Home » Posts tagged 'Kyiv'
Tag Archives: Kyiv
The delicate truce between Kyiv and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine was broken again on Sunday. New NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is optimistic that the situation can be resolved.
There was fresh shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Sunday, the one-month anniversary of the ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian rebels.
“There is no ceasefire,” a resident of the city said, gesturing to the firefight and destruction in the distance.
Ukraine’s military blames the separatists for the outbreak of violence near Donetsk’s government-held airport, where at least three civilians and three separatists were killed and dozens were wounded, according to senior rebel official Eduard Basulin.
Ukrainian military spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy gave a different account, telling a press conference that two service staff were killed on Sunday and about six people were wounded. “The terrorists are violating the terms of the ceasefire,” he added.
Clashes around the airport have been going on for weeks, as the facility, which has a modernized runway capable of handling heavy transporters, is of great strategic value. And while the separatists have been able to take several other important buildings in Donetsk, the airport remains in Kyiv’s hands.
Both sides blame each other for the civilian deaths.
“The airport is a springboard for the city…our main task is to push them (government forces) away from the city so that they can no longer shell residential districts,” Basulin said.
Clinging to a fragile truce
Despite the ongoing violence, neither Kyiv nor Moscow seems willing to proclaim the truce invalid.
Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have come together to create a monitoring contact group, which together with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) patrols the frontline. Berlin has also considered sending troops to support the patrols.
The Ukrainian government has a large interest in maintaining some form of peace ahead of October 26 parliamentary polls called by President Petro Poroshenko. Europe, for its part, would also rather maintain the status quo as opposed to widening its impasse with Russia and its gas supplies as winter approaches.
NATO secretary general optimistic
There is great interest into how newly-minted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will approach the issue. Speaking on his first day in office on Wednesday, Stoltenberg told journalists that he saw no contradiction between his pro-US, stronger-NATO stance and improved ties with Russia.
Jens Stoltenberg took the helm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on October 1.
“We see opportunity in the ceasefire…but we also see violations of the ceasefire and it’s a fragile situation,” the former Norwegian prime minister said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin cautiously approved of Stoltenberg’s ascension, saying “we have very good relations, including personal relations.” The new NATO chief promised to react with an “open mind” if Russia sought to restart the NATO-Russia council, which has ceased operations since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March.
Some 75 people are reported to have died since the Ukrainian-Separatist truce, which was backed by Kyiv and the Kremlin, went into effect on September 5.
es/nm (AP, AFP, Reuters)
State Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko. © Kostyantyn Chernichkin.
Four officers of Ukraine’s KGB-successor agency, the State Security Service (SBU), have been arrested for their involvement in the killing of some 100 protesters in Kyiv’s Independence Square in the waning days of the EuroMaidan Revolution in late February, said the nation’s top spy Valentyn Nalyvaichenko on Espresso TV on Oct. 4.
“Dozens (of SBU men) planned the shooting on the Maidan, foremost they were heads of departments and agencies. Criminal cases were opened against them back in March. There are (officers) who have been dismissed, detained and arrested,” said SBU chief Nalyvaichenko. “As of today there are four traitors, officers of the highest rank. Two more heads of key departments have fled before our appointment and they are wanted (men).”
Number one on his list is his predecessor, Oleksandr Yakymenko, whose official biography never listed when he received Ukrainian citizenship having been born in Mongolia and served in the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea in the 1990s. He is presumed to be hiding out in Russia having given numerous interviews to Russian media there.
Nalyvaichenko didn’t name the other suspects that are either wanted or in custody.
Calling him a traitor, Nalyvaichenko said Yakymenko “will make it in history as the first, and I hope the last, traitor who entirely betrayed his office and state, and who switched allegiance to the side of the aggressor (Russia).”
He added that in addition to Yakymenko, two of his former deputies and two key department heads, one of whom planned the sniper shootings that killed 100 people in the last days of EuroMaidan, also fled to Russia.
