OSCE reports blocking of its monitoring patrol in occupied Donbas due to demining

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The patrol was allowed to pass after about 90 minutes.

An OSCE SMM patrol in Donbas / Photo from UNIAN

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine’s has reported its monitoring patrol was temporarily blocked near the Russian-occupied town of Debaltseve due to demining activity.

“Two armed members of the armed formations stopped an SMM patrol on road M03 near Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) telling it that there was demining activity in the area,” the OSCE SMM said in an update as of May 4. “The patrol was allowed to pass after about 90 minutes.”

The OSCE SMM also reported a second incident: an armed member of the armed formations stopped an SMM patrol at a checkpoint on road H15 east of Kreminets (16km south-west of Donetsk) and requested to see the inside of the SMM’s trailer. “The patrol was permitted to proceed only after complying with the request,” it said.

Source : UNIAN

Ukraine’s justice ministry publishes list of companies with biggest wage debts

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The largest debtor is Kharkiv State Aircraft Production Enterprise, part of Ukraine’s state-run military and industrial concern Ukroboronprom.REUTERS
Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko has published a list of three companies that are the largest wage debtors.
The list includes Kharkiv State Aircraft Production Enterprise with a debt of UAH 74 million (US$2.8 million), Mykolayiv Shipyard (UAH 30.1 million/$1.1 million), and Football Club Metalist Kharkiv (UAH 28.6 million/$1 million).

“We are publishing a list of the three largest companies in terms of wage debts. Let’s distribute [the information]. Let Ukraine know its ‘record breakers.’ The government and the justice ministry intend to put an end to this shameful phenomenon of wage arrears,” Petrenko wrote on Facebook.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the State Executive Service recovered UAH 116.2 million ($4.4 million) in arrears related to wage payments since the beginning of 2018. At the same time, there are 15,000 documents on recovery of debts in the ministry for the time being. Uncollected receivables balance is estimated at UAH 392.5 million ($14.9 million).

Source:  UNIAN

Ukraine reduces gas imports by over 54% in Jan-April

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The largest volume of gas was imported from Slovakia.

Photo from UNIAN

Ukraine in January-April 2018 reduced natural gas imports by over 54% year-over-year (y-o-y) to 2.2 billion cubic meters (bcm).  “In January-April this year, shipments of natural gas from the EU states stood at 2.2 bcm, which was 2.6 bcm, or 54.2%, less than in the first four months of last year,” the state-run gas transport system operator Ukrtransgaz said.

The largest volume of gas was imported via the Slovak gas transport corridor (1.4 bcm), as well as from Poland and Hungary (0.3 and 0.5 bcm, respectively).

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine in late November 2015 refused to purchase natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom. In general, the country doubled gas imports from Europe in 2015 from 2014, to 10.3 bcm, reducing by 56.5% the purchase of hydrocarbons from Russia.

In 2016, Ukraine imported 11.1 bcm of gas from Europe alone. The cost of imported natural gas in 2017 totaled US$3.228 billion.

Source : UNIAN

Ukraine’s hryvnia gets stronger on interbank forex market on Monday

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Some 218 deals worth UAH 129.86 million had been concluded by Monday noon.Ukraine's hryvnia regained three kopiykas  to the dollar on Monday / Photo from UNIAN

Quotations of Ukraine’s hryvnia to the U.S. dollar strengthened by the middle of trading on the interbank forex market on Monday, May 7. They were set at UAH 26.28/26.32 per U.S. dollar.  The hryvnia thus became stronger by three kopiykas compared to the quotations set when Monday trading opened, a commercial bank dealer told UNIAN. Quotations of the hryvnia to the euro were UAH 31.36/31.41 and those to the Russian ruble were UAH 0.4110/0.4117 to the ruble. The average weighted forex rate of the hryvnia against the U.S. dollar on the interbank market by Monday noon was UAH 26.3072, the National Bank of Ukraine said. Some 218 deals worth UAH 129.86 million had been concluded by that time, it said. As UNIAN reported earlier, quotations of the hryvnia to the U.S. dollar on the interbank forex market on Friday, May 4, were UAH 26.31/26.34 per U.S. dollar by the end of trading on that day.

Source : UNIAN

Number of millionaires in Ukraine grows by 16% in 2017

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The average annual income of a millionaire in Ukraine is estimated at UAH 8.2 million (US$311,669). Photo from UNIAN

Acting head of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service (SFS) Myroslav Prodan says the number of millionaires in Ukraine grew by 16% in 2017 from 2016, to 4,063 people. “The number of millionaires rose by 16%, or by 559 people, compared with the previous year. At the same time, one citizen declared UAH 1 billion ($38 million) in revenue,” the SFS press service quoted Prodan as saying.

The greatest number of millionaires, that is 2,270 people, are aged 45 and older, while 1,605 millionaires are from 30 to 45 years old and 188 people are aged 30. At the same time, the youngest millionaire, a resident of Cherkasy, is seven years old, whereas the oldest one, 99, lives in Kyiv. “Almost 44% of the total number of millionaires are registered to pay taxes in Kyiv (1,816 people). Among the leaders are also Kharkiv region (299), Dnipropetrovsk region (269), Kyiv region (275) and Odesa region (207),” Prodan said. According to him, the average annual income of a millionaire in Ukraine is estimated at UAH 8.2 million (US$311,669). As UNIAN reported earlier, the declaration campaign was launched in Ukraine on January 1, 2018. Citizens must declare incomes received in 2017 before May 1. Some 513,000 Ukrainians declared their assets during the declaration campaign in 2017. The total amount of declared assets was estimated at UAH 50.8 billion ($1.9 billion), which was 4% higher than the figure in 2016. Payments of individual income tax amounted to UAH 1.62 billion ($61.6 million), and those of war tax to UAH 226.5 million ($8.6 million).


Source :  UNIAN

Bellingcat identifies Russian officers, militants as perpetrators of January 2015 Mariupol artillery strike

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The shelling operation was instructed, directed and supervised by Russian military commanders in active service with the Russian Ministry of Defense.Mariupol after the attack in January 2015 / Photo from UNIANThe Bellingcat team of investigative journalists has identified Russian officers and militants as perpetrators of an artillery strike on the Ukrainian-controlled strategic port city of Mariupol in January 2015. “The Bellingcat Investigation Team has determined conclusively that the artillery attack on the Ukrainian town of Mariupol on 24 January 2015, which resulted at least 30 civilian deaths and over 100 injuries, came from Russia-controlled territory,” the team reported on May 7. Bellingcat also determined that the shelling operation was instructed, directed and supervised by Russian military commanders in active service with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Bellingcat identified nine Russian officers, including one general, two colonels, and three lieutenant colonels, involved directly with the military operation. Furthermore, Bellingcat determined that two artillery batteries of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) were transported from Russia into Ukraine the day before the Mariupol operation. “In the early morning of 24 January 2015, these batteries were deployed near the village of Bezimenne exclusively for the shelling of targets in and around Mariupol, after which they were repatriated back into Russia,” it said. In the course of analyzing the events in the eve of and on January 24, 2015, Bellingcat also identified two Russian generals involved with the selection and assignment of Russian artillery specialists to commanding roles in eastern Ukraine. “This investigation was made possible due to access to raw video and audio data that is being submitted by the Ukrainian government to the International Court of Justice as part of an ongoing legal case. This data was made available to a small group of international investigative media for the purposes of independent assessment,” it said. Bellingcat and its media partners analyzed a large volume of intercepted calls from and to participants in the armed conflict located in the area of Bezimenne at the time of shelling. Bellingcat conducted detailed cross-referencing of events, names and locations, as well as metadata from the calls, to open source data, including satellite photography data, social media posts, and voice samples from public statements of some of the identified persons. A detailed analysis permitted the identification of persons and military units, and the reconstruction of events leading up to the shelling of residential areas in Mariupol.

“While previous reports, including the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine report from 24 January 2015, have identified that shelling of Mariupol’s residential areas came from separatist-controlled territory, Bellingcat’s investigation is the first to fully detail and identify the role of active Russian military units, as well as the direct commanding role of active Russian army officers in this military operation,” it said. “The Russian officers who were in charge on high and lower levels of the MLRS batteries on the day of the shelling at Mariupol, or provided target instructions from another location in Eastern Ukraine, have been identified by Bellingcat as: Major General Stepan Stepanovich Yaroshchuk, Alexander Iozhefovich Tsapliuk (call sign ‘Gorets’), Alexander Anatolevich Muratov, Maksim Vladimirovich Vlasov (call sign ‘Yugra’), Sergey Sergeyevich Yurchenko (call sign ‘Voronezh’), Alexander Valeryevich Grunchev (call sign ‘Terek’), Colonel Oleg Leargievich Kuvshinov, Major General Dmitry Nikolaevich Klimenko, Colonel Sergey Ivanovich Lisai, Alexander Mikhailovich Evtody (call sign ‘Pepel’), Grayr Manukovich Egiazaryan (call sign ‘Shram’),” it said. Bellingcat announced the publication of a full report identifying the nine Russian officers involved with the military operation that led to the deaths of 30 Ukrainian civilians in Mariupol later this week.


Source : UNIAN

Poroshenko vows Anti-Corruption Court creation as early as May

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The president stressed that the Ukrainian authorities had in the past four years managed to achieve more than their predecessors – over a quarter of a century.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is confident that the process of setting up an Anti-Corruption Court will have been completed in the first half of this year, the presidential administration’s press service has told UNIAN referring to Poroshenko’s interview with Germany’s Focus where he spoke of the country’s cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. “We strive to accelerate the process of formation of the Anticorruption court. I am convinced that we will do this in the first half of the year, perhaps in May. And then we will receive the next tranche,” the president said. Petro Poroshenko noted that along with the position on the need to further strengthen the fight against corruption, the IMF underlined a significant economic growth of Ukraine and the implementation of reforms in our country.

“I am proud that we managed to improve the investment climate. In four years we have reached more than in the previous 25 years,” he said, noting that this is the assessment of not only the IMF, but also the World Bank. “In the Doing Business, we have raised from the 135th position in 2013 to the 76th. Economic growth this year will obviously increase by 3.5%. Show me another country that has managed to achieve that in war conditions,” the Head of State emphasized. As UNIAN reported, in March 2015, the IMF approved a four-year Extended Fund Facility program amounting to $17.5 billion.

Within its framework, the country received from the Fund four tranches totaling $8.7 billion. The program expires in March 2019. Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk in April said Ukraine had not completed two prior actions, including passing the law on creation of anti-corruption court and introducing the mechanism of automatic adjustment of gas tariffs to the market level. On March 1, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading Bill “On the High Anti-Corruption Court” (No. 7440), introduced by the president. The EU also links further allocation of macrofinancial assistance to Ukraine with the creation of the High Anti-Corruption Court.

Source: UNIAN

Poroshenko boasts of Ukrainian soldiers’ success in Combined Resolve X drills in Germany

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This year, about 3,700 service members from 13 NATO allies and partner nations are taking part in the event.Photo from UNIAN
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko proudly boasted about the success of the Ukrainian military in the Combined Resolve X international drills held in southeastern Germany.”Organizers of the Combined Resolve X international exercises had to change the scenario [of drills] because of the daring, professional and surprisingly effective actions of Ukrainians [military]. Our paratroopers from the 79th separate assault brigade [Mykolaiv] and tankers from the 14th separate mechanized brigade showed real success at the military training area,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook. As was earlier reported, servicemen of the 79th separate assault brigade and tank platoon of the 14th separate mechanized brigade would participate in the Combined Resolve X international drills on April 9-May 12, 2018. According to Poroshenko, this year, about 3,700 service members from 13 NATO allies and partner nations are taking part in the event. During the exercises, the Ukrainian assault company will use seven BTR-80 amphibious armored personnel carriers, and tank crews will carry out tasks, using five T-84 tanks.

Source :  UNIAN

Day in Donbas: Ukraine reports two WIA’s amid nine enemy attacks

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The aggressor employed banned mortars, artillery, and tanks to attack the Ukrainian position. Photo from UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas nine times in the past 24 hours, with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA).

The most intense hostilities were recorded near the villages of Krymske, Novotoshkivske, Luhanske, Vodiane, Shyrokyne, and the town of Avdiyivka, Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO) Staff press service wrote on Facebook. As reported, the Ukrainian military suppressed the enemy fire, as appropriate. The aggressor employed banned mortars, artillery, and tanks to attack the Ukrainian position. “The JFO units performed active defense, suppressing the occupiers’ attempts to use armored vehicles. Our separate units conducted successful joint operations. During a raid, one militant was taken prisoner,” the report said. Intelligence data claim, six militants were killed in action and another four – wounded. On the eve, on May 5, the Russian-led militants fired at the Hnutove checkpoint in Donetsk region twice. There were many civilians there, who were evacuated to shelters.

Source : UNIAN

Ukrainian nationalists catch Brazilian fighter Lusvarghi in Kyiv, bring him to SBU (Photo, video)

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Lusvarghi was detained outside the building of the Embassy of Brazil in Kyiv. Rafael Lusvarghi killed Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas / Photo from facebook.com/yevgen.karas Ukrainian nationalists have caught Rafael Lusvarghi, a 33-year-old Brazilian mercenary, who fought on the side of Russian-led troops against the Ukrainian army in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, and brought him to the office of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine in Kyiv. After it became known that Lusvarghi, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Ukraine on charges of terrorism, has been secretly living in Kyiv’s Moscow-controlled Sviato-Pokrovsky Holosiyivsky Monastery, members of Ukrainian nationalist organizations went to the monastery, but the Brazilian had already left it. The nationalists examined his room there, head of the group С14 (Sich) Yevgen Karas said on Facebook on May 4. Later, it became known С14 members detained Lusvarghi outside the building of the Embassy of Brazil in Kyiv. He was taken to the SBU’s main office located in the center of Kyiv. “[Lusvarghi] is saying sorry to the Ukrainian people on his knees and asking for return to a detention center,” Karas said. PREVNEXT 1/3 As was reported earlier, Lusvarghi, the self-described former member of the French Foreign Legion, arrived in Russian-occupied Donbas in the middle of 2015, avowing “great love for Russia” and being determined to fight “fascism” in Ukraine. He fought in such signal Ukrainian battles as the fights for the town of Debaltseve and Donetsk airport, where the Ukrainian army sustained heavy losses. In January 2017, Lusvarghi became the first non-Russian convicted for crimes related to the war when he was found guilty in Ukraine of creating a “terrorist organization” and “recruiting mercenaries for terrorists.” Ukrainian prosecutor in Lusvarghi’s case Ihor Vovk explained that the Brazilian citizen was supposed to be swapped in December 2017 for Ukrainian hostages held by the self-proclaimed Donbas republics, the “DPR” and the “LPR.” “Thus, his measure of restraint had to be changed, as he was accused of crimes that suggested imprisonment,” he said. A Ukrainian court released Lusvarghi but his swap did not take place, and he has been living in Kyiv since then.


Source : UNIAN