Tag Archives: eastern Ukraine

Taruta says Donetsk will feel ‘raped’ because of new law #Ukraine #Russia


by Katya Gorchinskaya.
Donetsk Oblast Governor Serhiy TarutaDonetsk Oblast Governor Serhiy Taruta © Katya Gorchinskaya.

MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Donetsk Oblast Governor Serhiy Taruta says that the people of Donbas “will feel raped” by the new law 1 passed on Sept. 16 designed to bring self-governance to the region — Ukraine’s most populous — where war has been raging for months.

Fighters of the volunteer Azov Battalion equated the law with treason because the law essentially gives up part of Ukraine’s territory.

“Everyone would like a road map, but the kind that we would not feel raped,” Taruta said on Sept. 16.

Ukraine’s parliament approved a law on the temporary settlement of conflict in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts on Sept. 16. President Petro Poroshenko said it was designed to bring peace for the next three years, and grant a special status and local self-governance to the territories controlled by the Russia-backed separatists. It also grants amnesty to the militants in charge, without specifying if any of their crimes in the embattled east will be punished.

But Taruta said the law raises many more questions that it answers. He says he has “some 50 of them in the list.”

He says it’s not at all clear how many regions in Donetsk Oblast will now be in Ukraine: “Are there two Donetsk regions or one?”

Members of the volunteer Azov Battalion are expecting more war, not peace from Russian President Vladimir Putin.Members of the volunteer Azov Battalion are expecting more war, not peace from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s also unclear what territory is governed by the new law. The text of the law states that it works within the territory designated as the anti-terrorist operation zone on the day the bill comes into effect, but no clearly marked borders of this territory exist.

Taruta also said that Ukraine considers the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as terrorist organizations, but the law effectively assigns them a new legal status. He said it’s not clear if and how the Russian border will be sealed off to prevent further shipment of arms and militants from Russia. It’s also unclear what laws will govern over the designated territory; who is going to enforce it and even run regular activities like education.

“There are no answers in this document,” Taruta concludes. “We don’t mind concessions, but not at any price.”

He said Poroshenko took the initiative over the law, without consulting with people on the ground. “Unfortunately, the president takes responsibility to make his own decisions,” Taruta said.

In Gurzuf, some 40 kilometers of Mariupol, fighters of the Azov Battalion who are training at a former residence of fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych learned about the parliamentary vote via their tabs and TV, and were furious.

“This law is no different than most Soviet laws,” says Andriy, an Azov fighter who used to be a history professor at a university before the war. He does not mind showing his face, but refuses to give his last name. “If a law is criminal, we do not recognize it. The law that cannot defend sovereignty and defend the state, we do not recognize.”

Members of the pro-Ukrainian Azov Battalion train in Gurzuf, some 40 kilometers outside Mariupol, The Donetsk Oblast city that some believe may be Russian President Vladimir Putin's next target.Members of the pro-Ukrainian Azov Battalion train in Gurzuf, some 40 kilometers outside Mariupol, The Donetsk Oblast city that some believe may be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next target.

At the same time, Andriy insists his position has nothing to do with anarchy. He says that simply the new law contradicts many other pieces of Ukraine’s legislation that, in his opinion, overrule it.

“We do not want to break laws, in fact we want a legal base of the European level,” he says.

Andriy said that the ceasefire and, in fact, the whole peace process initiated in Minsk earlier this month is “political fiction from both sides.” By “both” he means Ukraine and Russia, because he thinks that participation of Donetsk and Luhansk People Republics representatives is just window-dressing, while the presence of OSCE is naive.

In fact, he says that President Poroshenko is naive in this case as well. “Unless it’s a carefully weighed out position,” he adds. But his view of Russia’s President Putin is perfectly defined.

“Putin is basically a Stalinist… who cheats every step of the way,” Andriy says. “We must morally be ready that this war is for tens of years.”

Back in Mariupol, Taruta discussed with representatives of local government and volunteers the structure of the defense of the Azov Sea port city of 500,000 people. Clearly none of them believes in the peace process and go into the nitty-gritty of the three lines of defense that are supposed to keep this strategic city out of reach of the Kremlin-financed separatists.

Members of the pro-Ukrainian Azov Battalion train in Gurzuf, some 40 kilometers outside Mariupol, The Donetsk Oblast city that some believe may be Russian President Vladimir Putin's next target.Members of the pro-Ukrainian Azov Battalion train in Gurzuf, some 40 kilometers outside Mariupol, The Donetsk Oblast city that some believe may be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next target.

Although the new law on special status of territories in Donetsk Oblast sets an early election in the designated areas on Dec. 7, Taruta says they will not take place in Mariupol, which has been expecting an attack from Russian troops for weeks.