In a separate interview Nalyvaichenko gave to 112 television on Sept. 29, he said the high-level SBU officers who planned the EuroMaidan shootings, did so with “foreign, that is, Russian Federal Security Service officers.”
There have been no high-profile convictions in the death of some 100 EuroMaidan protesters since February.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk. © Courtesy
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk struggled to explain the achievements of his government to an international audience of a high-key conference in Kyiv on Sept. 13. He admitted that few vital reforms have been completed in the past half a year, and said that the war undermines further prospects for quick change.
“In the past six months we have (had) a revolution, we’re still in war, and there are two elections,” he said at Yalta European Strategy conference in Kyiv. He said that making any radical changes is difficult under current circumstances, but the energy to do it comes from people’s “strong desire to live in another country.”
Yatseniuk said that his government, which was brought to power after the EuroMaidan revolution that thwarted corrupt former President Viktor Yanukovych, failed to tackle corruption, overhaul a fundamentally flawed legislative system and judiciary system full of “corrupt judges and prosecutor,” and fix the Soviet-style police system.
“This is our agenda,” he said.
Yatseniuk is running for parliament in the Oct. 26 snap election at the helm of his newly created People’s Front party, who is planning to bring to the legislature a number of commanders from the front lines and revolution activists on their party list. Half of the 450-seat parliament is elected though party lists, and the rest through majority constituencies.
Yatseniuk, however, said that the government can boast a number of achievements. “After we took over the office of the prime minister, our key task was to resume the IMF program,” he said. Ukraine managed to do it in a short time, and received the second tranche of the Stand-By Arrangement from the IMF earlier this month, which has helped the government to plug the budget hole.
Yatseniuk also said that his government managed to also adopt two austerity packages, cut down public spending by more than 10 percent, as well as cut privileges, and hike housing bills and taxes to be able to fill the budget. “The majority of Ukrainian accepted those austerity measures,” he said.
He also said the government started a pro-transparency and anti-corruption campaign by passing a vital new public procurement law, eliminating a handful of controlling agencies and inspections, and cutting the number of various licenses from 143 to 84.
Yatseniuk said that the achievements of his government should not be under-estimated considering that it also has to cope with a war raging in the east. “This government is a war-time government. The key aggressor is the Russian Federation. Until we get peace it will be really difficult to get real change,” he said.
He said that a constant flow of news from the frontlines is in no way helpful. He said when people switch on the TV and see that the Russian tanks invaded, they “rush to the banks to get out deposits” and change them to hard currency, further escalating economic problems. Fear, he said, drives their moves.
On this background it’s a “key priority to deter Russia and start reform,” Yatseniuk said. “If we stop the war, if we contain Russia, we will get a chance to attract international investors. It’s not easy to attract investors when you have Russian tanks and Russian artillery in your country.”
Moreover, Russia is waging war on more than one front in Ukraine. One of the toughest is the energy. Russia stopped supplying gas to Ukraine in June because of an ongoing dispute over price for gas and Ukraine’s debt.
Yatseniuk’s government filed an arbitration claim against Russia’s Gazprom in Stockholm and started shipping gas from Europe through the so-called “reverse flow.” However, Russia made a new move in the past few days, cutting gas supply to some EU member nations who have been selling gas to Ukraine. “The idea was to stop the reverse flow,” Yatseniuk said. He also added that the Russian army has deliberately targeted coal mines with their strikes, and “a number of coal mines were entirely demolished and dismantled.”
“We have a problem with coal supply,” Yatseniuk admitted, saying that Ukraine started importing coal from other countries, including South Africa, “for the first time in two decades.”
“These are tremendous challenges. We have huge problems, but also huge opportunities,” Yatseniuk said.
(Kyiv Post deputy chief editor Katya Gorchinskaya can be reached at email@example.com).
by Brian Bonner.
