Tag Archives: Crimea

#Hackers show #Putin the middle #finger through Ani Lorak website

By Denys Krasnikov.
The official website of Ukrainian pop princess Ani Lorak was hacked and an offensive message for Russian President Vladimir Putin was put on it. © AFP/AFPThe official website of Ukrainian pop princess Ani Lorak was hacked and an offensive message for Russian President Vladimir Putin was put on it. © AFP/AFP

The official website of Ukrainian singer Ani Lorak was hacked. The unknown hackers put a picture featuring a Russian flag, a middle finger gesture and a “F*ck you Putin” message on the website’s home page at www.anilorak.com.

Next to it, the hackers added an image of a ribbon in the colors of Ukrainian national flag and badges reading “Ukraine. Fight for freedom.” the slogan “glory to Ukraine” accompanied by the Ukrainian national flag and profanities directed to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The usual content of the website – the schedule of Ani Lorak’s concerts, her photos and a list of awards – were taken off the website.

The hack was first noticed on Aug. 20. As of afternoon of Aug. 22 it still wasn’t fixed.

Save UkraineThe image that was put on Ani Lorak’s official website http://www.anilorak.com allegedly on Aug. 20.

Earlier this year Ani Lorak, the 35-year-old Ukrainian pop princess, received a lot of criticism following her participation in a pop music awards ceremony in Moscow on May 31. At the same time Ani Lorak was accepting her two awards from a Russian jury, the army of Ukraine was fighting Russia-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine with heavy human losses.

After the award ceremony, Ukrainians reacted immediately. People wrote angry messages at singer’s Facebook page and called to boycott her shows.

It didn’t help when it turned out that Ani Lorak has scheduled two shows in Crimea, Ukraine’s southern region occupied and annexed by Russia in March. On Aug. 3 some 100 activists protested before her show in Odessa, leading to severe clashes with police. At the same time, it was announced that the singer planned to donate her earnings from the Odessa show to Ukrainian army.

When approached by activists at a charity event in June, Ani Lorak attempted to justify her actions saying she was only a singer and not a politician.

However, the website attack shows the public hasn’t yet forgiven the singer.

(Kyiv Post staff writer Denys Krasnikov can be reached at denys.krasnikov@gmail.com).

Kyiv Post.

FIFA: Russia relations hit rough spot

FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, speaks during a press conference in Ulrichen, Switzerland, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Blatter has challenged his critics to FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, speaks during a press conference in Ulrichen, Switzerland, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Blatter has challenged his critics to “take the risk” and stand for election against him next year. He did not identify potential rivals in the ballot scheduled in May, though he appeared to target UEFA President Michel Platini. (AP Photo/Keystone, Anthony Anex)

GENEVA (AP) — Relations between FIFA and its next World Cup host, Russia, are under strain.

Two major issues have flared since July 13, when Russian state President Vladimir Putin sat next to FIFA President Sepp Blatter at the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Control of Crimean football clubs and expensive new stadiums for FIFA’s flagship tournament.

Attempts by the Russian football authorities to integrate three clubs from Crimea this season — without consent from Ukraine — have escalated tensions between the two countries’ football federations, which are both members of FIFA and UEFA.

Though the game’s world and European governing bodies have reason to at least warn the Russian Football Union of disciplinary action, neither has taken that step.

Blatter’s view that the Putin-backed, $20 billion World Cup project of 12 stadiums would be better with 10 met with a pushback on Tuesday from Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s sports minister and an elected member of FIFA’s executive committee — which is chaired by Blatter.

It followed a weekend meeting between Blatter, a regular visitor to Russia, and Putin, who speaks the FIFA leader’s native German fluently.

FIFA said in a brief statement that their talks in Sochi, which were not announced in advance, concerned “business related to” the 2018 World Cup.

The three-paragraph FIFA release did not specify if Blatter and Putin discussed the current stalemate in football politics over Crimean clubs.

Blatter reiterated that the Crimea matter “should be overseen by” UEFA, according to FIFA’s account of the Russian trip, which included talks with Mutko and organizing committee CEO Alexey Sorokin.

FIFA’s diplomacy with Russia seems restrained compared with its typically strict enforcement of rules that prohibit government interference in how football federations manage their affairs.

In other cases, FIFA has publicly set deadlines for national governments or courts to withdraw their threats or rulings. If not, FIFA suspends a country’s teams and officials from international matches and meetings until football order is restored.

It is possible that the Russian Football Union acted alone — without government advice — when it announced last month that Crimean clubs SKChF Sevastopol, Tavria Simferopol and Zhemchuzhina Yalta had been added to the Russian third-tier league. The clubs left the Ukrainian league after last season but their transfer to Russia has not been approved by UEFA, which has authority over FIFA on purely European disputes.

When those clubs played their first competitive fixtures last week, in Russian Cup preliminary rounds, Ukrainian football authorities protested to UEFA and FIFA demanding action.

The Crimean clubs issue has been clear since March, when a disputed referendum supported the region’s annexation by the Russian state.

Still, the football problem has lingered beyond the Brazil-hosted World Cup and into the new season with Russia on the clock as upcoming host.

Top Russian clubs have even raised concern UEFA could be forced to suspend them from the Champions League and Europa League.

A solution could be found in Monaco next week when all parties will gather on the sidelines of the Champions League group-stage draw. That draw could include Zenit St. Petersburg, owned by Russian industrial giant Gazprom — a top-tier Champions league sponsor — and which counts Mutko among former presidents.

UEFA has publicly expressed hope that the Russian and Ukrainian federations will find a compromise.

“If they would come up with a joint proposal that would be a very nice signal,” UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said this month, without suggesting which side might concede ground. “Football sometimes makes miracles.”

Meanwhile, the question of Russia’s World Cup stadiums was on the agenda in Sochi, according to FIFA.

Blatter suggested “a possible reduction in the number of venues for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as matters linked to the capacity of the arenas.”

Mutko responded Tuesday, defending the plan agreed with FIFA two years ago.

“The conception, under which 12 stadiums in 11 cities will host World Cup matches, is not being changed,” Mutko said, according to the ITAR-Tass agency. “FIFA recommends 10 stadiums in nine cities, including two arenas in Moscow.”

A final decision might be made when FIFA’s executive committee next meets Sept. 25-26 in Zurich.

The once certainty is that the international mood about a World Cup in Russia has clearly changed since Brazil hosted a better-than-expected World Cup.

The shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet in eastern Ukraine last month, suspected to involve pro-Russian separatists, fueled calls from western lawmakers for FIFA to move the tournament elsewhere.

Blatter has dismissed those calls, and was joined by UEFA President Michel Platini. UEFA must also decide on Sept. 19 whether to choose St. Petersburg as a host for 2020 European Championship matches.

For now, Russia seems too big in world football to fail.

Associated Press.

#Russia: Russian ultimatum warns #Ukraine president on owning #Crimea shipyard

Ukrainian President Petro PoroshenkoUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

SEVASTOPOL, August 18. / ITAR-TASS /. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been warned he must give up ownership of a shipyard on the Crimean peninsula if the firm wanted continued orders from Russia’s military, a regional official said on Monday.

Poroshenko’s Sevastopol Marine Plant is located in the Russian federal city from which the company takes its name, Russian-speaking and long-standing home base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet naval fleet. He has been told to give it up, or face the consequences.

“We’re not filling the plant’s capacities at present due to the problem with the owner, which is being settled at government level. Once it’s resolved, the shipyard will begin to receive defence and civilian orders,” said acting Sevastopol governor Oleg Menyailo, adding that he believed the company would regain its previous status.

Poroshenko has also been told to relinquish his business interests in accordance with international norms and the EU leadership had to nudge the Ukrainian leader towards this decision, Menyailo added.

Poroshenko is among Ukrainian business people having property in the city, required to re-register interests under Russian laws and being warned they would have no prospects if they continued to operate under Ukrainian jurisdiction.

“Initially, we offered all Ukrainian company owners two options: They either re-register or operate as a foreign resident in Russia’s legal space,” Menyailo said, noting that such options were not imposed on “vital energy, communication and transport facilities”.

Inquiries are also under way into Avlita port stevedoring firm owned by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov and Balaklava mineral ore company, part of entrepreneur Vadim Novinsky’s Smart holding, Menyailo said, adding that Novinsky had been blamed for major violations of environmental regulations.

ITAR-TASS: Russia.

Julia Kukoba: World becomes more aware of #Ukraine through its struggles

By Julia Kukoba.A man extinguishes a fire of a private house in a suburb of Donetsk after a shelling on August 17, 2014. Ukrainian forces battled into a key rebel bastion as fresh claims that rocket launchers had crossed over from Russia stoked tensions on August 17 ahead of talks between Kiev and Moscow's top diplomats. AFP PHOTO / Max VetrovA man extinguishes a fire of a private house in a suburb of Donetsk after a shelling on August 17, 2014. Ukrainian forces battled into a key rebel bastion as fresh claims that rocket launchers had crossed over from Russia stoked tensions on August 17 ahead of talks between Kiev and Moscow’s top diplomats. AFP PHOTO / Max Vetrov. © AFP.

When some Westerners considered the former Soviet Union, they thought of Russia. When they thought of Ukraine, if at all, many thought of it as a part of Russia. Recognition of Ukraine as independent nation, which it has been for 23 years, has been slow in coming.

The misperceptions are fueled by the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has never accepted the breakup of the Soviet Union, as well as Russophiles among Ukraine’s 45 million people.

Ever since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and its proxy war in Ukraine’s east since April, many people have learned a lot more about Ukraine and its history, including its tremendous sacrifices in World War II and its struggle for independence.

While Russia has vastly more resources to fight the information and propaganda war, discerning people who want to know the truth are finding it.

Here are impressions from people of different countries about how their attitudes to Ukraine have changed since the Russian invasion of Crimea on Feb 27:

Oscar M. Cordero, Arizona, USA

It is embarrassing to admit that before the fall of 2013, I was completely ignorant of Ukraine. As a result of the recent events and the media covering Ukraine non-stop, my curiosity was awakened. The idea of a potential second Cold War, the fact that so many nations got absorbed by what started as a domestic political issue made me want to learn more.

I first started watching RT (Russia Today) and compared it to American mainstream networks and the difference could not be bigger between the information presented.

So I became curious about what Ukrainians’ point of view was. Therefore, I turned to a social network and the internet, which led me find a window to what Ukraine really is. I remember asking a Ukrainian citizen why they didn’t just re-join Russia, after all (in my mind) what difference would it make?….

Well, I am lucky this girl did not slap me. Rather, she had the patience to explain what was happening, earning my respect and appreciation. So, I decided to dig even deeper into Ukraine. Just to find out that it was much more than just a former Soviet Union state. In my mind it was sharing Russian culture, language, traditions and a vision for the future. How wrong I was.

Now, I know what the Ukrainian flag looks like, what its color mean, I know I can find it on a map.  Currently I am not only following the events in the eastern part of the country, but I am learning about Ukrainian culture. Today I know that Ukraine has beautiful, warm people who share more things in common with me than I initially thought. I can now recognize some amazing traditional dresses. Nothing like what I had imagined to see.  I can’t wait for this whole mess to be over so I can visit and enjoy beautiful Ukraine.”

Dan Arian, Ottawa, Canada

My relationship with Ukraine: It all started with becoming friend with a lady, whose husband worked for the Ukrainian Embassy in Ottawa. A couple of years later, they moved back to their city, Kyiv. I got an invitation to spend the Christmas and New Year with them in 2000. My stay in Kyiv and Crimea was one of the highlights of my life.

In Western countries, the old Soviet Union was demonized to the level, that most people thought that they would be in grave danger, if they would travel there. And I was no exception for having doubts to travel to the old Soviet region! Once I was there, I was greeted by my friend and her family and her husband. People were extremely nice and friendly. It was a warm and fuzzy feeling thru out the trip. I fell in love with people’s kindness and hospitality. I met some people, whom didn’t have much, but they had a lot of love to give. I always remember my trips to Ukraine with great happiness and warmth! Canada has a large concentrated population of Ukrainians.

News about Ukraine is always one the main ones, when it comes to world news. We were witnessing the Ukrainian revolution through our TV news and also the social networks, mainly Facebook and Twitter.

The mood in here regarding the news was somewhat divided. For us, not knowing the internal politics of Ukraine, made it hard to understand what is actually happening and for what reason! It was heartbreaking to see the violence on the streets of Kyiv. To most North American people, Ukraine was part of Russia or at least influenced greatly by the Russians. More and more we saw the violence and arrests, more we got drawn to the events, which was taking place on a daily bases in Kyiv and some other cities in Ukraine. I think if this didn’t happen, we would have still believe that Ukraine is in fact just another puppet of Russia. And the Russian government don’t have a good reception in North America, in general. Once the people kicked the president out of office and screamed to the world and showed what is actually going on, the picture got more clear for us.

But it didn’t take long to see that Russian occupied a piece of Ukrainian land, while they were down! That move by the Russians, made us very mad and sad, same time. We couldn’t believe our eyes that in the 21st century, you can just grab another country’s land, without having any fear or shame. As we saw, no one wants a war with Russia. To many, it will be the end of the world because of the nuclear weapons. We all fear a ruthless Russia would not come short of using their nuclear weapons, if they have to. So we all watch in horror and see how Ukraine was going to respond. We all know that Russia has a huge influence in Ukrainian military. To us was no doubt that the high-ranking officers were cooperating with the Russians.

Fast forward, we saw many Pro-Russians, in the eastern Ukraine reflected the outcry by some Russians, who live in Ukraine.

As a visitor, I saw the inequalities in the society. The previous governments did not care much about people’s life and well being. Security was a big question and country was in a fast decay.

Many people looking at fast growing economy in Russia and Western Europe. I think it was just matter of time for a revolution to take place, regardless who was in pose.

Since eastern Ukraine is next to Russia, no doubt people in there want more or perhaps the same. So I think it would be natural to think that people want to join Russia. If the situation in Ukraine was much better than Russia, I don’t think that eastern Ukrainians would even move a finger to join Russia.

On the other hand, the violence in Odessa, where a lot of pro-Russians burnt alive in a government building, was a big black line for the freedom movement. In West, we understand why revolutions happen, but when actions become crime, we tend to think twice.

After the presidential election, we thought some stability will come back to Ukraine, but that proved to be wrong.

To my opinion, Ukraine’s whole government needs an overhaul. The way I see it, Ukraine needs a solid plan for its economy. Independence from Russian military and government and respect its people. Ethnic Russians ( and other ethnic groups), need to be recognized and rights given.

We also understand that this conflict will not end any time soon. West and East are back to the Cold War mentality again.

With the events in Middle East and the fight over northern resources, I predict more conflict will arise, not just in Eastern Block, but perhaps will get into Western and Northern Europe.

But time will tell.

Leonel Santos, Lisbon, Portugal

The first time I arived to Kyiv was in March 2010. Before that, there wasn’t much I knew about the city or Ukraine.

We lay on opposite corners on Europe and Portugal was always more interested and aware about the Atlantic than the continent. Adding that to the fact that I truly believe that, during the Cold War, propaganda worked better on this side. Even if on my Christmas, when I was 13 years old, and got as gift a book about Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika…

It wasn’t my first trip to Eastern Europe, six months before, I already been in Bucharest. From Ukraine, we knew Chornobyl, some football teams, like Dynamo and that’s it. Even having an extensive Ukrainian community living in Portugal.

On my case, I studied a little bit before my trip. I was aware of the business environment, about the efforts in 2004 to build a more European society and how that dream was thrown away. Language was a barrier, mostly as out of business community and away from city center was really hard to find someone who could speak English.

But the most vivid memory I hold from those first readings was how present corruption was on every level of relationships, how dense laws were and imposible to be understood. The general feeling was that we could be welcome to do business, but only under “certain conditions.” All that it was easy to confirm, from the very first approach. Fortunately, I never confirmed another warning I received: Kyiv isn’t a dangerous city.

Aytunc Ronnie Guler, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

“I didn’t have prior information about Ukraine before these events so much except for what I have studied from ottoman history. I do know that it gained independence from the soviets and that a lot of the Ukrainians I met were really nationalistic about not being confused with Russians.

My attitude towards Russia didn’t really change so much because I knew that they were a pretty aggressive state that doesn’t care so much about their international image. I was surprised when the riots in Ukraine began because I thought it was a more stable country. I didn’t know the people were that divided.”

(Kyiv Post staff writer Julia Kukoba can be reached at juliakukoba@gmail.com).

Julia Kukoba: Kyiv Post.

At least 363 soldiers killed in Russia’s war against Ukraine

by Iryna Yeroshko, Maryna Lysytsia.
Here are some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in war since July 17. For a more complete set of photographs, go to the Kyiv Post print edition of Aug. 1. © CourtesyHere are some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in war since July 17. For a more complete set of photographs, go to the Kyiv Post print edition of Aug. 1. © Courtesy

In its push to purge Russian-backed insurgents from eastern Ukraine, government forces this month freed several cities. Among them are the Donetsk Oblast cities of Dzerzhynsk, Rubizhne, Soledar, Debaltseve, Shakhtarsk and Torez, as well as Luhansk Oblast’s Lutugino, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk and Popasna.

But the nation paid a high price in liberating the cities, with more than 120 soldiers killed in battle since July 17. In total, 363 government troops have been killed and 1,434 wounded since the onslaught of the violence in April. The following is the list of soldiers killed in battle from July 17-28.

July 17

Ivan Yavkushyn, 31, from Yevpatoria, killed during shelling at a checkpoint in Marynivka, Donetsk Oblast. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Dmytro Hryhorenko, 22, from Fastiv, Kyiv Oblast, died from injuries received during battle on July 12.

Andriy Kostyrko, 24, from Bryukhovychi village, Lviv Oblast, was killed when Kremlin-backed insurgents shelled his group’s position in Luhansk.

July 18

Ruslan Chubatenko, 23, from Bereznyaky in Cherkasy Oblast, killed after rebels fired Grad rockets near Savur-Mohyla in Donetsk Oblast.

Oleh Barskyi, 38, was killed during shelling near Marynivka, Donetsk Oblast. He leaves a wife and a son.

Viktor Boiko, 40, from Cherkasy, was killed by sniper fire. He leaves a 12-year-old daughter.

Ihor Chernyak, a volunteer of the Donbass Battalion, was killed during battle near Popasna village, Luhansk Oblast.

Konstyantun Blozva was killed in battle near Popasna village, Luhansk Oblast.

Sergiy Bohonko, 22, from Yerky village, Cherkasy Oblast. The Donbas Battalion volunteer died from injuries in Artemivsk, Donetsk Oblast. Continue reading