“No, it won’t concern Mariupol. I hope we won’t lose Mariupol, and it won’t concern Mariupol,” Taruta says. He says early elections, in the form set up by the new law, are a bad idea.

“You can’t hold an election in one street in the village, but not another,” he says.

Taruta also said he talked to people “on the other side,” meaning the Donetsk People’s Republic, about the election, and discovered that there is no preparation for an election “there.”

“No laws of Ukraine govern over them, from the point of view of those in DNR,” he said.

(Kyiv Post deputy chief editor Katya Gorchinskaya can be reached at katya.gorchinskaya@gmail.com).Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia's war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.


Kyiv Post.

Footnotes are the opinion of this blog and not of the Kyiv Post.


  1. This could be the worst proposal made by Petro Poroshenko in his time as President of Ukraine, with many seeing it as a betrayal to the people who fought so hard and died so that Ukraine could remain as one. 

6 killed, 15 wounded in east Ukraine city #Russia #Ukraine #Ceasefire


By LAURA MILLS.
Black smoke ascends around the Donetsk's International Airport as shelling continues between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian army on September 14, 2014.Black smoke ascends around the Donetsk’s International Airport as shelling continues between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian army on September 14, 2014. © AFP

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Shelling killed six people and wounded 15 others in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, the city council said Monday — the worst reported violence since a cease-fire between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops took effect on Sept. 5.

Nonetheless, the cease-fire deal has brought some normalcy to parts of eastern Ukraine and allowed prisoners on both sides to go home.

Another 73 Ukrainian soldiers were freed Sunday night in an exchange with the rebels, Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said Monday. Donetsk rebel leader Andrei Purgin was quoted by Interfax news agency as confirming that 73 rebels had been released in return. It was the largest reported prisoner exchange amid the fighting that began in mid-April.

Fighting around Donetsk’s government-held airport has left many northern neighborhoods in the crossfire. Over the weekend, Ukraine said its troops repelled an attack of 200 rebel fighters, but suffered no military casualties.

A Pro-Russian rebels bike arranged with a communist flag, left and Russian motorcycle club A Pro-Russian rebels bike arranged with a communist flag, left and Russian motorcycle club “Night Wolves” flag is driven in a parade in the town of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Some semblance of normality is returning to parts of eastern Ukraine after a cease-fire agreement sealed between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels earlier this month, although exchanges of rocket fire remain a constant in some areas. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Two northern neighborhoods in Donetsk were shelled heavily Sunday, leading to the casualties and damaging both homes and offices, the city council said.

While the neighborhoods hit by shelling are under the control of the rebels, the Ukrainian government blamed the militants for the civilian casualties.

“Neither today nor yesterday nor in the previous days did Ukrainian forces shell any residential areas and settlements,” Lysenko said in Kiev on Monday.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, who are overseeing the implementation of the cease-fire, said Sunday they were 200 meters (650 feet) away as four shells burst in Donetsk. The team saw one woman lying on the ground.

A Pro-Russian rebels truck with an anti-aircraft weapon is driven in a parade in the town of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Some semblance of normality is returning to parts of eastern Ukraine after a cease-fire agreement sealed between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels earlier this month, although exchanges of rocket fire remain a constant in some areas. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)A Pro-Russian rebels truck with an anti-aircraft weapon is driven in a parade in the town of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Some semblance of normality is returning to parts of eastern Ukraine after a cease-fire agreement sealed between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels earlier this month, although exchanges of rocket fire remain a constant in some areas. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

The first civilian casualties in Donetsk underscore how fragile the peace may be. Both sides have made it clear that they are rearming in case the fighting starts anew.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey told Channel Five that the delivery of weapons from NATO countries, agreed upon earlier this month, was “underway.” Those comments were also made by another senior official but later denied by four of the five NATO countries he had mentioned.

On Monday, Poland’s Defense Minister Tomasz Siemonia said while Poland is not currently selling arms to Ukraine, an arms deal will be the theme of talks when Heletey visits Warsaw this month. He offered no date for the visit.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine began a month after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March. It has claimed at least 3,000 civilian lives and forced hundreds of thousands to flee, according to the U.N.

A Pro-Russian rebels truck arranged with a communists flag, left and a flag with an Orthodox style icon depicting Jesus Christ is driven in a parade in the town of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Some semblance of normality is returning to parts of eastern Ukraine after a cease-fire agreement sealed between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels earlier this month, although exchanges of rocket fire remain a constant in some areas. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)A Pro-Russian rebels truck arranged with a communists flag, left and a flag with an Orthodox style icon depicting Jesus Christ is driven in a parade in the town of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Some semblance of normality is returning to parts of eastern Ukraine after a cease-fire agreement sealed between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels earlier this month, although exchanges of rocket fire remain a constant in some areas. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Associated Press.

