UKRAINE HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE

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Ukrainian coast guard ships are moored in the southern port of Odesa on May 7, 2014. Odesa Oblast Governor Mikheil Saakashvili and his team of W

 

Ukrainian coast guard ships are moored in the southern port of Odesa on May 7, 2014. Odesa Oblast Governor Mikheil Saakashvili and his team of Western-educated reformers want to make the region into a model of change that could be replicated nationwide by removing bureaucratic hurdles, promoting investment, streamlining customs clearance procedures and selling off state-owned assets.

Odesa is frontier for Ukraine reform drive

 

KyivPost August 24.  ODESA, Ukraine – Eighteen months after the EuroMaidan Revolution, Ukraine has largely failed to reform its dysfunctional law enforcement system and overregulated economy, with a few exceptions.

 

One of them looms large: Odesa Oblast, where ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili took over as governor on May 30. This summer alone, Saakashvili has quickly made sweeping changes and attracted Western-educated professionals to join his reform drive. Critics dismiss Saakashvili’s appointment as a cosmetic diversion by President Petro Poroshenko to mask the failure of nationwide reform.

 

Yet Saakashvili’s team members argue that, if successful, their changes may inspire a radical transformation of Ukraine towards democracy and a vibrant free-market economy.  MORE

 

 

 

 



Politics, Economics and War: Three sides of the same coin in the east Ukraine conflict?

 

UAToday August 22.  Could a clear financial commitment to Ukraine from the West bring an end to Russian destabilisation?

 

It's been said before, but, with attacks from Russian proxies in east Ukraine escalating, it bears repeating: Ukraine is fighting a war on two fronts.

 

Front one - the Donbas region - front two - the economy. Ukraine's economic performance has nose-dived since last year's pro-EU uprising the Maidan.

 

Getting things back on track is as important, if not more so, then ending the conflict east Ukraine. What is to be done? The editors at Bloomberg have some ideas. But first they offer a reflection on the current state of affairs in the conflict zone. MORE

 

 

 

Ukrainian serviceman patrols the area in Zaytseve village, near Horlivka, Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 21

 

Ukrainian serviceman patrols the area in Zaytseve village, near Horlivka, Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 21.

© Anastasia Vlasova

Donetsk Oblast's Zaytseve mostly liberated from Russian-separatist forces

 

KyivPost August 22.  ZAYTSEVE, Ukraine -- If one had any doubts that the recently liberated village of Zaytseve played a special role in this war, the reminder would come upon arrival to the village, from a group of angry Georgian partisans operating there alongside the Ukrainian army.

 

The group tries to keep its existence secret. As one member told Kyiv Post reporters: “No one knows we exist.”

 

Refusing to specify the number of members in the group or what exactly their activities were, the man said only that the group works to track down Russian-separatist forces and their collaborators and prevent them from carrying out any operations in the town.

 

When pressed for more information, the man shouted angrily in Georgian and walked away. MORE

 

 

 

Vladimir Putin at a sporting event in Kazan, Russia, in July

 

Vladimir Putin at a sporting event in Kazan, Russia, in July. Pool photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Ria Novosti/Kremlin

What the West Gets Wrong About Russia

 

NYTimes August 14.  SOFIA, Bulgaria — WHEN George Kennan wrote his famous “Long Telegram,” his 1946 letter to Secretary of State James F. Byrnes that laid the foundation for America’s containment policy against the Soviet Union, he mentioned Joseph Stalin just three times — despite the fact that, by then, the Russian leader ran his country like an emperor.

 

Seven decades on, Stalin’s current heir, Vladimir V. Putin, finds his name emblazoned on nearly every page of the myriad memos and papers struggling to understand the mind-set driving Russia’s strategic behavior. To understand Mr. Putin, the thinking goes, is to understand Russia. But is that quite right?

