European Media on Ukraine 2015 - Reviews 1 - 39
Press on Ukraine: Ukraine is among guilties in MH-17 tragedy, Russia gets occupant image and Syria coalition
The most important news break on Ukraine last week was the presentation of MH-17 tragedy investigation results by the Dutch safety board (OVV) which took place on 13 October .
Though for some of the journalists it was disappointing as the experts haven’t answered the most important question: who is guilty?
For now it is considered to be proved that the plane was downed with the BUK-rocket launched from the territory controlled by separatists. At the same time some stones were thrown in Ukraine, as according to the experts, it hasn’t taken the situation seriously enough and didn’t close the sky space below conflict regions.
This topic was actively discussed on TV channels and in press, where appeared a lot of critics against Ukrainian authorities.
“Ukraine had to close the airspace from precaution, says the Investigation Board (OVV) today presenting its conclusions on the crash of flight MH17. The device according to the OVV was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile. Russia asserts that the missile was fired from Ukrainian territory” – reports the Dutch “De Volkskrant” in a live blog on the developments under the headline: “The rocket came from the pro-Russian area” .
The media outlet quotes the OVV speaker Tjibbe Joustra: “Everybody thought it was safe, even though they knew that an armed conflict was in progress. No one took into account the possibility that a civilian plane at an altitude of 10 kilometers can be in danger”.
Ukraine insists that there were no obvious reasons to close airspace – reports the newspaper and quates Joustra, “But we have concluded that there was sufficient reason”.
The newpaper also reports that Russia disagree with the conclusions of the commission calling them biased. The other version is given as well, it is presented by the Russian BUK rocket producer company Antey, whose experts presuming that the fatal rocket was Ukrainian one. Though the media outlet is critical to this info calling it Russian attempts to define informational flows.
Other Dutch media were also critical to Ukrainian authorities. “Ukraine has taken “not enough into account the possibility of a shooting down of a civilian aircraft at cruising altitude,” the report said. Though, it is seldom that the country closes airspace due to the military conflict. Nevertheless. The military conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists had continued for months before the crash happened. There were sixteen shot down helicopters and planes from Ukraine, with weapons which were known able to reach the altitude higher than civil planes usually fly. Shortly before the crash cargo plane of the Ukrainian army, an Antonov, was shot down from the high altitude, killing two crew members” – writes NRC Handelablad
This new was broadly echoed in other countries. “Flight MH-17 had never to fly over Ukraine” – reports Belgian popular newspaper “Het Laatste news”. In the article the journalist asks several questions.
“Does it mean that Russia stays behind the tragedy?” – asks journalist and responses that allegedly the rocket was launched from the area controlled by the pro-Russian separatists. But who has done this still to be established by the investigation.
Another question puts shadow at Ukraine: “Why Ukraine gets part of the accusations”. For this he notes that “Ukraine haven’t closed the airspace” and “everybody thought it was safe to fly”.
At the same time most of the Dutch media have presented the position of Ukrainian ambassador to the Netherlands Oleksandr Horin who said that “Ukraine couldn’t predict the MH-17 tragedy” because “we didn’t know that separatists had the weapon able to reach 10 km altitude”. He gives an example of Syria and Iraq where there were wars as well but the airspace wasn’t closed as long as it became known about presence of the Russian rockets in the area – write Dutch “De Telegraaf”
At the same time Russia gets more and more the image of occupant in the eyes of Europeans. “Flanders International Film Festival Ghent tonight brings a sneak preview of the Norwegian series The Occupied, a controversial political thriller (based on an idea Jo Nesbø) in which Russia makes a velvet occupation of Norway” – reports Belgian newspaper De Morgen.
Russian embassy already protested against film considering it to be in the “worth traditions of Cold War”. But the series is already broadcasted on Norwegian TV for a couple of weeks.
French “Le Monde” came up with the headline on the front page “Why Putin began war in Syria?”. The newspaper writes that Russia has created a coalition in the East with Syria, Iraq and Iran to fight against ISIS, but also as a counterweight to USA, as now the political leaders of Iranian shiits begin thinking about alliance with Russia instead of USA.
Also Iraq more and more tending to cooperate with Russia – reports the newspaper.
“The military participation of Russians in Iraq is still limited, but Washington notices the increasing coordination between Baghdad and Moscow. At the begin of September the Americans have faced the ignorance of the Iraq on their demand to close airspace for Russian planes transporting troops and weapons. In the end of September Iraqis authorities have announced the launch of coordination center of joint security between Iraq, Iran, Russia and Syria for informational exchange and coordination of attacks in Syria” – reports the newspaper.
Review № 38
Press on Ukraine: “green men” go to Syria, MH17 investigation and new concert tour to the East of Ukraine
The hottest topic in the European media last week concerned Russian intervention in the Syrian conflict . Most of the media have actively analyzed this under the scope of a new wave of confrontation between Russia and USA in the East.
“There are Russian boots step on the Syrian ground, but there are no marks that they are Russian. It goes about ‘volunteers’. They are pulling away from Ukraine, for their next war” – write Belgian newspaper De Morgen in the article “Green men going now to Syrie”
The author draws papallels with Ukrainian Crimea where firstly Russian authorities also didn’t recognised the presence of its regular army, and called “green men” volunteers. But afterwards it was not possible any more to hide the fact that Crimea was annexed with the help of Russian army.
“The Russian bombers in Syria receive support from armed Russians on the ground. Their quantity is increasing. The Kremlin announces it even now. “A unit of Russian volunteers, war veterans, will likely emerge in the ranks of the Syrian army,” said the head of the Duma Committee on Defence – “One cannot prevent this”.
Meanwhile the conflict between Russian and USA becomes deeper. Most of the media emphasized this.
“The tone of the argues between the US and Russia over the military operation in Syria is becoming harder. The US has refused to share with the Russians their intelligence data, needed to bomb IS goals. According to Russia, this is the proof that the US is not serious about the war on terror” – reports Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant”
In the madia of the Netherkands a broad sound got expectations of the reveal of the results of the MH17 tragedy investigation. Some of the details are already appearing in the press.
“As was officially concluded the parts come from a BUK missile, this can be a new proof of Russia’s involvement in the downing of MH17 flight. BUK missiles produced and delivered by Russia. Ukraine itself has a number of BUK missiles from the Soviet era. To rule out that it was a Ukrainian missile, Kiev has made available to the research team two of its own Book missiles” – reports Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad .
In the presss there were a lot of critics against Dutch government who doesn’s make puplic most of the detailes of the investigation. A number of media outlets NOS Nieuws, RTL Nieuws en de Volkskrant decided to begin a lawsuit gaining more transparency
French newspaper “Le Monde” came up with ab article devoted to the recent NATO meeting on Syria (8 October), where serious concerns about Russian intrusion were raised.
“We are seeing a disturbing escalation”, said Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, referring to the recent Russian strikes. “Russia makes it even more dangerous an already very serious situation,” chimed the British minister, Michael Fallon. Moscow “is embroiled in its isolation”, criticized in the afternoon US Secretary Ashton Carter,” – reports the newspaper.
The newpaper writes that this meeting was a preparation to the NATO summit in Warsaw which has to be held next year. It will be “crucial” thinks an author from the point of view that Russian can become the first enemy.
The Brussels media outlet EUObserver writes about elections and Belorussia and the EU intentions to suspend sanctions against Aleksandr Lukashenko. In this way Europe wants to reduce the finantial dependance of Minsk from Moscow.
“The suspension will let Lukashenko’s nomenklatura repatriate any frozen EU assets. It will also free 14 Belarusian firms on the EU blacklist to do business in Europe. Lukashenko’s biggest money-makers, his potash and petroleum products exporters, weren’t sanctioned in the first place.The moves will be accompanied by financial aid” – writes edition.
“It comes amid a slump in Belarus-Russia relations and amid a geopolitical tug-of-war on the future of former Soviet states – it says – Lukashenko, this week, said he “doesn’t need” a proposed new Russian air force base, which would limit his control of defense policy.
He has criticized Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its invasion of east Ukraine.
He’s also turned a blind eye to Belarusian nationalists, such as the so-called Pagonya Squad, going to fight on Ukraine’s side against Russia in east Ukraine, Belarusian sources say.
The slump is due to concern that Kremlin revanchism could one day target Belarus”.
Also European media wrote about American hard metal group Limp Bizkit who is going with the concert tour to the Eastern Ukrainian cities Donetsk and Lugansk. The singer Fred Durst has informed the press that he is going to visit with the concert 20 Russian cities, and as well Lugansk and Donetsk “because local authorities have asked about this”
Press on Ukraine: scandal referendum in the Netherlands, the Russian Federation involvement in the Syrian conflict and Savchenko trial
The main news of last week on Ukraine were around the success of the GeenStijl’s initiative in the Netherlands. The marginal movement managed to collect necessary 300 thousand signatures for the referendum questioning European integration of Ukraine. Theoretically, under the new law, the government should declare the voting on the issue of signing an association agreement by Ukraine. The initiators of the referendum eager to abolish the ratification, they are supported by other parties-euroskeptics.
“Under the slogan” Save Democracy »(GeenPeil) GeenStijl initiated the campaign with a convincing daily updates, interviews and “lifestreams ” from the process of vote counting. They are supported by PVV and SP. A volunteer has made a special application that allows you to make a digital signature. After this process has gone very quickly; weekly the initiative collected 80 thousand signatures. By the deadline they have collected 451, 666 “- reports the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant in the article “Vote, but why exactly? “
The newspaper notes that the referendum’s proponents didn’t think about money: “No funds left unused. Last week GeenPeil bought the whole page commercial in the Telegraph – and all this paid by European subsidies”.
The publication gives quotes of the initiators of the referendum, who say that Ukraine is in the area of struggle for influence between the EU and Russia. But sanctions are expensive for the EU economy. In addition, they say that only half of Ukrainian advocated the signing of the association with the EU and accused Western politicians who went into the street and campaigned for it. So deeping Ukraine more into crisis.
However, the publication quoted expert Rob de Wijk, who considers these arguments to be pure demagogy.
“Russians forced them not to sign. We must do this also? With this referendum, we play into the hands of Putin. The Kremlin rejoice this “- quoted expert edition.
And also cites the government’s position, which is in no hurry to call a referendum so far and notes that the EU has “more important issues” such as “migration crisis”.
This news has received wide publicity in the media of the other countries, particularly in Belgium. “The Committee GeenPeil collected in the Netherlands the necessary 300,000 signatures for a referendum on an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. According to the committee, this deal will cost Dutch taxpayers billions of additional euros. According GeenStijl on Sunday evening at 19 o’clock they collected 443 thousand. Signatures “- writes the Belgian edition De Morgen and recalls that the referendum will cost the Dutch budget about 30 million euros.
In the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad one could read an article devoted to Russia’s participation in the armed conflict in Syria. Under the headline “Syria -is a change coin of Putin” the author calls the Kremlin’s decision to provide assistance to President Bashar al-Assad “interference” and expresses the idea that this way Putin is trying to save face in the conflict with Ukraine.
“And again, Vladimir Putin swept the West around the finger. In March last year conspiratorial “green men” annexed Crimea before the US and Europe had time to understand what is happening. Currently Russia without invitation intervened into a conflict in Syria and put an international coalition that fights against the Islamic state to the fact “- the newspaper writes.
And notes that Russia is not to withdrawn from its role – to be a contrast to the “American dominance in the region.” However, the author does not exclude that this game is organized to find the way out of the conflict in Ukraine, “Russian intervention creates pressure for Western allies and their friends. And Putin will benefit from this. The Kremlin is searching the possibilities for elegant solution to the war in Ukraine and the removal of Western sanctions that are beginning to hit more and more. Syria – is Putin’s change coin”.
The French newspaper Le Monde has devoted an article to process on Nadegda Savchenko – it began on 22 September in Rostov Donetsk. Ukrainian pilot is accused of murder, attempt murder and illegal border crossing. “It’s all lies” – quotes the newspaper Savchenko reacting on reading her 186 pages of accusation text. Due to these articles she faces up to 25 years in prison.
The publication notes that the process could not be shoot on video. Advocates insist on the “absurdity” of the process. However, it is believed that it is directly linked to the progress of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
“Without illusions about the release of Savchenko, her lawyers say that there is international pressure play role. “Her release is dependent on Putin’s visit to the UN, if there is agreement the situation will begin to resolve much faster” – quotes the newspaper Savchenko’s lawyer Nikolai Polozova.
And recalls that on the Oct. 2 to be held the meeting of Putin with Hollande, Merkel and Poroshenko, where the Minsk agreements will be discussed.
Review № 35
Press on Ukraine: censorship accusations, Putin and Berlusconi drinking wine and hybrid war of Russia in Europe
The last week news on Ukraine mainly were concerned the so-called “black list”, which introduced the Ukrainian authorities. Among persons non-grata in Ukraine were a number of respected journalists of influential media. “Ukraine is afraid of harsh criticism due to blacklisting of journalists” – wrote Dutch newspaper De Trouw.
The author notes that among “unwanted” in Ukraine are ten European journalists. He cites the reaction of international organizations who expressed their “consternation”.
“The government may not like certain messages, they may not agree with them, but consider journalists as a possible threat to national security – it is the an inappropriate response” – quotes the edition Nina Ohnyanovu coordinator of the Eastern European Committee on Protection of Journalists.
The author adds that as “the OSCE condemned the step as” a serious threat to the rights of journalists to freely gather information. ”
The oil to the fire adds the information about the cancellation on “1 +1” TV channel the show of Savik Shuster. Last week the program was on air only on channel 112. “According to the channel this was due to the excessive politicization of the program, but the producer and presenter Savik Shuster says about the censorship by the government,” – writes the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf .
Great response also received the news about a joint trip of President Putin and former Prime Minister of Italy, who face conditional sentence at home Silvio Berlusconi to Crimea. Friends tasted 240 old wines of the “Massandra” plant, which can cost about 80 thousand Euro, triggering outrage in Ukraine. The prosecutor’s office launched criminal proceedings.
“Ukrainian prosecutors understood this wine tasting incorrectly. 240 old wine can cost tens of thousands of euros; the money according to the prosecution should be directed to the Ukrainian treasury “- says Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.
In another Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad was published an interview with Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin entitled “Putin looks at right and left in Europe to get votes against Ukraine.” Minister gives an answer to active campaign on the referendum in the Netherlands, which has cast doubt on Ukraine’s signature of the Association Agreement. Petitions and campaigns are actively supported by some marginal movements in the Netherlands.
“The political class and society are sufficiently informed to counter anti-European referendum on Ukraine Association Agreement” – quoted newspaper the Minister.
“Putin has not only the followers among extreme flang, like GeenPeil (initiates referendum – auth ..). Even members of the party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy went to the Crimea to legalize the annexation. The Kremlin has more supporters in Europe “- asks the journalist minister. And receives the answer: “This is part of a hybrid war against Ukraine. I believe in the integrity of the European political elite. But it must be aware of the policies of Putin, and work closely with the parties of the right and left wing. Not only the EU as a union has to preserve the unity, but the political class in Europe as a whole”.
Meanwhile, the French media took the news that France finally and decisively decided not to deliver to Russia military ship “Mistral” – a decision was voted by the National Assembly of France.
“The decision not to supply warships was adopted in October 2014 because of the situation in the east of Ukraine and Russia accused of arming separatists. “This is a big deal because it allows to close this case” – said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “- writes Le Monde.
Press on Ukraine: anti-Ukrainian petition in the Netherlands, “butcher of Europe” and Berlin’s meeting
The past week was marked by a strong information campaign with elements of misinformation against Ukraine in the Netherlands. Petition against the ratification of the association agreement with Kyiv is gaining support. Its initiator the Civic Committee of the EU in the Netherlands collects signatures for the cancellation of the Association Agreement. Currently, the first necessary 150,000 signatures are collected.
If organizers manage to win over 300 thousand people till 28 September – the authorities, according to the recently approved law will be obliged to call a referendum on this issue. Opponents of Ukraine actively working with public opinion.
Thus, at the same time two influential newspapers NRC Handelsblad and Financieele Dagblad published an article of Tyeri Baudeta who lobbies petition approval. In his argumentation he uses misinformation.
“The agreement consists of two parts: one economic, the other – political. Ukraine ratified in March the political one, economic part has not been yet signed. This is not surprising, therefore, that the agreement with the EU would jeopardize relations with trading partner Russia. It is clear that Russia does not understand how it can continue to keep open the borders with Ukraine when the products from Europe are freely allowed in Ukraine”- wrote publicist.
However, in reality, Ukraine has signed two parts of association agreement. Though, the economic component will become operational later (probably from 2016) because of the position of Russia.
Further, the author analyzes the effects of the Association Agreement:
“This is the first concrete steps to attract financial support from Europe in the development projects in Ukraine and the establishment of “visa-free” regime. Ukraine is known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. We expect our money will be directed to the right purposes? Is it a good idea to remove the borders while Ukraine is the world leader in woman trafficking, child prostitution and drug sales – and currently involved in a civil war”.
The newspaper did not come out with the opposite view on the week, however, this publication was critically analyzed by some online resources such as The Post Online, stressing the presence of misinformation.
At the same time in another newspaper DeVolkskrant appeared the new that the Dutch farmers are suffering due to investment of Dutch banks in Ukraine. With reference to the Research Center of multinational corporations author writes that Ukraine flunked the market with the cheap chicken. They say that because of the lack of European norms Dutch farmers who adhere to high standards have troubles competing with the Ukrainian producers.
The publication notes that banks like ING and Rabobank invested in Mironovsky Hlebokombinat, the largest poultry producer in the world, about 170 million euro.
“Enterprise in Eastern Europe was a competitor, which we are put in the saddle” – quotes the edition the researcher.
And said: “Ukraine is no longer the breadbasket of Europe; recent years it tries to position itself as the “butcher of Europe”, particularly in chicken industry. This is not the first time the Ukrainian chicken and eggs are the subject of debate. ”
The newspaper reminds that last year some MPs tried to ban the import of eggs from Ukraine, but their initiative failed, what caused irritation of local farmers.
Press also draws attention to the deteriorating situation in the east of the country. “The war in Ukraine is becoming increasingly gloomy” – writes the Dutch media outlet HP De Tijd
The author cites the report of UN experts. “The report states that the level of violence reached a peak in the last 3 months, more civilians lose their lives. There are gross violations of human rights committed by both sides. Nearly 105 civilians were killed in the last 3 months and 308 injured. In the previous quarter, there were 60 deaths among civilians and 102 wounded “- the newspaper writes.
Nevertheless – diplomats are more optimistic. The media reported from the Berlin meeting of foreign ministers of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia.
“At the meeting of foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine on Saturday night in Berlin dominated optimism about the peace process in Ukraine. The ceasefire that came into effect on September 1, mostly respected, and there is a progress on such sensitive issues as the withdrawal of weapons and the local elections”- reports the Belgian newspaper De Standaart in the article “Cautious optimism on Ukraine”
It informs that this meeting was a preparatory meeting to October 2 in Paris, where the heads of state will gather.
Press on Ukraine: “Russia became an enemy officially, what stays behind the passport initiative of communists and a new project of “Gazprom”
Migration crisis in the EU. This was the main theme of last week in European media, news about Ukraine were pushed aside.
The main news concerned the adoption of a new military doctrine of Ukraine, where Kyiv considers Russia to be an “enemy.” This information was distributed by most European media.
“Ukraine now officially calls Russia as an” enemy. ” This is stated in the security doctrine, which is now adopted by the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine … The doctrine also states that the country should strive to join NATO, what is actively opposed by Russia”- reports the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
The author notes that this decision appeared in hard time for the Ukrainian authorities.
“This step of the Security Council came out in the time when Poroshenko is being under pressure because of his plans to grant broader political power to the regions. This also applies to areas that are in the hands of pro-Russian separatists. Opponents of the plan believe that the Ukrainian government retreat from the struggle for these areas “- says the journalist.
Also important place in the informational environment received the news about the initiative of the Russian communists – to provide the residents of the occupied territories with Russian passports. A draft will be discussed by the Russian Duma next month. Although the position of the Kremlin on the issue until now is now clear – media are analyzing the possible causes and consequences of this step of communists.
The Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant” shows the position of people who support this initiative. They are pretending that Ukraine in fact “left the inhabitants of these territories,” and recalling that Kyiv has suspended the payment of pensions and other benefits in areas controlled by rebels.
“Then Ukraine will understand that it is one thing to kill its own citizens, and another – to kill Russian citizens” – quoted the journalist one of the pro-Russian inhabitants of the so-called “republics”.
And recalls a similar situation in Georgia: “Russia has already used a similar strategy in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two regions that were split from Georgia. Residents of these regions have also received Russian passports, and then Russia declared its right to defend “their own” citizens against Georgia. After this two regions supported by Russia declared their independence”.
The newspaper notes that it is not known whether the Kremlin will support the initiative of the communists. If so – it will put an end to the Minsk agreements. The journalist does not exclude that the proposal of the communists – just the way to press on Kyiv:
“Maybe the Kremlin uses it as a means of pressure on Kyiv willing that if gives more autonomy according to Minsk agreements to the regions controled by the separatists. Last Monday after MPs supported in the first reading a law which grants more autonomy to these regions a bloody demonstration took place near the Ukrainian parliament”.
French “Le Monde” writes that the EU has extend for another six months sanctions against Ukrainians and Russians involved in the Russian aggression in Ukraine. “Black list” includes 150 individuals and 37 companies, it will be valid until 16 March next year.
“Kyiv, NATO, EU and Washington accused Russia of support pro-Russian separatists fighting with the army in the Ukrainian Donbass with militaries and weapons. More than 6,800 people were killed during the conflict. Six months after the signing of the Minsk agreements which had to establish the ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, constant battles appear in the region”- the newspaper writes.
However, some people from the “black list” do manage to avoid sanctions. Brussels online media outlet EUObserver writes about “exclusion” for “humanitarian reasons” which Italy has granted to Yosif Kobzon. Showman, known for his duets with separatists, will travel to Europe to treat cancer. However, he decided to boast that Putin himself used his connections in Europe, and this granted him this exception.
In the same media the critical article about Ukrainian authorities appeared, in particular was criticized the lack of reforms directed on the fight against corruption.
In the article “EU reform in Ukraine: prosecuting the prosecutor” differ not much from the previous ones.