Western weapons on way to Ukraine #CeaseFire #Russia #Ukraine


by Voice of America.
A pro-Russian rebel walks by a burnt-out plane at the destroyed airport in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 14, 2014.A pro-Russian rebel walks by a burnt-out plane at the destroyed airport in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 14, 2014.

KYIV – Ukraine’s Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey said Sunday weapons are on their way to Ukraine from Western countries – which he would not name – to help the country in its fight against Russian-backed rebels. 

The claim came as sporadic fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, despite of a nine-day-old cease-fire.

Heletey said the shipments were agreed to in secret at the NATO summit 10 days ago. He said the new weapons will help Ukraine defend itself against potential Russian missile attacks from across the border.

The minister indicated the shipments include a missile-defense system capable of stopping any rockets launched toward Ukraine in what he called “a matter of seconds.”

Ukraine has accused Russia of launching artillery shells across the border, and of sending troops to support the rebels. Russia denies the charges.

Sporadic fighting

The Ukrainian defense minister’s comment came amid reports of some continuing fighting Sunday in the east, after an intense exchange of fire on Saturday at the airport outside the key rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

Ukrainian government forces control the airport.

Each side has accused the other of numerous violations of the cease-fire, which is supposed to pave the way for negotiations.

Ukraine, Russia and rebel representatives signed the accord on September 5, including a 12-point peace plan. But there are huge differences on what the outcome of the talks should be.

Ukraine wants its sovereignty restored and promises more regional autonomy in the east. Russia and the rebels want the area to be independent, or at least fully autonomous and able to establish strong links with Moscow.

Analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to be able to destabilize Ukraine any time he decides it is becoming too politically close to Western Europe.

But both sides have reasons to go to the negotiating table.

Negotiations

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he wants to stop the bloodshed, and analysts say he has realized Putin will not allow the separatists to lose on the battlefield.

Russian exile and military expert Igor Sutyagin, now at London’s Royal United Services Institute, said Putin wants to avoid further Western economic sanctions, which are already hurting the Russian economy.

“It was necessary to fix the situation, to force, and Putin openly said that, to force Kyiv to sit at the table and negotiate with the separatists,” he said.

In spite of the violations, the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine has significantly reduced the violence and casualties, and could provide a chance for the leaders to find a way out of the crisis.


Voice of America.

Ian Bateson: Can #Ukraine win the #war in the east?


by Ian Bateson.
Ukrainian forces take their position not far from Luhansk on Aug. 20, 2014.Ukrainian forces take their position not far from Luhansk on Aug. 20, 2014. © AFP

When tanks and artillery entered the southern Donetsk Oblast from Russia on Aug. 27 it caught Ukrainian forces off guard, sending shockwaves through Ukraine’s leadership.  Resistance quickly crumbled as the advancing forces took Novoazovsk and surrounding villages.

With reports that Russian regulars led the offensive not Russian-supported Ukrainian separatists or volunteers, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk appeared in front of television cameras visibly shaken.  “Russian terrorists we can handle, but not the Russian army,” he said before trailing off.

With the new offensive the optimism that existed in July, when Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey said Ukraine would hold a victory march in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, has evaporated. Doubt is growing among both the Ukrainian officials and military experts as to whether Ukraine could win this war.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced intentions to reshuffle the military leadership, but any reshuffle will add to an already confusing situation where civilian and military bodies attempt to coordinate a war effort still referred to as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” (ATO).

For now an uneasy ceasefire is in place, giving both sides an opportunity to regroup. But if and when massive fire restarts, whoever ends up heading the military effort after the reshuffle will not only have to deal with a situation where Ukrainian forces are on the defensive, but will be under pressure to retake lost territory, and demonstrate a clear strategy that has previously been absent from Ukrainian military operations.

The situation now

“I don’t see any tactics from the Ukrainian side.  No tactics to fight the Russian invasion,” said Archil Tsintsadze, a retired Georgian colonel who fought in Abkhazia and former military advisor to the Georgian embassy in Kyiv.

As the armed conflict in Ukraine’s east has continued, Ukraine has come under increasing criticism for not having a clear strategy, and instead simply reacting to events as they happen.

After ending a unilateral ceasefire this summer, Ukrainian forces made rapid advances, taking territory back from Russian-supported separatists, but failed to deliver a coup de grace that could have defeated the separatists.  Instead Ukrainian advances pushed separatists into the  heavily populated regional centers of Donetsk and Luhansk, complicating fighting that has already seen a high number of civilian casualties.