 

In the heady days of the Cold War, Americans tended to view Soviet decision making as a black box: You know what goes in, you know what comes out, but you are clueless about what is happening inside. Soviet policy was thus believed to be both enigmatic and strategic. There was little room for personality or personal philosophy; understanding the system was the only way. MORE

 

 

 

Rudi Luchmann, deputy representative of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), gives an interview to the Kyiv Post in his office of Kyiv

 

Rudi Luchmann, deputy representative of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), gives an interview to the Kyiv Post in his office of Kyiv, on July 29. © Anastasia Vlasova

In Ukraine, UNICEF tries to put children’s life 'back to balance,' says Rudi Luchmann

 

KyivPost August 11.  Present in Ukraine since 1997, the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) is now struggling to face the multiple consequences of this war, as explained in an interview to the Kyiv Post Rudi Luchmann, deputy representative of UNICEF in Ukraine.

 

The figures are impressive. 1.7 million children affected by the war, more than 170,000 of them officially registered by the state services as “internally displaced,” as reported the United Nation fund for Children (UNICEF), in a report they released on July 17.

 

What do these figures really mean, asks from the outset Rudi Luchmann, deputy representative of UNICEF in Ukraine? Behind these numbers hid many individual stories, all of them different, of children affected by the war. MORE

 

 

 

Displaced children from Eastern Ukraine in the Romashka refugee camp, outside of Kharkiv

 

Displaced children from Eastern Ukraine in the Romashka refugee camp, outside of Kharkiv. | © Yves Souben

Former Soviet pioneer camp Romashka welcomes war refugees

 

KyivPost August 8.  KHARKVIV, Ukraine – Bought by a local businessman, the Soviet-era summer camp of Romashka, located just outside Kharkiv, is one of the few refugee camps in Ukraine. It takes in people fleeing the war in eastern Ukraine and also has resumed its traditional function by hosting displaced children. The lack of donations is however threatening these humanitarian activities. When in 2013 Volodymyr Rozhkov and his wife Oksana Pogorelova bought the summer camp, what remained from the time when Soviet pioneer scouts attended, was a bust of Lenin covered with moss and abandoned facilities in the middle of a pine forest. The couple hoped they could renovate the place and open a restaurant and recreational center for children. But then, war started in the spring of 2014.  MORE

 

 

 

Displaced children in the protection center of the NGO Ukrainian Frontiers in Khariv learn how to paint according to traditional Ukrainian techn

 

Displaced children in the protection center of the NGO Ukrainian Frontiers in Khariv learn how to paint according to traditional Ukrainian technics under the supervision of a volunteer. | © Courtesy

In Kharkiv, a movement of solidarity to help children of war

 

KyivPost August 6.  Five million people are directly affected by Russia's war against Ukraine.

 

Among them, 1.7 million children, especially vulnerable, are exposed.

 

In Kharkiv Oblast, which welcomes the most refugees, states authorities, non-governmental organizations and volunteers try to assist them, assisted by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

 

Nearly 21,000 children are officially documented as internally displaced people in Kharkiv Oblast, among the 182,000 refugees that have settled there, having fled the conflict zone, Roman Sheiko, field coordinator of UNICEF Ukraine in Kharkiv, told the Kyiv Post. Following the different waves of refugees, the population of the region has risen by nearly seven percent.

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A Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighter jet.


A Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighter jet. | VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Citing threats, Pentagon refocuses on Russia

 

Politico EU August 6.  Even as President Barack Obama tries to stave off a conflict with Russia, the Pentagon isn’t taking any chances.

 

Each of Obama’s picks for top Defense Department jobs says that Russia represents the biggest national security threat to the United States. The Army is giving heavier weapons to its frontline cavalry unit in Europe, while it also rotates more units into place. The Navy wants to upgrade its ability to hunt for submarines in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

 

And with Russian bombers nearing U.S. airspace in Alaska and Russian warplanes buzzing American warships at sea, both top current leaders of the Pentagon have begun talking about Russia in a way that sounds more like the Cold War than the era of “reset” between the two powers.  MORE

 

 

 

Navy Mistral assault ship.

Navy Mistral assault ship. | Photo by EPA

France and Russia reach warship agreement

 

Politico EU August 6.  France will refund all of the money Russia already paid for two undelivered Mistral warships, but the final sum will be lower than the almost €1.2 billion Russian media reported last week.

 

The two countries signed a contract for the sale of the warships in 2011. The first ship was to be delivered in 2014. But under significant pressure from the EU and U.S. over the Ukrainian conflict, French President François Hollande suspended the deal last year.  MORE

 

 

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