“But the new prosecution chiefs – first Oleh Mahnitskyi, then Vitaly Yarema, now Viktor Shokin – have presided over a system which still looks more like a crime syndicate than a law enforcement agency” – writes the media outlet.
It sites Ukrainian media which have published images of Yarema’s 10,000 square meter estate, the value of which is silly compared to his official salary.
“Shokin also caused scandals by trying to quash anti-corruption probes into his clan” – writes it.
Article is based on the comments of Kalman Mizsei, the head of the EU’s rule of law mission in Kiev.
“Corporate raiding is still very frequent. For instance, if a large Ukrainian firm wants to buy a competitor’s assets, they may still often contact their friends in the prosecutor’s office, or in the tax inspectorate, and they get them to initiate a case against their target”, Kalman Mizsei, the head of the EU’s rule of law mission in Kiev, Euam Ukraine, told EUobserver”.
The author says that the problem goes much further: ” But the president, himself an oligarch who never sold off his business interests, isn’t keen to let go the power to appoint prosecutor generals”.
However, notes that there are positive trends, “Poroshenko showed interest in reforms and has a majority in parliament for their promotion. Mizsei said that the new transport police gained the trust of society. ” Poroshenko has shown interest in reform and has a majority in parliament to see it through”.
Also great sound in the media provoked an establishment of the new consortium for building new branches of the “Nord Stream” – a pipeline bypassing Ukraine.
Besides “Gazprom”, which owns a majority stake, there are German E.ON, BASF / Wintershall, the Belgian OMV, French ENGIE Dutch-British Royal Dutch Shell as well.
The project is aimed at the construction of two additional pipelines to the two existing ones within the “Nord Stream” pipeline connecting Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea.
” Gazprom tightens its grip “- wrote this Brussels edition “Politico”.
“Brussels has been trying to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russia, after the turmoil in Ukraine. Senior EU officials have been criss-crossing the bloc’s neighbors looking to set up new gas deals. The bloc can import 600bcm of gas a year, and doesn’t need new infrastructure, according to EU sources. In June, the Commission said that only 57 percent of existing transport capacity from Russia is currently being used” – reports the media outlet.
The journalist recalls that the EU has in fact blocked the construction of another project bypassing Ukraine “South Stream” considering it to be contradictive to the “third energy package”.]
Press on Ukraine: events near Verchovna Rada, Sentsov verdict and visa-free regime
Ukraine – is again in the focus of the European media, but mostly in the negative terms. Strengthening the escalation in the East and the terrorist attack near the Parliament on Monday – were the main topics of the week, also media wrote about the European tour of president Poroshenko that ended with promises of a visa-free regime.
Almost all European publications widely reported on riot at the Parliament and protests against decentralization laws. According to the authorities, they have to enforce peace agreements, the protesters believe that this is a “surrender of Ukraine’s interests.” Materials in press were accompanied by videos and photos from the scene.
“There were serious riots near the parliament building in the capital city of Ukraine Kyiv. Ultra-national demonstrators attacked the parliament building and threw a grenade “- writes the Belgian newspaper of “De Morgen” in the article «There are dead and dozens injured during the riots in Kiev”.
“According to the Dutch journalists Stephen Hayboma who was on the ground, the demonstrators prevented way for wounded to the ambulances. Kameramen of the press agency Reuters, which was nearby when the grenade exploded, said that they literally were thrown by the explosion. Two policemen assisted on the spot, over were large pool of blood on the street “- says the publication.
The vote on Monday was not decisive, still the laws has to be supported by the constitutional majority of 300 votes.
In coalition itself there are many opponents of the decentralization laws – writes French Le Figaro “According to the opposition ( to the law), it weakens Ukraine’s fight against the pro-Russian separatists while the truce reached in February, constantly violated. “These changes to the Constitution – is anti-Ukrainian, they serve the interests of Putin in his quest to destroy Ukraine” – said the head of the Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko. “This decentralization is not the way to peace, on the contrary it forces us to give up parts of our territory” – says former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko “- the newspaper writes. And gives the government’s position: “The adoption of this law allow our European partners to begin pressure on Russia in order to fulfill three elements Minsk agreements – the ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian military from Ukrainian territory and regain control abroad” – said Maxim Bourbaki, deputy of the Popular Front, the party of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Duthc newspaper De Volkskrant writes that after the events near the parliament in Ukraine, the question of right-wing parties in Ukraine is again to be raised Europe. “After the bloody riots in Kiev undoubtedly will be risen the question about the influence of extremist parties in Ukraine. In terms of numbers, they do not account much, but they have a great impact as a basis of many volunteer battalions, which play an important role in the fight against the pro-Russian separatists. Recently, the government forced many battalions to submit to his power, but the people from the “Right Sector” still resist this”- said the publication.
The same newspaper wrote about embarrassment of Russian news portal “Business Life”, which inadvertently published data on the Russian soldiers who died in the Ukraine. The information almost immediately was removed, but the European media had time to distribute it.
“Russian business website be mistake wrote that more than 2,000 Russian soldiers died in Ukraine. The figures emerged in a report on new rules of Russian military service, but they are now removed”- the newspaper writes.
The document entitled “Increasing salaries to soldiers involved in the fighting in Ukraine” edition printed in March. But after this message was seen by some of Ukrainian media, the controversial lines disappeared.
European reporters still managed to see these numbers. “It says that the army contractors receive for each day of stay in Ukraine: 1800 rubles per day, it is about 23 euros. Relatives of those who died receive approximately 50,000 euros and 25,000 euro those soldiers who became handicapped. From February 2015 the compensation was provided to about 2,000 soldiers and 3,200 wounded “- writes the media outlet and provides a “screenshot “of initial publication.
Another newsbreak was about the verdict of Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced to 20 years. Russian court organization alleges he attempted terrorist attack.
“The court sentenced Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov to 20 years in prison. He is accused of terrorism. Amnesty International has doubts about the fairness of the proceedings “- writes the Belgian edition of De Standaart. And adds: “Sentsov made it clear that opposes the annexation of Crimea by Russia. He was one of the prominent figures of the Maidan, protesanoho movement that led to the fall of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The process also caused international protest. Human rights activists say the tribunal of false accusations and evidence. Amnesty International said in July “that the accusations are exaggerated and raised the question of torture during interrogation, the organization has doubts about the fairness of the proceedings” – writes the Belgian newspaper De Standaart
The journalist notes that European artists united in support of Ukrainian director, in particular they sent an open letter addressed to President Putin demanding “immediate and unconditional” release of Sentsov.
Were also the positive news on Ukraine, particularly in the media appeared optimistic message on Poroshenko’s visit to Brussels last week.
” Jean-Claude Juncker has said he’ll back EU visa-free travel for Ukrainians by the end of the year, despite the political climate on migration. ” – writes the influential Brussels online media EUObserver.
The publication cites the official, who says that Ukraine has made “remarkable progress”, but the main obstacle to visa free regime – is anti-corruption legislation. Juncker said that everything depends on the EU Member States, which should give its consent, but there is every chance that the Ukrainians will be able to travel to Europe without visas by the end of the year.
“When asked if the migrant crisis might generate ill-will on visas in EU capitals, he said: “Because of the commission’s positive assessment, given the progress in Ukraine, I don’t doubt for a second the member states will approve visa-free travel. There’s no link between visa-free travel, as far as Ukraine is concerned, and the migration issue”
However, the journalist quoted a source in the diplomatic circles of the EU, some of them are very skeptical about the prospects for visa-free Ukraine.
Media Ukraine: Berlin meeting, Lavrov statements and “paint” patriotism
The main theme of last week was an escalation of the situation on the East of Ukraine and intensification of diplomatic efforts to extinguish it.
“Poroshenko warns of the danger of invasion” – writes the Belgian newspaper “De Morgen”
“The President announced that despite empty coffers, desertion and the IMF’s demands of savings, the army will increase” – the newspaper writes. The journalist quoted the president in the part where he says, that the Russian military presence on the border with Ukraine is increased:
“Poroshenko accused Russia that it directed three large convoys in the direction of Lugansk, Donetsk and Debal’tsevo this happened “last week”. “Moscow separatists delivered 500 tanks, 400 artillery systems and 950 armored vehicles” – said the head of state, though did not specify for how long it is.
The newspaper also writes about the idea of the Polish president Andrzej Duda to involve the negotiation process the EU and the USA. Currently Ukrainian conflict is handled by Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine. For this purpose he went to Berlin where earlier in the week met French, German and Ukrainian leaders.
However, most media wrote that the main issue of the agenda was still the problem of migrants, Ukraine – was the issue №2.
About the European tour of Ukrainian president wrote an influential Brussels edition Euractive
In the article “Juncker to receive Poroshenko on 27 August” media outlet analyzes the possible content of the meetings. “The Ukrainian leader says the meeting in Germany will be held at the initiative of Ukraine. “We are displeased with the non-fulfillment of the key items of commitments undertaken by the Russian party, inter alia, the withdrawal of heavy artillery,” Poroshenko said”. And adds another version: “Others take the view that the Berlin meeting is aimed at putting pressure on Poroshenko to deliver on the Minsk agreements”.
The journalist writes about the threat that Russia may begin put a more active pressure on Ukraine; so – that it may find put at risk the entry into force of the free trade agreement with the EU, which is due to begin working from the next year.
“The United Nations believes the conflict — Europe’s deadliest since the 1990s wars in the Balkans — has killed more than 6,800 people and driven 1.4 million from their homes” – the paper concludes.
“Russia wants more pressure from Germany and France on the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to strengthen the peace process in Ukraine. This signaled it’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before the meeting of Poroshenko with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Berlin “- writes the Belgian newspaper De Standaart
In the Dutch media echoed another statement of Lavrov. “The Netherlands are hiding facts investigation MH17 shot down from Russia. This accusation did Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “- writes the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant
The newspaper also wrote about Independence Day. Thus, the Dutch NRC Handelsblad in the article “What share Ukraine, the EU and IKEA» writes about Ukrainian national flag colors and looking for other “fans” of yellow and blue.
“Sunday – the day of the national flag of Ukraine: it is a good excuse to keep a blind eye on the patriotism in the west. After the President Yanukovych fled and the beginning of the war in the east of Ukraine, Ukrainians in the west began to paint in the colors of the national flag “- writes the newspaper, providing a series of photographs of unexpected objects in blue and yellow colors.
Press on Ukraine: “Fights renewal, Putin in Crimea and referendum on Ukrainian association”
“Officially the ceasefire is valid, but the situation in the east of Ukraine is dangerous. According to the Ukrainian side, during last weeks Moscow sends more soldiers to the region. German foreign minister called the situation “explosive” – the newspaper writes.
It cites the representatives of the Ukrainian government, who say that the number of Russian troops in the conflict area is increased:
“Meanwhile, there was again an escalation. Ukrainian military commanders say that the number of Russian military in the border area increased to 50 000, 9 000 of them may act in Ukraine itself – it is stated in the report of the government, which got the British newspaper «The Independent»
“Eight people were killed in the last 24 hours” – wrote the Dutch NRC, the newspaper reports that the parties blame each other.
“Russia accuses Kyiv in initiating a new offensive. According to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kyiv sabotaging political agreements of Minsk II, which included the position about the ceasefire in Donbass “- writes the journalist.
And provides position of Kyiv “Ukrainian President Poroshenko meanwhile pointed at his Russian counterpart Putin. Today the Russian leader’s visit to the Crimea peninsula annexed last year, aims to strengthen the fighting in eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko wrote on Facebook. He stressed that Crimea has a future only within Ukraine “- noted in the publication.
Escalation on the East raised tensions within international community.
” The EU condemned the recent escalation of violence near Mariupol on Monday (17 August), a Ukrainian city located on the Azov Sea, between the Russian border and the Crimea peninsula, illegally annexed by Moscow in March 2014.,” – writes the Brussels online media outlet Euractive.
The journalist stresses on the strategic importance of Mariupol, which in Brussels is considered to be the point from which the new sanctions could begin: “In recent weeks, Western diplomats have warned Russia that Mariupol was a “red line” not to be crossed”
The newspaper also quotes Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier: “He said he has proposed that representatives of Kyiv and the Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine meet immediately with representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for talks on reducing tension”.
Belgian edition «De Trouw» has devoted a long article to Putin’s trip to the Crimea, which takes place these days.
“Second Summer under the rule of Moscow is almost passed, and just like the last year, the tourism sector shows little sign of recovery. Earlier 6 million tourists spent their holidays on the rocky coast of Crimea. The majority were Ukrainians, which are currently keep away. To compensate this loss Putin wants to encourage more Russians to spend holidays on the peninsula”- is written in the article «Putin is trying again to fill in the Crimean beaches».
But the journalist is skeptical about the prospects of Crimea. He said Putin had promised to the residents of the peninsula that he will take care better over them, than did Ukraine, but “living for eighteen months under the Russian government was not so, as expected the residents”
In the Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant”, known for its pro-active stance in the conflict, the author’s column with criticism of European integration aspirations of Ukraine appeared. Authors column “The best time to activate emergency brakes for enlargement” written by Aryan Van Van Dikshorn and Pepayn Huvelinhen tied to “EU citizens to the Committee” – an organization that initiates the referendum in the Netherlands on granting Ukraine the status of associate member. The Dutch parliament has passed a decision on ratification, but organizers insist that the opinion of people should be heard as well. Last month, the country passed a law allowing to organize the referendums provided with collection of 300,000 signatures.
“Why do we want a referendum on the association agreement? According to a surveys constantly since 1996 most of the Netherlanders oppose Ukraine joining the EU “- the authors write.
They appeal to the European sense of self-preservation, claiming that to deal with Ukraine – is dangerous. “Ukraine – is bankrupt. The country plunged into civil war. Association of Ukraine also threatens the future of peace in Europe “- they say.
And add that after the referendum on Ukraine will hold another … about the EU.
Press on Ukraine: the solution in the Mistral issue, criticism of Russia for the food waste and the blacklist of artists
The main theme of last week was the situation around the Mistral warships which France had to deliver to Russia under the contract issued in 2009. It became clear that the French president under the public pressure decided to cancel the contract with the Kremlin. But France had to pay a penalty and the issue was in the amount of the compensation.
“In November 2014 Paris referring “to the new circumstances” hasn’t delivered the first ship “Vladivostok “, the decision was motivated by the Crimea annexation, then by Russia’s role in the war in Eastern Ukraine. Till now the fundamental discussion about the amount of compensation took place. The Russian government called the French proposal to compensate 785 million euro of already received advance payment not sufficient and estimated the damage in 1 1163 billions”- writes French Le Monde in the article “Paris and Moscow agreed on the “Mistral”.
According to the journalist, the Kremlin explains its claims by the fact that it already started to build infrastructure and equipment for “Mistrale”.
“The final of this feuilleton – is a good news for the President Francois Hollande. This case will no longer hold French diplomacy from playing a leading role in the conflict in Ukraine, and will cease the tensions in the relations with Russia and annoyance of some European partners “- the newspaper writes.
However, the exact amount of the transaction until now not announced officially. “According to Le Figaro, France accepted a compensation which is a little bit less than a billion euro. This figure was a compromise between the Russia’s requirement of (1, 2 billion) and the proposal of France (800 million)” – reports Le Figaro.
Now, France is free to sell these warships to any interested country. “French defence minister Jean-Yves Drian has now announced that the two ships are for sale. He said on Thursday (6 August) that a number of unspecified countries have “made their interest known” – reports EUObserver.
Another top topic – was an anniversary of Russia food embargo against European producers. “To mark the one-year anniversary of the ban, Russia on Thursday destroyed food that it says was imported in violation of the sanctions. The destruction began in the city of Belgorod, with state television showing a bulldozer tearing into a seven-ton mound of cheese suspected of being from the EU. Bacon, fruit and other foodstuffs were also destroyed” – reports another Brussels media outlet Politico in the article “Russia steps up war on terroir”.
It reports that these actions caused a wave of outrage as 10 % of Russian population lives below poverty line.
“A petition on the website Change.org asking Putin to stop the destruction and to distribute the cheese to vulnerable sections of society had gathered 307,000 signatures by late Friday morning. The petition asks: “Why should we destroy food we could use to feed war veterans, pensioners, the disabled, families with many children, or people who suffered in natural disasters?” – reports the media outlet.
European media distributed the news about the blacklisted Russian artists whose art is under the ban in Ukraine.
“In the explanation the Ukrainian government declared that they “make a threat to national security” – reports Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant in the article «Ukraine has included 14 Russian artists to blacklist” – The Russian government responded by the words of the deputy head of the ruling “United Russia” party: “the own thing, what they did wrong, they said what they thought”. Good point from the the Putin regime, which slowly but surely strangling freedom of thought in the country” – writes the newspaper.
One of the biggest Dutch TV-channel NOS in prime time during the evening news ran a series of stories «Along the Volga: the war in Ukraine», where the correspondent travels in Russia and studies public opinion on events in Ukraine.
“Alexander participated in the annexation of the Crimea and received a distinction. Then again he took part in the mission. Seven days later he died. Officially – during training in southern Russia, but his fellow villagers say that he was killed in the war in Ukraine”- tells the 5-serie story.
“No one dares to talk about it on camera. Two Russian journalists who investigated on the deaths of the soldiers were arrested last month, – says the journalist. He cites the head of the oppositional organization “Golos” Lyudmila Kuzmina: “People are afraid to talk to the press. Press cannot write about this, because press is controlled and financed by the government”.
Press on Ukraine: “Increase of Russian isolation due to veto in the UN, the Kremlin gave order to kill Litvinenko and entry ban for Depardieu”
The main last week topic in the European became a UN Securityt Council vote on the Tribunal in the MH17 case. Russia was the only permanent member of the Security Council, who voted “against” and blocked the establishment of a special international body that would provide investigators in the case with more power to find those responsible for the tragedy. This caused a flurry of criticism of the government in the Kremlin.
“Russia proved to be on the wrong side in the UN Security Council. It was the only country that opposed the creation of the UN tribunal, which would establish and find those guilty of downing the plane MH17. With Russian veto, unfortunately, the creation of the tribunal is withdrawn from the agenda. It was the best mechanism for finding the perpetrators. The resolution blocked by Russia obliges all the countries to “cooperate with the tribunal,” UN Security Council resolutions have a force of law. This also applies to the delivery of the suspects “- writes Dutch newspaper “NRC Handelsblad” in the article “The alternatives are urgently looked for in the MH17case».
And notes that Russia’s position was not unexpected, as it warned in advance that would oppose the Tribunal. “However, the vote on the resolution was useful. The whole world can now see that there is broad support to the necessity to find those responsible and that Russia is isolated in its resistance to the solution offered by a group of countries including the Netherlands, which has lost a lot of citizens in this tragedy “- the newspaper reports.
The media outlet writes that foreign diplomats are currently looking for new options to create an effective mechanism. Other possibillities are: Court initiated by UN General Assembly or by 5 countries – the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine; another option – the creation of the Tribunal in one of the countries.
However, experts say that the court under the auspices of the UN Security Council would mean that all member states of the organization will be required to extradite the suspects, including Russia, if they are on its territory. Other options such privileges do not give. Dutch media quoted Russian diplomat who says that Russia does not want an international court for suspects. The Kremlin called the investigation “biased” therefore believes that Russian courts are able to manage it better.
“Article 61 of our Constitution prohibits their extradition. But this does not mean that we do not want to punish the perpetrators, Russia wants to demonstrate that we are not involved “- quotes the Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant” the head of the Russian embassy Boris Gilko in the article “Rutte is again trying to convince Putin of the tribunal necessity”
This event received media resonance in other countries, the number of publication condemning Moscow’s position appeared.
“Accustomed to military logic and the public interest, which lives not much value to human life, he perceives the death of passengers MH17 as an error. It develops as if we were not talking about the dead passengers. You can play in the dictator with those alive, but those who don’t remember the dead … “- wrote about Putin in the author’s column “Rest in peace” in Belgian “De Standaart Peter Van Doren.
It was not the only blow to the Kremlin’s image last week. The second was associated with court hearings in the murder of former Russian spy and dissident Alexander Litvinenko and accusations against Kremlin. Litvinenko denounced the Russian government and Vladimir Putin personally accusing him of having links with the Russian mafia. In 2006, he was poisoned with polonium-210 in London, all of footprints led to former colleagues of Litvinenko Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, whom he met that day.
“Who killed former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London? After seven months of investigation and sensational evidences Scotland Yard said it was the Kremlin “- writes the influential Belgian “De Redactie” in the article “The Kremlin ordered to kill Litvynenko ”
Author in the publication wondered why the Russian government decided to kill Litvinenko only in 2006, although he began his revelations much earlier. And whether he was dangerous for Kremlin?
“Why he was not killed five years before? Because Litvinenko began investigation of Russian mafia links to the Kremlin – they say in Scotland Yard. Litvinenko, who worked for the British security service, while helping the Spanish intelligence to eliminate the crime, in particular Russian cartels. He concluded that Russia under Putin was a “mafia state”. He was an important witness in several court cases “- the newspaper writes.
The French media wrote about Gerard Depardieu, who declared persona non grata in Ukraine for 5 years. The French people dislike actor themselves because he changed his first French citizenship for Russian, and also received the Belgian one in order to pay less taxes. Therefore, the press reacted to the decision of the Kyiv with understanding.
“The press suggests that the decision of the Ukrainian authorities associated with the pro Russian expressions of the actor. In August, at the when the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian army was in high gear, he questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine, stating: “I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia” – wrote the French publication Le Figaro
Review № 27
Most of all about Ukraine last week wrote in the French media. The reason – is the scandalous visit of 10 French senators to Crimea. The trip was organized by the Franco-Russian Dialogue, headed by French senator Thierry Mariani. The vast majority of visiting politicians belong to the Republican fraction in the parliament, which supports former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“This trip shows the deviation of Western public opinion. But not all Russians are stupid. “This is a propaganda operation, similar to those made in Soviet times, Dmitry Oreshkin the independent expert, analyzes. Media tend to deliberately exaggerate the importance of this visit, to give the impression that we have a lobby in parliament,” – writes the French newspaper “Le Parisien” in the article ““French parliamentarians in Crimea: the mission, which is very embarassing”
The newspaper cites the representatives of the so-called “mission” who are playing on anti-American sentiments in France. “The US wants war in Crimea, but there prevails peace ” – quotes the author one of the members of the so-called “mission” Jacques Miara. Also the author quotes the Head of the Mission Mariani: “Our goal – to give Russia another image in the eyes of public”.