Before the latest escalation of events on Aug. 27, Ukrainian authorities claimed several times to have successfully encircled separatist forces in Donetsk and Luhansk, only for it later to become clear that men and equipment were still freely able to get in and out of those areas. But the effort to contain separatists came to an end when a new front was opened in the southern Donetsk Oblast.

“Now it is more or less clear that after the maneuver by separatists or Russians near Mariupol the Ukrainian army doesn’t have the forces to encircle Donetsk and Luhansk anymore,” said independent Russian military expert Alexander Golts.

A map released by the Ukrainian Security Council on Sep. 11 seemed to confirm the new status quo, showing Luhansk, Donetsk, and Novoazovsk, along with a large chunk of surrounding territories, to be solidly connected by territory controlled by Russian-backed forces.

This change means that supply routes to both Donetsk and Luhansk remain open, allowing the separatists to continue receiving reinforcements in manpower and heavy weaponry.

This shift has put Ukraine on the defensive as it not only struggles to hold Mariupol, the second largest city in the southern Donetsk Region, but prepares for further escalations instigated by Russia that could bring fighting to other previously unaffected parts of Ukraine.

“We need to prepare Ukraine’s territory militarily just like Mariupol, creating fortifications and new units.  That should be the norm not just for Mariupol, but also for other important cities either bordering Russia or near Crimea Kherson or Donbas.  That includes Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk,” said Ukrainian military expert Viacheslav Tseluikov.

Experts, however, point out that if it comes to a full on clash between Russian and Ukrainian forces, despite the superior size of Russia’s army if prepared Ukraine would still have certain advantages.

“Russia is a big country.  Their problems don’t stop with Ukraine.  They can’t take soldiers away from the Caucasus or the far east.  Ukraine can use all of its forces against Russia and Russia can’t use all of its forces against Ukraine,” said Tseluikov.

So far, however, Ukrainian leaders have fallen short of describing hostilities in its east as an outright war and taking the precautions preparing for a war would normally entail.

The organization of the military campaign in the east also shows a failure to make that shift. Military operations in the east are currently coordinated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ukraine’s successor to the KGB, rather than the Ministry of Defense.

“When fighting involves Russia regulars that isn’t an anti-terrorist operation but a war, and a war should be led by Ministry of Defense,” said Tseluikov.

It is a sentiment echoed by many in Ukraine’s military circles with a statement released in early September by former military officials and experts calling for a transfer of leadership from the SBU to the Ukrainian armed forces.

What it would take to reclaim Donetsk and Luhansk

If full hostilities resume Ukraine would predominantly be focused on holding the ground, but long term it would be a priority to retake the separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Reasserting control over those cities would not only mean a moral boost for Ukrainian fighters and a boost in the polls for Ukraine’s leaders, but give Ukraine a stronger hand at the negotiating table.

“During negotiations the government can point to that and say despite your rhetoric and propaganda we remained in control of these areas,” said John Gordan a counter-insurgency expert at the US Rand Corporation adding that “allows them to deal from a position of strength.”

When it comes to taking the two cities, however, sufficient and qualified manpower is required if the Ukrainian military do not want to bombard them first. They have previously pledged not to.

“They need to have enough forces to cow the insurgents and intimidate them, but at the same time they don’t want to shoot up an urban area or cause a lot of civilian casualties. And part of that is to have enough force available that the separatists are so awed by that they aren’t going to want to take the risk of taking that on,” said Gordan.

Such tactics spare civilian lives, but are more costly for soldiers and that is a commitment Gordan says officials have to be ready for. Previously when Ukrainian forces were in a stronger position outside of Donetsk and Luhansk there was no evidence to a commitment to that kind of an engagement.

Making peace

In the end experts generally agree that for any lasting solution Ukraine will have to reach an agreement with Russia. The current ceasefire is a potential basis for a wider peace, but with reported violations of the ceasefire from both sides it is on very shaky footing.

The attack on Novoazovsk made it clear that if Ukraine comes anywhere close to a decisive victory against the separatists, Russia will increase the flow of people and equipment, including opening new fronts, to rebalance the scales.

The most recent change in military balance put pressure on President Poroshenko to conclude a ceasefire, and showed that any negotiations will be on Russia’s terms and guided by Russia – but only unofficially. It is the separatists, not the Kremlin, who will put their signatures on any paper.

But a likelier development for Donbas at the moment is becoming another frozen post-Soviet conflict.

The Kremlin’s goal is to freeze the conflict and have Donetsk and Luhansk as unrecognized or self-declared territories like Transnistria, South Ossetia, or Abkhazia,” said Golts.