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the star of Okean Elzy rock band, scores points with the crowd on Sept. 11 for his pointed criticism of Ukraine’s elites. He was part of an opening panel discussion at billionaire Victor Pinchuk’s annual Yalta European Strategy conference, held in Kyiv this year after Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsual. © Anastasia Vlasova
Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk’s crowd, assembled every year for the Yalta European Strategy, tried to get into the groove at this year’s opening reception on Sept. 11. But everything was off-kilter since, instead of Russian-annexed Crimea, the guests were assembled in Kyiv’s Mystetskyi Arsenal.
Sure, the wine flowed freely and the food was abundant, as usual.
Many guests, including journalists, were eating up and drinking up as Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian member of parliament, author and former journalist, interviewed a panel that included Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, Okean Elzy rock star Syvatoslav “Slava” Vakarchuk and billionaire Sergiy Taruta.
The talk was fairly predictable until Vakarchuk — who is used to charging up audiences with his music — triggered applause by directing pointed criticism at some of the people in the audience for not building a strong Ukrainian state during 23 years of independence.
No, he did not mention any of the elite by name or single out anyone among the hundreds in the crowd.
But, in the audience, ex-President Viktor Yushchenko, host Pinchuk, his wife Elena Pinchuk, Taruta and representatives of various billionaire oligarchs in the crowd — Dmytro Firtash’s man, Boris Krasnyansky, and Rinat Akhmetov’s guy, Jock Mendoza Wilson — might have reason to think he was talking about them.
Speaking to the “rich and influential” people gathered, Vakarchuk asked, in reference to the Kremlin-backed separatist war in the eastern Donbas: “What have you done in these 23 years to prevent the situation we have today?”
He went on to answer his own question by blaming the political elite of the nation for “23 years of doing nothing” for people — not treating them with courtesy, sympathy or dignity, not helping them build prosperous and hopeful lives.
“You are just using these people, using these people, using these people!” he exclaimed.
During the same discussion, Vakarchuk said Ukraine needs to do a better job of countering Kremlin propaganda and he called on the world to impose tough sanctions against Russia. “If you really want to help Ukraine, you need to feel a little pain in order not to feel a big pain later,” he said.
Afterwards, Vakarchuk told me that he is glad to have delivered the scathing criticism and that he planned the remarks.
He still wouldn’t name names, but said he assigns blame for Ukraine’s crisis proportionate to power and influence. “All presidents, all prime ministers, rich people” bear “bigger responsibility” than others for the fate of the nation, he said.
“I don’t have any posts or positions, so I say what I want,” Vakarchuk said. “Right or wrong, at least it’s honest.”
We’ll see how much more honesty will be forthcoming this weekend at Pinchuk’s 11th annual Yalta European Strategy — in Kyiv.
(Kyiv Post chief editor Brian Bonner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
by The bloodiest day for Ukrainian army came on Aug. 29 when more than 100 people, mostly the members of volunteer battalions, were killed in corridor offered by Russian troops near Ilovaisk in Donetsk Oblast. © Kyiv Post
As world awaits the results of NATO summit in Wales that started Sept. 4 with a focus on Ukraine crisis, nation’s army keep fighting local insurgents backed by Russian regular army in Ukraine’s east. Recently the alliance reported about 3,000 Russian combat troops and hundreds of armoured vehicles inside Ukraine.
The bloodiest day for Ukrainian army came on Aug. 29 when more than 100 people, mostly the members of volunteer battalions, were killed in corridor offered by Russian troops near Ilovaisk in Donetsk Oblast.
Some 837 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 3,044 wounded during the start of Russian invasion in mid-April, according to official figures. The Kyiv Post count is higher and goes for 900 killed Ukrainian troopers.
The following is the list of those known to be killed from Aug. 20 until Sept. 1:
Oleksandr Utkin, 44, Donbas Battalion member from Chernihiv Oblast. He was killed during the fight for Ilovaisk city in Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 20.
Artem Kuziakov, 34, Donbas Battalion member from Sumy. He was deployed to the country’s east in May and was killed during the ambush near Ilovaisk city. Kuziakov leaves a wife and 13-year-old daughter in his native hometown.