Also, the journalist quotes Nariman Dzhelyalov, Deputy Chairman of Majlis: “It is scandalous that the French deputies arrived to Crimea and say that everything is fine. Our media face censorship, Tatar activists were kidnapped, some killed and the police turnі a blind eye on this”.
The newspaper also cites the reaction of the French Foreign Ministry, who said that the visit became “a shock”.
French media also widely reproduced the picture of Senator Rose Ivsa bozo di Borgo, who bought in the Crimea a t-shirt with the inscription: “Obama – you schmuck”
The media were full of short messages from this trip where MPs urged to remove sanctions from the Crimea and Russia and talked about the good “lives on the peninsula.”
“The Russian government is happy. “This is the largest delegation of Western politicians and parliamentarians from the beginning of the “Crimean Spring “, says deputy Leonid Slutsky, who is in the EU sanction list. He accompanies in the Crimea ten French MPs, all opposition members, except Jerome Lambert (PRG), headed by Thierry Mariani. For Republicans Peninsula annexed in March 2014 by Russia in the violation of international law, “is part of Russia” – reports French newspaper “Le Monde” in the article “The visit of the French Parliament in the Crimea raised the hype”
The publication notes that this precedent Kremlin actively used to their advantage. “Sign of a divided Europe, this” historic visit “confirms the Russian strategy. Putin’s support in the EU are becoming more visible. The official news agency “Sputnik” (initiated by the Kremlin – approx.) reports that 15 European deputies from different parties are considering a trip to Russia. They belong to the group “For a new dialogue with Russia”, which was formed last month in the European Parliament chaired by Nadine Morano”- the newspaper writes.
Another important topic was the attempt to establish a UN tribunal for the prosecution of those responsible for the tragedy Boeing MH17. This idea is supported by all the five countries involved in the investigation of this tragedy. Last week, the Security Council was scheduled to vote on the matter, but the vote was postponed because of the position of Russia, which is against establishing of the body and probably would have blocked this decision. «The ministers will again insist on the MH17 tribunal » – reports Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant”
“Netherlands together with other countries involved in the MH17- tragedy again insist on the creation of the UN tribunal to find those responsible for shoting down the plane. Bert Koenders (Foreign Affairs Minister) calles for this with his colleagues in Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine on the pages of the Financial Times “- the newspaper writes.
“Ministers refer to resolution 2166, which the UN Security Council adopted unanimously shortly after the tragedy in Ukraine. The resolution states that all Member States should cooperate to find those guilty in the tragedy. UN Tribunal is the best option for this “- the newspaper writes.
Were on the agenda of the European press, internal problems of Ukraine as well, in particular related to the conflict around the “Right Sector”.
Brussels EUObserver edition publishes the column «“Kiev’s far-right problem” written by Alina Polyakova Deputy Director of Eurasia Center of Atlantic Council.
The author writes that the “Right Sector” has a “dangerous agenda”. In the most direct challenge to Kyiv’s government, Right Sector announced that it will begin organising a national referendum on the population’s distrust of Ukraine’s parliament, cabinet, and the president.
A call for an illegitimate and unmonitored referendum against the government will neither unite Ukrainians nor help Ukraine’s reformers navigate the country’s difficult economic situation”- the author writes.
Further she notes that Ukraine badly in need of financial assistance, as economic problems cause the fall of Presiden’s Poroshenko rating down to 17 percent “according to some polls.”
“Volunteers returning from the front lines report fighting with regular Russian army forces, not Ukrainian separatists. While the Ukrainian government has repeatedly said that tens of thousands of Russian troops are fighting in eastern Ukraine, it has refused to call the conflict a war, preferring to use the ambiguous ATO label.
The government has a legitimate reason for this ambiguity: calling the conflict a war would cut off Ukraine from much needed financial assistance from international lending agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund, which do not provide assistance to countries at war” – writes author.
The media also wrote about an for Europe important topic – the attitude to sexual minorities. In particular there appeared a number of publications on the experiment, which held Timur Levchuk and Zorian Kys. Homosexual couple decided to walk the streets of the Ukrainian capital.. The media report writes that at first, when the couple walked the streets hand, nothing happened. But when they decided to sit down on the knees of each other, the group of thugs came a group and started to beat them. As a result, the passersby had to intervene into the situation.
“Conclusions of the couple are simple: Ukraine is friendly to gays, with the exception of “some radical elements”- the newspaper writes.
Press on Ukraine: the anniversary of the MH17 tragedy and Georgian analogies
Most of the European media have written last week about Ukraine. The reason for that – is the anniversary of the tragedy of “Boeing» MH17. Already a few days before the tragic date of July 17 some press publications begun to appear.
In the Museum in the city of Amstelveen opened a special exhibition dedicated to the tragedy. It looked as a field of sunflowers. Those who among the first arrived in the area were overwhelmed with a large field of flowers.
“The operator and Joris Hentenaar and the journalist Rudy Baum were reporting from the crash site. They gathered the flowers for the family of the passenger, whom they knew. Then, appeared the idea to make these bouquets for the families of all the victims”- Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf writes about the history of the idea.
Commemoration ceremony of the victims was also held in Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine. The Dutch press writes about how it went in the place where the tragedy occurred.
“During the commemoration of the tragedy of flight MH17 warring parties in Ukraine are not only silent in memory of the victims, but also looking for the perpetrators. President Poroshenko urged the international community to punish the “murderers”, while Prime minister of insurgent Donetsk region during the mournful ceremony called “Ukrainian criminals” responsible for the tragedy – the Dutch De Volkskrant reports in the article “The Ukrainians accused each other during the commemoration ceremony»
The author writes that after one year of the investigation it has not come even close to name the possible perpetrators. “A year after the accident flight MH17 Dutch government still cannot say who is responsible for this. In October, the results of the investigation should be available, but it is not expected that the experts will find out the perpetrators “.
The same newspaper writes that the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the creation of a special UN tribunal to search for and prosecute those responsible.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin told Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte that the intention to create a UN tribunal is “counterproductive”. He also called the proposal “premature” – the newspaper writes, adding that Dutch diplomats held a series of meetings in this direction.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has dedicated to the tragedy three pages in Friday’s edition, the article came out under the headline “The investigation is full of traps”.
“Insinuations of Russian spies, false witnesses, manipulation with the judicial testimony and witnesses who are threatened, the Secret Services, which hide information. The way to finding the killers 298 passengers of the flight MH17 is crowded with legal traps. It seems to be a lot of forensic evidences. But is this enough to bring the perpetrators to justice? “- wonders a journalist.
“The international investigation team is focused on a photo and video materials, where the BUK system is shoot. It was brought to Ukraine from Russia shortly before the tragedy, it probably was located near the village Snegnoe and then immediately was thrown back across the Russian border. In intercepted telephone conversations the separatists were speaking about the transportation of the system “- the newspaper writes.
It quotes Fred Vesterbeke, head of the investigation group of the International: “Everyone knows that it was the stronghold of separatists. But the territory was in the hands of small warring groups, it can be different groups of separatists who launched the rocket. Therefore, we investigate the conflict as a whole to define the location of different groups on July 17th”.
The journalist also notes that Ukraine’s participation in international investigative group could affect the objectivity of the investigation. However, experts say that it was inevitable because Ukraine provides access to the evidences. But they are checked with “double care”.
Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblad came out with a report from the area, where the plane was shot down under the headline “Ukrainian woman cannot forget the victims of the crash”. Journalists talked with local residents, who have found in their own gardens and orchards dead bodies.
“Hole in the summer kitchen, annex where Ukrainians cook in the summer, one can still notice. She “repaired” it with the help of wooden planks. Tipoenova and her son every day talk about the victim: “I would like to know who she was. Maybe to look the photo to learn something about her short life “- she said” – the newspaper writes.
The other top theme was the Russian military state border with Georgia. “Russian troops, earlier this week, moved markers saying “state border” 450 metres deeper into Georgia from the South Ossetia demarcation line. The step means Russia controls a 1.6 km-long segment of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, which is owned by British firm BP. It puts Russian soldiers within a few metres of the E60 highway, which connects Tbilisi with the rest of the country. It also cuts off local Georgian farmers from 10 hectares of wheat fields and cattle pastures” – reports EUObserver under the headline “EU urges Russia to halt Georgia ‘provocations’” .
The media outlet gives the reaction of the EU and draws parallels with Ukraine: “Foreign minister, Linas Linkevicius, added: “‘green men’ in Ukraine, now ‘green signs’ in Georgia – Russia’s aggressive disrespect of sovereignty must stop”. The “green men” refers to Russian forces which removed their insignia during special operations in Crimea and east Ukraine. The Georgia-Ukraine parallels have prompted activists in Kiev to call for a solidarity rally on Friday”.
Press on Ukraine: «Islamists fight in Ukraine, criminal cases against Russian deserters and the scandal around Ukrainian tennis player»
European press mentioned last week Ukraine mainly due to the increased tension on the front lines.
“The conflict in Ukraine beats more and more seriously by citizens, one of nine Ukrainians is currently in need of humanitarian aid – reported UN on Friday. With five million Ukrainians who need help the most affected are those who live on the front lines, or in the areas controlled by rebels – says the representative of the Office of the UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Lark “- writes Belgian newspaper De Standaart
Belgian magazine De Knack came out with the article “Islamist militaries go to the front in Ukraine:” We have always fought against Russia”
The publication writes that many Chechens are fighting in the Ukrainian army. “Ukrainians believe that it is playing against them that Western governments refuse to provide them with military support. This is something on what according to them the separatists from Russia can count. Moreover the work of corrupt and insufficiently funded forces is not effective. Therefore, the arrival of foreign Islamic fighters to the front is appropriate gift “- the media outlet writes.
The journalist quotes one of the Chechen fighters, who wished to remain anonymous. “We are always happy to fight against Russia. We always did it. I am following this way already 24 years. The war for us never ended. We never stopped our war with Russia, and will never”- says the fighter.
Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant came up with a reportage from the East of Ukraine. Under the headline “You never know what will bring the evening in Donetsk” it writes about the life of the inhabitants of the so-called republics, which is becoming poorer. “A year after the coming of the rebels life in Donetsk is getting poorer. The streets are empty, many people fled out of the city. Shops are closed, and people listen with envy the information from Greece that the Greeks can collect 60 euro per day. This is a good deal! In Donetsk the banks are closed for six months, ATM machines are empty, and the average salary is 250 euro per month “- reports the newspaper. It notes that the economic blockade of the Ukrainian government has an effect. However, it gives a point of view of the local people who believe that it turns people against Kyiv and generates corruption at the border: “East Ukrainians are waiting for hours to leave the People’s Republic of Donetsk to Ukraine. There they can get money and products that are lacking in their regions”.
The press also widely distributed the information of Russian online media outlet Gazeta.ru that the Russian authorities pursuing dozens of soldiers who refuse to go fight in Ukraine. “In Russia dozens of criminal cases were initiated against soldiers suspected of desertion.
The men have fled from the Rostov region of Russia because they feared that they would be sent to serve in Ukraine»- reports Belgian newspaper De Morgan.
The journalist notes that Russia officially denies its military participation in the conflict pretending that there are volunteers who fighting. “According to the west and Ukraine the Kremlin coordinates deployment of fighting” – the newspaper concludes.
On July 17 is coming the anniversary of “Boeing” MH17 tragedy, the plane was shot down in the sky over eastern Ukraine. This caused a number of publications on the subject.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf in the article “Michelle Van Earp is touched by the visit to Ukraine” writes that Dutch filmmaker decided to make a film about the tragedy of “Boeing» – «MH17: the sadness of the Netherlands”. The director says that this tragedy was great trauma for people living in the area as well.
“I wanted to show that the tragedy of the plane MH17 had many victims from different sides. In Ukraine, it still causes a lot of grief and misunderstanding. People in small villages I visited, still very worried “- the newspaper quoted the words of the director.
He also says that the locals take care of monument memorial and plaques, which are on the scene. “Ukrainians would like to see the relatives of the victims. They found in a literal sense the bodies in their gardens, and they would like to know who was this man or woman”- the newspaper writes.
French Le Figaro writes that the relatives of the victims gathered together to demand justice and looking for perpetrators.
However, the newspaper notes that Moscow opposes UN international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the tragedy. Previously the appropriate initiative was made by the Dutch Government, as it considers it to be the best mechanism to punish perpetrators.
A big resonance in the European press got a scandal around Ukrainian tennis player first “racket” of Ukraine Sergey Stachevskiy. In the interview he said that in the female tournament WTA “every second is a lesbian”.
“Discriminatory statements of Ukrainian tennis player Sergey Stachevskiy provoked angry reactions in the tennis world. “It’s a shame that there are still this limited people who speak with contempt about women basing on their sexual orientation” – said General Director of the Women’s League WTA Stacey Allaster.
Director General of men’s tournament ATP Chris Kermod called the words of Ukrainian players “offensive and unacceptable” – writes AD.Nl. The organization conducts an internal investigation on the matter – the newspaper reports.
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Press on Ukraine: «Grexit» for the sake of Russia, gas war and international tribunal for those guilty in Boeing crash
European press first of all was concentrated on the issue of Greece last week. There even appeared a point of view that this question distracts attention from the problems of Ukraine.
“The Greece fiasco draws all the attention, at the same time we are forgetting about the war in Ukraine – like this in a free translation were the words of Alexandre Hug, deputy head of OSCE observing mission in Ukraine. These days he was with a visit to Brussels. He and Ukraine are getting less and less attention” – writes Dutch online media outlet HP DeTijd in the article «How Greece makes to forget about the war in Ukraine».
A possible exit of Greece from Eurozone was examined under different angles. One of the most popular geopolitical context is connected with Russia. In particular the point that Moscow would benefit from the negative scenario for Greece was widely circulated in the press.
«Grexit – ideal scenario script for Russia and China» – writes influential Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
The author reminds that Russia and Greece have bounded by good relationships, recently sides have signed a contract for building pipeline which may facilitate the connection with Europe for Russian “Turkish pipeline” which though for now flows only in plans.
The newspaper notes that two interested states eager not only use the situation economically but also in the sense of defense.
After “Grexit” according to American bureau HIS Greece becomes an “attractive springboard” for Russians and Chinese, which will try to get an access to the defense infrastructure of Greece, which it has built under the auspices of NATO. “Can you imagine more chip industrial espionage?” – wonders an Brussels official with a sense of humor” – reports the newspaper.
At the same time in the Dutch press appeared the new that despite crisis and inability to pay the debts, Greece managed to find money to pay for Russian gas.
«Greece payed in time for Gazprom supplies. This was announced by the Russian state company. Though the sum of the bill is not public” – reports Dutch NU.nl
Instead the energy relationships between Russia and Ukraine are not so “sweet”. Press actively reported about the halting of gas purchase and sale because of argues over the price.
“Ukraine has stopped buying Russian natural gas and Russia halted shipments to Ukraine the two sides said in tit-for-tat comments Wednesday, following the expiration of an interim agreement on gas supplies and prices with Russia’s Gazprom” – reports Brussels newspaper Politico in the article Ukraine-Russia gas conflict flares.
The media outlet notes that European officials who tried to mediate in this conflict were openly frustrated and complained on the absence of political will of the sides.
“While Ukraine used to be almost completely dependent on Russian gas, it has spent the last year frantically expanding its gas connections with EU countries to its west. That is a result of hostility with Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists waging war in the east of the country.
Now Ukraine can receive sufficient gas supplies from Slovakia, Hungary and Poland to make up for the missing 7 billion cubic meters of Russian gas it needs between now and October” – reports Politico.
One of the hottest topics connected with Ukraine the Dutch press was confirmation of earlier appeared information that the Dutch government is planning to make an UN international tribunal for bringing to justice those guilty in MH17 tragedy.
«As one of the 5 permanent Security Council members Russia has a right of blocking this decision. But this year Malaysia is a termporary member of Security Council and this, according to Koenders (Duthc foreign affairs minister) gives us advantage that the necessity of creating a tribunal will be carefully examined – reports Dutch online media outlet NOS.nl
“The Dutch government wants the UN international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the tragedy« MH17” – writes the Belgian edition of De Morgen – It will not be easy to get the support of Russia. “We have to see whether we have the support” – said the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. However, the tribunal, according to his cabinet, is the best way to enlist the support of all countries. “It gives the best chances to bring the perpetrators to justice” – said Rutte.
Press draws the analogies with the case of Lockerbie dated 1988, when 243 aircraft with a man on board was shot down in the sky of Scotland. Then the UN created a special tribunal, and under diplomatic and economic pressure forced then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to hand in the suspects – two Libyan intelligence agents.
The French publication “Le Figaro” in the article “The economic blockade is a Donbass” writes that “Kyiv is increasingly isolating the separatist regime to set people against him.” The publication notes that Kyiv is building more powerful protection system, which affects the consumer market in the region: Vegetables on markets sometimes three to four times more expensive due to transportation problems. However, the journalist notes that the checkpoint system is also corrupted. “It will cost USD 150 -200 000 grivnas to pass the truck of 20 tons. However, it is not a total assurance that he will “- said transport worker from Donetsk Paul” – the newspaper reports.
Review № 22
Press on Ukraine: sanctions effect, preparations of NATO to the arrival of “little green men” and Turkish Stream
The main theme of last week on Ukraine and its conflict with Russia was the extension of sanctions, their influence on the situation and effects.
“The economic sanctions that the EU has imposed against Russia are biting. They are added to the other problems that the Russian economy is currently experiencing”- writes Belgian De Standaart on Sunday in the article “Fridge of many Russians is less full than earlier” The newspaper notes that the EU took tough measures against Russia after the tragedy «Boeing» MH17
The journalist wonders whether sanctions have achieved the goal. And gives the answer: “It will be right to say that economic sanctions that are now extended, primarily serve to force those parties fighting in eastern Ukraine (Donetsk and Lugansk), to fulfill the Minsk agreement. It includes the facilitating of a ceasefire. Currently, there is still fierce fighting, but there is an impression that Russia supports separatists less than it used to be. This is impression, because it is difficult to understand what have agreed Russian militaries and advisers of those who make decisions”.
The newspaper notes that one can consider that “sanctions have also been imposed for the annexation of the Crimea,” but it is a “lost case” because Russia has officially included as a part of its territory.
Sanctions painfully hurt the Russian economy, but they were not decisive – says the author. An important factor in the Russian economy is oil and its price drop played a significant role in the recent problems of Russia.
The publication cites the statement of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, according to whom the last year the sanctions cost the Russian economy 24 billion euro. Author closes the article with the ideas of European economists who hope that “this situation will last not for a long time”.
Most Belgian and French publications have written about freeze Russian assets in connection with a claim in the case of Yukos
Brussels online media outlet Politico wrote on progress towards the construction of a pipeline bypassing Ukraine “Turkish Stream” in the article “Russia strikes pipeline deals to skirt Ukraine”
The media notes that more “friendly Greece” has signed a contract with Russia on the 2 billion euro project. It is about the construction of a gas pipeline via Greece, which may connect with the controversial scheme “Turkish Stream” backed by Russia.
On the same topic writes another Brussels media outlet EUObserver – in the article « Turkish Stream more credible than critics say».
About the credibility of the project told source in the International Energy Agency. But there is another point of view as well. A Turkish source said Russia doesn’t have the money to build it.“Nobody in Turkey is taking it very seriously”, he noted.
“The Russians feel isolated. They have the same reflex as the Iranians used to have: to announce some kind of new project with Turkey, and the whole idea is to show they still have international partners” – reports the media.
The French newspaper Le Figaro published reportage from East Ukraine, where the situation again deteriorated. “Leaders of the People’s Republic Donetsk accused in attacks the Pro-Kyiv forces, but their forces in fact began their attack on June 3 on Mariinka which is 15 km north of the center of Donetsk (…) However, the pro-Russian forces encountered strong resistance from the Ukrainian army, which repulsed the attackers” – the newspaper reports in the article “Donetsk goes towards independence”
“Le Figaro” writes about the new realities in the region. “In commerce, the ruble is replacing the gryvnia. At the cashboxes of ATB supermarkets, some of which are nationalized and renamed into the “main supermarket of the Republic” ruble is widely used. According to the Russian edition Slon.ru Russia provides monthly 4 billion rubles to the territory controlled by the separatists “- writes the newspaper.
«NATO sets flash power on edge» – reports Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
Under the headline in the publication is noted that the newly created fast reaction units are carrying out their first trainings, and Dutch military are taking part in it. “With a total of 15,000 soldiers, the Western allies want to show teeth. To president Putin? Military is forbidden to disclose this” – the newspaper writes.
And provides a reaction of Putin, who pretends that “it is not we, but NATO who approaches constantly closer to our borders.” Further the newspaper notes: “If the “small green men “like those that were in Ukrainian Crimea annexed by Russia appear in NATO countries such as Poland or the Baltic States troops should be ready within 48 hours combat the enemy. There is an agreement that the time begins to run from the date of the request of one of these countries.
Some media also wrote about the resonance resignation from the post Valentine Nalivaychenko from the position of the SBU head.
“Nalivaychenko ally and friend of Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has worked on numerous files on corruption involving former and current Ukrainian officials. Last week, he accused a former deputy prosecutor in the backing of illegal refining. He insisted that had a strong evidence “- reports Belgian newspaper De Morgen in the article “Ukrainian parliament retired the chief of the secret service”.
Review № 21
Press on Ukraine: default possibility, new “Cold War” and Putin’s meeting with pontific
Most European newspapers last week mostly concentrated on the problems of Greece, the possibility its withdrawal from the European Union overshadowed other news, including publications about Ukrainian crisis.
However, along with news on the financial problems of Greece, the news about financial problems of Ukraine appeared as well.
“The International Monetary Fund will continue to support Ukraine, even if the country goes bankrupt. This was said by the head of the IMF in an open letter. IMF developed a funding program worth of $ 40 billion, which have to save the country’s public finances. Ukraine is trying to reach an agreement with creditors over the 70 billion dollars debt. Finance Minister Natalia Jaresko urges a compromise from investors on $ 15 billion. Jaresko already prepared a law according to which Ukraine can stop payment if the agreement is not to be reached”- reports Dutch online media outlet NU.nl.
The US decision to place heavy weapons in Eastern Europe became a big newsbreak. Most of the media wrote about this in the context of the restoration of “Cold War”.
