Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that during the week of June 21-27, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and thirty Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk and Luhansk sectors of the front 239 times in total, including at least 70 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 4 and wounded 16 enemy combatants in the last week.
2. Ukraine’s President to visit Canada July 1-3
The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada stated on June 25, “The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will visit Canada from July 1 to 3, 2019. The two leaders will meet in Toronto on July 2, 2019, during the Ukraine Reform Conference.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau will reiterate Canada’s unwavering support for the people of Ukraine and its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The two leaders will discuss Ukraine’s reform efforts on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration, the security situation in the region, and how to further deepen Canada-Ukraine commercial relations.”
Prime Minister Trudeau stated, “Canada and Ukraine share a deep and historic friendship built on shared values and strong people-to-people bonds. I look forward to my meeting with President Zelenskyy, where I will reaffirm Canada’s commitment to the Ukrainian people, and discuss ways to deepen our economic partnership and create good, middle class jobs in both of our countries.”
3. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe restores Russian delegation’s rights, ignoring aggression, violations of human rights and its own resolutions
UATV report on restoration of Russian delegation’s rights at PACE. To view video, please click on image above
The Kyiv Post reported on June 25, “Ukraine has temporarily suspended its membership at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, or PACE, after the 47-nation international body voted to reinstate Russia’s membership. PACE is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe and includes more nations than the 28-member European Union among its member states. Among other responsibilities, it oversees the European Court of Human Rights.
The Assembly voted for restoring Russia’s rights as a PACE member on June 25, essentially lifting one of the most important European sanctions against Russia in the process. 118 deputies voted for the motion, 62 against, while 10 abstained.
French, Spanish, Italian and Turkish, as well as six other nations’ delegates, unanimously supported Russia’s return to PACE while Ukrainian, British, Polish, Georgian, and the Baltic country delegations were strongly against it.
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, said on June 25 that Ukraine’s closest allies in Europe had unsuccessfully mobilized to try and prevent the motion from passing. Later, she said that a ‘Pandora’s box’ had been opened.
The Ukrainian delegation to PACE temporarily suspended its membership because of the decision, according to Mariya Ionova, acting chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada committee for European integration. In the meantime, the delegation temporarily suspended its membership of PACE on June 25, planning to return only for a June 26 session in which it will demand that PACE not allow Russia to have voting rights at the European body.
‘We do not see ourselves in the same room with the Russians,’ Ionova told news agency Interfax-Ukraine. ‘We will stand up and protest,’ she said. ‘And when they remain in the hall, we will leave it.’
Four out of 18 deputies from the Russian delegation are currently under international sanctions because they voted for or have otherwise supported Russian aggression against Ukraine. Ionova thinks that accepting the Russian delegation back will see PACE ‘commit suicide.’ […]
[President] Zelenskyy said on June 25 he was ‘disappointed’ at the PACE decision, according to a post on his Facebook page. He added that he had discussed ‘personally’ the issue with French President Emmanuel Macron on June 17 and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 18, ‘trying to convince them that return of the Russian delegation to PACE was possible only after Russia met the PACE conditions.’
‘It’s a pity that our European partners didn’t hear us and did it otherwise,’ Zelenskyy said. ‘I am grateful to the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation and friendly national delegations who bravely fought to the end.’
Zelensky also pointed to PACE’s main argument to reinstate Russia was the need to protect human rights. ‘I hope… nobody (at PACE) had any thoughts about material values,’ Zelensky wrote. […]
Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian member of parliament who opposed Russia’s illegal seizure of Crimea in 2014 and recently became a Ukrainian citizen after five years of self-imposed exile in Ukraine, also had strong words for PACE.
‘Previously, this organization had the status of useless, but highly moral. Now it is useless and immoral,’ he said.”
4. Delegations of Ukraine, six other countries leave the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Statement by Members of 7 Delegations about situation in Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe. To view video please click on image above
The delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia stated on June 26, “The unconditional restoration of the Russian delegation’s rights without the Russian Federation honouring any of the Assembly’s numerous demands runs counter to the core values of the Council of Europe and its Statute. This step sends a very wrong signal to the country that has resorted to armed aggression, poisoning of individuals, does not observe human rights of its citizens and does not promote but seeks to destabilise democracies throughout Europe.
Today, we as the delegates of our nations have no answer to our people how exactly the Council of Europe is protecting their rights if it comes across as more interested in protecting the well-being of an aggressor than the victims of aggression and repression.
The future of the Council of Europe is under threat as a whole because the Council of Europe is losing the trust of the people it stands to protect. We return home to consult our Parliaments and Governments about the joint actions in the Assembly in the next sessions.”
5. Ukrainian reformers under fire as battle over PrivatBank heats up
Reuters reported on June 27, “The day after Ukraine elected a new president in April, former central bank chief Valeria Gontareva was summoned for questioning as a suspect in a corruption investigation. Days later, a Ukrainian journalist launched a Facebook campaign against Gontareva, accusing her of corruption. At his request, thousands of people sent emails to her new employer in London accusing her of pilfering state funds.
