Since the crisis in Ukraine took the shape of a fundamental conflict between a growing part of the Ukrainian people and a government of “crooks and swindlers” that, as it later turned out, managed to rob the nation of an approximate 70 billion euro, Russian friends have asked me with increasing urgency for independent media sources to help them follow the events. Initially, when it was not yet clear in what way the standoff would end and the atmosphere at Maidan was still quite joyful, the requests were mainly the result of curiosity, rather than a urgent need to know what was actually happening on the ground. Russian media downplayed the size of the demonstrations, referring to “several thousand” of them, while in fact some 800,000 demonstrators filled Independence Square and all the surrounding streets and alleys. It resulted in jokes in the social media, e.g. a photo of the massive demonstrations with the text: “Special for Russian TV: we are not here.” Continue reading
The eyes of the whole world are on Crimea, where on March 16th the Russians are conducting a referendum. But it would be better if those eyes would turn to another corner of Ukraine – to Donetsk. Let’s review briefly what’s going on in the eastern capital, according to what local residents are saying. Throughout Saturday March 15th it was virtually impossible to reach mobile phone subscribers. Mobile signals are being blocked. A full-scale radio war is happening. Crowds of people streamed into the city center, asking passersby the same question: “Where is Lenin Square?” This means that they were out-of-towners, but with a clear instruction, to go to the center. Many of these people looked peculiar, scaring Donetsk residents who fearfully pressed their backs into walls. The city is full of people who look like criminals and thugs. They say in Donetsk that on Sunday, March 16th, around 50 thousand provocateurs will stage mass unrests with certainty of casualties.
March 17, 2014: US President Executive Order — Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine
“…The war will start and end on the stock exchanges,” wrote “Nashi Hroshi” on March 10, commenting on the most likely development of the conflict of interests between Russia and the United States that erupted on the Crimean soil.
And thanks to reports from the oil stock exchanges as of March 13, and unfolded in this context events, we have the audacity to assert: Russia has already lost.
It became known on March 13 that the United States dumped oil from its strategic reserves into the market for the first time since 1990. An entire 5 million barrels went for sale, which is only 1% of U.S. stocks. But the effect has surpassed all expectations – crude oil futures fell 2% – up to $98 in New York. Continue reading
Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash was arrested in Vienna on Wednesday evening, March 12. This information has been confirmed by German broadcaster “Deutsche Welle,” citing sources at the Federal Criminal Police Office of Austria.
Police sources also said the question of Firtash’s extradition to the U.S. would be resolved soon. Austria has no criminal cases against the businessman. Firtash’s arrest was based on a warrant issued by a U.S. court at the request of the FBI.
“In the evening on March 12, at about 20:00, members of the department for combating organized crime arrested Ukrainian citizen Dmytro Firtash, aged 48,” says the official statement from the Austrian police. Firtash is suspected of bribery and organized crime.
Among oligarchs, Firtash was one of those closest to the Yanukovych regime. In particular, he participated in the gas schemes between the Putin and Yanukovych regimes, even receiving a “discount.” As co-owner of the intermediary firm “RosUkrEnerho,” Firtash was involved in gas supplies during both the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko and the premiership of Yulia Tymoshenko.
Currently Firtash is owner of the TV channel “Inter,” which at the start of the Euromaidan protests was broadcasting distorted information on events with a decidedly pro-government stance. When protesters began to die, he shifted to a more balanced strategy.
Firtash was not included in recent lists of oligarchs subject to account freezes in the EU. According to “Correspondent,” he ranks 8th in the rankings of richest Ukrainians.
In the UK, Firtash formed an organization called “DF Foundation,” which later changed its name to “Firtash Foundation.” This organization was incorporated in Leeds. It is officially managed by Firtash’s Russian wife Lada Firtash.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed Firtash’s detention, said Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyynis, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda, March 13.
“According to our embassy in Vienna, we can say that he was indeed arrested at the request of the FBI. Firtash is currently in a penitentiary in Vienna,” Pereybyynis said. He added that “the embassy is looking into the matter and will try to hold a meeting with (Firtash).”
When asked when such a meeting would take place, Pereybyynis said it would depend on permission from the Austrian side.
As of March 11, 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament’s decision to hold presidential election on May 25 of this year is coming under attack on two fronts. As reported by Espresso.TV, the first is a draft resolution registered in Parliament [on March 11, 2014] to postpone the election to December 7. The resolution is proposed by Eugene Murayev, a Member of Parliament with the Party of Regions who is considered to be a protégé of former Kharkiv Governor Mykhailo Dobkin. Opposition members have insisted that Murayev’s election in the Kharkiv oblast in 2012 stemmed from administrative pressure by Dobkin [who was Governor at the time but who announced in February that he intends to run in the presidential elections]. Dobkin, on the other hand, has long been considered to be an ally of Viktor Medvedchuk, [a pro-Russian oligarch and politician]. Continue reading
Ukrainians and the whole world have now observed the second reappearance of the “Mezhyhirsky butcher” following his escape.
This historical “glitch” ruled the largest state in Europe for more than four years. Even one month ago, people were afraid to say his name aloud, he was persecuting the opposition, giving orders to spy on journalists from “Ukrainska Pravda”, and there were queues of oligarchs in his reception office waiting to express their respect. Continue reading
Serhiy Leshchenko, Ukrainska Pravda, March 11, 2014
Viktor Yanukovych’s notebook containing confidential instructions and unreported contacts with Russia reveals secrets on how the run-away president spent his last weeks in office.
The vote on January 16 for the “dictatorial laws” marked a turning point in events on Euromaidan. After Christmas and New Year holidays the protests began to diminish and many activists were busy trying to save their cars from arson. It seemed that the revolution was tapering off. But Yanukovych’s decision to adopt a package of anti-democratic laws at any cost changed the whole scenario. A peaceful protest was radicalized. Continue reading
March 11, 2014
Dear representatives of the media, dear compatriots.
First, because all sorts of rumors have been circulating about me in Ukraine, I would like to say that I am alive, although I cannot say that I feel good because I cannot watch what is happening in Ukraine without a feeling of deep and terrible alarm. Continue reading
The Kyrgyz Republic shares the concern of the international community regarding the escalation of tension in Ukraine,” Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
“The Kyrgyz Republic condemns all actions aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. Therefore, we consider the statement of Viktor Yanukovych on March 11 inappropriate and inadequate. Continue reading