“The US government is considering the possibility of deploying heavy military equipment in Poland and the Baltic’s, in order to keep Russia from military adventures such as it has in Ukraine. US still have to approve the decision, but in accordance to Poland and Lithuania, it is already agreed “- writes Belgian newspaper “De Morgen” in the article “The Cold War in the backyard of Russia”.
Publication refers to the New-York Times information, according to which the White House is considering to send to the Baltic States and Poland military material, which would be enough to provide 5,000 troops.
The author notes that “only weapon, but not the divisions” will be located, but in the case of necessity only soldiers, not the weapons, have to be delivered, and this makes the task much simpler.
“Before NATO countries didn’t make this step out of fear to spoil relations with Russia. Extra units dislocation in these countries comes into conflict with the agreement that Russia and NATO signed in 1997. Then NATO has promised that in the current world order will not place additional troops along the Russia border. Now, according to the NATO Russia has violated this agreement entering the Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine. In the agreement Russia promised to respect the territorial integrity of countries and their right to choose how to ensure their own safety”- the newspaper reports. Further journalist analyzes military capabilities of the Alliance. Under the headline “NATO shows Putin muscles” edition notes that NATO has numerous plans of military exercises in Europe.
In a similar tone write and other publications. Thus, Belgian «De Standaart» in the article “US places tanks asap” quotes Vladimir Putin’s words during a visit to Italy last week: “Only a madman could think that Russia will attack NATO.” But newspaper adds comment: “However, his soothing words have a few impressions after the annexation of the Crimea”.
“Last time it was during the Cold War, when the Americans had heavy weapons in Europe. However, NATO consider it too risky to lose a lot of time for delivery of materials in the case if Russia attacks. The fact that the tanks will be ready in the first hours of battle, can play an important role”- writes the newspaper.
French media actively wrote about Putin’s visit to Italy in particular – about an hour lateniss for his meeting with the Pope. The Vatican statement, according to which, it becomes clear that the pontiff tried to convince Moscow guest in the need of peace in Ukraine, was widely distributed.
“Pope Francis urged Vladimir Putin to make “sincere and comprehensive effort” to achieve peace in Ukraine, states the Vatican … .sides agreed on the necessity to restore the atmosphere of dialogue in Ukraine and implementing peace agreements signed in Minsk” – reports “Le Figaro”
Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant” published extracts from an interview with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt entitled « No one in Kiev was thinking about the danger of civilian flights»
The diplomat said that a few days before July 17, when MH17 was shot down, diplomats at the meeting, haven’t raised the issue of safety in sky.
However, according to him, Kyiv already tried to attract world attention to Russia’s participation in the conflict.
“According to the ambassador Kyiv tried by all the means to convey the world in the the real situation in the east of Ukraine. But it was a lot of skepticism during such meetings, especially in European countries, said Payat. “Is there really Russian? Is it not just a local riot? We were at that time already convinced of Russia involvement, but our allies – no” – quotes publication the of words Ambassador.
Press also regularly posts news from the front line, with information about the new Ukrainian military casualties due to intensification of violence in the conflict zone.
Press on Ukraine: extension of sanctions against Russia new attacks on Maryinka and FIFA scandal
The main theme of last week was the intensification of the tensions in the East, due to the new offensive of separatists, and accordingly, the expectations of tougher sanctions against Russia.
“The two leaders agreed that the duration of the sanctions should be clearly linked to the full implementation by Russia of Minsk agreements and its respect of the sovereignty of Ukraine” reported the US side, following a bilateral meeting of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel. The French side is a bit more flexible: renewal of tensions should not automatically lead to the sanctions increase. “It’s too fast, it does not work well,” it was warned in the Elysee Palace. Europe will consider this issue in late June. Only full implementation of Minsk agreements will allow to review sanctions. Those involved have until the end of the year to meet their obligations “- reports French Le Figaro in the article «Ukraine in the spotlight of G7 »”
Meeting of G7 leaders was widely covered in the English-speaking media in Brussels, writing on the theme of the EU.
“Western leaders use the G7 summit to rally support against Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. European leaders joined the United States Sunday in calling for maintaining economic sanctions against Russia until Moscow ends its support for secessionists in eastern Ukraine” reports online media outlet Politico in the article «EU leaders seek renewal of Russian sanctions»
Formally sanctions may be prolonged in the end of July, during the next summit of the European Council. However, its chairman, Donald Tusk insists that decision may be adopted earlier – as a response to the new attack of pro-Russian separatists.
Another Brussels media EUObserever quoted Tusks where he says about exclusion of Russia from the club of most influential countries.
“Recalling Russia’s exclusion, due its annexation of Crimea last year, from what used to be G8 summits, Tusk said: “Russia is not among us here today and will not be invited as long as it behaves aggressively against Ukraine and other countries”. His words were echoed by other G7 leaders” – reports EUObserver in the article G7 leaders make case for extending Russia sanctions.
French newspaper Le Monde came up with an interview with Petro Poroshenko, on the eve of the G7 summit, he gave several interviews to the major world media.
“These agreements have weight, from the mid-February we don’t have a scale offensive. But there is no cease-fire as well. Despite this, we have no other choice, then these agreements – they are our only solution. In this process, a political part is very important: only democratic and free elections have to demonstrate the voice of the people of Donbass “- quotes the media the president under the headline “Minsk agreement – our only solution ”
At the same time, there more and more cautions about the possibility of renewal of full-scale violence.
“The attack on the Maryinku – is the first major clash since the rebels have captured strategic town Debal’tsevo in February. Since then agreements are being fulfilled, although small clashes were constantly appearing, especially near the Donetsk airport. Also near the port city of Mariupol, which after the fighting is back under control of Ukrainians”- reports Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant in the article «Ukrainian troops have to be prepared for the total invasion»
Belgian newspaper De Trouw quoted Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko about the danger of full-scale Russia invasion. “New fighting in eastern Ukraine increases the tension. President Poroshenko warns of the danger of all-out war with Russia”- the newspaper writes.
“The violence of recent days – a flagrant violation of the agreements reached 4 months ago. Then, behind other Kyiv and rebels agreed to withdraw heavy weapons from the front line. Currently, OSCE observers reported about high probability of the return of weapons to the front line in order to begin the battle for Maryinka. Both sides accused each other of initiating the fighting “- reports the newpaper.
Another Belgian newspaper De Standaart devoted an article to the possibility of loss by Russia the World Cup 2018 and another – to the increasing of fighting in Ukraine.
“According to Kyiv, Russia launched a new offensive, which involved at least 10 tanks and thousands of men. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday that NATO has information that Russia has supplied to separatists new advanced weapons. Information about large supplies of military material is also confirmed by OSCE observers “- the newspaper writes.
On the same page it refers to the situation around scandalous World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
“Brings the US investigation against FIFA in danger the World Championships in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022)? British people hope for this, but the chances are small. The power of Qatar and Russia in the sport world is huge”- writes Belgian newspaper De Standaart in the article” Sport arms of Russia and Qatar get far”
The newspaper provides examples of the impact of the royal family of Qatar on the football world, in particular the state is being an investor of such clubs as Barcelona, Malaga and Paris Saint Germain.
“Putin has even better contacts in the world of sport bosses than the Arab sheikhs. We should not underestimate his impact in the UEFA”- the newspaper writes.
But there is another point of view on this matter as well. European media also widely distributed the statement of the FIFA audit commission chief Domenico Scala, who has to be a head of the organization until the election of a new chairman following the resignation of Joseph Blatter.
If it is proved that Russia and Qatar bought the decision about the place of the organization of the World Cup, both countries may lose this – said FIFA executive Domenico Scala.
“If it is proved that Russia and Qatar partly bought allocation decisions organizing the World Cup, both countries may lose right to host it – says the new “topmen” FIFA Domenico Scala “- writes Belgian newspaperNieuwsblad.
And quots football official: “If the evidence of corruption are put on the tables, it is probable that both decisions will be canceled. In this case there will be new elections – he says – but emphasizes that still there is no evidence of corruption of Russia or Qatar.”
Review # 19
Press on Ukraine: Russia can be deprived of World Cup, mobile crematorium in East of Ukraine and controversial appointment of Saakashvili.
The main theme of last week in the European media, a huge corruption scandal in FIFA with arrest of 10 influential officials of the organization, indirectly referred to Ukrainian-Russian relations. Press not only actively covered the scandal itself, but as well questioned about the World Cup 2018 in Russia and 2022 – in Qatar.
“Campaigners for tougher sanctions on Russia are saying it should lose the 2018 football World Cup if US or Swiss sleuths uncover corruption in its bid” – reports the influential Brussels online media outlet EUObserver in the article «Fifa scandal spotlights Russia».
The publication tells the story of two cases concerning football functionaries – initiated by the US Attorney for alleged extortion of 150 million dollars and a separate investigation begun by the Swiss prosecutor about violations (money laundering and mismanagement during making the decision on the venues for the World Cup 2018 and 2022).
The media cites Bill Brown, a British businessman who for a long time is standing for strengthening sanctions against Russia. He calls to change the place of the championship if the suspicion of fraud is justified.
“The idea of stopping the Russian World Cup already came up over its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU has called for it at almost every EU foreign ministers’ meeting in the past year. An EU options paper on Russia sanctions, drafted last September and seen by EUobserver, also says: “Thought could be given to taking co-ordinated action … to recommend suspension of Russian participation in high profile international cultural, economic, or sports events (Formula 1 races, Uefa football competitions, 2018 World Cup, etc.)” – reports EUObserver
Another Brussels media which writes on EU topics Politico came up with the headline «Russia and Qatar: losers in the FIFA scandal»
“Russia, meanwhile, has faced growing calls from politicians in the US and Europe to be stripped of the 2018 World Cup finals over its involvement in Eastern Ukraine. In response to the FIFA allegations, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US of overstepping its legal bounds” – reports the media.
It adds the information about the contacts between Putin and Blatter (president of FIFA who was chosen for a new term despite the scandal). “Blatter has regularly met with Putin, who is no fan of soccer, but understands the prestige that the world’s most watched sports event brings to a country under fire” – reports Politico.
Meanwhile, there is more information on Russia’s participation in the military conflict in Ukraine appears, in particular the investigation of Bloomberg was widely distributed. “Putin is using mobile crematorium in the east of Ukraine” – writes Belgian newspaper De Knack. And adds: “According to American website Bloomberg, Russia is using mobile crematorium in the East Ukraine to get completely rid of dead soldiers. Bloomberg cites a secret report of US intelligence”.
As well media actively wrote about President Putin’s decree, according to which the information about the number of dead soldiers in a peace time becomes a state secret.
“How many Russian soldiers were killed during “special operations” in peacetime, now becomes a state secret in Russia. President Vladimir Putin signed the decree. Critics attribute this decision to the Russian military presence in Eastern Ukraine. The figures on those killed in wartime, were already a state secret “- reports Belgian De Morgen
Another top topic is a controversial appointment of former President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili on the post of governor of the Odessa region.
“Saakashvili has little to do with Moscow. He led Georgia, during a short war with Russia. Saakashvili appointment as governor in Ukraine is controversial because at home there is an investigation against him in a criminal case about abuse of power. Georgia early last month appealed for his extradition, but Ukraine refused “- writes Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad in the article «Former President of Georgia became governor in Ukraine».
The French newspaper Le Figaro writes that the president of Ukraine has already appointed a year ago foreigners to public office, in particular it gives the example of the Minister of Finance Natalia Jaresko who had American citizenship, and then took Ukrainian one. Also a journalist cites reaction on this case of the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: “Saakashvili – the head of the Odessa region. Chapiteau show continues. Poor Ukraine. ”
The European press is actively wrote about black list that introduced Russia, supposedly in response to action by the EU. The governments of the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries condemned it.
However, French press wrote about the visit of the head of the “National Front” party and one of the most popular politicians of France Marine Le Pen to Moscow. It is one of the biggest fans of Putin in Europe and is known for its pro-Russian views, including on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
“The French government, Francois Hollande, like his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, is influenced by the US,” she told reporters – writes Le Monde – but things can change, in 2017, when president Marine Le Pen comes to power said she smiling”.
Meanwhile, a group of European Parliament ALDI calls to investigate the contacts of Puti with Le Pen – reports Brussels media outle Euractiv.
The fact that international tensions with Russia are increased during last time is noted by Belgian media. In particular, they write about this referring to Mikhail Gorbachev Foundation. In the article by De Morgen “Gorbachev expects heavy confrontation between the West and Russia” the journalist quotes the report of his fund.”The risk of an escalation of international conflicts and approaching a new Cold War is rising”
Review # 18
Press on Ukraine: destroyed hopes for EU membership, arrested Russian militants and murder of separatists leader
The main theme on Ukraine last week was the Eastern Partnership Summit which was held in Riga. Most of the media wrote about it in the tone of broken hopes for EU membership.
“28 countries of the European Union held in Riga on Friday May 22 meeting with the six countries of the former Soviet Union on the occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit.
EU leaders, headed by Angela Merkel, not only assured that they will strengthen their cooperation with the Eastern partners, but also destroyed the hope of membership to appease Russia, hostile to any “intrusion” in its sphere of influence. “Eastern Partnership is not an instrument of enlargement of the European Union, but a tool of rapprochement with the European Union,” said German chancellor before arriving in Riga”- writes French «Le Monde» in the article «Angela Merkel closes the door to EU enlargement before the summit in Riga»
And adds: “We do not want to cause false expectations that later we will not be able to meet,” she said, while Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, with the support of their neighbors, the Baltics and Poland, claims and loudly expressed desire to join the EU “. Newspaper notes that the Eastern Partnership countries currently oriented towards visa liberalization with the EU
However, the newspaper writes that Chancellor made it clear that the returning of Russia to G7 is currently impossible because of its support given to separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Another leading French newspaper Le Figaro gives a background to the summit, reminding that Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign the Association Agreement during the last one. The publication also comes to the conclusion that European integration hopes are sacrificed to Russia’s interests.
“Prospects of joining EU for six countries of the partnership (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus) is currently meager. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made it clear that there can be no new members over the next five years. His chief of diplomacy Federica Mogherini began to seek “a constructive approach to relations with Moscow,” said Elżbieta Kaca, expert of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, “- writes media outlet in the article «EU summit in Riga»
In a similar manner wrote some other media. Thus, Dutch “De Trouw” in the article « Currently no East European countries to become members of the EU quotes the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Bert Koenders: “cooperation is more important than ever, especially now when Russia has illegally annexed the Crimea and destabilizes East Ukraine. The best way to avoid conflict, is to unite ”
But this partnership should not be considered as one against Russia – quotes newspaper the Minister and adds that Russia has a different opinion on this issue, calling the partnership “idealized geopolitical project.”
However, there is also a criticism in the European press of the uncertain position of EU on Eastern Partnership.
«Ex-Soviet states need more EU clarity» – writes Brussels online media outlet EUObserver.
«This situation is also partly due to lack of clarity over the EU’s general direction. Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova say they fall under article 49 of the EU treaty.
The article says “any European state which respects the values [of the EU] may apply to become a member of the Union”. But the EU never defined what is a European state or said if it considered the six EaP partners as such» – reports media outlet and notes that European leaders have to be ready to give the answers in these questions when Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will increase their democratic standards up to the level to fulfill EU demands.
Particular attention of the press also embraced the arrest of two Russian militaries Alexander Aleksandrov and Evgeny Yerofeyev. While some Europeannewspapers come up with cautions such as “according to the Ukrainian government, Russian militaries”, a number of publications about the possible developments appeared as well.
“The arrest of two soldiers, confirming that they served in the Russian army – is an advantage for Ukraine. The government in Kiev and NATO from the beginning of the conflict are saying that Russia delivers separatists who are fighting against the government in Kiev. Russia has denied the fact of having troops in Ukraine “- writes in the article “Talkative soldiers – problem for Moscow” Belgian newspaper “De Standaart”.
The publication adds that Russians probably can be exchanged for captured Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko.
The attention of European media also attracted Saturday’s murder of the leader of the separatists, battalion “Ghost” Alexei Mozgovyi. Journalists saw in this fact – a factor of destabilisation.
“Tensions are again increased in Ukraine after Saturday’s murder of the commander of the pro-Russian separatists. The separatists pointing at the government, but it denies any involvement in the murder “- reports Belgian “De Morgen “.
The press also reports on the preparation to the summit G7, where Russia is not invited to. “The country was not invited because of its involvement in the events in Ukraine. USA, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Italy and Canada make up the G7. With Russia meeting used to be called G8» – reports Dutch TV NOS.
Because of vacations we have a 2 weeks pause in publishing press-review. We will come back on 27th may!
Press on Ukraine: eurointegrational hopes amid slow reforms, offensive on the president’s business and conflict in Chechnya
Main bilateral event Ukraine-EU summit, which was held last week in Kiev, first of all embraced the attention of Brussels media which write about EU affairs. Most of the publications emphasized on the contrast between the expectations of the Ukrainian authorities and the approaches and evaluation of its activity by the Europeans.
The recent publications and reviews of journalists have not much of optimism. So, online media outlet Politico.eu in the article «EU to give Ukraine words, not guns or butter»draws contrast between statements of Petro Poroshenko that “help from the EU should enable strengthening the faith of Ukrainians in the irreversibility of Ukraine’s future in the EU” and the positions of EU officials who’s statements are much more temperate.
“Until now, the EU bureaucrats preparing various summit statements have engaged in verbal contortions to avoid mentioning that Ukraine has any sort of chance of ever joining” – writes media outlet. And adds: Aside from tiny Lithuania, the rest of the EU has balked at selling weapons to Kiev, and there is no sign of a change of policy. With anti-immigrant populists gaining across the EU, there is little stomach for a visa reform that could open the EU to 45 million potential migrants”.
The country’s economy is in deep trouble, but despite the scale of the problem the EU’s contribution is small. The banking system is barely functioning. The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to contract by 5.5 percent this year, but many economists consider that to be very optimistic. Timothy Ash, an economist with Standard Bank, expects the economy to shrink by 6 percent to 10 percent. Public debt is at about $65 billion, and by the end of the year could reach 90 percent of GDP”.
Another Brussels online media Euroactive in the article “EU-Ukraine summit clouded by worsening violence» is a little bit more optimistic about political results of the meeting. “Russia, under sanctions from the EU because of what Western governments and Kyiv say is clear support for the rebels, has made no secret it opposes Ukraine’s moves to integrate with the European mainstream. It has secured a delay in implementation of the free trade deal, which will take Ukraine further away from Russia’s orbit, until January 2016. But Ukraine on Monday secured backing from the EU officials that there would be no more such delays despite Russian requests” – reports the media outlet.
Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant in the article “Poroshenko: in 5 years Ukraine will be ready for the EU,” writes about this statement of Ukrainian President during his meeting in Kyiv with the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. However, journalist notes that in the sense of reforms Ukraine haven’t much approached to the EU over the last year: “The efforts to reform the economy riddled with corruption and movement for greater compliance with European requirements, haven’t received many impulses.since the coming to power Poroshenko For the promises of deep structural reforms and government spending cuts Ukraine has received billions of international loans “- writes the newspaper.
Seizure of the property of confectionery fabric of President Peter Poroshenko Roshen in Russia as well appeared in some of the European news media. Journalists didn’t forget to recall that the President had promised to sell the factory.
“Russian court seized factory of Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko Roshen. According to representatives of Roshen, the Russians want to prevent the sale of the factory. The company will appeal these actions (…) – write Belgian newspaper De Morgen – (…) before his appointment Poroshenko was called a “chocolate king”, but he promised that will sell the factory. Though now he made it clear that one should wait for months or years with the sale”.
This caused a critical publication about the president’s business in the Dutch 925.nl site, where appeared the article “President of Ukraine wants the taxes from The Netherlands, but himself evades from taxes in The Netherlands” authored by Arnaud Wellens’
The site is not among the most popular, but publication appeared in Google stories about Ukraine. This publication gives a link to the study of Global Research, the institute which regularly publishes research in perspective, favorable by Russia.
A journalist in the article cites data on financial assistance to Ukraine and shows the documents where can be seen Dutch and Cyprus “registration” of Poroshenko’s enterprises.
“The Netherlands and Cyprus signed a tax agreement for the avoidance of double taxation. Poroshenko is smart enough to open offices, both in the Netherlands and Cyprus” – writes the journalist. Further he describes schemes that allegedly used for tax evasion and asks whether Poroshenko deserved funds from the EU?
A special attention of the European media embraced a conflict between Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Russian low enforcement authorities. Some experts even begin to say that with the escalation of the conflict in the Caucasus, Putin can justify Russians end of hostilities in Ukraine.
“The Kremlin has grown its own Monster in Chechnya” – writes another Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Moscow reporter opens the article, citing killed journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who after meeting with Kadyrov said that “the Kremlin has grew up a dragon”. The journalist says that last week was a conflict between Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and Russian law enforcement authorities. In particular he says about the statement announced at a government
meeting in Grozny, when the Chechen leader Kadyrov ordered “to open fire on the destruction” against the representatives of Russian power structures in Chechnya whether this is man from “Stavropol” or “Moscow”.
The reason of this was the accident on the territory of the Chechnya with the officials of the Stavropol region of Russia. Efforts of police to detain suspected Chechen ended with his murder. Russian law enforcement authorities called this statement of Kadyrov “unacceptable”.
“Last week he came into open conflict with interior ministry and powerful secret service FSB. Russian media speculate about his resignation. But the question is whether Moscow can put him away. “If Kadyrov will be dismissed from his position, it could lead to civil war in Chechnya” – says Aleksey Malashchenko expert Kornegie center in Moscow “- reports the newspaper.
And notes that the Chechen leader has a long conflict with the secret services of Russia, but also he has a personal relationship with Vladimir Putin, based on the principles of feudalism.
“The Chechen leader and Russian President have a unique relationship with the signs of feudalism. When his father, former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov in 2004 was killed Ramzan went to Moscow to improve relations with the Russian seigneur. Putin treated him as a lost son. Since then, Kadyrov constantly demonstrates his loyalty to the president. In turn, Putin doesn’t regrets to provide Chechen leader with a few millions if the state treasury is empty “- writes the newspaper.
French newspaper Le Monde in the form of comic book publishes the material “Debal’tsevo” done by photographer Jean-Philippe Stassena who travels across Ukraine and writes a blog “Ukraine East and West.”
