Tag Archives: Viktor Yanukovych

EU prolongs Russia sanctions over Ukraine

The 28 EU foreign ministers have formally agreed to extend a set of punitive measures imposed against Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict. The sanctions have been prolonged for another six months.

EU sanctions against Russia would be extended until January 31 next year, the European Union announced Monday, under efforts to force Moscow to abide by the Minsk ceasefire agreement in the Ukraine conflict.

The 28-nation bloc initially imposed travel bans and asset freezes against Russian and Ukrainian figures for their part in the Ukraine crisis. But after pro-Russian rebels allegedly shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July last year, Brussels stiffened its punitive measures.

Since then Russian banks have been cut off from financing on Western markets, and the country’s crucial energy industry has been hit by an export ban on crucial technology.

Russia has retaliated by imposing an embargo on imports of fruit and vegetables from the EU. On Monday, Moscow again condemned the Western measures, saying they were unfounded.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “reciprocity is the basis for our approach.” According to Russian news agency RIA, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev had ordered preparations for possible retaliatory measures following the EU decision.

Crises unresolved

In March, EU leaders agreed in principle to roll the sanctions over by linking them directly to the ceasefire brokered by France and Germany that runs to December this year.

The agreement has largely held since then, but Kyiv and the rebels regularly accuse each other breaching the pact. Earlier this month fighting flared up again, in a conflict which has claimed more than 6,400 lives so far.

Already on Friday, the European Council prolonged until June 2016 sanctions imposed to punish Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

The Council, which groups the bloc’s political leaders, said they continued to “condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and remains committed to fully implement its non-recognition policy.”

Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 following the ouster of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev, saying the peninsula had voted overwhelming in favor of returning to its Russian homeland.

The Crimea sanctions include bans on cruise ships using ports there and restrictions on exports of telecommunications and transport equipment, in addition to visa bans and asset freezes against figures said to have helped the Russian annexation.

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​First corruption cases against Yanukovych allies to be sent to court

Prosecutors are seeking to try, in absentia, former Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov and ex-Health Minister Raisa Bohatyryova, two officials from the President Viktor Yanukovych era suspected of major financial crimes.

More than 15 months after President Viktor Yanukovych fled power, prosecutors are just now getting around to taking action in criminal investigations against his former allies.

Prosecutors have asked courts to try, in absentia, former Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov and ex-Health Minister Raisa Bohatyryova, as well as against her suspected accomplice Oleksandr Stashchenko, Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin said in an interview with Golos Ukrainy, the Verkhovna Rada’s newspaper, published on June 16.

If the courts give their permission, the first-ever corruption cases against top allies of Yanukovych will be submitted to court.

Apart from these cases, several Yanukovych allies are on trial for a violent crackdown on EuroMaidan Revolution demonstrators in 2013-2014.

The report comes as Shokin is accused of dragging his feet on high-profile corruption cases and failing to prevent the flight from Ukraine earlier this month of lawmaker Serhiy Klyuyev, also a Yanukovych associate.

It is hard to predict the time between asking a court to initiate a trial in absentia and sending a case to the court, a high-ranking prosecutor not authorized to speak to the press said by phone, adding that it could range from a week to two months.

“A big step will be made when an indictment is sent to court,” Daryna Kalenyuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, told the Kyiv Post.

However, courts may or may not authorize the trials in absentia, and everything depends on how professional prosecutors’ documents are, she said.

Shokin said on June 15 at a meeting with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, that prosecutors had initiated trials in absentia against four top Yanukovych officials. It was not clear whether he was referring to Bohatyroyva and Arbuzov. He said then that three more trials in absentia would be launched soon.

Andriy Demartino, a spokesman for the Prosecutor General’s Office, was not available by phone.

Bohatyryova and Arbuzov are wanted by Interpol.

Bohatyryova and Stashchenko are accused of embezzling Hr 6.5 million during purchases of medical equipment, while Arbuzov is suspected of embezzling Hr 118 million at the National Bank of Ukraine.

Accounts worth Hr 200 million belonging to Arbuzov and his wife have been frozen, Shokin said.

In another blow to ex-Yanukovych allies, Borys Tymonkin, a top executive linked to tycoon Serhiy Kurchenko, has been arrested in Germany, Ukrainska Pravda reported on June 16, citing Ukraine’s embassy in Germany.

Tymonkin is a deputy chairman of the board of directors of Kurchenko’s VETEK energy group.