Anatoliy Nikolaenko was known by his nom-de-guerre Karat was wounded in the fight with Russia-backed insurgents and died during the attack on the bus that was transporting wounded servicemen to the hospital in Donetsk Oblast.
Stanislav Lishchynskiy, 25, soldier from Kryviy Rih in Dnipropettrovsk Oblast. He was killed near Ilovaisk on Aug. 20. Lishchynskiy leaves his parents and a fiancé.
Mykola Shpynda, 36, soldier from western Ukraine. He was serving in 24th mechanized brigade in Lviv Oblast and was killed by Russia-backed insurgents.
Denys Chasoviy, 22, soldier from Poltava Oblast. He was killed during the shelling near Luhansk airport.
Eduard Danilov, 46, captain from Rivne Oblast. He leaves a daughter and a wife in his native Dubno town.
Andriy Snitko, 18, Azov Battalion member. Snitko was a second-year student of Lutsk University, but decided to join Ukrainian army in May. He died trying to rescue his comrades as he shielded himself over the grenade. Snitko’s death was immediate.
Oleh Aksionenko, 20, Azov Battalion member from Luhansk. He was wounded in fight for Ilovaiask city in Donetsk Oblast and died later that day.
Hennadiy Kuts, 23, trooper from Chernihiv Oblast. He was killed in fight in Donetsk Oblast.
Serhiy Bilous, 39, soldier from 24th brigade from Lviv Oblast. He was killed days before his 40th birthday. His compatriots recalled he was kind and fair man and decided to join the army to defend his three children. Bilous was killed near Heorhiivka village in Luhansk Oblast. He was mourned on Ukraine’s Independence Day. His comrades told he could have been alive, but didn’t have a chance to out a bulletproof vest because of a sudden attack.
Oleh Mikhnyuk, 49, commander of Afghan unit of Aidar Battalion from Chernihiv. Mikhnyuk was an active EuroMaidam Revolution supporter and spent most of his time training young people. He was killed near Krasnodon village in Luhansk Oblast when Russia-backed insurgents started shelling Ukrainian troops’ positions.
Ruslan Dzhuzha, soldier from Chernihiv Oblast. He used to serve in 13th battalion was killed in fight in Luhansk Oblast. He leaves his parents in his native Maksym village in Chernihiv Oblast.
Oleh Biryuk, 38, aircraft instructor from Sumy Oblast. Biryuk’s friends recall he wanted to become a pilot since his childhood and spent his first money he earned as a schoolchild for a helicopter model. He was deployed to the country’s east in March and was killed when Russia-backed insurgents shot down Ukrainian MI-24 military aircraft with two members aboard near Heorhiivka village in Luhansk Oblast.
Serhiy Lymar, 25, Ukraine’s National Guard soldier from Poltava. He was killed when insurgents started shelling Ukraine’s settlements with Grad launchers in Staroignativka village in Donetsk Oblast. Lymar leaves his parents and a sister.
Oleksiy Verbytskiy, 25, mechanic driver from Sumy Oblast. Verbytskiy was on guard when insurgents opened fire on his car. He managed to rescue his wounded comrade when the shell-splinter hit him. Verbytskiy’s friend recalled he wasn’t afraid to go to the country’s east and called his parents every day and “never complained about the service conditions.”
Andriy Eremenko, 35, lieutenant from Kyiv. He used to work for Kyiv National Polytechnic institute and planned to start working on his dissertation after the war. He was mobilized to the army in March and was killed during the shelling in Starohnativka village in Donetsk Oblast. Eremenko lives his wife and 10-year-old son in Kyiv.
Vitaliy Hoponko, 26, soldier from Zakarpattya Oblast. Hoponko used to serve in 128th mechanized brigade and was killed in fight for Luhansk airport on Aug. 21.