There he cites Don Kazak Voron: “We need to combat these traitors. And if we will do, we will go back to Berlin. ”
The photographer also communicates with the locals of Debal’tsevo. “As most residents of Debal’tsevo Oleksis and Maria believe that the all bombing are done by Ukrainian army. Also, while the separatists bombed Ukrainian soldiers during their retreat from the city, which they call “Debal’tsevo boiler” – reports the journalist.
Review # 17
Press on Ukraine: “Attacks on “Gazprom”, European-style May holidays and historical summit»
The main theme of last week in European media was a tragedy of illegal immigrants in the Mediterranean. However, the issue of Ukraine mostly faded into the background.
Most of media attention was focused on the offensive of EU on Russian gas monopoly “Gazprom”. “Russian gas company” Gazprom “has done anti-competitive actions in Eastern Europe. Because of this, the price of gas could rise to 40 percent, than in other countries. It was reported yesterday by European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Now, the company has 2 weeks to react. If it does not change its commercial policy it may face the fine. Market share of “Gazprom” in Eastern and Central Europe – is from 50 to 100 percent “- writes Belgian newspaper «De Standaart» in the article “Europe has put relations with Russia under more pressure by charges in anti-competitive actions”
The newspaper cites the reaction of Russian Foreign Ministry chief Sergei Lavrov, who calls the actions of Europe “unacceptable”. According to him, for the time of the signing al the “Gazprom’s” contracts complied with the current legislation.
“In his response the Russian government immediately gave this case a political color. “Gazprom” is often seen as an extension of the Kremlin. The Russian government owns 50,002 percent of the company. The press emphasizes that “Gazprom” is a strategic state-owned enterprise. After a preliminary decision on the introduction of European trade sanctions against Russia in response to participation in war in Ukraine, it could be a new stumbling block for Russian President Vladimir Putin”- reports the newspaper.
French media actively wrote about meetings of President Francois Hollande, firstly with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Paris, and then with his Russian opponent Vladimir Putin in Yerevan marking the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The main theme of these meetings – were “Mistral”.
“Mr. Hollande on Wednesday April 22 said that Paris will return money to Moscow if the two warships will not be delivered. “If the ships are not delivered, I don’t see how they can be paid. It has a very simple principle – he said at a joint conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko. And from this point of view we have a complete understanding with president Putin, according to different hypotheses, it will be either payed or returned”- writes “Le Monde” in the article «Hollande said that France will return money if it will not ensure the delivery of Mistrales”
And adds: “Paris and Moscow are negotiating to find a solution” how to end the crisis” said on Sunday without specifying French president. 72 hours before, the head of the Russian government made it clear that Russia expects repayment of the sums already paid to Paris under the contract, worth about 1, 2 billion Euro, signed in June 2011, by Nicolas Sarkozy. Moscow has already paid 800 million of this amount”.
Visit of the President Poroshenko in Paris was marked with an incident. “Left Party”, which is known for its pro-Russian views, called it “the shame for the Republic”, saying that Hollande had to skip up the meeting – reports “Le Figaro”.
“France should not blindly follow a militaristic US interests. At home of human rights we cannot lay the red carpet for the regime of anger and contempt “- quotes the media outlet the statement party, and adds that it has repeatedly been accused of lobbying Russian interests.
Brussels online-newspaper EUObserver in the article «Security issue and Ukraine top EU’s agenda this WEEK» writes about Ukraine-EU summit which took place this week in Kyiv.
“The summit is the first such meeting since Russia annexed Crimea last year and will discuss, amongst other things, the implementation of a trade agreement between the two sides.
The discussions follow a recent letter by German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urging the European Commission to “use the considerable flexibility that the agreement offers” with Russia opposing it as it seeks to create its own sphere of influence in its immediate neighborhood” – reports media outlet.
Before the summit, another online media outlet that writes about EU affairs – Euroactiv, published an interview with Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin. Under the headline «Business as usual’ with Russia is a bad joke” the minister talks about current issues of Ukraine-EU relations.
Belgian newspaper «De Morgen» writes about the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to reorder the celebration of May holidays, seeing this as a new drive for confrontation with Moscow.
“The new split between Moscow and Kyiv. Ukraine celebrates World War II not like Russia. Now the celebrations are more similar to Europe. This was announced today by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. Europe marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany on 8 May. But at the time when the Third Reich signed the surrender in 1945, it was already past midnight in Moscow, namely 9 May. Thus Russia celebrates the end of war on 9 May. Currently, Ukraine celebrates both days. May 8th is a day of reconciliation between those who fought against fascism and those who fought after the war with the Communists. And 9 May is a Victory Day” – writes newspaper in the article “The new split with Russia? Ukraine marks World War II as Europe”
In the European media was widely circulated the new about the list of richest Britons, which is led by Ukrainian born Len Blavatnik, the owner of the company Warner Music.
“Len Blavatnik, the owner of Warner Music, is the richest Briton. The billionaire was born in Ukraine, he has 18, 4 billion Euros. He has moved from
the leading positions in the ratings of the richest British individuals and families annually published by “Sunday Times” two brothers Sri and Hopi Hinduzha – reports Dutch newspaper “De Trouw” .
Most media have come up with another positive for Ukraine news – the victory of “Dnipro” over Belgian Brugge and the passing of the team to the semi-final of the Europe League, firs in its hostory.
«Who stands behind resonance killings, Moscow’s revenge and Dutch man who flew from “banana republic” Crimea
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The main “Ukrainian” topic in European media were resonance political assassinations. In particular, attention was drawn to the fatal assault on journalist and pro-Russian activist Oles’ Busina. It caused a series of publications dedicated to recent attacks on pro-Russian activists in Ukraine.
So, the Belgian newspaper “De Standaart” devoted to this issue a great Friday article under headline “Pro-Russian journalist is kiled”. “His death came up a day after the murder of Oleg Kalashnikov. – reports newspaper about the murder of Busina – (…) representative of police Anton Heraschenko doesn’t rule out that the two murders are linked. Both victims were the sworn opponents of Maydan, which led to the fall of Yanukovych. He said that both were the key witnesses in the case against the pro-Russian activists who have committed grave crimes against the protesters of Maydan”.
The newspaper writes about the first version of the bloody events of last week, noting that according to Heraschenko “the murders could be organized by Russia, which in this way wants to destabilize Ukraine”. It goes into details of this version.
“At the moment more than 20 criminal investigations are conducted against politicians from the Party of Regions concerning the misdoings which they have done in order to stop Maydan. According to the hypothesis of an Interior ministry employee, those who saw these crimes or knows about them, are killed in order not to allow them to give evidences”- the newspaper writes.
However, it gives the opposite view as well: that it might be the “work” of Ukrainian “avengers” “But it is also possible that the supporters of the old regime became the victims of killers who want to settle old scores. In the pro-Western camp there are as well the people who do not respect human rights and prefer to take matters into their own hands”.
Journalist adds that in this way earlier in the week was killed journalist Sergei Suhoboka, known for his pro-Russian position. At the end of the article there is a reference to the comment of Russian President Vladimir Putin which he gave during his “call-in” calling these murders “politically motivated.”
On the same page appears the article which provides a more detailed description of this event, citing Putin, in the part where he says that there are no Russian militaries in Ukraine. Also, journalist cites Russian president promises: “In two years we will come out of the crisis”, making this a headline of the article.
Other popular Belgian newspaper “Nieuwsblad” appeared with an article «Ukrainian nationalists demand political deaths» where it writes that the responsibility for the killings was taken by an unknown organization Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA – Ukr.) (formerly in this manner was called units of the OUN-B, which opposed the Soviet Army during the war, but now according to Ukrainian Secret Services there is no organization registered under this name – auth.)
“There are different opinions over who is staying behind UPA. In general, there are four options: a gang of psychopaths with no ties to any party or state, extremist elements in the government like “Praviy Sector” or “Svoboda”, troops of Ukrainian oligarch, or Russians “- the newspaper reports. And notes that authorities in Kiev “chose the last option.”
Meanwhile, Dutch newspaper “NRC-Handelsblad” printed an article referring to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin “Killings in Ukraine are committed to destabilize the situation”. In the annotation to the article is written the following: “Ukrainian minister has no evidence, but suspects the hand of Moscow”.
The newspaper quotes the Minister’s statements during the meeting, which took place in the Hague on Friday. “The Minister did not mention the names, but makes it clear that the so called pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, could be Russia itself” – it reports.
French “Le Monde” in Saturday’s article «Two pro-Russian figures killed in Kiev» draws parallels with the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Publication refers to the statements of the Ukrainian president, who called these events “a provocation that destabilize the situation in Ukraine.”
“Provocation – the same word was used by the Kremlin during the murder of a political opponent Boris Nemtsov on 27 February, which was due to publish a report on the presence of Russian army in Eastern Ukraine. Double murder has immediately echoed with great response in Russia. In Moscow during the traditional in-call (….) one of the presenter interrupted the questions and answers in progress and said: “We have just learned of the death of Oles’ Busina” – reports French newspaper.
And gives more detailed reaction of Putin accusing the West of silence about these events in Ukraine. “Moscow takes its revenge. Not only Poroshenko responded just as Putin after the death of Nemtsov, but Putin himself makes such comparisons: “As for us, we almost immediately found out the killers. Ukraine – is a democratic state, but then where the murderers?”
Then the journalist notes there indeed the radical nationalists in Ukraine, but the activity of Russian special services is
real as well.
Another important theme in the media was the decision of the Nordic countries to step up work on defense. In the article “Nordic combined against Moscow” journalist of Belgian newspaper “De Morgen” writes that “as long as the conflict in Ukraine is not finished, the Scandinavian countries also feeling the hot breath of Russia in the back”.
“The Baltic countries, Norway, Denmark, Iceland are the members of NATO, Sweden and Finland – no. Thus the latter two cannot apply to the Article 5, according to which the encroachment on one member is considered to be encroachment at all member”- reports the newspaper.
And quotes military expert Paul Ivan “Country (Russia – auth ..) behaves like during the Cold War, and wants to show what it can. But just look at its military expenditures and you realize that this is a game in which it cannot win”. Expert provides figures, according to which Russia spends on defense 4.5 percent of GDP, while expenditures of NATO barely reach 1.4 percent. “For Allies there are still the place for increasing military expenditures, for Russia – no” – the expert concludes.
The French newspaper “Le Figaro” has made a selection of photo and video materials about Soviet leaders monuments overthrow in Ukraine, which began after the adoption of the Law prohibiting propaganda of communism. “Several statues of Lenin were overthrown by strangers in the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that has an unprecedented conflict with Russia and seeks to get rid of its Soviet past”.
Dutch newspaper AD wrote about the Dutchman, couldn’t stand the “good” life in occupied by Russia Crimea , and escaped back together with his wife.
“Life in Crimea since the Russian annexation is good. Anyone who disagrees with this must keep silence or flee. Anyone who does not keep his mouth shut, risks his life. It was the reason that Dutchman Yelle and his wife Catherine escaped “- reports media outlet.
Journalist warns that the names of the Dutchman and his wife are changed because of fears of persecution by the FSB. The article tells their story. Yelle says that Crimea is the best place on Earth, and he worked there at the hotel. However, because of fears that his son may be sent to serve in the Russian army and the persecution of indigenous Ukrainians (these are the family of his wife) and Crimean Tatars, decided to return home. He gives examples of murders and attacks against activists who speak Ukrainian or Tatar languages.
“Crimea has become a haven for criminals – says Yelle, many people moved there from Donetsk and Luhansk, and they are not sweet. Many criminals Russians joined them. Crimea turned into a banana republic, you can go further on only if you keep in the hands of the Russian flag “- quoted his words Dutch newspaper.
«Amnesty» for Greek peaches, new wave of monument’s fall and Minsk agreements implementation
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The main theme of recent weeks in Europe – the financial problems of Greece was also considered in the context of the Ukrainian question. Press actively wrote about the visit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at Moscow and possible arrangements for a loan in exchange for a active pro-Russian position of Athens on the issue of sanctions. Indeed, the Greek politician spoke very disapprovingly about European restrictions on Russia, moreover he even called for their abolition. However, this didn’t give any special financial preferences to the country which faces the risk of default – reports press.
“Alexis Tsipras returned home yesterday from Moscow with just a vague promise of future Greece participation in the Turkish Stream. But will the Russian pipeline ever be built? “- writes Belgian newspaper “De Standaart” in the article «Empty-handed at home»
However, French media have seen and other promises of President Putin to loyal Greece.
“Lifting embargo without irritation. The “vague promise to grant amnesty for Greek peaches,” according to Alexander Baumov expert of Carnegie Foundation, it was given during the visit to Moscow on April 9th of Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras. Russian President Vladimir Putin had said: “We understand that Greece was forced to vote for sanctions against Russia, and our response had to touch it as well. And there is nothing we can do about it, we can not make exceptions for one of the EU members”- writes French “Le Monde” in the article “Putin weakens embargo against Greece”. However, journalists say that a solution that will allow Greece to have preferences is on the table.
“A solution is to create a joint ventures, it will allow Greece to overcome Russian embargo on EU-food, the decision taken in 2014 in response to EU sanctions. These companies will sell Greek fruits and vegetables, and they will not be considered as imports”- reports the newspaper. And notes that such favors may affect other loyal countries, such as Cyprus and Hungary.
Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad has published an interview with Sergei Guriev Russian economist who now moved to France due to persecution for political views. Under the headline “The sanctions beat Russia severely” newspaper gives figures. “The outflow of capital last year numbered up to 12% of GDP … Putin expected to compensate this by agreements with China, but these hopes were false. Chinese entrepreneurs are tired of the corruption which increased after Putin for the second time came to power in 2012-th. Chinese banks and companies respect the sanctions, otherwise the US would severely punish them. Look at the huge fine, which was imposed on French bank BNP Paribas for violations of the sanctions against Iran in 2014, it was 8, 9 billion. The whole world was shocked then, also Chinese”- quotes the media outlet the words of expert.
According to him, Putin is trying to cajole some of the European countries, expecting that they would block the sanctions extension decision which may happen later this summer. “In March, in the video he acknowledged by himself that he planned the annexation of the Crimea, with the intervention of Russian soldiers. Earlier, he said that the people of the peninsula spontaneously initiated the process and that he did not make planning. But after this for European countries it will be more difficult to loosen sanctions”- says the expert.
At the same time the main theme which dominated last week in Ukrainian media – the Parliament decision to prohibit propaganda of communism – attracted not much attention in the European media, which gave only short publications. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the law has yet to be signed by the President. However, the present messages are mostly not approving. “Anti-Soviet law is dangerous for Ukraine” – writes the Belgian newspaper “De Morgen” with reference to Ukrainian expert Ruslan Bortnik, who believes that it would split Ukrainian society.
“Political experts believe that the law can be changed or the president could refuses to sign it, stating that it contradicts to the Constitution” – the newspaper writes.
A leading Dutch TV station NOS showed the news story from Kharkiv, where a law caused a mass overthrow of Soviet monuments.
“A group of people wearing masks on Saturday night in Kharkiv overthrew several monuments to Soviet leaders. With this anti-Russian action, they wanted to remove the symbols of communism in Eastern Ukraine”- reports m
Most media have written about the new evidence of flagrant violations of human rights by the separatists. “The human rights organization Amnesty International has evidence that Ukrainian separatists executed four Ukrainian soldiers. Must be a quick response to the growing number of human rights violations in the eastern part of the country, say people in organization” – writes “De Morgen”
“New evidence of unlawful killings confirm what we have already knew. Now the question that separatist leaders are likely to do ” – said Denis Krivosheev Deputy Director of Amnesty Europe and Central Asia.
Regularly in the European media appeared reports from the front and, consequently, information on the process of Minsk agreements implementation. This issue was discussed during the meeting of foreign ministers in Berlin on 13 April. “Russia and Ukraine agreed to take over heavy weapons from Eastern Ukraine. This was said after a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in Berlin. Recovery of violence worries the international community. If further steps are not to be made, Minsk agreements will remain only on paper, this was a warning “- reports Belgian online resource “De Redactie”
A Brussel online-newspaper Euractiv in the article «Ukraine separatist leader warns of possible return to war» refers to DNR leader Alexander Zakharchenko which says that Minsk agreements are not fulfilled.
“Zakharchenko, who heads the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), implied that the rebel region might return to hostilities to retake control of several cities lost to the government side in an offensive waged by the regular army last year, notably the key cities of Mariupol and Slavyansk” – reports the media.
“Russian involvement in MH17 tragedy and a new wave of informational war»
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The hottest new about Ukraine in Dutch and Belgian media of last week was the involvement of (former) Russian secret service officer Sergey Petrovskiy in the transportation of BUK-installation. According to the preliminary data it was used last summer to shot down the Malaysian plane MH17 with 283 passengers on board, most of whom were the citizens of the Netherlands.
On Monday, international investigation team released a video dedicated to catastrophe. There are the phone conversations that were intercepted by the Ukrainian Security Service, where separatists discuss transportation of BUK. The experts confirmed the authenticity of the records and appealed to the public asking for help to identify people on the record.
In the video published by investigators one can hear the extract from a telephone conversation where someone named “Buryatik” asks vaguely: “Where should we bring this beauty?”. In response, the voice says: “This, one of which I think?”. “Buryatik” responds more frankly: “Yes, yes … BUK”. This new information caused a number of publications about the place of origin of the fatal BUK.
“The BUK rocket, which probably shot down the plane MH17 last year was from Russia. This follows from the telephone conversations of pro-Russian separatists available to the international experts “- writes the influential Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant ” in the article «BUK-rocket MH17 originates from Russia»
The next day, another new appeared – about the involvement of the former Russian officer Sergei Nikolaevich Petrovsky.
“One of the men, who according to the Dutch public prosecutor involved in the tragedy MH17, is recognized by Ukraine as a Russian spy. This is the first concrete evidence that the Dutch judge considers the participation of Russian (former) military”- reports Dutch “NRC Handelsblad”, which was first to publish this leaked facts in the article “The former russian officer is recognized on the records in MH17 case”
The journalists of the newspaper write that in the original version of Monday video (there some pieces were cut) one can hear that Buryatik calls his companion “Nikolayevich.”
He is also involved, according to the media outlet, in the transportation of BUK back to Russia immediately after the accident with “Boeing”.
“In one of the interviews, Petrovskiy says that in 2014 he was awarded with the rank of major general. But immediately afterwards he left Russian army and joined the separatists, becoming the deputy of the separatists leader Strelkov-Hyrkyn” – reports the journalist. But according to the newspaper, soon after the catastrophe these two had a conflict and Petrovskiy returned to Russia
This new was immediately spread by other mainstream media. The whole week people could see the articles and TV stories about the individual of Petrovsky and his role in the separatists camp.
Another questions which was raised in this connection: whether the suspects in the crash will be brought to justice and if the Netherlands ready to an open confrontation with Russia?
Leading Dutch TV channel NOS devoted a profound reportage to this issue and aired it in the evening primetime. The journalist quoted an expert on international law Geert Jan Knoopsa who doubts that the guilty people will be brought into the court.
“Neither Russia nor Ukraine are the parties to the International Criminal Court. Both Russia and Ukraine have signed the European treaty on extradition. But both countries have reservations that they can refuse to deliver their own citizens. In Russia, there is one more – it can refuse in extradition if it threatens its sovereignty, law and order or public safety. Therefore, the delivery of these people is possible only in cooperation with Russian authorities “- says the expert.
With the question of possible extradition journalists applied to Dutch government. There is now not excluded that the process can be conducted without the suspects.
“I think there is a good chance that the perpetrators will be convicted, hope it will be not the trial in absentia. Of course, it is very important that people involved in the MH17 crash are sentenced publicly. Whether it is possible? If not, the process can be held without their participation. This absentia sentence would mean that they could be arrested wherever they may be, at any moment. This is very important for relatives of the victims”- quotes the channel the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands Ard van der Steur.
The theme of battle with oligarchs as well continued last week. About the fact that Ukraine has declared war on the oligarchs reports French “Le Figaro” in the article “The new battle of Kyiv”
“The symbol of distraction of the transition, the oligarchs in Ukraine is recognized as the main obstacle to the reforms. In the eyes of the Maydan revolutionists, it is an oppression lying on the shoulders of Ukrainians for twenty years, a relic of the post-Soviet Russian model that prevents from making the breakthrough”- reports the newspaper.
Apart, the theme of Ukraine-Russian information war was present in the media space. The press wrote as about the elements of censorship in Ukraine – recalling the decision to prohibit Russian films, so about flagrant violations of Russia in the Crimea.
“Under the new law, those who still draws “Russian aggressor” in a positive light can expect for a huge fines. Critics
are openly saying about the censorship of the government in Kyiv, which is supported by the EU and the US. Moscow says it is concerned about the growth of “hatred to Russia” in the neighboring country. This Russophobe becomes indispensable element in the people’s nationalistic discourse of the powers of the country which is on the edge of bankruptcy. Earlier Kyiv banned all Russian channels and programs, and artists who are not anti-Putin are denied in visas, as well the concerts and performances of those who performed in the Crimea are canceled”- writes Belgian newspaper “De Morgen” in the article «Ukraine bans movies which show Russia in the positive light»
Another “big” theme was the closure in the Crimea the TV channel of Crimean Tatars ATR.
“The Tatars in the occupied by Russia Crimea, this week lost their main media. Russian authorities have refused to continue the broadcasting license for their TV station, the number of print media are to close their doors as well. This is a new violation of the rights of indigenous people of Ukrainian peninsula caused international condemnation” – reports Belgian newspaper “De Trouw” in the article «Indignation with the closure of Crimean Tatars TV channel»
“War of oligarchs“, “show“ in the Cabinet and American militants in Ivanovo
A relative lull in the area of Antiterroristic Operation in Ukraine, elections in France and the tragedy with the plane crash in the French Alps caused the decline of attention to Ukraine, in comparison with last weeks.
The main newsbreak of the week was a sensational resignation of the Dnipropetrovsk governor Igor Kolomoisky. Therefore, the biggest Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf” came up with the profound article entitled “The war of oligarchs in Ukraine.”
“After yesterday’s dismissal signed by Petr Poroshenko of billionaire and head of the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk Igor Kolomoisky there is a danger that the medieval nature of powerful oligarchs come out again – writes the newspaper – The Kremlin, which until now described Kolomoiskiy as an unfair and corrupt oligarch, is jeering at him. According to Russian television, Ukraine is threatened with “war of oligarchs” and this can lead the country, which is already balancing at the edge of economic disaster, to more chaos.
However, the newspaper notes that restraining of oligarchs was one of the IMF conditions of obtaining by Kyiv a billion euro tranche. Kolomoysky has had considerable influence in the region, and has its own army. However, the journalist stresses down that the situation is potentially explosive and the main question is whether the oligarch continues to cooperate with the authorities in the fight against the separatists. “Now Moscow can any longer play in the game of “divide and conquer “- concludes the journalist in article, quoting one of the Ukrainian political experts whose name remains unknown.
Belgian newspaper «De Standaart» writes that Kolomoiskiy was considered to be a “secret weapon” in the fight with the Kremlin. And now Kyiv may lose the support of oligarch.
“Igor Kolomoisky sometimes was called as the “secret weapon” in the fight against the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. 52-year-old billionaire started his own private army to fight with separatist forces that besides Donetsk and Lugansk would like to capture and Dnipropetrovsk, the third largest city in Ukraine. Kolomoysky was an important ally of the government in Kyiv, which has neither the military nor the financial resources to fight”- the newspaper writes.
The influential French newspaper “Le Mond” reports about arrests of public officials conducted at a government meeting, calling them “show”.
“Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday 25 March, staged an unexpected show, in front of the cameras they accused two officials in corruption. The scene took place during the first minutes of the government’s meeting, namely the time when TV crews invited to make some shoots. Police in camouflage approached the chairman of the State Emergency Service Sergei Bochkovsky and its deputy Basil Stayevskiy “- writes journalist in the article ” Kyiv crosses swords with oligarchs “
Further in the text the newspaper quotes Ukrainian Minister of Economy Ayvaras Abromavychus. “We have set an example, explains to “Le Monde” Minister Ayvaras Abromavychus who came round in Paris on Wednesday. Otherwise, corrupt officials believe they are invincible, and it’s annoying society. Society needs blood. However, most of the operations are not carried out so publicly. In recent weeks, three judges were arrested “- reports French media outlet.
Then it reminds the dismissal of Dnipropetrovsk governor. “These arrests were the consolidation of authorities, they make a new demonstration of force after a week of fighting against the oligarch and the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region Igor Kolomoisky when his authority was substantially undermined. In this struggle, it seems that Kyiv won the first round “- the newspaper writes.
However, besides scandal arrests and dismissals, other Ukrainian topics were present in European media as well. Media regularly write on the Russian troops presence.
“Many Russian soldiers were killed in Ukraine, but everybody keep their mouth shut”. Those who survived are bought” – says Ella Polyakova, from the Russian organization of soldiers’ mothers” – reports the Belgian newspaper “De Morgen” in the article “Officially, Ukraine has no Russian soldiers, but coffins coming back”
Cargo-200. It was a code word for coffins of soldiers that Soviet power in extreme secrecy delivered from Afghanistan. During the last year the trucks are returning again with load-200, but this time from Ukraine. As in Soviet times, the Kremlin holds it in great secrecy, since officially there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine”.
Most of the European media have written about the planned joint Ukrainian-American trainings, which will be held in the late April in western Ukraine.
“About 290 US militants will land in April 20 at a military base Yavoriv in Lviv region near the border with Poland – Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook. They will train 900 Ukrainian soldiers of the National Guard, which subordinates to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and formed mainly by the volunteers served in self-defense units during Maydan”- reports French “Le Figaro” in the article “US will shape the Ukrainian defense”. However, the newspaper emphasizes that such a gesture contains a threat: “These maneuvers can cause resentment of Russia, which accuses Americans in organization of Maidan protest, a movement which has led to the fall of the pro-Russian regime in Ukraine”.
«Soft annexation» of Ossetia, Hitler’s lessons and Russian letters on the mortal BUK
Terrorist attack in Tunisia and local elections in France – set up an informational tone of last week. However, publications over the Russian-Ukrainian conflict appeared regularly.
“Russia has got 12 000 square kilometers more” – writes the Belgian newspaper “De Standaart” on Friday, referring to the new agreement of Moscow with South Ossetia, which provides a significant transfer of sovereignty of the latter. “South Ossetia signed an agreement on the alliance and integration with Russia. It is a copy that Russia signed in December with Abkhazia. Both countries which previously declared their independence, delegated much of their sovereignty to Moscow “- reports the newspaper.
The journalist writes that some experts consider Russian agreements with the former Georgian territories to be “soft annexation” of the Kremlin which it manages to conduct without direct military intervention.
“Under what is called “Cooperation and Integration” South Ossetia transfers to Moscow its powers in the field of security, and de facto it means that the border between Georgia and its apostate region, can turn up under control of Russian soldiers. Moscow promises to support the economy of South Ossetia, and then to equalize wages. Salaries and pensions of officials have already been raised”- reports the media outlet. And notes that the annexed territories are becoming a heavy burden on the Russian budget. This point is also can be seen in a number of other publications.
Another topic in the media is the European Council meeting in Brussels, where EU leaders had to decide whether to continue sanctions against Russia. Although, there was no formal decision at the spring summit, in fact, the leaders made it clear: the restriction against Russia will be in force by the end of the year.
“De Standaart” as well writes about the European Council meeting, held on March 19-20 in Brussels. It is said there that European leaders had to balance between one camp of the members, who advocated the immediate continuation of economic sanctions against Russia. And the second, that advocated a more moderate movement in this direction, saying that Minsk agreements should get a chance.
“To mitigate the contradictions a creative solution has been found. Hollande and Merkel offered other Member States to adhere the sanctions to the implementation of Minsk agreements. By the end of the year the realization of the most difficult positions are expected: borders between Ukraine and Russia have again to become the true state borders. So de facto it means that sanctions will remain in force until the end of this year “- reports the newspaper.
Also at the summit leaders decided to continue active move towards the Energy Union, which would reduce European dependence on Russian gas. Another important decision was – officially declared fight on Russian propaganda.
«EU launches operation to counter Russian propaganda» – writes influential Brussels online media outlet Euractive.
“The European Union is set to launch its first operation in a new propaganda war with Russia, within days of EU leaders giving formal approval to the campaign at a summit yesterday (19 March).
Officials told Reuters that a dozen public relations and communications experts would start work by the end of March in Brussels with a brief to counter what the EU says is deliberate misinformation coordinated by the Kremlin over Moscow’s role and aims in Ukraine, and elsewhere in Europe” – reports online resource.
In this context, broad resonance was caused by the information that Ukrainian oligarch Dmitriy Firtash connected to Russia, has got a control over the Ukrainian service of Euronews and the decision of Kiev to revoke the license for broadcaster.
“While EU leaders discuss how to counter Russian propaganda, a pro-Moscow Ukrainian oligarch bought the Ukrainian service of Euronews, and Kyiv decided torevoke its broadcasting license” – writes Euractive in the post «Ukraine bans Euronews»
However Informational War, and Putin threats to use nuclear weapons (although sometimes suspended) did not pass unnoticed. “Europe wants to tone down the game against Putin’s Russia” – under this headline was published an article in French “Le Figaro” on Saturday after the summit.
“Ukrainian crisis and tensions with Russia, forcing Brussels to freeze the process of enlargement to the East” – the newspaper writes.
“After the annexation of Crimea and losing by Kiev control of the territory, as well as after the renewal of Russian military doctrine, according to which the us of a nuclear weapon can be used, Brussels turns to be more realistic” – says the author. Referring to his diplomatic sources in Brussels journalist writes that for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova integration process with the EU is currently frozen.
Dutch newspaper “De Trouw” has put under the mark “recommendation of the editorial” article of its correspondent in Central Europe Ekke Overbeyk called «The Russians are coming, Poles and Balts find us to be naive» in which Putin is presented in the image of Hitler. The author says that these countries like no one understand the true intentions of the Kremlin and draws parallels between Minsk agreements and 30-th of the last century: “This is reminiscent of the 30s, when people tried to reconcile Hitler: with making more a
nd more sacrifices to boastful dictator in order to keep the fragile peace. “We have to remind ourselves and Europe about the logic of Hitler’s aggression followed by the policy of Stalin” – former Polish dissident repeats Adam Mihnyk. When Hillary Clinton last year compared agreements between Putin and foreign leaders with those that has signed by Hitler, therefore our prime-minister Rutte called this comparison “incomprehensible.”
Again in informational space appeared the calls to give Ukraine a weapon. Thus, the appropriate column «Armimg of Ukraine will increase chances for peace» came up in the Dutch Volkskrant.
European media also widely wrote about the statement of chief of NATO’s forces in Europe Philip M. Breedlove, who called to consider all means to assist Ukraine, including the provision of weapons.
Journalist of Dutch , media continuously seek the truth in the case of the Malaysian Boeing crashed last summer. And they are getting more and more evidences of Russian involvement.
“For the first time, there is evidence that the flight MH17 was shot down by a missile. This is evident from expertise that RTL asked to make with parts of the ammunition found under the wreckages. International experts confirmed the conclusion: MH17 shot down by a BUK-missile.
Correspondent Yerun Akkermans in November took some rests of lethal arm to study the crash. The material was reviewed by an independent institution on a confidential basis.
The study of the chemical composition shows that it was the remains BUK missiles, including fragments of warhead – explosive materials. Part of warheads consist of low-grade steel, which is typical for this type of ammunition. Via electroscopic research on the fragment can be seen the remains of a Cyrillic encodings of the Russian language, also on partially destroyed picture one can see the number 2 “- writes journalist in the article «Evidences that MH17 was shot down by BUK»
Criminals in Crimea, Putin’s Botex and boycott of Moscow parade
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One of the main past week’s topics was the anniversary of Crimea annexation by Russia, which it plans to celebrate on Wednesday. Leading European media broadly covered the event, describing the new realities of the life on the peninsula.
“Wednesday will be exactly a year since Crimea became the part of Russia. After a turbulent and violent annexation the euphoria is evaporated. Tourist flow decreases and businessmen have to survive “- writes the Belgian newspaper De Tijd in the article “The euphoria after the annexation of the Crimea disappeared” in its Saturday edition – “A year ago, pro-Russian Crimeans were in a state of euphoria. However, after the reunification with the motherland, they expect that all will be good. And now this euphoria is lifted, says Dmitry Omelchuk, a political scientist at the University in Simferopol. “People thought that Crimea will become Eden, but this hasn’t happened”. The newspapers emphasizes on a sharp decline in tourist flow with which have faced the residents of the peninsula and other economic difficulties, especially related to logistics problems.
“According to Oleksandr Trofіmov, head of Crimean Resort Association, transport problems – currentlyare the most serious on the peninsula. “The most popular means of transportation in the Crimea were always trains that stopped going now”. As a result, the Russians, who still want to go to the Crimea, have to wait 20 hours to get on the ferry to Kerch in eastern Crimea “- says the journalist and also quotes the local distribution network, which has to use the same sea route to deliver goods from Russia.
Belgian newspaper De Standaart also devoted an article to the anniversary but it goes further. In the article “Crimea is managed by the gang of criminals” journalist writes: “A year ago, the Crimean residents in a referendum decided to join in. This area was once a ground for bloody mafia battles. One of the thugs of the past – today became Prime Minister of the Republic. “If you look at his policies, you can see traces of the past” – said the lawyer of one of the companies which recently was taken by the armed police “- the newspaper writes.
French media write that during this year Russia has increased its power on the peninsula. “Every day Russia strengthens their advantage on this territory to Ukraine. Military presence, points of border control, limitation of freedom, at any price Russia provides its sovereignty “- Le Monde writes in the article” Russian annexation. ”
Other hot topic was the mysterious disappearance of President Putin, collages and jokes from social media actively appeared on the pages of the media outlets. One of the versions were “botex” consequences and stroke. Thus, the Dutch Newspaper NRC Handelsblad in the article “Where is Putin?”, referring to its Moscow correspondent writes thst Putin recently did not looked the best. “The rumors that something is wrong circulating for some time – says Rene Postma.
“there was an information that in 2010 there were some problems with the Botex procedure. Last months some people are speaking about the signs of stroke “- wrote the newspaper before it became known that the Russian president was present on the meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart.
Great discussion in European media caused the film “Crimea. The way home” where Putin discloses the details of the plan of the peninsula’s joining to Russia. These confessions have become the reason for a severe reaction of Ukrainian authorities. In Europe, mostly talked about the readiness to use nuclear weapons in case if the West intervened in the process of annexation.
“To ensure against any Western intervention in the annexation of Crimea by Russia, a year ago, the Kremlin considered all the possibilities, including the nuclear option. “We were ready for it,” Putin said in the documentary “- writes French Le Monde.
Other French newspaper «Le Figaro» in the article “Putin seeks consulation with Kim Jong Ynom” wrote: “Russia is moving closer to the best friends of the Cold War period. Russia and North Korea on Wednesday evening announced that they have decided to make 2015 – the year of friendship between the two countries … Convergence is happening at a time when Russia is becoming increasingly isolated internationally because of the conflict in Ukraine. ”
In Europe, the decision of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders to boycott the parade dedicated to the Second World War victory is actively discussed. In Berlin it was clearly motivated with the Russian actions in Ukraine. However, Merkel intends to pay homage at the tomb of the unknown soldier, where also president Putin will be present.
“The French leader, Francois Hollande, also won’t be going. But his office cited agenda issues, saying he’s needed at a meeting on climate change in the Caribbean island of Martinique. Other EU states to boycott the 9 May event include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. US president Barack Obama has also said he won’t be going. The Czech president, a Putin sympathiser, is the only EU head of state to have confirmed attendance so far. Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia have been invited. They haven’t made public their decisions. But the fact the German leader said No, despite Germany’s historic burden of guilt, makes it easier for others to say No as well” – reports Brussels online media outlet EUObserver in the article Germany to snub Putin’s WWII parade.
This week in Brussels will be held European Council with the participation of all the leaders of the member states. One of the issues on the agenda is the prolongation of sanctions against Russia and possible extension. However, the press wrote that this week we should not expect major decisions.
“European Union leaders are unlikely to reach agreement at their summit next week to prolong economic sanctions on Russia that expire in July, a senior EU official said today (13 March). New sanctions on Russia are also off the table for now because EU governments want to give the fragile ceasefire in eastern Ukraine a chance” – writes Euroactive, another media outlet, based in Brussels.
Thus, according to a source of the media, probably, the decision whether to extend (and to introduc
e new sanctions) will be delayed to July.
In the same media was published an interview with the Head of the Ukrainian Mission to the EU Konstantin Eliseev, where he calls on Brussels to send massive peacekeeping mission to Ukraine.
On Saturday a Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad printed an article “Godfather is looking after you” where the author analyzes why Russian society is so easily influenced by Putin’s propaganda. “Peter Pomarantsev knows Russian television from inside. The son of Russian immigrant-dissident grew up in London, but in 2006 went to Russia to work on television. In a statement that nothing is and everything is possible he sees the greatest possible falsity of Russian journalism, which provides a basis for the Kremlin’s repressive regime. Russian television borrows the worst excesses of American channels such as FoxNews, while remaining on no criticism of the Kremlin positions and supporting aggression against the United States. On the other hand – by broadcasting severe series of murders and cops it fuels semi-criminal atmosphere “- reports the media.
“New sanctions, Kremlin’s friends in EU and Russia’s feedback to Stalin’s times”
Despite the relative ceasefire in Ukraine, the European press is actively discussing the possibilities of imposing new sanctions on Russia. Anti-Putins sentiments in Europe were fueled because of the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, – most media emphasize that he was a great antagonist of Kremlin. The issue of the new sanctions is raised in the context of informal summit of EU foreign ministers which took place last weekend in Riga. In addition, on March 19-20 a meeting of the European Council with EU leaders participation is scheduled in Brussels. The main issue on the agenda is Ukraine and relations with Russia. The future of existing sanctions and a new ones are to be discussed there.
“Europeans are divided on the issue of the additional sanctions that can be applied to Russia for participation in the war in Ukraine. At an informal meeting in Riga – which did not involve decision-making – foreign ministers managed to hide these differences by freezing the current situation “- writes the French «Le Monde» after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Latvian capital.
“We note some improvements, but we have to be very prudent” – cites the newspaper French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. And comments: “For him it would, in any case, be “paradoxical ” to raise his voice against Moscow, when ceasefire violations occur increasingly rare and heavy weapons removed from the battlefield.”
The media notes that until separatists have not started a massive attack and don’t go to the great port city of Mariupol – the new sanctions are not foreseen. “Currently there is not perfect one, but the ceasefire …. Therefore, at this stage does not make sense to adopt new sanctions “- quotes journalist his source on the sidelines of an informal summit. But also notes the position of countries such as Latvia, who insist on further isolation of Russia.
But despite all this Kremlin still has many allies in Europe. Brussels online media outlet EUObserver in the article entitled “Renzi seeks to end the international isolation of Putin” writes about the visit to Moscow of Matteo Renzi, Italian prime minister.
In the publication is noted that Italy, which has recently faced a prolonged recession in the economy, has suffered a lot from the EU sanctions against Russia. Therefore, the country is trying in the very possible way to mitigate this effect. The briefing after the meeting of the two leaders was held without opportunity for questions. However Renzi still gave an interview to several Russian media.
“In the interview, he stressed the need to “respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and restore the full control of the borders,” but also to guarantee “the autonomy” of the country’s eastern regions, which are home to many Russian speakers. Renzi suggested that Italy’s arrangement for its German-speaking region of South Tyrol could be a model” – reports EUObserver.
In the other article dedicated to the visit the journalist emphasizes that just recently Putin has had some contacts with several European leaders.
“He is the latest in a series of EU heads of state or government to reach out to Russia. Cyprus’ Nicos Anastasiades was in Moscow last month. Hungary’s Viktor Orban welcomed Putin in Budapest also last month, while Greece’s Alexis Tsipras is expected to attend a WWII memorial in Moscow in May. Russian diplomats are, according to EU sources, lobbying all four countries to veto a renewal or extension of economic sanctions” – writes online media outlet.
Frequently in the European Press of last week appeared the reportages from the funeral of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. “Back to Stalin” – under such a headline came up Dutch «De Standaart». The newspaper cites Russian writer, who requested anonymity, “Putin has managed to reverse the climate of fear and repression that prevailed under Stalin.”
The journalist notes that many European politicians were unable to pay last respects to Nemtsov.
“Some politicians from Eastern Europe could not get to the funeral because they were refused in visas, among them the Speaker of the Polish Senate. Alexei Navalny opposition leader is not released from house arrest. This is why it was to expect: funeral is not an event for the opposition “- the newspaper reports.
On Sunday, the same newspaper devoted a long article to the arrests in the case – “Many doubts after the arrests.” The journalist writes about the detainees. The publication cites the position of the Russian government, according to which the murder was committed by Caucasians in order to destabilize the situation. However, in the circles of the Russian opposition there are many doubts about this. “There’s more doubt that besides the executers, the assassinators will be found and brought to justice. And this is regardless the confession of Zaur Dudayev, who served in the battalion “North” led by current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov”- writes the newspaper. And recalls the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. It was also conducted by the people from the Caucasus, but the assassinators were never found.
The press also picking up the so-called “Ukrainian” version, according to which the politician was killed because of an investigation of Russian military involvement in the conflict in the East.
“Russian liberal politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead last week in Moscow, contacted the Russian soldiers who fought in Ukraine, despite the refutation of the Kremlin. The day before his death he wrote to his close associates Olga Shorina, that soldiers from Ivanovo told him that 17 of their people were killed in Ukraine “- writes the Belgian newspaper «De Morgen
»in the article” Nemtsov spoke with Russian soldiers in Ukraine “.
“Opposition doesn’t rule out that Nemtsov was killed because he exposed the involvement of the Kremlin’s pro-Russian forces fighting” – adds the newspaper.
Last week in the Netherlands the seeing of the wrecks of downed in Ukraine “Boeing” flight MH17 took place. This information was gave impulse to a numerous publications in the media. For example Dutch channel NOS in the online article “Five questions about MH17” with reference to its sources reported that the plane was shot down probably by Russian military.
“The results of the investigation show that it was shot down by a missile Buk with Russian installation, probably by Russian military. Shortly before the installation was taken from Russia to Ukraine. This can be proved by different videos “- the newspaper writes. And notes that the most likely perpetrators of the crash will be not find, as there is a high probability that they are liquidated.
Review 9 from 02.03.2015
Versions of Nemtsov murder, “Other Russia” and the threat of a new gas war
The murder of a prominent Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov – has become a major theme in European media. Although it is not a purely Ukrainian, most publications are accompanied with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Mostly, journalists put a shadow on the current Russian regime, although version of provocation against Putin is also not excluded. In most of the media outlets writing about the murder, the keywords “opposition”, “Kremlin” and “Putin” can be seen.
“Russian politician Boris Nemtsov was killed because he had evidence of Russian troop presence in eastern Ukraine and would like to publish them. So says the president of Ukraine Poroshenko “- writes the Belgian newspaper De Standaart.
It gives the position of the former Energy Minister Vladimir Milov: “Former Energy Minister Vladimir Milov sure that the Kremlin had a hand in the murder. “There is no doubt that this crime was carefully planned” – Milov wrote in his blog. – “I was talking with friends in security forces and I have less and less doubt that the murder of Boris Nemtsov was conducted in the accordance by the government”.
The newspapers write that Putin took the investigation under special control, as well journalists are looking for answers to the classic question: “who” and “why.”
For example, «DeMorgen» in the article “New information on the death of Boris Nemtsov” gives 5 main versions of the tragedy. The first version – “a political assassination.””During the interview, which Nemtsov gave to Sobessedniki.ru site in early February, he said that he feared “a bit””for his life because of his stance against President Putin. Nemtsov in 2012 would like receive political asylum in Lithuania “- says. The second version – a provocation in order to destabilize the situation in Russia. “Putin has made it clear that this brutal assault was intended to provoke” – said Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman “- writes the author. He notes the position of the Russian communists who believe that this was done in order to “provoke anti-Russian hysteria in the West.”
Since the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Nemtsov received threats because of condemning these actions, so journalists do not exclude “extremist versions” as well. It is under number three. And then – version because of Ukraine, in particular, it goes about investigations of Russian presence in the East. There is also a version of Russian “extremist nationalists”.