Germany’s Interior Ministry declined to comment, while the country’s federal police was not available by phone.

Tymonkin is wanted in Ukraine on charges of creating a criminal gang. He is accused of organizing a money laundering and embezzlement scheme for Kurchenko, Ukrainian lawyer and businessman Anatolii Bashlovka wrote on Facebook on June 16.

Serhiy Klyuyev, who is wanted on embezzlement and fraud charges and fled Ukraine earlier in June, was luckier than Tymonkin.

Prosecutors, the State Security Service and their supporters have cited legal technicalities such as the need for authorization from the Verkhovna Rada and a court to track Klyuyev as justification for their failure to prevent his flight.

Kalenyuk dismissed this as a poor excuse, saying that nothing would have prevented law enforcement agencies from requesting court authorization to track Klyuyev’s aides and bodyguards.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has also been lambasted for failing to request Klyuyev’s arrest from the Verkhovna Rada and to include some strong charges against him in the request to strip him of immunity.

Three Prominent Poroshenko Critics Killed in Kiev in Three Days

A prominent Ukrainian journalist, known for his critical views of Poroshenko's government was shot dead in Kiev on Thursday

As the political situation in Ukraine destabilizes, the suspicious killings of prominent opposition supporters continue to transpire.

A prominent Ukrainian journalist, known for his critical views of Poroshenko’s government was shot dead in Kiev on Thursday, in the latest series of suspicious deaths of opposition supporters.

Oles Buzina, 45, a supporter of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, was shot in the street. Buzina’s body was found on the ground nearing his apartment building close to the city center.

The head of Kiev’s police department Alexander Tereschuk said that a TT gun was allegedly used in the crime.

According to the neighbors, the journalist was probably shot while jogging. He was found wearing a sports outfit. The 45- year-old was shot by two men in masks who disappeared from the crime scene in a Ford Focus car with either Latvian or Belarusian number plate.

© Sergey Dolzhenko, EPA

Buzina was a columnist and editor of the daily newspaper Segodnya financed by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man and a leading sponsor of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. He was an opposition journalist, writer and TV host, well-known for his criticism of Poroshenko’s goverment.

Earlier in Kiev, the murderers of Donetsk journalist Sergei Sukhobok were arrested on Thursday. The journalist was killed on the 13th April. He was one of the founders of the online media “Obkom” and “ProUA,” also known for his opposition to the current Ukrainian leadership.

Oleh Kalashnikov

Sukhobok was also the author of several hundred articles on socio-political, social, legal and economic issues. His works were published in many publications, particularly in the “Ukrainian Truth”. For a few months in 2014, he worked in Donetsk.

Following this wave of brutal killings, Russia’s MFA spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that this is, unfortunately, only the beginning of political purges in Ukraine.

A prominent pro-Russian Ukrainian journalist was shot dead on Thursday by two masked gunmen, further heightening tensions between Moscow and Kiev.

“It is scary because none of the leaders in the EU will take notice that, day after day politicians are being killed in Ukraine. Let’s try and find at least 20 tweets of foreign ministers of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, the UK, Canada, USA, and Australia, representatives of the OSCE, EU and NATO expressing concern over the killing of Ukrainian politician and condemning the situation in Ukraine.”

First year of the military operation in south-eastern Ukraine

Just the evening before, Oleh Kalashnikov, a former Ukrainian MP and a vocal critic of the country’s ruling government was murdered on Wednesday in Kiev. The 52-year-old was shot dead at his residence in Kiev on Wednesday evening.

“West should pay attention to the political killings in Ukraine instead of the rhetoric of sanctions against Russia,” said Konstantin Kosachev, the Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykola Azarov, said he blamed Kiev authorities for the murder of Oleh Kalashnikov.

“Terrible and bitter news came yesterday. Kiev regime has committed yet another shameful crime. Killed a prominent opposition politician Oleh Kalashnikov,” Azarov wrote on his Facebook page, noting that the victim was” a true patriot of Ukraine “honest and a decent man.”

Ukraine Flagge

The former Ukrainian Prime Minister appealed to the leaders of the Western countries, “because of your support in Ukraine there are political murders, terror taking place against political opponents, and all the people.

What else should these Nazis do, for you to finally understand and be aware of your responsibility for what is happening now in Ukraine?” said Azarov.

Earlier three former lawmakers close to the ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych were found dead in Ukraine in February and March.