Kostyantyn Lukianyuk, 20, soldier from 24th mechanized brigade from Chernivtsi Oblast. He was killed at the checkpoint in Luhansk Oblast. His comrades recalled he never thought of going home after five months he spent in the war zone because “he didn’t want to leave his comrades.” Lukianyuk leaves his parents and brother.
Serhiy Kotoviy, 26, soldier from Kirovohrad. He volunteered to join the army when mobilization starts. Kotoviy was killed trying to rescue his wounded comrade during the shelling in Ilovaisk. He leaves his parents and a sister.
Hennadiy Kipishynov, 38, soldier from Kherson Oblast. He didn’t hesitate to join the army when mobilization started. Kipishynov died during the shelling near Ilovaisk. He lives a wife and two children.
Serhiy Onchurov, lieutenant from 28th mechanized brigade from Dzhankoi, Crimea. He was killed when insurgents opened fire from Uragan multiple launcher near Starobesheve village in Donetsk Oblast.
Ihor Khinev, 30, deputy commander of the 28th mechanized brigade from Odesa Oblast. He shielded his two younger comrades and was killed by shell-splinter that hit him.
Vadym Yuzvinskiy, 40, sergeant-major from Zhytomyr Oblast. He leaves his wife and three children in his native Horodnytsia town.
Serhiy Pryimak, 25, soldier from Volyn Oblast. He was mobilized to the army in April and used to guard the headquarters for technical equipment in Zaporizhzhiya Oblast and later was deployed to Donetsk Oblast. He was mortally wounded during the fight near the Mariinka checkpoint in Donetsk Oblast.
Artur Fihurskiy, 27, soldier from Mykolaiv Oblast. He used to repair damaged vehicles. He died because of wounds in the hospital. Fihurskiy leaves a wife and two children.
Oleh Voitenko, 36, gunner from Kyiv Battalion. He was wounded and died some hours later in Shastia village in Luhansk Oblast. His friends didn’t believe that Voitenko is dead. “He was cheerful and talkative. I didn’t believed the news until my friend confirmed that,” one of Voitenko’s friends, Liliya Titor posted to his Facebook page.
Dmytro Borovyk, 26, Kyiv Battalion member. Borovyk used to work for as locomotive operator in Kyiv metro, but then volunteered to the army in spring. His colleagues recalled he was cheerful and friendly and followed his father’s example who also worked as an operator. Borovyk died during the shelling in Luhansk.
Maksym Andreichenko, driver from Chernihiv Oblast. He was killed near Bile village in Luhansk Oblast when the shell hit his APC.
Mykola Lushchyk, 38, gunner from Chernihiv Oblast. He used to work as a tractor operator in his native town. He died near Bile village in Luhansk Oblast when the shell hit his APC. Lushchyk leaves his mother and two younger brothers.
Oganes Petrosian, 41, Aidar Battalion member. Petrosian was an active EuroMaidan Revolution supporter and volunteered to the battalion month before his death. His group spotted of insurgents near Severodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast. The terrorists urged them to give up, but battalion members opened fire. Petrosian was killed trying to shield his comrade. He leaves a wife and a teenage daughter.
Vasyl Andriyuk, 51, Aidar Battalion member from Kosiv in Ivano Frankivsk Oblast. He was shot by the sniper in Luhansk Oblast. “Vasyl died for all of us hoping that we’ll never face all those massacre we saw in the east of the country,” his comrade, Roman Hrychanyuk said during the mourning. Andriyuk leaves a wife and two children.
Volodymyr Boiko, 29, Aidar Battalion member from Zhytomyr Oblast. He leaves a wife and two children in his native Yarun town.
Oleksandr Rusak, 23, Azov Battalion member from Dnipropetrovsk. He was killed during the fight for Ilovaisk in Donetsk Oblast.
Volodymyr Pushkaruk, 42, Donbas Battalion member from Volyn Oblast. He leaves a wife and three children.
Oleksandr Yarysh, 44, Ukraine’s National Guard soldier from Mykolaiv. He was killed near Lysyche village in Donetsk Oblast when insurgents opened fire on Ukrainian APC.
