to go,” highlighted Francis Fukuyama.
Here is the link to the essay based on Fukuyama’s speech.
4. Andrew Scheer: Today he [Putin] is Occupying Ukraine, Tomorrow it Could be Canada’s Arctic Waters
Adrian Wyld, Canadian Press
Canadian MP and leader of the Conservative Party (CPC) Andrew Scheer has delivered a speech in Montreal today where laid out the broad strokes of a Conservative foreign policy under his leadership.
“Vladimir Putin cannot be allowed to act with impunity when it comes to his military adventurism. While today he is occupying Ukraine, tomorrow it could be Canada’s Arctic waters,” the CPC leader said.
In his speech Scheer promised that he would “renew Canada’s historic support for Ukraine and take steps to help Ukraine secure its borders and defend its people.” “This will include expanding upon current missions to support Ukraine and providing Ukraine’s military with the equipment they need to defend their borders. I will also push for Canadian leadership in a United Nations peacekeeping mission to secure Ukraine’s borders,” emphasized the Conservative Party leader
5. Ukraine Calls on Russia to Immediate Release Ukrainian Sailors and Ships at U.N. Court
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Olena Zerkal (on the right) at the ITLOS hearing in Hamburg on May 10. Photo courtesy of Ukrinform
On May 10, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has started a hearing on Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia in the case of the illegal detention of 24 Ukrainian seamen and seizing of three naval vessels in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.
“Today, Ukraine asks the Court to apply temporary measures that require Russia to immediately release the naval ships of Ukraine and their crew members and return them to Ukraine,” said the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Olena Zerkal, speaking at the court hearing.
Lawyers for Ukraine told the court that the ships were in international waters when they were fired on and stopped by Russian coast guard vessels. Russia which previously argued that it was a law enforcement operation and later referred to is as a military one refused to participate in the hearing.
After the three-hour hearing the Hamburg-based ITLOS set a tentative date of May 25 for its verdict. The tribunal’s decisions are legally binding, but it has no power to enforce them. Click here for more information.
6. Kyiv Post: Lenna Koszarny Offers Advice for President-elect Zelenskiy
Lenna Koszarny. Photo from horizioncapital website
Today’s Ukrainian Voices From Abroad section of the Kyiv Post newspaper features advice from Lenna Koszarny, Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Capital, to Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Her perspective comes from the investor’s point of view as well as from the point of view of a person who was born in Canada, “the #1 country in the world for quality of life where Ukrainians are an integral part of the DNA that have made Canada what it is today.”
Having mentioned that Ukrainians were a “founding people of Canada, contributing to Canada for over 125 years of the 150 years that the country has existed,” she emphasized that “Ukrainians have what it takes to build a successful country and if we remove the blocks and unleash the talents, creativity, hard work and determination of Ukrainians, we will all celebrate in their success in the years to come.”
For the new president-elect she made three main recommendations in STOP-START-CONTINUE categories.
7. No Occupancy: High Court Backs Czech Hotel Owner’s Crimea Test For Russian Guests
Tomas Crcmar. Photo by Martin Bubenik
In this article Pete Baumgartner and Oleksandra Vagner with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty wrote about an unconventional approach of a hotel business owner in Czech Republic when getting his point across regarding Ukraine’s Crimea while dealing with tourists from Russia.
Tomas Krcmar started receiving death threats after he made a decision to ban Russian tourists from his four-star Moravian hotel in response to the invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. After a series of lawsuits Krcmar admitted that he didn’t regret denying rooms at his hotel to Russians unless they acknowledged that Crimea belongs to Ukraine.
“I reacted emotionally to the annexation of Crimea,” he told RFE/RL, in a reference to Russia’s covert invasion and grab of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula in 2014. “When I made my decision [to ban Russians who didn’t disclaim the annexation], I certainly did not expect that such a wave would arise…and never in my worst nightmare did I think this would last five years. But I’m glad [the controversy] happened.”
8. Exhibition Dedicated to 75th Anniversary of Deportation of Crimean Tatars Opens in New York City
Photo by Zarema Yaliboylu
On Saturday, May 4, the Ukrainian Museum in New York launched the exhibition Faces of the Crimean Tatar Deportation 75 Years Later. It features the photos of eyewitnesses to the tragic events of 1944 when the Soviet government initiated a special operation in Crimea: the deportation of Crimean Tatars (Kirimli) to the Urals and Central Asia.
“NKVD officers went from house to house and read an order according to which all Crimean Tatars, including children and the elderly, were accused of cooperating with the Nazis and were to be deported. Soviet soldiers accompanying the NKVD gave people only 15-20 minutes to collect their belongings,” reads the description of the exhibition on the museum website.
According to the author, editor-in-chief of the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper Sevgil Musayeva, the idea of creating an exhibition originated from an understanding of how few people abroad know about the history of the Crimean Tatar people. The portrait photos of witnesses to the deportation were taken by Crimean Tatar photographer Zarema Yaliboylu, who visited the peninsula in March 2019.
The exhibition will be open till September and then move to Canada and Kyiv.
9. Call to Support the Petition for Germany to recognize the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as a genocide of the Ukrainian People.
Screenshot of the petition webpage
There is a Petition 89118 in the German federal parliament (Bundestag) that calls on the government of Germany to recognize the Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet Union under the leadership of Stalin.
Up to 10,000 people have already signed the petition. The deadline for the petition is May 27. Fifty thousand signatures are required to move the petition further. The website is in German. Link to instructions in Ukrainian. Those who use Chrome may utilize the translate button built into the browser.
The signatories are not required to be German citizens or residents. It takes about 2-3 minutes on average to fill out the form.
10. Canadian MP Moves to Recognize Crimean Tatar Genocide, “Sürgünlik”
Screenshot from the House of Commons video
On March 22nd, Canadian MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj submitted a motion to the House of Commons to formally recognize the Crimean Tatar genocide, the Sürgünlik, and to commemorate Crimean Tatar Deportation Memorial Day on May 18th every year.
The Crimean Tatar People, the indigenous people of Crimea, were exiled from their homeland in 1944 by the totalitarian regime of Joseph Stalin. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were forcibly and violently deported – nearly half lost their lives during the first year of exile – because of their language culture and traditions.
“On its 75th anniversary, this Stalinist horror should be acknowledged for what it was: genocide. The Sürgünlik was a premeditated, meticulously planned and executed operation for the destruction of the Crimean Tatars as a people which meets Rapheal Lemkin’s classification of genocide,” wrote Wrzesnewskyj on his Facebook page on May 8.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress fully supports the Motion to recognize the Crimean Tatar Deportation of 1944 or Sürgünlik as a genocide.
11. Please note the changes to Ukraine’s President-elect’s surname spelling:
As of May 08, 2019, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress will be using the updated spelling (-yy) of the last name of Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The change comes as the follow-up to the announcement from Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s team about the launch of his new official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa