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CrisisWatch Database

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Ukraine

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

Efforts to move Minsk peace process forward remained stalled despite new visit to Kyiv and Moscow by U.S. Asst Sec State Victoria Nuland; no progress reported. Fighting continued in east with more targeted artillery attacks and intensifying clashes over course of month, and increasing casualties; senior Ukrainian military official 16 June reported 25 troops killed during month. OSCE 22 June urged both sides to investigate ceasefire violations. Russia 14 June extradited two Ukrainian political prisoners; Ukraine reciprocated freeing two separatists. In Kyiv, opposition appeared to be gaining momentum, particularly oligarch-supported Opposition Bloc which seeks to break deadlock in east (where high level supporters have major industrial assets) and reportedly stepped up contacts with Kremlin in recent weeks. Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic 24 June adopted law on nationalisation of all Ukrainian property on its territory, including privately-owned major industrial plant, banks, railroad system. PM Groysman expressed regret over result of UK’s 23 June EU referendum amid fears that “Brexit” could derail EU support for sanctions against Russia and EU visa liberalisation process for Ukraine.

Ukraine

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Russia 25 May unexpectedly released Nadezhda Savchenko, Ukrainian military officer who had volunteered for duty in east and was captured and sentenced to 22 years for murder on charges she denied; Ukraine released two captured Russian paramilitary troops in return. Savchenko’s release was facilitated by Ukrainian-Russian businessman Viktor Medvedchuk. Kyiv proclaimed Savchenko Hero of Ukraine; Savchenko announced plans to return to parliament, where she is member of Yulia Timoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party – currently rising in polls – and member of defence committee; 27 May said she is ready to become president if Ukrainians want her. Poroshenko’s personal approval ratings currently at 10%. Several Ukrainian oligarchs and senior members of Opposition Bloc, notably Oleg Boyko, reported to be working with Poroshenko and Russian President Putin to find way forward for stalled Minsk peace process. Poroshenko further consolidated his power with appointment of close ally Yury Lutsenko as prosecutor general 12 May. Immediately prior to approving Lutsenko, parliament passed law reducing qualifications for position in move which enraged reformers, although Opposition Bloc supported candidate. Day after appointment, U.S. reported it would move forward with third loan guarantee agreement, which had been contingent on reforms. IMF 18 May reported progress on economy, also noted need for govt to boost reforms. Situation in the east remains tense; firefights along most of line of separation; Ukraine and separatists late May both admitted to fatalities, including at least seven Ukrainian servicemen 24 May, several more in following days; separatists 29 May reported two fighters killed. Russian, Ukrainian, German and French leaders 24 May discussed approaches to resolving conflict. UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture delegation cut short its visit after being denied access to parts of country by Ukrainian State Security Service.

Ukraine

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged

Evidence emerged that conflict in east more intense than widely reported, with sustained exchanges of fire – including infantry weapons plus heavier cannon and artillery – taking place daily, and both separatist and Ukrainian military sources reporting heavy casualties, including three Ukrainian soldiers killed in mortar attack in Mayorsk near Donetsk 20 April. OSCE 9 April reported its monitors came under fire south of Donetsk; EU foreign policy chief Mogherini criticised increase in ceasefire violations. Parliament 14 April confirmed Vladimir Groysman, speaker and protégé of President Poroshenko, as PM by small margin; followed weeks of confusion and contentious debates; PM Yatsenyuk resigned 10 April. Groysman widely considered to be close to Ukraine’s oligarchs, appointed several unpopular figures in new cabinet. Fragility of PM’s parliamentary base demonstrated 14 April when he was unable to gather enough votes to put on parliament agenda controversial bill which would have reduced qualifications required of prosecutor general. EU late April announced Ukraine summit scheduled for May to be postponed until Sept to allow govt time to deliver on reform commitments; earlier announced it would offer visa-free travel to EU bloc for Ukrainians despite negative Dutch referendum result on EU Association Agreement with Ukraine. U.S. Asst Sec State Victoria Nuland visited Kyiv 25 April, seen as indicator of U.S. impatience with Poroshenko’s unwillingness to implement Minsk agreement; declared it is time to start “locking up” corrupt high officials. UN operations facing operational and reputational problems after 8 April arrest of UN Department of Security and Safety (DSS) officer in Donetsk, after DNR’s ministry of state security (MGB) identified him as former senior Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) paramilitary officer who was active in operations to suppress separatist movement early 2014.

Ukraine

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged

Crisis of confidence in political leadership intensified, with increasing discussion on who will replace unpopular PM Yatsenyuk, facing ongoing calls to resign despite surviving Feb no-confidence vote. Leading candidate is current speaker and close associate of President Poroshenko Vladimir Groysman. Fending off calls for snap elections, Poroshenko 23 March urged parliament to approve new PM and cabinet by 29 March, no agreement reached by month’s end. Crisis prompting growing concern among Ukraine’s international partners over commitment to reforms needed to secure $1.7bn IMF assistance. European Commission President Juncker 17 March said EU would formally propose visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens, two days after Ukrainian parliament passed anti-corruption bill requiring officials to declare their assets online. Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, apparently dismissed by president in Feb, resumed his duties 16 March; parliament voted to fire him 29 March. Ukrainian military volunteer Nadia Savchenko, held in Russia since June 2014 on charges of calling in artillery strike that killed two Russian journalists, sentenced 22 March to 22 years’ jail; Ukraine extended sanctions on Russian individuals and institutions, called for new EU sanctions. In east, exchanges of gunfire and artillery continued along the line of separation, with Ukrainian army reporting several casualties. Throughout month both sides accused the other of using large-calibre weapons in defiance of Minsk agreement. OSCE special monitoring mission officers continue to report regular obstruction of their work by both sides, and patchy implementation of agreement to withdraw heavy weapons from front line. Minsk and Normandy group consultations on the conflict continued without substantive progress or result, including talks in Paris 3 March, at which sides failed to agree on elections in separatist entities. U.S. and EU extended sanctions on individuals and entities benefitting from Russian annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Upsurge of artillery exchanges, growing questions from all sides about Minsk’s viability, and further undermining of President Poroshenko’s standing all cast doubt on progress of reform agenda in Kyiv and implementation of Minsk agreements. Military reported escalated fighting in east, including three Ukrainian soldiers killed mid-month, international monitors voicing concern over increased shelling in recent weeks. Separatist leader Denis Pushilin 14 Feb said separatists would push ahead with integration of their republics into Russia as a “counterweight” to Ukraine’s implementation of Minsk; other separatist sources report that unification of the two separatist enclaves is again under preliminary discussion. French and German FMs travelled to Ukraine 22-23 Feb to call for faster reforms and implementation of Minsk agreements. Political chaos in Kyiv intensified; 16 Feb no-confidence vote in govt and PM Yatsenyuk failed, however episode widely seen as undermining President Poroshenko’s credibility, who hours before vote had publicly urged Yatsenyuk to resign. After vote, two fractions, Yuliya Timoshenko’s Batkivshchyna and Samopomich, both announced plans to leave governing coalition. Poroshenko requested resignation of controversial Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin. Economy and Trade Minister Aivaras Abromavicius resigned 3 Feb, claiming that close adviser of Poroshenko had tried to impose upon him deputy ministers who were not qualified; ten leading Western ambassadors issued joint statement expressing dismay at resignation. IMF voiced concern at “slow progress in improving governance and fighting corruption”, casting doubt on prospects of IMF-supported program. Power struggles continued in separatist areas, with senior Donetsk leader Alexander Khodakovsky coming out in open opposition to Alexander Zakharchenko and another separatist leader.

Ukraine

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Amid ongoing accusations of ceasefire violations between Ukrainian army and separatists, three Ukrainian soldiers and two rebels reported killed in separate incidents in east early Jan; fourth Ukrainian soldier reported killed 23 Jan. Kyiv and separatist negotiators meeting in Minsk 13 Jan agreed to abide by ceasefire. U.S. Asst Sec State Victoria Nuland and Putin aide Vladislav Surkov 15 Jan held “brain-storming” session in Russian enclave Kaliningrad; other U.S.-Russia consultations took place during month. OSCE monitors reported they came under fire SW of Donetsk 16 Jan. Poroshenko 14 Jan said Ukraine prepared to restore electricity supply to Crimea if it rejoins Ukraine; Ukraine cut off trade with Crimea 18 Jan. EU-Ukraine free trade agreement came into force 1 Jan. Russia same day banned import of Ukrainian food products; Ukraine reciprocated. Poroshenko failed to obtain support needed for vital Minsk-related constitutional amendments, postponed vote. PM Yatsenyuk 24 Jan called for referendum on new constitution; Poroshenko said no special status for east until lasting ceasefire in place. EU 18 Jan urged Kyiv to implement promised reforms. Central Bank 28 Jan issued revised growth forecast for 2016, 1.1%, down from 2.4% predicted Nov 2015. UN announced extension of humanitarian food aid to east.

Ukraine

  |  4 Jan 2016

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UN reported death toll from conflict in east now over 9,000 since April 2014, also reported “significant reduction of hostilities” in some areas with limited pullback of heavy weaponry, but reported “continuing inflow of ammunition, weaponry and fighters from Russian Federation”. Despite holiday ceasefire agreed 22 Dec, Ukrainian authorities 27 Dec reported one soldier, one civilian killed in fighting north of Donetsk; separatists claimed two civilians died. OSCE said an observer came under fire near Mariupol 27 Dec. Security officials reported one officer killed during special operation against alleged saboteurs, including three Russian and four Ukrainian citizens, in Kharkiv 9 Dec. Russian President Putin visited Crimea 2 Dec, promised new supplies of electricity following Nov damage of Crimean power lines. PM Yatsenyuk 16 Dec said Ukraine will suspend trade with Crimea. Prominent Luhansk separatist commander Pavel Dryomov killed in car bomb 12 Dec. EU ambassadors 18 Dec agreed to six month sanction extension on Russia; U.S. 22 Dec expanded list of individuals and companies on sanctions list. Visiting Kyiv early month, U.S. VP Biden announced $190mn new financial aid, called for continued reforms. U.S. and Russian FMs mid-Dec discussed implementation of Minsk agreements. PM Yatsenyuk 18 Dec said Ukraine would not repay $3bn debt owed to Russia despite Russia’s threat to sue; followed failure to agree on restructuring of Russian debt. Moscow announced it would suspend free trade zone with Kyiv in response to EU-Ukraine free trade agreement, President Poroshenko said Kyiv “ready to pay the price”; parliament 24 Dec approved trade embargo against Russia. EU 18 Dec backed visa-free travel for Ukraine; but will need sign-off of EU parliament and EU member parliaments.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Month saw flare-up of skirmishing and explosions along line of separation, however few casualties reported; OSCE attributed some apparent signs of military action to live-fire exercises and demining by both sides. Sides 11 Nov blamed each other for violating ceasefire. OSCE reported patchy implementation of arms pullback from front line, with both sides failing to provide information on numbers of weapons or lists of storage sites. Crimea experienced power outage following attack on electricity pylon 20 Nov; de facto authorities declared state of emergency 25 Nov. Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine 25 Nov over payment dispute; Ukraine same day said it had decided to stop purchasing Russian gas; also announced Russian airlines banned from flying over Ukraine. Following Normandy group meeting 6 Nov, Russian FM Lavrov noted that full implementation of Minsk agreement, scheduled for end of 2015, would extend well into 2016. Western leaders meeting on margins of G20 in Turkey 21 Nov agreed to extend sanctions on Russia by six months until July 2016, despite calls to cooperate more closely in fight against Islamic State. Amid ongoing discussions over restructuring of Ukraine’s foreign debt, President Putin mid-Nov announced Russia will extend payback period for $3bn loan; PM Yatsenyuk rejected proposal. Kyiv faced further pressure from allies, most notably Odessa governor and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, to push through reforms.

Ukraine

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

Building on Sept ceasefire, talks in Paris between Russia and Ukraine 2 Oct saw deal on elections in east, and withdrawal of small-calibre weapons; also greater access for OSCE monitors in separatist-held areas. President Hollande noted Minsk agreement cannot be fully implemented by year-end as planned. Ukrainian govt forces and separatists 5 Oct began withdrawing weaponry of 100mm or less from line of separation. Separatists 6 Oct announced highly contentious local elections would be delayed from Oct/Nov to Feb 2016; Moscow, Kyiv, U.S. and EU welcomed move. Kyiv reiterated demand for withdrawal of all troops and military hardware from east before polls there. Separatists 6 Oct demanded amnesty for participants in conflict, local powers and constitutional changes. Standoff between separatist Ministry of State Security and other senior local leaders in Luhansk suggested power struggle in entity. Local elections across Ukraine 25 Oct saw Poroshenko’s governing coalition retain support in west and centre, drop in support for PM Yatsenyuk’s allies, and advances for Opposition Bloc, composed of Yanukovych-era politicians, in south and east; elections did not take place in Mariupol and Krasnoarmiisk; complete results expected 4 Nov. Dutch Air Safety board inquiry 13 Oct found Malaysian airlines flight MH17 destroyed 17 July 2014 by“9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38-series of missiles, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system”; said missile fired from separatist-controlled territory. Russia and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) rejected report as “deeply biased”. DPR expelled Médecins Sans Frontières late month.

Ukraine

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Both sides largely upheld renewed ceasefire starting 1 Sept, with some small-scale violations and reports of civilian casualties in separatist regions. During visit to Crimea, Russian President Putin 12 Sept welcomed cessation of fighting; statement came as observers point to Moscow’s apparent diminishing enthusiasm for separatist cause. Following meeting to discuss implementation of Feb 2015 Minsk peace agreement and withdrawal of heavy weapons from contact line, FMs of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany 12 Sept reported “significant progress”; however little movement of weapons observed on the ground. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg 24 Sept said Russian troops still present in east. Amid tensions within separatist leadership, president of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) parliament Andrei Purgin dismissed and detained by DPR security forces 4 Sept, released 8 Sept. Separatist leaders 16 Sept announced local elections in DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) to take place 18 Oct and 1 Nov; President Poroshenko said decision contravenes Feb Minsk deal, which stipulates elections in separatist regions take place under Ukrainian law, and extended sanctions against individuals and entities with suspected links to separatist regions. Ultra-nationalist Radical Party 1 Sept left coalition govt following 31 Aug initial approval of law giving more autonomy to separatist regions. U.S. and EU 2 Sept extended sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals with connections to March 2014 Crimea annexation by Russia and violence in east. Parliament 17 Sept approved debt restructuring deal reached with creditors late Aug. Govt 8 Sept accepted International Criminal Court jurisdiction over crimes committed in Ukraine since Feb 2014. Crimean Tatar movements 21 Sept announced indefinite blockade of food deliveries from Ukraine. President Obama and President Putin 28 Sept met on fringes of UNGA, but little movement from either side on Ukraine.

Ukraine

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Exchanges of heavy artillery and shelling along contact line continued, including 9 Aug attack destroying four OSCE armoured vehicles in Donetsk, and intense shelling 14 Aug that left two civilians dead, fifteen injured. Limited direct infantry clashes, including 10 Aug attack by separatists reportedly leaving one govt soldier dead, thirteen wounded. During contact group meeting including govt and separatists, Russia, EU and OSCE representatives 26 Aug agreed to renewed ceasefire starting 1 Sept. Parliament 31 Aug gave initial approval to draft law on special status for separatist regions; dozens of nationalists protested outside parliament against law, clashed with security forces, one security officer killed, dozens wounded by grenade reportedly thrown by protesters. Ukraine and Russia traded accusations of ceasefire violations: Russian FM Sergei Lavrov 17 Aug said Ukraine preparing new offensive. Govt and international creditors 27 Aug announced debt restructuring deal, including write-off of 20% of Ukraine’s debt.

Ukraine

  |  3 Aug 2015

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Fighting, mostly involving heavy artillery, resumed in second half of month: eight Ukrainian soldiers reported killed, sixteen injured in separatist attack 15 July. Increasing tension and violence in western Ukraine: at least one dead, seven injured in standoff between police and ultra-nationalist Right Sector 11-13 July in Zakarpattia; Right Sector 21 July rallied in Kiev against govt policies, said will start campaign to organise referendum on President Poroshenko’s impeachment, recognition of volunteer militia units. Poroshenko 1 July proposed constitutional changes to give some self-determination to separatist-controlled regions; parliament 16 July voted to send proposal to Constitutional Court. Russia and separatists 2 July criticised proposal, said leaders of breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) not consulted. DPR 2 July announced local elections on 18 October, under auspices of expected law on special status of breakaway areas; 18 July said it will withdraw heavy weaponry from line of separation. Some 2,000 Ukrainian troops 20 July began military drills with NATO countries; Russia 21 July said exercises disrupting implementation of Minsk agreement. U.S. 24 July announced it will begin training Ukrainian troops; will supplement ongoing U.S. training of National Guard, which will end in Nov. Responding to western criticism at slow pace of reform, parliament adopted four laws aimed at unblocking $2.7bn due from IMF and World Bank in Aug.

Ukraine

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Month saw heaviest fighting since Feb, including clashes between army and separatists near Maryinka and Krasnohorivka towns west of Donetsk 3 June, leaving at least 26 dead and reportedly involving heavy artillery; separatist commanders described fighting as counter-attack in response to constant Ukrainian “provocations”. President Poroshenko 6 June said separatists forced out of Maryinka, however low-grade fighting continued throughout month. FMs of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia met 23 June to discuss crisis in east, urged sides to implement ceasefire, withdraw heavy weapons. Speaking to parliament 4 June Poroshenko said more than 9,000 Russian troops currently in Ukraine, warned of “full-scale invasion”. International pressure on Russia continued: EU 22 June extended economic sanctions until Jan 2016; G7 leaders 8 June said further sanctions possible; U.S. 23 June said it will send tanks and arms to Eastern Europe, Baltic countries in response to Russian actions in Ukraine. NATO 24 June said it will increase number of Response Force troops from 13,000 to 40,000; NATO chief 25 June warned of risk of heavy fighting in Ukraine, urged Moscow to cease support to separatists. Some 500 people protested in Donetsk 15 June calling on separatist leaders to remove rocket launchers from residential neighbourhoods. Kyiv’s chief debt talks envoy 28 June said Ukraine will suspend international debt repayments if agreement on debt restructuring not reached; IMF 19 June welcomed reforms to strengthen country’s central bank, said second tranche of bailout could be disbursed despite stalemate in restructuring talks.

Ukraine

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

In strategy change viewed as initiated by Moscow, separatist leader Oleg Tsarev 20 May announced “Novorossiya” project to create new state from Russian border to Moldova “frozen”; many separatist supporters denounced move as betrayal by Moscow. Followed high-level diplomatic exchanges between Moscow and West including meetings between President Putin and U.S. Sec State Kerry 12 May, German Chancellor Merkel 10 May. Separatist social media sites claimed Kremlin responsible for death in ambush of separatist commander and Novorossiya supporter Alexei Mozgovoy on 23 May, while top separatist officials blamed Ukrainian special forces. Month saw further violations of Feb Minsk ceasefire with intensified shelling, continued fighting with evidence of Russian involvement, including use of heavy weaponry. U.S., NATO and Ukraine 13 May condemned Russian military build-up in Crimea, called for stop to “deliberate destabilisation” of east. Parliament 19 May adopted law allowing govt to suspend debt repayments as foreign debt restructuring is negotiated; Moscow said it will adopt “tough position” if Ukraine fails to repay $3 billion loan. International observers expressed concern at govt plans to suspend some key human rights, including right of movement in separatist-controlled areas.

Ukraine

  |  30 Apr 2015

Deteriorated

Despite initial claims by both sides to have pulled back heavy weaponry from front line in compliance with Feb Minsk agreement, shelling along separation line resumed around 12 April, breaking over a month of calm, and intensified during month, particularly near Mariupol and outside Donetsk city. Ukrainian army 13 April launched tank probe on separatist positions north of Donetsk airport, substantial casualties reported on both sides; numerous separatist sources reported Russian intervention to push back attack. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) leader Zakharchenko 18 April said Ukraine building up troops on line of separation, warned DNR will expand control to all of Donetsk oblast if fighting breaks out again; said DNR moving further away from Ukraine. Zakharchenko late month told Der Spiegel separatists redeploying heavy weaponry on front lines in response to alleged Ukrainian violations of Minsk agreements; later claimed he was misquoted, but separatist commentators note some heavy weaponry already returned to front. Military training continuing on both sides: U.S. 17 April confirmed 300 soldiers arrived in Ukraine to train its military. Russian President Putin 16 April said no Russian troops in Ukraine; U.S. 22 April said Russia building up troops on border. EU 27 April said it will not send armed peacekeepers to Ukraine, will send civilian assessment mission as soon as possible; also said Kyiv needs to speed up crucial reforms to seek closer political association and economic integration with EU. Poroshenko said he planned to have all conditions in place to apply for EU membership in five years. Russian defence ministry 1 April said under new conscription law 500 draftees from Crimea will be recruited to Russian army by July 2015, will stay in region after training. Living conditions continued to deteriorate in separatist-controlled areas. Amid ongoing economic crisis, Ukraine’s biggest mining and steel company, owned by politically influential oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, announced it has defaulted on its debt obligations. Kyiv and Moscow 2 April signed short-term deal allowing Ukraine to buy gas from Russia at lower price.

Ukraine

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Drop in civilian and military casualties following Feb Minsk agreement, though implementation of deal still behind schedule, clashes continue in some areas including near Mariupol. Kyiv and separatists early month said they withdrew heavy weaponry from line of contact, but accuse each other of moving weaponry back to former positions after observers’ inspections, and renewed troop build-ups. Separatist commentators alluding with increasing frequency to new, possibly major offensive; suggest 10-13 March visit by Russian Defence Minister Shoigu to Rostov (Russian oblast adjoining self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, DNR) connected to planning for offensive. MPs in Kyiv approved changes to “special status” law for separatist areas, which will now only come into force after local elections; separatists and Moscow claim changes breach Minsk deal. Reshuffle of senior officials continues in DNR, along with reports of purges and crackdowns on what separatist leaders describe as organised crime and military groups which have not accepted central control;President Putin admitted in 8 March TV interview that Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea was planned weeks in advance. At European Council meeting 19-20 March EU leaders decided to extend sanctions on Russia until year-end; also confirmed EU’s support for OSCE mission, called for third financial support package, action plan on strategic communication. UK announced plan to supply Ukraine with non-lethal military equipment, sent personnel to provide military advice and training. U.S. also plans training, non-lethal military aid, placed sanctions on several separatists. Several officers and junior commanders who took part in Debaltseve campaign published open letter mid-March alleging serious failings by high command during operation, calling for those responsible to be dismissed. President Poroshenko 25 March fired powerful oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky as governor of eastern Dnipropetrovsk, after armed men loyal to him stormed offices of state-owned oil company. Two senior officials arrested for graft during televised cabinet meeting 25 March.

Ukraine

  |  2 Mar 2015

Deteriorated

Month saw one of heaviest defeats yet for Ukraine with fall of major military garrison at Debaltseve to rebels days after signing of peace deal, also increasing Russian pressure on Kyiv, deepening economic crisis. New peace agreement announced 12 Feb in Minsk; key elements include ceasefire to start 15 Feb, withdrawal of heavy weaponry from contact line, exchange of prisoners, amnesty for crimes committed during fighting, withdrawal of “foreign armed formations”; also local elections in east, constitutional reformproviding unspecified form of decentralisation, and adoption of permanent “special status” for certain areas. Hostilities continued unabated, Debaltseve fell 18 Feb. Moscow rejected accusations of extensive Russian involvement in last phase of Debaltseve battle, including advanced weaponry, regular combat forces and command and control. U.S. Sec State Kerry 4 Feb said U.S. weighing option of supplying arms to Kyiv. Limited prisoner exchange took place 21 Feb; reports of limited pull back of heavy weapons 26 Feb with reports ceasefire holding in some areas. Govt under increasing criticism domestically over economy and slowness in reform, major currency depreciation; also anger directed at political and military leadership among troops involved in Debaltseve fighting. UN launched new humanitarian appeal amid reports of increasingly dire conditions in east. Russia late month threatened to cut off gas supply as Ukraine struggled to make payments. IMF 12 Feb announced €15.5bn package for Ukraine over four years. Attacks on civilian targets continued including three killed when shell hit hospital in Donetsk city 4 Feb. Four killed in explosion at march in Kharkiv 22 Feb.

Ukraine

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

Most intense fighting for months in eastern Ukraine resulted in heavy civilian and military casualties, further undermined peace talks. Fighting escalated mid-month; separatists and Moscow blamed Kyiv for attacking separatist positions at Donetsk airport, however separatists say offensive planned several weeks earlier. Ten civilians killed in missile attack on bus at military checkpoint SW of Donetsk city 13 Jan; Kyiv blamed separatists, separatists denied. Despite flurry of diplomatic activity early Jan, planned summit for leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in Kazakhstan 15 Jan cancelled. Govt forces pulled back from key positions at Donetsk airport 21 Jan in response to rebel gains. Thirteen people killed in attack on Donetsk bus stop 22 Jan, sides blamed each other. Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko 23 Jan announced plans to take control of entire Donetsk province. 30 civilians killed, dozens injured in rocket attack on govt-held city Mariupol 24 Jan. UN 26 Jan said rockets fired from separatist-held areas, intentionally targeted civilians. U.S. President Obama said U.S. considering all options short of military action against Russia. Kyiv said Russia still sending troops into Ukraine (denied by Russia), also weapons systems, military training for separatists in Russia. At emergency meeting 29 Jan EU FMs agreed to extend and expand sanctions; stressed Russia’s responsibility for recent events in Mariupol, Donetsk and Luhansk, called for Russia to exert influence to induce separatists to cease hostilities, fulfil Sept commitments. Hundreds of civilians reported fleeing fighting around Debaltseve late month; dozens killed including fifteen Ukrainian soldiers 30-31 Jan. Further talks between Kyiv and separatists in Minsk 31 Jan failed to produce agreement.

Ukraine

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Fighting abated during month, though violence started to pick up toward end Dec. Leaders from Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany 22 Dec announced another round of peace talks to be held in Minsk. Moscow and Kyiv said leaders had agreed on need to respect ceasefire, separate armies, pull out troops and heavy weapons and release prisoners. Talks on 24 Dec however produced little progress. 26 Dec talks cancelled, though planned prisoner swap did take place. Germany 28 Dec called on Russia to use influence on separatists to implement ceasefire. Govt late Dec announced police and military anti-terror operation in Odessa, scene of several small bombings, at least one fatal. Other suspected terrorist incidents, so far relatively small, reportedly recently in Kharkiv and elsewhere; seen as pro-separatist efforts to undermine Kyiv govt. Parliament 22 Dec voted 303-8 to drop country’s non-aligned status and seek NATO membership, prompting anger in Moscow. EU, U.S. and Canada 18-19 Dec introduced further sanctions on investment and trade with Crimea and further individuals and companies; Russia said it would not give up Crimea. Russian rouble continued to lose value. Ukrainian parliament early Dec approved new govt to be headed by PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk. French and German leaders called on Kyiv to move on economic reforms. Russian President Putin 26 Dec signed new Russian military doctrine saying that country faces threats from foreign nations installing hostile govts in neighbouring countries. Russia resumed supplies of gas to Ukraine, suspended in June.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

NATO commander Gen Breedlove said alliance saw Russian military equipment entering Ukraine early Nov; Moscow denied claims. NATO chief Stoltenberg urged Russia to pull back forces. U.S. called meeting of UNSC 12 Nov, UN Asst SG warned of possible return to full-scale fighting. Ukrainian defence minister said govt forces redeploying in preparation for possible offensive by separatists. Separatists in eastern Ukraine held elections for head of state and legislature 2 Nov in self-proclaimed people’s republics in Donetsk and Luhansk, reported high turnout, victories for current leaders; Kyiv and West said polls illegitimate. Russia said it respected outcome. Western leaders rebuked Russian intervention in Ukraine at G20 summit in Australia mid-Nov. Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk 20 Nov accused Russia of “deliberately seeking to provoke a large-scale war”. Fighting continues at Donetsk airport and near Luhansk city; heavy artillery fire reported on outskirts of Donetsk city early Nov. Large areas of the city temporarily without water after damage to infrastructure. President Poroshenko signed decree mid-Nov withdrawing all govt service funding to rebel-held territory. UN 18 Nov reported almost 1,000 people killed in Ukraine conflict since 5 Sept ceasefire, with both sides violating truce; real figure probably higher. UN describe breakdown of law and order in rebel-held areas, allegations of abuses by rebel and govt forces. Russia late Nov admitted international sanctions hurting its economy, exacerbating downturn.

Ukraine

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Parliamentary elections held 26 Oct: pro-EU parties won significant majority. President Poroshenko’s bloc ended slightly behind PM Yatsenyuk’s bloc, third reformist group also did well. Poroshenko’s relatively poor showing seen as rebuke for failure to push ahead with reforms, connect with country. Govt mid-Oct passed initial package of anti-corruption laws, Lustration Law. Constant ceasefire violations in east since Sept ceasefire agreement: continued shelling, skirmishes around Donetsk airport, artillery strikes on outskirts of Donetsk city; armed clashes reported in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine, Russia and EU 30 Oct signed deal on resumption of Russian natural gas shipments to Ukraine, EU acted as guarantor for Kiev.

Ukraine

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged
President Poroshenko 5 Sept agreed to ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in east following heavy losses of personnel and equipment to regular Russian forces in late Aug. Ukrainian military commanders admitted privately troops unable to withstand direct attack by Russian forces. Ukrainian parliament 16 Sept passed law allowing degree of self-govt for breakaway regions, separatists claimed ceasefire and subsequent agreements amounted to de facto recognition of independence; moves caused concern among Ukrainian, international officials who fear agreement tantamount to creation of new frozen conflict. International observers noted agreement left separatists in control of several hundred kms of Ukrainian-Russian border. Worst post-ceasefire violence around Donetsk airport began 29 Sept, at least 12 killed. Dutch investigators 9 Sept released preliminary report on MH17 plane crash, concluded plane brought down by “high-energy objects". Parliament 16 Sept ratified Association Agreement with EU and 17 Sept passed lustration law, awaiting presidential signature.

Ukraine

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Major escalation in fighting between govt forces and pro-Russian rebels as army attempted to encircle Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia stepped up support for rebels including reportedly deploying Russian troops inside Ukraine; NATO late month estimated over 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, 20,000 near border. UN 29 Aug estimated 2,593 killed since April, more than half in past month alone. Rebel setbacks accompanied by 14 Aug resignation of original leadership: Donetsk military leader Igor Girkin-Strelkov, Donetsk “prime minister” Alexander Borodai resigned; Luhansk rebel chief Valery Bolotov said temporarily relinquishing command. Russia 22 Aug sent humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine without govt’s permission after complaining of delays during days of inspections on border. NATO SG Rasmussen 22 Aug said Russian troops directly attacked Ukrainian forces with “artillery support” both across border and from within Ukraine; Ukrainian govt 25 Aug accused Russian column of armored vehicles of crossing border, engaging in fighting. Russian, Ukrainian presidents 26 Aug held inconclusive talks in Minsk. Russian President Putin 29 Aug publicly congratulated rebel forces on latest offensive. Ukraine President Poroshenko 25 Aug dissolved parliament, called early elections for 28 Oct.

Ukraine

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down over Donetsk region 17 July, reportedly by Russian-made SA-11 surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 on board; pro-Russian rebels denied involvement, variously blamed U.S. or Ukrainian govts. Pressure increased on Russia; EU and U.S. announced further sanctions, including economic ones late July. Rebels controlling area around crash site impeded investigation efforts in days following incident; later reportedly agreed to allow access to site, investigation hindered by heavy fighting in area; international investigative team reportedly reached site late month. Continued fighting between pro-Russian rebels and govt forces in Luhansk and Donetsk regions: rebels 5 July abandoned northern Donetsk town of Slovyansk, withdrew to Donetsk city; main rebel commander Igor Girkin-Strelkov complained of inadequate Russian military support before retreat. Govt forces captured small rebel garrisons elsewhere in east but lost several warplanes, including in days leading up to MH17 incident; another 2 jets downed 23 July. Ukrainian security sources mid-month estimated rebel strength varying from 6,000 to 20,000 fighters, govt forces at 50,000 nationwide. Signs emerged of concern within Russia’s political elite over economic and diplomatic price of supporting rebels: following late June articles in pro-Kremlin media criticising Strelkov, statements from radical nationalists expressed disappointment with Putin; several statements from senior Russian govt officials noted damaging effect of sanctions on banking system. Human Rights Watch 24 July accused army of shelling civilian areas, reports denied by govt. PM Yatseniuk 24 July tendered resignation over failure of parliament to increase funding for army, address country’s energy problems; 2 parties quit governing coalition same day; parliament 31 July voted to reject Yatseniuk’s resignation, increase funding for army.

Ukraine

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Fighting between govt and rebels in east continued despite 23 June agreement by pro-Russian rebels of self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” to uphold govt-proposed ceasefire; agreement followed OSCE-mediated talks also attended by representatives of govt, Russia and breakaway Luhansk region. Unilateral ceasefire first declared by President Poroshenko 20 June; demanded rebel disarmament, warned fighters would otherwise be “eliminated”. Poroshenko same day unveiled peace plan: offered safety corridor to Russia, freedom from prosecution in absence of “serious crimes” for disarmed rebels; called for buffer zone along border; early elections; decentralisation and full Russian language rights. Announcements followed talks with Russian President Putin; Russia afterwards called ceasefire plan “ultimatum” but urged both sides to halt fighting, negotiate. Rebels initially denounced plans, demanded withdrawal of govt forces from east. Clashes continued as ceasefire came into effect: rebels 24 June downed army helicopter near Sloviansk killing 9; Poroshenko threatened to revoke ceasefire, rebel leader Alexander Borodai said agreement never implemented. Ceasefire expired 30 June, Poroshenko promised renewed military offensive. Several deadly clashes prior to ceasefire announcement including: govt forces 13 June seized port city Mariupol; rebels next day shot down army transport plane in Luhansk killing 49; govt said around 300 rebels, 7 govt forces killed during fighting 19 June. Russian President Putin 24 June asked Parliament to revoke his right to order military intervention, granted in March. Poroshenko inaugurated 7 June, rejected giving up Russian-annexed Crimea. Govt signed EU Association Agreement 27 June.

Ukraine

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Presidential elections held 25 May: businessman Petro O. Poroshenko elected by wide margin, vowed to end war, unite Ukraine and push for early parliamentary elections in 2014. Violence continued in east where pro-Russian separatists prevented voting in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Russian President Putin 7 May called for postponement of independence referendums in east to encourage dialogue, said presidential elections move in “right direction”; referendums nevertheless held 11 May in Donetsk and Luhansk regions; separatists announced 90% voted in favour of “people’s republics” amid claims of widespread voter fraud. Acting president Turchynov 1 May reinstated conscription, warned Ukraine on “full combat alert”. 2 Ukrainian military helicopters shot down 2 May by separatists, pilot and serviceman killed; around 42 killed in clashes in Odessa same day. About 20 killed in Mariupol clashes 9 May. Major battle for control of Donetsk airport 27 May, at least 30 separatists reported killed. Ukrainian general among 14 reported killed when helicopter downed near Slovyansk 29 May. 4 OSCE military observers reported missing in Donetsk region 26 May; at least 16 soldiers killed by separatists at checkpoint near Donetsk 22 May. UNSC 28 May discussed Ukraine, UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman said violence in east dramatically escalated; at early May meeting Russia warned of “catastrophic consequences” of Kyiv military operations, U.S. said response “proportionate and reasonable”. NATO Sec Gen Rasmussen 30 May said signs of partial withdrawal of Russian troops from near Ukrainian border.

Ukraine

  |  1 May 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Pro-Russian separatists seized control of over a dozen towns and cities in east leading to deadly clashes with Ukrainian troops as Kyiv struggled unsuccessfully to reassert control, continuing fears of Russian intervention and tensions between Russia and West. Protesters early April occupied govt buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, demanding referenda on greater autonomy, right to join Russia; interim PM Yatsenyuk offered to devolve more powers to eastern regions. Pro-Russian gunmen 12 April began taking control of state buildings in cities in east; Moscow denied allegations of Russian forces’ involvement. Kyiv govt’s “anti-terrorist” operation fizzled out. Several killed in clashes between separatists and security forces during month. U.S., Russia, EU and Ukraine 17 April reached agreement at talks in Geneva on steps to de-escalate crisis; accord quickly broke down after separatists occupying govt buildings refused to leave, seized OSCE military observers, journalists, security personnel in Sloviansk and govt buildings elsewhere in SE. Russia accused Kyiv of breaking terms of agreement; U.S. and EU blamed Russia, introduced new sanctions on Russian individuals and companies. NATO 16 April announced it was strengthening eastern members’ defences. Russian defence minister Shoigu said no plans to invade Ukraine or intervene in SE Ukraine along lines of Crimea. Igor Strelkov, alleged by Kyiv to be Russian intelligence officer, presented to press as commander of Donbass separatist militia 26 April, 29 April said Ukrainian volunteers with whom he had worked in Crimea during Russian annexation asked him to “help carry out the same thing as in Crimea” in SE. Separatists 29 April seized regional govt HQ in Luhansk. Acting president Turchynov 30 April announced that govt no longer controlled Donetsk, Luhansk oblasts, expressed concern over instability spreading. 9 May WWII commemoration and 25 May elections both seen as potential flashpoints; unrest in SE could complicate polls. IMF 30 April approved $17.1bn bailout.

Ukraine

  |  1 Apr 2014

Deteriorated

Russia annexed Crimea in move condemned as illegal by Western states, fuelling uncertainty in region, fears of war between Russia and Ukraine. Russian legislature 1 March approved use of armed forces in Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians, Russian armed forces in Crimea. Crimean parliament 6 March voted in favour of joining Russia, scheduled 16 March referendum: authorities claimed 97% yes vote, parliament next day applied to join Russia. Meanwhile widespread unrest through most of month as pro-Russian protesters in SE demonstrated against Kiev govt, often demanding to join Russia. Russian President Putin and pro-Russian leaders in Crimea 18 March signed treaties making Crimea part of Russia; pro-Russian forces seized Ukrainian military installations, captured several military officers. Second half of month saw heavy Russian troop build-up on Ukrainian border, prompting expressions of concern from U.S., NATO. Putin 21 March signed laws formalising Russian annexation of Crimea, ordered Russian govt administration to be installed by 29 March. Acting Ukrainian President Turchynov ordered withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from Crimea. U.S., EU refused to recognise referendum, imposed targeted sanctions on senior Russian officials, private individuals and bank with close ties to govt; offered financial aid to Kiev. IMF offered $14-18bn bailout. Acting PM Yatsenyuk signed political chapters of association agreement with EU 21 March. UNGA 27 March passed resolution declaring 16 March Crimea referendum invalid. OSCE 21 March announced monitoring mission to Ukraine; UN planning human rights monitoring mission to east. UNSG Ban urged “direct and constructive” dialogue. G8 members meeting without Russia 25 March suspended Russian membership, cancelled upcoming G8 meeting in Sochi. U.S. Sec State Kerry and Russian FM Lavrov met for talks 30 March, no breakthrough.

Ukraine

  |  1 Mar 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Scores killed as anti-govt protesters clashed with police in worst violence since independence; following opposition ouster of President Yanukovych new interim govt confronted by grave concerns over weak central authority, economic crisis, role of nationalist and rightist elements in new govt; mounting threat of separatism in east as unrest broke out in majority ethnic Russian Crimea, West warned Russia against intervention. Anti-govt protesters vacated Kiev City Hall 16 Feb after govt released all 234 jailed protesters, but clashes broke out between protesters and police 18 Feb after protesters marched to parliament demanding progress on constitutional reform to reduce presidential powers; at least 26 killed including 10 police. Govt and opposition announced truce 19 Feb, but renewed clashes broke out 20 Feb; dozens killed, hundreds injured, many reportedly from gunshot wounds. Health ministry reported 83 killed in political violence since 18 Feb. EU, U.S. responded with targeted sanctions. Yanukovych and opposition 21 Feb agreed to form new govt, hold new election under EU-mediated deal; parliament voted to release former PM Yulia Tymoshenko from jail, restore 2004 constitution. Yanukovych 22 Feb fled capital; parliament same day voted to remove president, hold early presidential election 25 May; 23 Feb elected opposition leader Olexander Turchynov interim president. Yanukovych called events coup, backed by Russia which granted him protection. Interim govt issued warrant for Yanukovych arrest, parliament voted to try him at ICC for protester deaths. As Turchynov warned of economic crisis, Russia suspended financial assistance, recalled ambassador; EU, U.S. said ready to provide financial assistance. Interim govt presented new cabinet to protesters in Kiev 27 Feb to mixed reception. In autonomous Crimea region pro-govt ethnic Russians and anti-govt ethnic Ukrainians and Muslim Tatars staged rival rallies late month. Anti-Russia protesters stormed parliament in regional capital Simferopol 26 Feb; well-armed and equipped troops calling themselves pro-Russian self-defence militia reportedly took over govt buildings, airport next day. Kiev 28 Feb said Russian forces occupying Crimea’s Sevastopol airport in “armed invasion”. Russia claims these are also local self-defence groups; Russian official media claim similar armed groups protecting Perekop isthmus connecting Crimea to Ukrainian mainland. Crimean govt announced it had taken control of all security forces on peninsula, pro-Russian Crimean PM 1 March appealed to Russia for help ensuring security; Kremlin said would not ignore call. U.S. and Western powers warned Russia against military intervention in Ukraine.

Ukraine

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Crisis as pro-Europe Euromaidan protests escalated, govt crackdown resulted in deadly clashes between protesters and police and growing political confrontation with opposition. Parliament 16 Jan passed draconian new anti-protest laws, also amended Criminal Code restricting free speech; law criticised by opposition as illegal, condemned internationally. Hundreds of protesters clashed with police 19 Jan; 2 protesters shot dead in clashes with police 22 Jan, third died later from injuries; another protester found dead bearing signs of torture. Dozens of demonstrators arrested, jailed since protests started, several missing. President Yanukovych 20 Jan called for dialogue, in talks with opposition offered truce if protesters refrained from violence, remove barricades; opposition rejected offer, called for snap presidential elections, changes to constitution. Protesters seized govt offices in Kiev and several other cities including in east. Govt resigned 28 Jan in attempt to resolve crisis, parliament same day overturned 16 Jan anti-protest law. Parliament 29 Jan passed amnesty law for protesters; opposition rejected condition of amnesty that protesters vacate occupied govt buildings, continued to call for Yanukovych’s resignation. EU foreign policy chief Ashton visited 29 Jan for talks with Yanukovych; Russia 29 Jan said it would defer fulfilment of $15bn aid package to Ukraine until new govt formed. Amid international condemnation of violence and calls for dialogue, concerns also voiced over disunity within opposition, lack of strategy, role of extreme right element.

Ukraine

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Pro-Europe protests continued following govt’s 21 Nov decision against signing association agreement with EU in favour of ties with Russia. Hundreds of thousands of people protesting in largest rallies since 2004 Orange Revolution. European Commission continued negotiations with govt over possible agreement, but 15 Dec announced it was suspending talks due to contradictory signals from President Yanukovych. Violence broke out 11 Dec as govt deployed thousands of riot police to remove protesters’ barricades, drawing international condemnation. Russia 18 Dec announced $15mn aid package to help faltering economy, including lowering Russian gas price.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Mass protests in Kiev and other cities late month, clashes between police and protesters, after govt 21 Nov delayed association agreement with EU under economic pressure from Russia. EU expressed regret over Ukrainian withdrawal from agreement.

Ukraine

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

EU FMs 10 Dec said they aim to expand political, economic ties with Ukraine Nov 2013 provided country meets conditions.

“EU dangles carrot for wayward Ukraine leader”, EU Observer, 11 Dec. 2012.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Over a thousand opposition supporters protested outside Central Electoral Commission in Kiev 5 Nov against alleged fraud during 28 Oct parliamentary elections; opposition parties called for partial recount, threatened to boycott parliament.

Ukraine

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

Preliminary results show President Yanukovych’s Party of Regions won 30% of vote in parliamentary elections, likely to control at least 187 out of 450 seats and lead parliamentary majority; Fatherland party of jailed opposition leader Tymoshenko won 25%/103 seats. OSCE 29 Oct said vote marred by abuse of power and “excessive role of money”, said “democratic progress appears to have reversed in Ukraine”; U.S. Sec State Clinton called elections “a step backward”.

Ukraine

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Ahead of 28 Oct parliamentary elections, parliament passed law limiting political rallies, put on hold law criminalising libel following criticism by opposition, OSCE, media watchdogs.