Mystery over shock reports Yanukovych’s son ‘died at Lake Baikal’

Russian Emergencies Ministry claimed that Yanukovych junior’s name was not listed those involved in a tragedy when a vehicle fell through the ice. Picture: Focus.ua

Former Ukraine president’s son Viktor reportedly drowned when his vehicle plunged through the ice.

The younger son of deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych died at the Siberian lake, according to Russian and Ukrainian media reports. Viktor junior, 33, had been living in exile in Russia. However, the Russian Emergencies Ministry claimed that Yanukovych junior’s name was not listed those involved in a tragedy when a vehicle fell through the ice.

‘Sources said he was taking part in sport events when a Volkswagen minibus which had five other people crashed through the ice,’ according to Rain TV.

‘Victor Yankovich junior drowned, five other passengers managed to survive.’

Separately information about a tragedy on Baikal was  confirmed by Russian Ministry of Emergencies in Irkutsk region. The report did not name Yanukovych.

‘There is definitely no ‘Yanukovich’ surname among people that were wounded/killed in this accident,’ said a ministry source. ‘All names and surnames are known, but we have no right to disclose them.’

It is likely that the Yanukovych family is using another family name in Russia.

The ministry stated that on the evening of 20 March a vehicle with five passengers and one driver crashed through the ice in a northern part of Lake Baikal.

‘The bus drove on the ice against the warning from information signs because passengers wanted to make photographs. In the area of Cape Khoboi the bus fell into a crack. Lake Baikal is about 20 metres deep in that area’, said the Ministry of Emergencies press service.

‘Around 23.40 Irkutsk time five people who managed to escape the sinking Volkswagen were found by rescuers and delivered to Sakhyurta village on a Khivus-10 hovercraft.’

Rescurers then found the body of a man in the ice hole. A number of figures close to Yanukovych have been found dead in recent weeks.

Yanukovych Junior was said to be a passionate driver and admirer of expensive cars.

A notorious car collection found at the president’s mansion near Kiev was said to have been his.

Russia Threatens Ukraine With Forced Default Over $3 Billion Loan

ukraine Petro Poroshenko

Russia is threatening to call in its $3 billion loan to Ukraine early in a move that could push the war-torn country into default.

Last week Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced that Ukraine had breached the terms on the loan that was agreed between Moscow and then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country following mass protests in the capital Kiev last year.

Under the terms of the deal, Yanukovych had agreed to cap Ukraine’s national debt at 60% of GDP. However, the ongoing civil war in the east of the country and a stand-off between its two major trading blocs in Russia and the EU its debt ballooned to around 72% of GDP in 2014 and could reach over 80% this year.

Moscow is now threatening to force Kiev to repay the loan early in a move that one analyst says would make some form of debt restructuring or default a “foregone conclusion”, according to Bloomberg.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Ukraine is set to hand over $19 billion over the next three years ($7.5 billion in 2015, $4.7 billion in 2016, and $6.6 billion in 2017) in debt payments that its ailing economy can ill afford.

Ukraine LoanUkraine debt repayment schedule.

Indeed its economic crisis has become so deep that at the end of last year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified a $15 billion shortfall in government funding that will need to be plugged “within weeks,” according to the Financial Times. That figure comes on top of the $17 billion programme that has already been arranged by the IMF.

The initial deal was deemed sufficient to ensure that the immediate funding needs of Ukraine would be met and, once the country had stabilized government debt would be left on a sustainable footing.

These forecasts now look wildly optimistic. The government in Kiev has effectively lost control of regions accounting for some 16% of Ukraine GDP to rebels, while the costs of fighting continue to mount.

And the country is running out of money.

The US has agreed to up to $2 billion in additional loan guarantees to Ukraine — conditional on it meeting the conditions of the IMF programme — but whether it will be enough to prevent a major debt restructuring (whereby creditor countries agree to extend their loans over a longer time period or waive some of the interest owed on the debt) or a default remains to be seen.

The sword of Damocles currently being held over the government’s head by Moscow will not be helping to encourage other countries to help.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says a decision on whether Moscow will recall the loan early will be taken “soon”. That will be scant comfort to those trying to prevent the crisis in Ukraine from getting even worse.