On the weekend European press actively covered the march dedicated to the memory of Boris Nemtsov. According to opposition it was attended by 70 thousands people, in police say about 21 thousand.
“The number of protesters is much higher than that of Russian opposition managed to gather in recent times. It can be compared with actions against Vladimir Putin in 2011 and 2012. “- reports French “Le Figaro” in the article “Thousands of Russians paid tribute to Boris Nemtsov“
The newspaper also writes about the story of detention at the meeting Ukrainian deputy Alexey Goncharenko.
” But there is little hope either that Putin’s investigators will catch the killers or that the murder will lead to political change.
“With the opposition pointing the finger at the authorities, Russian officials at the weekend began disseminating various other theories. They indicated Nemtsov might have been killed: by the opposition in order to discredit Putin; by Russian “ultra-nationalists”; by Islamic extremists; or by his Ukrainian girlfriend’s jealous lover. – writes Brussels online resource EU Obsrever – At the same time, Russian users of Twitter began flooding the social media site with accusations the US did it to stir instability. “Judging by the hundreds, if not thousands of tweets in my ‘notifications’ saying ‘USA killed Nemtsov’, it’s obvious that it’s [a] paid campaign”, Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Moscow wrote.”
However, despite all the skepticism about the possible deployment of protest movement in Russia, Russian opposition press wrote about it quite sharply. In particular, the French “Le Monde” cites articles in “Russian press where journalists condemn the “climate of fear “after the death Nemtsov:
“The reaction on the murder of Boris Nemtsov was so extraordinary, as this man was” – writes “Kommersant” that sees in the death of politics political motives. “This killing is a psychological barrier that Russia has just crossed, and all will never be as before” – write “Vedomosti” – reports “Le
During the week, the European press has been also actively writing about events in the East. In particular journalists spread a new UN report, according to which there are already 6 thousand people, who became the victims of the conflict.
“The UN condemns the unwarranted detention, torture and enforced disappearances mainly committed by armed groups, but in some cases and Ukrainian forces” – also writes Le Monde .
Press is “cautious optimistic” about the fulfilling of the Minsk agreements. “Last week, the army and the separatists began withdrawal of the heavy weapons. And according to the agreement exchanged with prisoners “- writes the Dutch channel Nos.NL on its website.
“Alexander Haag, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission in Ukraine, confirmed that while both sides withdraw weapon, it is unclear whether it will be returned back. “We can say that the weapons are in the rear now, but it is too early to say that they will stay there,” he said in an interview on Saturday. He expressed “cautious optimism” about the ceasefire. “Now we see that the truce in most parts of the 500-kilometer line of conflict adheres quite well,” he said on Saturday in Berlin. “We see that both sides have taken steps to move arms away from the contact line. This is the first time that both sides in the conflict made it yet” – writes the Belgian “De Tijd”
Traditionally a big stir in the European press causes the threats to cut off gas to Ukraine, causing hurt and European observers. Most of the media have written about Putin’s and Miller’s threats that they are going to block the pipe if Ukraine doesn’t make prepayments.
“Putin is especially angry that Kyiv does not supply gas militants, which of course is logical. If another state so seized part of your state, as did Putin with Crimea, and will not desire to deliver gas to militants of this country. In addition, the EU is working to create energy union, it is a series of measures in order to establish greater cooperation to get energy from different countries, and to negotiate with Russia on the block. I think this are the major reasons “- cites “De Morgen” words of expert Dr. Marcel de Haas. However, the experts are sure: Ukraine and Russia will agree supplies as Moscow now can not afford to lose European consumers.
Review 8 from 23.02.2015
Who is guilty in Maydan’s deaths, meeting in Moscow and new “devastating“ sanctions against Russia
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News about Ukraine last week were focused on three main themes: (not) implementation of Minsk agreements, anniversary of Euromaidan and possible strengthening of sanctions.
On weekend, some media outlets came up with the analysis of the situation which is taking place one year after Maydan. Journalists are talking not only about the victory of the civil society, what is positive for Ukraine, but also notice that this year the government has failed to conduct the promised reforms.
“The government is likely to say that they have already taken steps to the course of changes by signing the Association Agreement – says Ria Lanen (expert on Russia) meaning treaty with the EU, which should facilitate trade with the EU for Ukraine and allow Ukrainians to visit EU without visas. By signing the agreement, the government took the responsibility to change the situation. But now most of the reforms stay untouched”- writes the Belgian magazine of De Knack in the article “Year after Yanukovych: Reforms remained untouched”.
There is described the Soviet past of Ukraine and corruption which it inherited. The journalist quotes an expert who believes that the post-Soviet countries can be successful only if they have a good relationship with both the EU and Russia.
Other Belgian media outlet “De Morgen” in the article “A year after a powerful explosion. The investigation is brought to the standstill wrote that the society never found out who was behind the killings on Maydan in winter last year. Journalists give different versions of events. But the priority is given to the version that protects Russian propaganda and representatives of the former regime.
“Former Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko said in April that “Berkut” was not responsible for the events and victims of the Maidan. As a result of leakage of telephone conversation between the “EU Foreign Minister” of those times Catherine Ashton and Foreign Minister of Estonia Paet Urmas, the last made it clear that there is “increasing evidence that it was not Yanukovich who stayed behind the snipers but some of the former opposition. In addition, former security chief of Ukrainian Alexander Yakimenko later admitted that agents and civilians were killed by snipers who were in the building of the Conservatory and the hotel “Ukraine”, which at that time were in the hands of opposition. In early October, appeared the most thorough study of the events of 20 February. In his work “The Sniper” massacre on the Square in Ukraine “Professor of Ottawa University, Canada, John Kachanovskyy made detailed reconstruction of the events, basing on video, radioconversations and witnesses. He found that most people were shot by the members of Euromaidan movement “- writes the newspaper. And adds: “version that the current authorities are behind the drama of Maydan explains why there is no hurry to submit the case to the court.” However, the end of the article journalists still recall the position of the Ukrainian authorities, citing Peter Poroshenko, who accuses Russian authorities, in particuliar Surkov, of involvement in the bloody events.
French «Le Monde» devoted a profound article the history of the national liberation movement in Ukraine, and Euromaidan as a resuld of it. In the article “A year in which Ukrainian people became Ukrainians” newspaper notes that the long-term monopoly of the nationalists on national identity is over, and now the situation has changed. It cites the civil activist Yosif Zisel: “Maydan – is more a civilizational conflict than a conflict of identity. This is a clash between two world outlooks – Eurasian and European”. And adds: “the epicenter of the new Ukraine’s fight no longer Lviv with its nationalist folklore, but large Russian-speaking Eastern cities close to the front line such as Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv.”
Other popular French newspaper “LeFigaro” last week wrote about the statement of exiled Viktor Yanukovych, who plans to return to Ukraine and about Ukrainian authorities who charge Putin’s assistant Viktor Surkov of involvement in the murders on Maydan.
It has also published an article about the “pro-Putin demonstration in Moscow.” “Ukraine’s example taught us a lot. And we will not allow Maydan to take place in our country “- organizers said on the eve of the parade, which according to Moscow police was attended by about 35 thousand people. Parades and similar events took place in several Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, Simferopol … “- notes journalist.
Most of the media have also written about the explosion in Kharkov during a peaceful march on the anniversaryof Euromaidan, but in a short informative manner. Most journalists are currently worried about the fate of the Minsk agreements that are on the verge of collapse, the information about new possible sanctions against Russia appeared in the informational space.
“Russia is facing the prospect of new sanctions from the European Union following more than 300 violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine” – writes Brussels online media outlet European Voice. “we are clearly reaching a point when further diplomatic efforts will be fruitless unless credibly backed up by further action” – cites it the European Council president Donald Tusk. And adds: Tusk said he was now consulting with the EU’s national leaders, with the aim of agreeing measures to “increase further the costs of aggression on eastern Ukraine”.
Another Brussels online media outlet EUObserver writes that USA seriously look into the strengthening of the sanctions.
“There’s serious discussion taking place between us and our European allies as to what those next sanction steps ought to be and when they perhaps ought to be implemented. And I am confident that some additional steps will be taken in response to the breaches of this ceasefire” – cites it the USA State Secretary John Kerry.
“Meanwhile, the next
round of economic sanctions is likely to include shortening the maturity of bonds and loans available to listed Russian banks, energy, and arms firms.The move could have a “devastating” effect, one US source said, because several Russian companies will risk default when their dollar-denominated debt comes up for repayment or roll-over later this year” – writes EUObsrever.
Review 7 from 16.02.2015
Fragile cease fire, test of Debaltseve and what might scare Putin.
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Ukrainian ceasefire and Minsk agreements – are the top topics in the most European media last week. Should we expect peace in Ukraine? Will the agreements be fulfilled? What is the further strategy of Kremlin? New Transdnistria or South Ossetia? These and other questions asked the journalists of the European newspapers, TV and radio.
So, on Sunday French newspaper “Le Figaro” reported that four leaders discussed the implementation of Minsk agreements. “Implementation of the ceasefire Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and President of Ukraine and Russia discussed by phone on Sunday, they called it “satisfactory “despite local incidents. Debaltseve – as a “pocket” which forms a snag to the east of the front line will embrace special attention in the coming days. Despite the fact that it is surrounded by rebels who control much of the surrounding settlements, its fate almost caused the wreck of Minsk agreements. Yesterday separatists not allowed OSCE observers to the area”- reports the newspaper.
Debal’tsevo is a basic test for the implementation of the ceasefire agreements – considers journalist of another influential French media outlet “Le Monde”.
“Strategic Debaltsevo city is a “hot spot “… – reports journalist – Ukrainian front line positions were attacked 60 times from the time of the alleged cessation of hostilities in the night from Saturday to Sunday. This figure is presented by Ukrainian army, but it is much less than a few days before the armistice”.
Large Belgian online resource “De redactie” in the article “After the peace, who won / lost in Ukraine” analyzes the effects of Minsk agreements for all parties. Journalists noted that Ukraine, on one hand, lost some territory, but ensured the support of the West, both political and financial. “This could be the beginning of the introduction of mainland Ukraine to Europe. Though Ukraine remains heavily dependent on Russian gas “- writes the newspaper.
On the other hand, Russia, for which the Crimea was a strategic task, now is stronger than Ukraine, however, Putin to pay a high price for it. “He suffered from a great damage to the image (even China doesn’t support Russia), Western sanctions significantly hit the Russian economy. In addition, the crisis has given new impulse to the development of NATO “- says.
As well, there is no winners out of this situation – writes media outlet. “It is too early to say whether Minsk deal is just a period of rest between battles, as it was the earlier with the first Minsk agreement last September. The agreement is too limited, to compare it with the document signed in Munich in 1938, when Allies gave a large part of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany. In addition, it is unclear whether the current situation will lead to the collapse of Ukraine what is the ultimate goal of Putin. But it is clear that there are only losers and no winners in this conflict. And in diplomatic terms this will lead to a total break in relations between Russia and the West for the next decade “- writes De Redactie.
In Brussels edition “European Voice”, appeared the column of Edward Lucas, editor of “The Economist” and author of the book “The New Cold War”, dedicated to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. In the column “What might scare Putin’s regime?” he writes that current measures cannot stop Putin.
“If the West were presenting a united front to Russia the Putin regime would not have destabilised and attacked Ukraine. It would not have seized Crimea. It would not have stoked war in the east. It would not be murdering, beating and kidnapping people in other countries. It would not be intimidating its neighbours. It would not be doing any of these things because it would be scared of the consequences” – writes Lucas.
“We are afraid of the truth about Russia and its intentions. The people of Ukraine are paying a horrific price for our inaction and delusion, and worse is to come. We may not like to admit it, but the real point of the diplomatic mission launched by France and Germany is to negotiate surrender. Even if (a big if) a ceasefire sticks, Russia will have got away with its land-grab; Ukraine is broken, financially and militarily” – he adds. According to him, providing Ukraine with weapon is not a solution and it will not make Putin to change his mind. He calls West to implement more serious sanction, banning from entering EU not to tens of Russians but to thousands, as well as impose restraints on “Gazprom”.
In the article “The stars stay not good for Minsk-2” Dutch newspaper “De Standaart” writes that all the actors have not much confidence in the implementation of the agreements. Therefore, they can be broken at any moment. Actually, the first differences in the approaches to the interpretation of the contract’s provisions already appeared.
“Russia made clear that gave no promise of release Ukrainian pilot Nadegda Savchenko who was imprisoned in June, and who since this time became a hero in Ukraine and became a member of the parliament. According to the representative of the Kremlin, the issue should be resolved in court. But Poroshenko understand these agreements differently “- reports the newspaper.
Particularly concerns about the amnesty provisions have the Netherlands, they are afraid that it will affect those responsible for the accident with Malaysian “Boeing”, which took place last summer. However, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte assured journalists that this will not be an obstacle to bringing them to justice.
Other Dutch newspaper «NRC Handelsblad» came up this weekend with special thematic unit on several pages devoted to Ukraine, quoted separatists who do not want to put up with the republics of Ukraine. “Or Donbass become a separate state or region will become a part of Russia. After everything that happened, people cannot live in Ukraine”- cites the newspaper one of the separatist Krest, who does not believe that the
truce will last for long.
On the other hand, the media are paying more attention to the Ukrainian diaspora in their countries. So Belgian “Gazet van Antwerpen” made a reportage with a Ukrainian family from Lvov Lubomir and Anna Movchan, living in Antwerp.
The news story is about the life of Ukrainians in Belgium and their integration into the local community. However, they continue to do things for Ukraine. “Recently, organized screening, fundraising and collection of clothes. Income allocated to good aims in Ukraine “- cites newspaper the couple.
Review 6 from 09.02.2015
Compromise or war, what does Putin want and the Munich’s “deja vu” 2003
European press wrote last week about Ukraine mostly in “black and white”. The key message “compromise or war” – it was voiced by French President Francois Hollande.
“The stakes are very high. French-German mission is to prevent “total war” in Ukraine – said Hollande on the eve of his departure “- writes Dutch newspaper Volkskrant in the article “A lot of pressure on the talks with Moscow”. It notes that up to date this is the most powerful delegation.
But soon it became clear that European mission haven’t brought the immediate results.
In the article “Mission incomplete for peace in Ukraine” French newspaper «Le Monde» in a rather pessimistic manner analyzes the result of the “voyage” of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to Ukraine and Russia.
The media outlet writes about Putin’s proposal, which allegedly lays in expansion (compared with the Minsk agreements) of the boundary and providing greater (than predicted) autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk region – “measures, whuch must paralyze the central government” and transform these areas in similar way as was it done with Transdnistria. “As the echo of this the vice-prime-minister of Russia, Dmitry Rogozin wrote on his Twitter account provocative message: Transdnistria – is of a great value to us. This is a wonderful land of Russian world»- writes “Le Monde “. “However, Merkel and Hollande have no plans to change Minsk agreements” – adds the newspaper, noting that European leader’s purpose is just to develop a roadmap for finding a solution on controversial provisions of Minsk agreements.
If the arguments of Hollande and Merkel are not sufficiently strong, they still have their traditional tool – sanctions. The Minks peace talks come on the eve of an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. The EU is, on Monday, to expand its Russia blacklist, adding Russian deputy defence minister Anatoly Antaonov, among others. It is also in internal talks on fresh economic sanctions. But the weekend revealed strong differences inside Europe on how to handle the crisis”- reports EUObserver under the headline “European leaders will meet with Ukraine and Russia in Minsk ”
But even if the agreements will be achieved, there are no guarantees of success – report some media.
Thus, a huge Dutch TV broadcaster NOS on Sunday evening showed a profound news story about the life on the separatists controlled territory. Terrible living conditions in the basement and regular attacks become commonplace – says the reporter. At the end of the story, journalist interviews one of the separatists, who doubted the intentions to carry out the agreement. “Politicians there can agree on something, but we will not give away any plot of conquered land. At least I see this mood. ”
“What exactly wants Putin in Ukraine” – under this headline came out Belgian newspaper “Trouw”. Journalist identifies three main, in his view positions. First: “Eastern Ukraine should receive special status and thus fall under his control.” “The conflict also prevents Ukraine’s accession to NATO” – writes the journalist. Second: “Tactic Putin wants to create a frozen conflict when he at any time can create tension for Kyiv and the West. The President has the benefit of anxiety in Eastern Europe that were formerly under Russian influence. “Third: “Putin wants to end Western sanctions against Russia because it affects the economy.”
In the same newspaper appears author’s column of the head of the Liberal Democratic group in the European Parliament GuyVerhofstadt “Ukraine neither buffer nor satellite”. He writes about two approaches to Ukraine – Russian and western. “We can not give the Russian president what he wants, Ukraine once again to become satellite country of Mother Russia…. Very often you can hear another scenario: Hollande and Merkel want to turn Ukraine into a buffer state, hoping that it will be enough for Putin to withdraw its troops. In this case, Ukraine has to become neutral, no union with the EU or NATO, but also no alliances with Russia. But this can only be a short-term solution to stop the violence.
At the end MEP calls for action. “It is time to act. Ukraine shouldn’t become neither a buffer state nor satellite state, but just a normal state, where people want to raise children”.
French newspaper «Le Figaro» in the article “Autonomy, federalization, independence … the thorny status of Donbass “examines possible solutions for the conflict and the status of the occupied territories. “Kyiv rejects the idea of autonomy or federalization, considering them to be a violation of the sovereignty from Russia” – the newspaper reports. And adds that it’s difficult now to say for sure, what are the plans of Russian President Vladimir Putin concerning occupied territories: “Separatist movements can be used in order to force Ukraine to recognize the final annexation of the Crimea in exchange for a ceasefire. But we can not exclude the possibility that he can use the captured territory in order to pave the corridor between Russia and the Crimea”
“The West now faces the difficult choice. Ukraine is not able to manage the conflict on its own. Obviously, the separatists better organized and can wield on unlimited arsenal of Russian weapons. But the supply of arms from the United States could provoke “Proxy war” when the US and Russia will conduct war through their allies exactly as it was during the Cold War. There is no guarantee that Putin’s support will drop after it becomes clear
that the Russian troops die in eastern Ukraine. If the body will be returned after American arms supplies to Ukraine, the Kremlin will get a strong argument to blame the West” – writes Belgian media outlet “De Redactie” in the article “Arms for Ukraine?”.
A French “Le Journal du dimanche” came up on Sunday with the cover photo of the Russian President on the front page and under the title “A man who wants to be king.”
“The commander of NATO forces in Europe, US General Philip M. Breedlove called for” military option “to send artillery and communication equipment to Ukrainian army. As the expert Francois Eysbur says that atmosphere in Munich this year was so intense as it was in 2003, just weeks before the US invasion to Iraq. The countdown began on Friday evening in Moscow. And no one knows the result “- reports the newspaper under the headline “Compromise or war. ”
Review 5 from 02.02.2015
Ukrainian soldier-hero, the possibility of “Bosnian Scenario” and Russia can still lose World Cup
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The number and content of last week’s news on Ukraine in the European media testify: in the eyes of Europeans it turns into a hot spot. TV and radio reports were filled with articles on the military theme from the East. Especially notable were the stories of individual participants in military conflict, like soldiers, and others operating in this zone.
Thus, the Belgian newspaper “De Morgen” in an article entitled “Where are all? Here people are dying every day, “writes about the work of Emily Ruvroy, who is the coordinator of the organization” Doctors Without Borders “. Woman in details describes the situation on the place with the critical shortage of medicines and medical supplies in the region. In a rather emotional interview, she speaks about the horrors that she faces every day, when people for half a year get no salaries, and pations of homes for mentally sick people even have not enough food. “People are grateful for our support, but they ask what will happen next, – says Ruvroy –Where are everybody? Where are journalists? Where is the international community? Here people are dying every day. ”
There more stories from the frontline in the European Press, in particular about Ukrainians who have to go to the war. Press shows them as people with families and often with their own business or good jobs, who have to sit in the trenches.
For example the new about the letter Ukrainian officer Oleksiy Chaban to mother of one of the Russian soldiers spread throughout the press. The letter became an Internet phenomenon and was thousands times reposted in social media. During a fight, Ukrainians have damaged Russian tank and its crew was forced to flee – writes Belgian De Morgen in the article “Ukrainian soldier leaves life for Russian citizen and becomes a hero.” Ukrainians allowed the militants to leave unharmed. Later in the tank, they found a phone with numbers, they called but nobody replied. Then Chaban wrote a letter to the mother of militant from the tank, including there a phone numbers he has found.
“In the letter, Chaban writes that Ukrainians are not the fascists who do eat babies and rape disabled pensioners (as Russian media write), but peaceful people who love their country and children” – cites the letter newspaper.
And adds the story of the hero. “Chaban (50) studied at the Mining Academy in Dnipropetrovsk industrial city in eastern Ukraine. Then he became a farmer. When the civil war in eastern Ukraine evoke last year, he left his land of 100 acres, and after a month of military training, went to the front – to become a volunteer. His four children did the same “- writes the newspaper.
The opposite images in the European media have pro-russian militants. Photos and videos of horrible tortures against captive Ukrainians appeared in the media.
Euronews TV channel reported the new about Russian woman Svetlana Davydova from the city of Viazma, who has 7 children, and whom Russia accusing in treason. The woman – trying to save the life of Ukrainians, called the embassy in Moscow and said that the militaries from a military base near her house probably went to the east of Ukraine. The investigation did not take into account the fact that Davidova has a 2 month baby, thus detention was chosen for her as a preventive measure.
The French newspaper “Le Figaro” devoted to conflict in Ukraine a large analytical article “There are voices in favor of arming Kyiv”, drawing parallels with other conflicts. “As previously in Bosnia, where Serb soldiers supported neighboring Serbia, Moscow supports separatists in Ukraine. Russia deployed there hundreds of weapons, tanks, heavy artillery and separatists ….” – writes the newspaper.
Referring to his diplomatic sources, journalist adds that Putin used Minsk agreements in his aims, “Vladimir Putin used Minsk agreement to pause in the fighting and lull the West, and then to go in the offensive.”
Reporter notes that Western sanctions still do not give a respond to the conflict, or even vice versa.
“On the diplomatic level, sanctions imposed by the West, did not have the desired effect. They have contributed to the collapse of the Russian economy, but had no effect on the balance of power in the world. They don’t force Putin to change the policy. Some believe that they even had the opposite effect, leading to the increase of the number of militaries and strengthened the popularity of the Russian president, who with their allies, both in Russia and in the West presents itself as a victim of the West “- writes French newspaper.