Gontareva, a liberal economic reformer who quit as the National Bank of Ukraine’s governor in April 2017, denies wrongdoing. She believes she is a victim of ‘political persecution’ and is afraid to set foot in Ukraine. Gontareva, 54, says she is being hounded as part of a long-running battle over her decision in December 2016 to nationalize PrivatBank, Ukraine’s biggest lender. In doing so, she took on Ihor Kolomoisky, the oligarch who was the bank’s main owner.
Gontareva says Kolomoisky’s allies have been emboldened by Volodymyr
Zelenskyy’s election victory on April 21 because the new president and the tycoon are business associates. The aim, she says, is to undermine her and other reformers’ credibility as Kolomoisky tries to regain control of PrivatBank.
‘This is not just a coincidence,’ Gontareva told Reuters by telephone from London, where she now works as a Senior Policy Fellow at the London School of Economics. ‘They have become more active, because they feel complete impunity, a lack of justice in the country.’ […]
Reuters has seen no evidence that Kolomoisky, or the new presidential administration, was behind the General Prosecutor’s request to question Gontareva or the Facebook campaign. Kolomoisky denies orchestrating a campaign against Gontareva. Zelenskyy has said he will not help Kolomoisky in the legal battle over PrivatBank.
How the battle unfolds could be crucial to Ukraine’s chances of continuing its recovery from the economic and political turmoil of 2014. […] The central bank said PrivatBank had been used for fraud and money-laundering. Kolomoisky has denied wrongdoing and is fighting the decision. A Kyiv court ruled on April 18 that the nationalization was illegal, and the central bank has appealed against the ruling.
The central bank says that reversing the nationalization would rock investor confidence and sour relations with the International Monetary Fund, which helps keep Ukraine’s economy on an even keel with a $3.9 billion aid-for-reforms program.
In a sign of investors’ nervousness about the April 18 court ruling, deposits worth more than $300 million were taken out of PrivatBank in the next few weeks.
As central bank chief from June 2014, Gontareva closed dozens of banks in a clean-up of the banking system, accusing some of being money-laundering vehicles or personal piggy banks for oligarchs.
Her reforms were praised by the IMF but made her unpopular with some Ukrainian lawmakers and business leaders. Opponents once left a coffin with a cutout of her face at the central bank’s entrance. […]
Alexander Dubinsky, who launched the Facebook campaign, says that under Gontareva, the central bank and Ukraine’s economy suffered ‘enormous damage.’ […] Dubinsky works for the 1+1 television channel, which is owned by Kolomoisky, but he denies the oligarch is behind the Facebook campaign.
‘As for your question regarding my relationship with Mr Kolomoisky, there is none,’ Dubinsky told Reuters. It is not clear whether Dubinsky has any association with Zelenskyy but he is on a list of Zelenskyy’s top 20 candidates running for parliamentary seats in an election next month. […]
Zelenskyy has said he will maintain the central bank’s independence. Artem Shevalev, a member of PrivatBank’s supervisory board, told Reuters he had seen no interference at the bank by the new presidential team.
But Shevalev said PrivatBank, the central bank and the finance ministry were under attack from ‘certain media sources’ that were ‘targeting the nationalization’ of the bank. He suggested the next stage of the legal battle over PrivatBank would show whether this campaign was proving effective. ‘We are expecting the next court rulings (on PrivatBank’s nationalization) some time in July,’ he said. ‘That is your litmus test.'”
6. Slidstvo.info report – acting head of State Security Service appoints Yanukovych-era official as deputy head of department responsible for investigating corruption, organized crime
Report from Slidstvo.info (in Ukrainian) To view video, please click on image above
Slidstvo.info reported that first deputy head and acting head of the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Ivan Bakanov, appointed to his post by President Zelenskyy the day after the President’s inauguration, has appointed Maj. Gen. Anatoliy Kalyuzhniak as deputy director of the “K” Department of the SBU. The “K” Department of the SBU is responsible for investigating corruption and organized crime.
Slidstvo.info reports that Anatoliy Kalyuzhniak served in the same position from 2010-2013 during the presidency of Victor Yanukovych, who promoted him to the rank of major general. Kalyuzhniak resigned shortly after the Revolution of Dignity.
According to Slidstvo.info, experts state that Kalyuzhniak is subject to the Law on Lustration and ineligible to hold the office. The appointment of Kalyuzhniak was not announced on the website of the SBU, but Olena Hitlyanska, spokesperson of the SBU, confirmed the appointment, Slidstvo.info reports.
7. US, Ukraine sign MOU on Conventional Weapons Stockpile Management
The US State Department reported on June 25, “Today, the United States and Ukraine signed a new memorandum of understanding on Conventional Weapons Stockpile Management. Signed by Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper and Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs Acting Director of the Directorate of International Security Ruslan Nimchynskyi, the memorandum sets out a $4 million U.S. contribution toward construction of six explosive storehouses over the next two years for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. This project will enhance the safety and security of Ukraine’s munitions stockpiles, as well as advance Ukraine closer to its goal of meeting NATO and international standards for physical security and stockpile management.”