Ukraine

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

High Court 29 Aug rejected former PM Tymoshenko appeal against abuse of office conviction, embezzlement; tax evasion trial delayed 14 Aug to 11 Sept on health grounds; court 15 Aug upheld decision banning Tymoshenko, former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko from registering as candidates in Oct parliamentary elections. Lutsenko, already serving 4-year conviction, found guilty 18 Aug of improperly extending anti-corruption investigation. Govt 17 Aug suspended extradition to Russia of Chechen accused of plotting assassination of Russian President Putin following European Court of Human Rights recommendation; 25 Aug extradited alleged Kazakh national co-conspirator.

Ukraine

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Tymoshenko tax trial postponed to 14 Aug following her refusal to appear in court. As part of effort to strengthen people-to-people contacts in context of strained political relations, EU, Ukraine 23 July signed amended visa facilitation agreement improving mobility; Secretary of National Security and Defence Council Adriy Kluyiev 25 July described move as important step on road to European integration. Parliament 30 July rejected opposition proposals to amend Bill giving Russian status of official language in certain regions; opposition staged walk-out in protest.

Ukraine

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

President Yanukovych early June indicated willingness to pardon jailed ex-PM Tymoshenko, but said amnesty beyond his legal authority; Deputy Prosecutor 19 June announced plans to charge Tymoshenko in connection with 1996 murder of MP; EU ambassador to Ukraine 18 June barred from visiting Tymoshenko in hospital; Tymoshenko 25 June announced refusal to appear for tax-evasion trial, citing health concerns. Protesters, police clashed in Kiev after 5 June parliamentary approval of bill allowing use of Russian in 13 of 27 regions. 

Ukraine

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

4 coordinated bomb blasts 29 April in Dnipropetrovsk injured 30 civilians; govt condemned acts as “terrorism”; 2 men arrested 31 May after allegedly seeking to extort money from govt for not proceeding with bombing. President Yanukovych 20 May ruled out releasing jailed opposition leader Tymoshenko for medical treatment abroad, new corruption case postponed to 25 June, but authorities claim Tymoshenko is “material witness” in 1996 murder case; Tymoshenko remained in hospital recovering from hunger strike after alleged prison beating in April; EU leaders postponed 11-12 May Ukraine summit over concerns about Tymoshenko treatment; European Parliament 16 May received clearance to send doctors.

Ukraine

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

Jailed former PM Tymoshenko 24 April went on hunger strike to protest alleged beating by prison guards; Tymoshenko 19 April appeared in court on additional corruption charges, possible 12 year sentence. Deputy PM Khoroshkovskiy said Parliament could pass “extraordinary” legislation to free Tymoshenko if all other hurdles in Ukraine-EU relations resolved. European Court of Human Rights 17 April began hearings on whether former imprisonment of Interior Minister Lutsenko politically motivated.

Ukraine

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Parliament 20 March accused jailed ex-PM Tymoshenko of “high treason” for agreeing price increase for Russian natural gas; prosecutor 28 March announced Tymoshenko to stand trial in April on new tax evasion charges. European Court of Human Rights 16 March called on Ukrainian govt to ensure “adequate medical treatment” for Tymoshenko after denial of medical leave.

Ukraine

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who served under jailed former PM Tymoshenko, sentenced 27 Feb to 4 years prison for abuse of office; opposition denounced verdict as politically motivated. Ukraine 24 Feb rejected Russian deal to reduce gas prices as insufficient. Russia’s Gazprom CEO 22 Feb accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas destined for Europe, announced intention to bypass Ukraine entirely with future pipelines.

Ukraine

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

At EU-Ukraine summit 20 Dec European Council president Van Rompuy reported negotiations with Ukraine on association agreement completed, but signing depends on political developments, following Oct jailing of former PM Tymoshenko for abuse of office. Appeals court 23 Dec upheld Tymoshenko’s guilty verdict and sentence.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2011

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Prosecutors 11 Nov filed new charges against jailed former PM Tymoshenko, related to tax evasion, theft, concealing foreign currency. Russian and European leaders 8 Nov celebrated opening of Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, allowing transit of Russian gas directly to Western Europe, bypassing Ukraine and Belarus.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

Prosecutors 11 Nov filed new charges against jailed former PM Tymoshenko, related to tax evasion, theft, concealing foreign currency. Russian and European leaders 8 Nov celebrated opening of Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, allowing transit of Russian gas directly to Western Europe, bypassing Ukraine and Belarus.

Ukraine

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Former PM Tymoshenko convicted on abuse of office charges 11 Oct, sentenced to 7 years jail, fined $190m, barred from holding office for 3 years, over 2009 gas deal she signed with Russia while PM. Sentence provoked international condemnation; EU foreign policy chief Ashton said trial did not meet international standards, has “profound implications” for EU-Ukraine relationship; EU cancelled scheduled late-Oct visit by President Yanukovych. Authorities later announced opening new case against Tymoshenko for suspected embezzlement during 1990s, investigating her for alleged involvement in 1996 murder.

Ukraine

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Against backdrop of criminal cases being pursued by state against former PM Tymoshenko and others in her govt for abuse of office during her time as premier, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele 11 Jan said Ukraine should not use criminal law for political ends.

 

Ukraine

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Spate of investigations, arrests of members of govt under former PM and current opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko for alleged abuse of power and embezzlement of funds, including investigation of Tymoshenko herself, charged with embezzlement; former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko arrested 26 Dec; also former environment minister, economy minister, and investigation into former deputy justice minister. Opposition said probes politically motivated, U.S. embassy in Ukraine 30 Dec expressed concern over “selective or politically motivated” prosecutions. Fight broke out in parliament 16 Dec after ruling party MPs stormed podium, blocked by MPs from opposition Fatherland party protesting investigation of Tymoshenko; 6 opposition MPs reportedly injured. Opposition 17 Dec called for dismissal of speaker, investigation, before walking out of parliament.

 

Ukraine

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

In move widely criticised as undemocratic and unconstitutional, Constitutional Court 1 Oct ruled parliament violated constitution in Dec 2004 by approving limits on presidential power, restored presidential authority to choose PM and cabinet without parliamentary confirmation. Widespread concern over deterioration of media freedoms and crackdown on opposition since Jan election of President Yanukovych, including statements by EU, OSCE. International audit revealed over $400mn public funds misappropriated under former PM Tymoshenko. Former Economy Minister Bohdan Danylyshyn arrested in Czech Republic 18 Oct for abuses while in office; Tymoshenko claimed his and other arrests of former officials politically motivated. Venezuelan President Chávez visiting mid-month signed energy deal with President Yanukovych; Venezuelan oil, gas fields open for development by Ukrainian energy companies, Ukraine to act as transit for supply of Venezuelan oil to Belarus. Russian PM Putin visiting late month said trade ties greatly improved since Yanukovich’s election.

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