“Yanukovych was very friendly aspects, with deep complex”

Hanna Herman

Crisis policy as exceptional through the Ukraine has an amazing result: an unrestrained freedom of speech. What was you there a few more days is told in a playful tone. Hanna Herman, a member of the Rada, is one of the most famous figures of the Party of Regions, the formation of the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych. It was especially the last ten years, one of his closest collaborators.

After his election in February 2010, Hanna Herman became deputy chief of the presidential administration, before being relegated to a mere advisor, passed by the circle of Donetsk, friendly and safe, formed around the president. In a long interview with Le Monde, carried in the Rada, Tuesday, February 25, Hanna Herman gives his personal experience of power , without s’ exempt from liability.For years, she conveyed the word of a regime pockmarked by corruption, reached extreme violence to preserve .

How judge you the first steps of the opposition in power ?

Hanna Herman: They move away from the law, the law. We did the same thing.Early as in 2010, we said: we must all do very quickly reform in ignoring the law. It can not be put in parentheses to say that there will one day, if it is claimed build a democracy. 100 days of President Yanukovych, I was dismissed as deputy head of the administration.

It was then that began the process of concentration of power in the same hands.Apart from members of the presidential aircraft, U.S. advisors are busy, to beginby Paul Manafort (renowned American lobbyist, having worked with George W. Bush). He attended cabinet meetings on Monday, where they discussed the concentration of power (endorsed by a constitutional coup in autumn 2010). Paul Manafort was there until beating students on Maidan on 30 November. He gave rather sage advice. Yanukovych was not often agree, but Manafort followed his decisions.

How did you lose your influence with the president?

The President listened especially his son Oleksandr (now four years a must oligarch). I had a good relationship with him. But when someone does not like to Oleksandr, it became very difficult for him. I no longer had any influence, I think, because of Sergei Lavochkin (head of government), who listened to my suggestions but never acted accordingly.

I decided to go to Parliament. Nobody stopped me. I worked for ten years with Yanukovych. A heavy atmosphere, cloud, has always existed around him.Sometimes I managed to weigh , such as leaving prison in Lviv woman Andryi Paroubyi (Commander volunteers Maidan), imprisoned for no reason.

When Tymoshenko was jailed two years ago, I went on television to say that although I’d hit my hands one who suggested this decision to the President. It has haunted me in justice to have threatened to strangle the Attorney General. That’s when my problems really began. Of so-called paper appeared, accusing me ofhaving collaborated with the KGB in the 1970s. The problem is that they had copied my signature of a married woman, while I had another girl. I went to see the president, who told me: “Hey, you write sacred things about you” I said, “But our constituents Donetsk, this is very much the KGB!” He laugh.

We do not understand, in these conditions, especially when the crisis around Maidan, you do not have just resigned noisily …

When students were beaten (November 30), I wanted to go immediately to the President. Lavochkin told me he was unable to join . I sent him a text message.Silence. I called his officer safety, who said: I do not have contact. I ended uphaving the president to 19 hours and I told him: “You must condemn these acts and promise that they will be investigated. ” Nothing came. But I knew that if I, too, was leaving, nobody tell the truth to the president. Around him, people repeated that everything was fine.

We understand even less the unprecedented opportunism elected your training, the Party of Regions, which issued a statement making Yanukovych responsible for all ills.

I said to our group. “For years, you are applauded, you have the opportunity toenrich , you have not said anything to the President, and now you accuse him of everything? “I do not deny my responsibility. I could do more, I cut hand, m ‘sacrifice . Once with Lavochkin was told the president that he was mistaken. He replied: “But who are you to me give orders? ”

Until the last moment, when we lost the power , his family did not understand what was happening. Andrei Klouiev (Secretary of the National Security Council andDefense ) and Sergei Arbuzov (First Deputy Prime Minister) would be struggling Prime Minister. I wrote notes on notes, when there was a risk of emergency, it was essential to avoid . One night he told me: “I have no need of such a life” I said she did not really belong to him as president.

Who bears responsibility for police killings Maidan on the week of February 17th?

It is too simple to say that everything is the fault of the president. I think a third force weighed in what happened. I have no proof, but a precise idea (she refuses tomention Moscow). But his indecision sentenced. Yanukovych refused European integration, but also to go to Putin. He thought he could locate neither one side nor the other.