Kyiv Post.

#Poroshenko downplays military options in #Russia’s war against #Ukraine


by Brian Bonner.
This handout picture taken and released by Ukrainian presidential press-service on Sept. 11shows Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) welcoming his Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves prior to their meeting in Kiev.This handout picture taken and released by Ukrainian presidential press-service on Sept. 11, shows Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) welcoming his Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves prior to their meeting in Kiev. © AFP

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Sept. 12 that the nation will win Crimea back from Russia not through military force, but by building a better society than Russia.

“We will win a democratic, economic, liberal competition for the minds of the Crimea people,” Poroshenko told the Yalta European Strategy conference, the 11th annual event sponsored by billionaire Victor Pinchuk. The three-day even is being held in Kyiv this year because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, including Yalta’s Livadia Palace, the traditional venue.

Later, during a question-and-answer session, Poroshenko echoed European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s view that there is “no military solution,” even though it is just such a solution that Russia has been trying to impose on Ukraine since its Feb. 27 invasion of Crimea and subsequent backing of separatists in Ukraine’s eastern regions during the last six months.

Poroshenko called this “one of the most challenging and dangerous periods in the history of Ukraine,” but said that he would try to find a peaceful solution that does not involve “compromise on the territorial integrity” of the nation.

Poroshenko said the same non-military approach – winning the hearts and minds of two million Crimeans – will also work in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, where Russia is backing a separatist war that has killed more than 3,000 people, including soldiers and civilians.

The president said Ukraine will build an effective, democratic and “not corrupt” state, Poroshenko said. “We will be democratic and we will be free. The standard of freedom in Ukraine outside of the administrative border of Crimea will be much better; this is the only way we can win in the fight for the minds of Crimea.”

Poroshenko praised the European Union decision to impose new economic sanctions today against Russia. “They demonstrate that Ukraine is now their top priority.”

He also said next week is a pivotal one for Ukraine, with a Sept. 16 synchronized approval of the EU-Ukraine association agreement in the European Parliament in Brussels and the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv. The voting will be broadcast by video link in both capitals, with voting taking place at the same moment.

Poroshenko also signaled he would push for an invitation from the EU for full membership, suggesting it would be “unpolite” for the 28-nation bloc to not make such an offer considering all that Ukraine has been through. Later, he said the EU would not be whole without Ukraine and that, with Ukraine as an EU member, Europea will be “stronger from a security point of view.”

Two days later, on Sept. 18, Poroshenko will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress and meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Poroshenko also said that he hopes that NATO grants Ukraine the status as major non-member ally.

“It’s of crucial importance for us,” Poroshenko said. “Our European and trans-Atlantic partners that Ukrainians are not fighting for the territorial independence of Ukraine. It is fighting for global security. We need to introduce a new security structure in this very dangerous world.’

At the same time, Poroshenko said Ukraine will embark on a reform program to end corruption simultaneously to seeking peace with Russia.

“The fight against corruption is absolutely the same importance as the fight for peace. This is like a cancer that has paralyzed Ukraine,” Poroshenko said.

When challenged during a question-and-answer by Dragon Capital head Tomas Fiala on the slow pace of the anti-corruption fight, Poroshenko said that – despite the EuroMaidan Revolution – Ukraine is saddled with the old rules and old parliament. That is why he called for new parliamentary elections on Oct. 26, the president said.

“Investors will come when they feel safe in the country,” Poroshenko said. “The investors are not going to a country that is in a state of war.”

In particular, Poroshenko called for reform of Ukraine’s secretive and corrupt court system to make investment safe.

In his speech, Poroshenko said that Ukrainians are united as never before.  “We have no military solution to this crisis,” he said.

“What we have now is absolutely new Ukrainian army, security forces and heroes who demonstrated that even in this difficult times we can effectively defend our values. We are defending our values; and that is why we are stronger than anybody else,” he said.

Poroshenko addressed skeptics about the peace agreement reached in Minsk on Sept. 5. He said the deal can work.

“Only a few of you can believe that we can establish a fragile peace,” he said. “From day to day, more people believe we will be successful in this important way. Even now, not everybody understands the positive thing to have possibility not to receive every night the news about death of Ukrainian solders and civilians, when dozens of Ukrainan heroes are giving their lives. That’s why this is very important for us Ukrainians to be together. We can win only when we will be united.”

The president said that “Ukraine is as united as never before. You can absolutely understand and see that. This is another reason I am proud to be Ukrainian and I am proud to be the president of this beautiful country.”

(Kyiv Post chief editor Brian Bonner can be reached at bribonner@gmail.com).


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