Oleh Babkevych, 40, senior soldier of Ukrainian National Guard from Mykolaiv Oblast. He leaves a wife and three children in his native Oleksandrivka village. He was killed near Lysyche village in Donetsk Oblast when insurgents opened fire on Ukrainian APC.
Vadym Rudnytskiy, policeman from Zhytomyr Oblast. He used to serve in Storm special police unit in Odesa. Rudnytskiy, a former peacekeeper, was killed during the shelling near Heorhiivka village in Luhansk Oblast. He leaves a wife and 8-year-old daughter.
Stepan Petrovskiy, 22, policeman from Lviv Oblast. Petrovskiy planned to graduate Lviv National Ivan Franko University this year, but volunteered to the army. He was killed during the shelling near Heorhiivka village in Luhansk Oblast.
Ruslan Storcheus, 35, policeman from Kherson. He was an active EuroMaidan Revolution supporter and volunteered to join Kherson special police unit. He was appointed the commander of the unit and then deployed to the east in May. He leaves a wife and three children.
Oleh Peshkov, 43, Kherson special police unit driver. He was killed when Russia-backed insurgents opened fire on his car in Donetsk Oblast. He leaves a wife and two children.
Evhen Pikus, 34, border guard from Vinnytsia. His twin brother Mykhailo recalled they wanted to enroll in the army since their childhood. The brothers followed their father’s example and became professional servicemen. Mykhailo recalled he spoke to his brother some 20 minutes and warned him about Russian troops. “I lost my brother, now nothing makes sense,” Mykhailo Pikus was quoted as saying. Pikus was killed in Luhansk Oblast near Russian border.
Oleh Sorochenko, 21, border guard. He was patrolling Ukrainian border and was killed during the fight with Russia-backed insurgents near Krasna Talivka in Luhansk Oblast.
Andriy Bezruchak, 33, soldier from 28th mechanized brigade. Bezruchak was killed when Russia-backed insurgents opened fire using Grad launcher near Starobesheve in Donetsk Oblast. He leaves a wife and two children.
Ihor Betsa, 36, soldier from Ivano Frankivsk Oblast. Betsa used to serve in 51st mechanized brigade and was killed in fight for Ilovaisk in Donetsk Oblast.
Oleksiy Shepelyuk, soldier from 51st mechanized brigade from Volodymyr Volynskiy. He was killed in fight with Russia-backed insurgents near Ilovaisk in Donetsk Oblast.
Serhiy Buhaichuk, 25, soldier from Volyn Oblast. Buhaichuk’s unit was encircled near Ilovaisk where the insurgents opened fire using Grad launcher.
Anatoliy Shylik, captain of 51st mechanized brigade from Volodymyr Volynskiy. He leaves a wife and two children.
Taras Pazyn, 25, soldier from Lviv Oblast. Pazyn used to serve in 24th mechanized brigade.
Oleh Doha, Ukraine’s National Guard soldier from Mykolaiv Oblast. He was killed in an ambush near Debaltseve in Donetsk Oblast. He leaves a wife and 7-year-old daughter.
Mykola Matvienko, National Guard soldier from Kyiv Oblast. He was killed in an ambush near Debaltseve in Donetsk Oblast.
Iliya Idel, 26, Aidar Battalion member from Cherkasy Oblast. He was mortally wounded in fight with Russian militants near Luhansk. Idel leaves a wife and 6-year-old daughter.
Volodymyr Kostyuk, 33, commander of 73th special marine unit from Kolomya town in Ivano Frankivsk Oblast. He was killed in Ilovaisk during the shelling.
Evhen Ivanov, 28, soldier from Zaporizhzhiya Oblast. He was killed during the shelling near Mariupol. Ivanov leaves a wife and 6-year-old daughter.
Oleh Bakulmanov, 50, a member of Praviy Sector volunteer unit.
(Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Goncharova can be reached at email@example.com).