At the end of the article it cites the example of Bosnia where indecision of Western allies led to large losses, “not taking part in the conflict from the beginning, NATO forces had to carry out military intervention later in Bosnia (1995) and Kosovo (1999). This is what saying Talbot and Pifer (US analysts – remark.): “If the West does not stop Russia today, he will face significantly more problems and even military problems that require more serious answers.”
However the theme of sanctions last week was also central. On Thursday in Brussels, an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers was held. It was dedicated to the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. The intrigue was around the position of Greece, where a coalition of leftist SYRIZA which sympathizes with the Kremlin came to power. Analysts feared that Athens could block a further strengthening of sanctions against Russia.
“Crucially, the new Greek government, which a day after taking office distanced itself from an EU statement that explicitly accused Russia of aiding separatists in eastern Ukraine, decided not to break ranks with other EU state
The foreign ministers agreed immediately to prolong by six months the EU’s existing restrictions on individual Russians involved in fighting in Ukraine or promoting separatism. The sanctions, which prevent the blacklisted Russians from travelling to the EU and oblige national authorities in the EU to seize their assets, were due for review in March. They will now continue until September. The ministers also promised to add new names to the blacklist when they meet next, on 9 February. The possibility of increasing the EU’s most significant sanctions on Russia – restrictions on business primarily in the financial, banking and defence sectors – were left, as expected, for EU national leaders to decide” – writes EU focused online media outlet European Voice and adds that they are due to meet on 12-13 February.
Another media which specializes on EU thematic EUObserver writes about the effects which European sanctions have produced, and what can happen for Russia further, up to losing the right of holding Football Championship.
“Low oil prices, coupled with EU economic sanctions, have caused the rouble to crash in value and bond yields to soar. Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, said on Thursday it will cut its $9.5 billion budget for the 2018 World Cup in Russia by 10 percent as part of anti-crisis measures. But EU foreign ministers also agreed to explore further economic sanctions if Russia attacks the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Meanwhile, an EU options paper from last September, which EU diplomats say is still “relevant”, threatened to block the World Cup if need be” – writes online media. It also cites the document: “Thought could be given to taking co-ordinated action … to recommend suspension of Russian participation in high profile international cultural, economic, or sports events (Formula 1 races, Uefa football competitions, 2018 World Cup etc.)”.
However, there is positive news for Ukraine, despite the difficult economic situation and military conflict, foreign investors do not spell the death of it “The former CEO of Philips and investor Rul Pieper is going to make more big acquisitions and direct investments in Ukraine. He wants to expand its activities in the energy sector, where his Dutch investment fund FreezeOil previously showed interest, in particular – in the Ukrainian network BRSM-Nafta “- writes the Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf”.
Attacks on strategic Mariupol, the risk of humanitarian catastrophe and nobody’s exhibition of Crimean museums
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European press has written a lot this week about Ukraine – most of the news item were devoted to the deteriorating of the situation in the east, and massive shelling of civilians. “The number of casualties of attack in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol increased to 29 and could rise even more. However separatists who fired rockets denied that these attacks is the beginning of the offensive on the city “- writes Netherlands media outlet NRC.nl on January 25.
The Online paper adds: “For the Ukrainian government the loss of Mariupol will be a huge problem. This port city is crucial for export of coal and ore from Eastern Ukraine. Last week, after fierce fighting, the government army lost even partial control of the airport in Donetsk which it had”
“The Ukrainian government considers the actions of rebels to be a flagrant violation of international law and asking Western allies for support. Meanwhile, rebels saying that this is a “provocation” of Ukraine. However witnesses and human rights organizations know better. Missile strikes were launched from the East, in particular from the gray zone between Mariupol and Russian border, where a rebel army is operationg and where the growing number of Russian weapons are found “- writes the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant in the article” Ukrainian rebels preparing for offensive ‘
The journalists note that the number of victims of the conflict in Ukraine from the very beginning has already exceeded 5000.
International organizations have warned of a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine – writes an influential European edition Euractiv.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian aid, the conflict in Ukraine has generated 610,413 registered displaced persons, 593,609 refugees to neighbouring countries, 4,771 people killed and 10,360 wounded.
Thus journalists say that people in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are in urgent need of help, but humanitarian convoys blocked both by separatists and by Ukrainians.
But reportedly, the Russian separatists are not the only ones to be blamed. According to Amnesty International, pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine. The Dnipro-1 volunteer battalion, along with members of Donbass battalion and Pravyi Sector militia, were reported on 24 December to have blocked 11 roads leading into the DNR-controlled territory. They have refused to allow most aid convoys through, because they believe food and clothing are ending up in the wrong hands and may be sold instead of being given as humanitarian aid. They also insist on the release of prisoners held by the separatist forces as a condition for granting access to the humanitarian aid to the east.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian question becomes a cornerstone on the international arena. For the last week of January series of emergency meetings are planned – of the UN, PACE, Council of EU foreign ministers.
The EU has threatens to impose more sanctions on Russia following its new offensive in south-east Ukraine. EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini on Saturday (24 January) said “further escalation … would inevitably lead to a further grave deterioration of relations”. Her communique spoke of “offensives by Russia-backed separatists”, adding, “I call therefore openly upon Russia to use its considerable influence over separatist leaders and to stop any form of military, political, or financial support”.The same day EU Council president Donald Tusk tweeted: “Once again, appeasement encourages the aggressor to greater acts of violence. Time to step up our policy based on cold facts, not illusions”.
Most of the world leaders have reacted on the attacks in Mariupol. “General condemnation” – under this subtitle suggests French Lr Figaro their reactions. In particular, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “strongly condemned” the attacks on civilians. He said that the missiles were thrown indiscriminately at civilian areas, in violation of international humanitarian law – writes the newspaper – his concerns about violations of the ceasefire in Ukraine expressed President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The last has recently met with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, then he accused Russia of violating Minsk agreements”
Also the concern was expressed by Pope Francis, who called for the resumption of dialogue and cessation of violence.
However, the European press has not written about the intentions of Europeans to add DNR and LNR in the list of terroristic organizations, despite their recent activities and efforts of Ukrainian authoritis. At the same time, the Russian side insists that it is Ukraine to blame for civilian casualties.
“Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the violence of recent days – the result of constant attacks of Ukrainian army on civil settlements, in flagrant violation of the Minsk agreements” – writes another influential French newspaper Le Mond in an article entitled “Violence in Ukraine: pressure on Russia grows “.
“For me, has always been clear that participation in military conflict with Russia for us is not an effe
ctive response” – cites newspaper the USA President Barack Obama – However, the United States will maintain “economic pressure” and “diplomatic isolation.”
Earlier this week, media wrote a lot about Forum in Davos and emotional speech of Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko, who brought a piece of the bus in which tens of people were killed in a suicide attack in Volnovakha.
“There are 9000 Russian soldiers in the Eastern Ukraine – says Ukrainian president Poroshenko at a conference in Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum is hold. He said the situation in Ukraine is stabilized when Russia shuts the border and takes back its military “- writes Belgian Newspaper De Standaart in the article “Poroshenko: there are 9000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine”.
At the same time Dutch media, paid a special attention to meeting of Poroshenko with Prime Minister of the netherlands Mark Rutte, which also was present on the Davos Forum. Reportedly, that they spoke about the situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk agreements. Also they raised the topics of the catastrophe of Malaysian Boeing in Ukraine. 298 people on board were killed, 196 of them – were the citizens of the Netherlands. Recently, this topic unfolds in the Dutch press and becomes more and more scandalous. Earlier there were a criticism to Ukrainian government, which allegedly had in May to close airspace, but now the emphasis changed. Dutch press writes that diplomatic representatives in Kiev allegedly were informed of the danger in the air. So they had to convey this information to their governments.
“While Americans who also received this information quickly passed it to the White House, it is unclear what happened to the warning in the Netherlands” – writes the Internet site Knack.
Other news that was spread by most of the Netherlands media – is the situation with the Crimean museum exhibits. Collection “Crimea: Gold and Black Sea Secrets” came to Allard Pierson Museum at the University of Amsterdam on the early of February last year. However, after the end of the museum exhibition the administration of the Museum did not know who must receive the exhibits back, either Kyiv, which has a guarantees or Crimean museums. Of course, each side insisted on their rights. So, now Dutch court is to decide who will get precious exhibits. This case could take years. At this time, the exhibit will be kept on in a special room of the museum – reports Dutch channel NOS
Calls to lift the sanctions, “I am Volnovakha”, and rapid reaction forces in Eastern Europe
eo the east of Ukraine” – writes French Le Figaro. With similar headlines past week came out some other media outlets. The recent events and the renewal of active operations around Donetsk airport were constantly present on the pages of newspapers and magazines, these events were also covered by radio and TV.
“Attempts of Berlin and Paris to bringtogether Kyiv and Moscow have failed. The fighting is renewed in Ukraine “- writes the French-speaking Belgian newspaper “Le Soir “. As an illustration it provides readers with 3 photos of Donetsk airport – “before” the conflict, “during” and “now.”
Of course, all the media wrote about the attack in Volnovakha. Some mentioned about the campaign, “I – Volnovakha.” Belgian weekly magazine DS Weekblad wrote about Unity March in Paris on it’s front page. And next it provided a photo of Volnovakha attack. “She is not Charly. She is Volnovakha – a village near Donetsk, where Ukrainian bus has came under a fire of rebels on Tuesday. At least 11 people were killed “- writes the magazine.
All this makes NATO to react. Dutch press actively discussed the deployment of rapid reaction forces in the member-states of the Alliance, which are threaten be Russia the most. “Rapid reaction force can be put into action after the parliamentary decision, within 5-30 days. Also in the nearest future there will be superquick reaction forces that can be brought into readiness within 48 hours “- writes Dutch “Volkskrant” in the article” Dutch military support of NATO. ”
The states that the rapid reaction force should consist of 15-20 thousand troops. However, experts say: the problem is not in the number of military, but in the time within which they can be used.
Last week began with the news that exiled ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych is wanted by Interpol. 7 other former officials – are along with him. Among wanted are – former health Minister Raisa Bogatyreva, former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, a former finance minister Yuri Kolobov, the the son Alexander Yanukovych and others.
“Russia’s Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika says that he hasn’t received a request for extradition of Yanukovych, and other politicians. “If Ukraine makes a request, it will be treated in accordance with international agreements and legislation of the Russian Federation said he” – writes the Belgian newspaper De Morgen
This so-called “red card” made by Interpol to former Ukrainian top officials – not an international arrest warrant. Therefore it does not bind any of the parties to arrest the suspect, but “informs them that another member is in need of assistance” – write media outlets.
However, last week the situation in Ukrainian was actively discussed in the European Parliament. The parliament adopted a resolution on Ukraine, which strongly condemned Russia’s aggression and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow. In particular, sanctions may spread to the nuclear sector and international financial transactions in the case if agression continues.
However undeniable support of Ukraine in the EU – is not postulate. Increasingly can be heard the other points of view. For example, MEPs from the right-wing Eurosceptic UK – United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) EU accused colleges in interfering in the affairs of Ukraine, what led to tragic consequences.
“The EU has no right to interfere in Ukraine,” Atkinson, MEP for South East of England, said. “It shook a stick at the Russian bear and it reacted and this led to brave young people’s deaths directly encouraged by my colleagues in here [the Parliament].” – writes media outlets. And gives another point of view: “Elmar Brok, chairman of the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said in the plenary, “It seems that everybody is responsible for the crisis except Russia. But it is a fact that Russia marched into another free country and annexed part of it.”
The influential Internet-paper EUObserver, which writes on the EU subjects, published an information about a new approach to relations with Russia, which supposedly offers the head of the EU Foreign Service Federica Mogherini. In the article ” Mogherini seen as proposing ‘business as usual’ with Russia” it is reported that on the eve of the meeting of EU foreign ministers (19 January) Moherini issued a document which proposes to ease sanctions against Russia if Moscow stops destabilize in eastern Ukraine.
“It suggests EU sanctions should be bundled into two packages: measures related to the annexation of Crimea and others linked to “destabilisation of eastern Ukraine”. It notes the Crimea sanctions – blacklists of low-level officials and a ban on EU investments – should “remain in force as long as the annexation persists”. But it says economic sanctions, on Russian banks and energy firms, could be “scaled down” if Russia complies with last year’s Minsk ceasefire agreement, stops interfering in EU-Ukraine ties, and keeps gas flowing to Europe” – writes the paper.
This issue may be discussed during the meeting but it will be not reflected in the formal documents – report journalists. It’s likely to be a hard sell in hawkish EU states, such as Poland, the UK, the Baltic states, and some Nordic countries. But Russia-friendly states – including France, Mogherini’s native Italy, Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia – have already said they want sanctions to “stop”. For her part, German chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled it out unless there is full Minsk compliance.
European media also could not get around scandalous statements of the head of “Gazprom” Alexei Miller who plans to stop gas transit via Ukraine. And wants to give this role to Turkey. Therefore “Gazprom” plans to build a new pipeline “Turkish Stream” – writes in the article “Russia to cut EU gas transit via Ukraine” EU Internet paper Euractive.
It cites Miller who advised Sefcovic (Energy Eurocomissioner) to start building “the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the Greek and Turkish border”. Media outlet adds that the energy commissioner reacted frostily: “I believe we can find a better solution,” he said. “We don’t work like this … the trading system and trading habits – how we do it today – are different”.
Poroshenko in Paris, new loan from EU and criticism of Dutch government because of Boeing catastrophe
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The series of attacks in Paris were in the headlines of the last week and dominated in most of the media. Therefore Ukraine, and many other issues were receded into the background. However, on Monday all the world’s media came out with articles and photos of Unity March in Paris. The President of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko is in the front row of the procession of politicians, he marches with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and others. Tens of world leaders, as wel as foreign ministers from many countries came to Paris to express their solidarity. Russia was represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, President Putin refused from the trip. French press haven’t paid a special attention either to Ukrainian or Russian representatives, just citing their names among the list of special guests who attended the March.
However, lately referring to the press service of the president of France, French press reported that Poroshenko, Hollande and Merkel have discussed the situation in Ukraine. Details of the conversation are not known …
But one can guess that among other things they talked about the negotiations in Kazakhstan, scheduled for 15 January. Except representatives of Russia and Ukraine, the leaders of France and Germany are also going to participate. But for now the biggest issue is whether summit will take place.
“The French and German governments have said that the summit will go ahead only if there is the prospect of genuine progress, while Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday (5 January) that the summit would take place if “we manage to produce a draft agreed document” beforehand” – reports European Voice.
Thus Merkel has not much optimism about the possibilities of lifting sanctions from Russia in a short time – reports French Le Figaro after a meeting of Chancellor with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
“I have little hope on that front – quotes newspaper the words of Chancellor – Additional measures were introduced in response to the intervention in the situation in Eastern Ukraine. The full implementation of the Minsk protocol –is the condition to sanctions to be lifted. ”
An interesting detail: on the eve of the meeting in Berlin, it was reported that pro-Russian hackers hacked the Internet-sites of German government.
However, Europe continues to support Ukraine financially – European Voice writes in its article “The EU offers Ukraine 1, 81 billion.” This is the third aid package from Brussels, saying reporters, adding that the requirements for Ukraine increase proportionally.
“Two previous packages, worth a total of €1.61bn, were passed without major difficulty, with the last offer – for €1bn – being made shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and the eruption of a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. The new offer, though, is bigger and Ukraine can expect EU member states to be firm in their demands for far-reaching reforms. The EU is currently waiting for Ukraine to fulfil earlier commitments before releasing the final €250 million of the last bail-out” – reports media outlet.
However, it notes that this amount is not the limit, and Ukraine needs much more, according to some experts: “American financier George Soros, who has been active in business and philanthropy in eastern Europe for over two decades, argued that Ukraine needed a $50bn (€42.4bn) support plan from the international community and urged the EU to “wake up” and realise that it is under attack from Russia”.
Information war with Russia is growing, it is a fact. So the EU is increasingly paying attention to information security – writes EUObserver in the article “EU mulls response to Russian information war.” With the support of the Dutch government European Endowment for Democracy foundation began to study the question of how to support independent Russian media. The grant amounts to half a million euros, according to sources. The media outlet illustrates Russian propaganda on the example of the tragedy of the Boeing MH-17.
“Evidence indicates that Russia-controlled rebels caused the disaster using a Russia-supplied rocket system. But Russian state media have tried to sow suspicion the Ukrainian air force did it in order to prompt Western intervention in the conflict” – writes EUObserver.
Latvia which is currently presiding in the EU will seek to revive the project of the Russian-language television, which has to confront the Russian propaganda in the former Soviet republics. This question can be put on the agenda at the meeting of EU foreign ministers on 19 January in Brussels.
“They are also feeding anti-EU and anti-US sentiment in Europe, in part by depicting Russia as a defender of orthodox values against EU promotion of gay rights and multiculturalism. Well-funded Russian broadcasters, such as RT, have hired big names, including former CNN anchor Larry King, and air programmes in English, French, German, and Spanish as well as Russian” – reports EUObserver.
The very important issue for Netherlands last weeks – is the question of catastrophe of Boeing in Ukraine, it significantly affected the image of the government. The week before some experts started to argue that the airspace over the East Ukraine had to be closed in spring – it triggered the criticism to the governments.
Two opposition parties CDA and D66 even initiated proceedings in Parliament, the main questions is: why the Dutch government hasn’t warned the airlines of the danger? The whole week this topic was discussed on the TV, in newspapers and on the radio.
“The Cabinet haven’t made a security advisory for airlines about the flights over Ukraine. Basing on the information known on that moment, the Cabinet did not reach a conclusion on the need for additional measures. Ukrainian authorities indicated that airspace at an altitude of more than 9, 75 kilometers was safe “- writes Dutch outlet AD.nl in the article” Cabinet: according to the Ukrainian authorities altitude of 10 kilometers was safe”
But many experts believe that the government was able to understand the danger, as on that time terrorists ha
ve already downed Ukrainian military aircraft, although it happened at a lower altitude. “According to the expert of TU Delft Joris Melkert, it is clear that the government has not fulfilled a moral obligation of making recommendations in the airspace. “Ukraine was inclined to downplay the situation. Knowing this, the government should do more. Obviously, the system gave glitch “- writes Volkskrant
EU’s headache, criticism over Malaysian Boeing and Oliver Stone with CIA agents on Maydan
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Ukraine – one of the main topics of the EU agenda on 2015-th. Ukraine remains one of the key foreign policy concerns of the EU – writes Internet paper EuropeanVoice in the article “EU Agenda for 2015”. As well Russia and Ukraine will become the largest headaches for the European politicians – add journalists. The task of the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini is, “to maintain the level of commitment demonstrated by the EU’s institutions in 2014, as Ukraine will spend 2015 struggling to carry through deep and wide reforms in the midst of a military conflict and a huge economic crisis” – the newspaper reports.
The new President of the European Council, Donald Tusk said that the EU needs a new strategy toward Russia. This question is particularly important since 1 January, when the new entity appeared on the geopolitical map – the Eurasian Economic Union, which has grown up on Custom Union leaded by Russia. Therefore now “the best brains” in Brussels have to find a model of cooperation with the new organization.
Meanwhile, the EAEU has already offered the cooperation to the EU, calling for negotiations. According to its representatives, anti-Russian sanctions are not an obstacle. With the Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kirhistanu (must join in May) among participants, the new organization introduced common labor, constructional, retail and tourism markets. In the plans is expansion of the common market to the other sectors of the economy. Russia offered EU to cooperate with EAEU, rather than with the United States. As now Brussels is negotiating with Washington on a free trade zone – writes an influential European Web-paper EUObserver under the headline “Russia calls for EU talks with newly born Eurasian Union”.
“Do you believe it is wise to spend so much political energy on a free trade zone with the USA while you have more natural partners at your side, closer to home? We don’t even chlorinate our chickens” – told EUObserver the Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov
The same WEB-paper, with a reference to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkevics reports that the EU is considering launching a new Russian-language TV station to counter Russian propaganda in the former Soviet region.
“The EU cannot solve the problems of Ukraine” – such a headline was published an the article in Belgian magazine DeKnack on January 4. Journalists interviewed expert on Russia Martin McCauley, who believes that only in 5-10 years Ukraine will be able to get out of economic crisis. Moreover – he does not share the optimism on visa issue. “If the visas between the EU and Ukraine will be canceled, many Ukrainians rather remain in the EU then will come back. Such countries as the UK offer high social guaranties, which are higher than the average salary in Ukraine. So I do not think that Ukrainians will soon travel to these countries without visas “- says expert.
The influential Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant”, which stays on pro-Ukrainian positions started the year with the publication (or rather a reprint of the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) of Ukrainian-German writer Katya Petrovskaya. In quite bright colors she calls on the EU to help Ukraine in the article “Why Europe does not help Ukraine.” “This is pure cynicism? Is it because Donetsk is very far from the border with the EU? Dear leaders, you want to justify your own impotence or your ignorance? – Writes the author – Haven’t you noticed the war? Countless refugees? Criminal gangs? Propaganda? You did not notice the Budapest Memorandum, which guarantees the territorial integrity of Ukraine? “…
At the beginning of the year, Dutch press actively talking about a painful topic – the catastrophe of the Malaysian Boeing in the East of Ukraine (tragedy took place last year on July 17). The context appears to be negative for Ukraine. “Ukraine had to close airspace in May” – conveys Dutch TV channel NOS. Similar titles appeared and in the other media outlets from the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries. Journalists refer to the words of Ukrainian military expert Dmytro Tymchuk. He says that the first danger signals appeared in May, when the terrorists shot down the plane of Ukrainian Army An-30. “Since May, when we saw the first signs that the terrorists had these weapons, the government should ask itself whether you want to close airspace” – cite editions Tymchuk. His point of view is supported by some other European experts.
There is one more new about Ukraine. The controversial American film director Oliver Stone known for his anti-government views, plans a documentary film about the events in Ukraine. In Maydan director sees the hand of Western intelligence services and the CIA agents. The idea of the film is that Ukraine has become a ball, which is used by the US to “start the second Cold War.” However, the conclusions of the director are based on interviews with exiled to Russia Viktor Yanukovych and former members of Ukrainian secret services.