I do not think he could decide and direct killing people on Maidan. Every time we were on the right track with him, the phone rang, it was then out . When we came back, he was different. Snipers, I do not know where they came from. The Berkut (riot police, dissolved Wednesday by the Ministry of the Interior), they are poor unfortunate guy. Everyone falls on them. I saw them for weeks at the headquarters of the presidential administration, half-starved, sleeping on the floor, wet clothes. I opened up my office, so they can call their mothers. Also hated everything that was happening. I hurt for them because they were defending bastards with their lives. Ten of them died, they also have the right to remember .

But Viktor Yanukovych bears a huge responsibility in the death of 82 civilians.

Do not make him a devil. His son Oleksandr exerted a strong influence.Yanukovych abandoned their mother and had a feeling of guilt for them. His personality was very friendly aspects with complex deep. It started child.Yanukovych became an orphan, his father remarried, the second wife was much abused, he was taken in by his grandmother. He found himself in the street, in the middle of bandits. He was in prison, first as a miner for about a year, and then as an adult, for stories brawl. He always had a subsequent aspiration to become rich and to take his revenge.

But you still have accompanied this ex-offender for ten years.

During this period, I had the illusion that he became another man. When I arrived, he had a lot of power and money, but was chaotic in his thoughts and ways.Passed by the prison people should not go to power , whatever the reasons.Prison break a man. In saying this, I also think of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Whole problem of Yanukovych and Yulia is that they could not forgive each other all past events between them. I remember an incredible scene at the premises of our party in 2005. I tell one day in a book. We were in the opposition, President Yushchenko came from the fire of the prime minister. I went out into a hallway, and I felt a sweet fragrance, Angel. It was one of Yulia. I followed the scent to the secretariat of Yanukovych. The secretary put his finger on his mouth, indicating the office. I waited. One hour, two hours, five hours! Then I saw Yulia, magnificent in his blue suit, as descended from heaven. “Yulia Vladimirovna, what fun you see ! “This is a good actress, but she was displeased with me see . They had discussed the possibility of creating a coalition deal with Yushchenko in the Rada. I then entered the office of Yanukovych. It is always tough to feminine charm. “So you like it?” It’s like awake and told me: “She is so infamous that if I had to kiss , I could not do it! ”

Do you consider that there is a nationalist threat in Ukraine?

Pravyi Sektor (grouping of the most radical organizations Maidan) is all that Moscow hopes. They burn houses, they beat up people. Everything you need for the people of the east say: “My God, how will we live ? in this country ”

When it all started three months ago, the house of my parents in Lviv (nationalist stronghold west) was burned. My mother had died a few months earlier. During the war, the Germans had come, without burning the house. In 1945, the Soviets had taken my father’s sister, aged 16, who was already in the UPA ( army Ukrainian Insurgent). She was deported to Siberia, Vorkuta, for ten years. But they did not burn the house. There, they burned. Yesterday, a senior member, independent, came to me to see . He said that against a sum of money, he would ask Paroubyi (Commander volunteers Maidan) to save my home in Kiev. I saw Paroubyi, who denied everything. But intermediaries already appear, saying they can settleproblems.

Maidan but is primarily a civic movement, a coalition of citizens …

All is not as easy as you think. There were a lot of very good people on Maidan. I immediately told the television. For three months I stayed three friends who went there. I can give their names and contact information. I drove the same way to work. But I told them I know what politics does to people. You will see how you will use. There was also a lot of bandits on the Maidan, and the money paid by the oligarchs. They argued the fall of this power because all concentrated in the same hands. The son Oleksandr directed everything.

The end of Yanukovych would be due …

The system was such that everyone wanted an end. The interests of ordinary people, from Moscow oligarchs coincided. It was impossible to overcome . When he fled Friday, he called me Kharkiv me thank for everything. He told me he would go to the next congress of regional and local elected city. “Do not go there, it is a separatist meeting”, ‘I said. There is not gone. On Saturday morning, I talked to him again, prompting him to sign all laws passed by the Rada. But his statement that day was totally different, denouncing the “Nazis” and “fascists”. I have not had any contact since. There are only Klouiev with him.

Where?

I will tell you nothing. I had a clear idea when I talked to him. I know he never has a computer or laptop near him. I knew the approximate time required to print the notes I sent him, the speed of bodyguards car to bring . I think it is out of Kharkiv. I called his son, his wife. I did not want it to go away in shame, but lose with dignity, to have a chance for revenge. I have not succeeded. I will never be able the help . It will likely be arrested if he is alive. If he dies, it will be his salvation to shame. His killers take their sins on them.

The whole article is a translation with help of Google translator. Original french link is here.

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