And finally, you can view your Pressimus profile by clicking on your profile image, and selecting your profile, and you can customize your Pressimus settings by selecting settings.
Watch quick explainer video
Finish
X

Request Invitation




Submit
Close
Submit
Stream by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Live Day 613

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
Readability View
Press View
Show oldest first
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
'Donetsk People's Republic' Forces Doctors Without Borders to Leave Donbass

The French group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors without Borders received written notification from the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People’s Republic" (DNR) that its permit to operate in territory under its control had been withdrawn, MSF said in a press release today circulated by email. No reason was given for the move.

The statement said:

MSF has up until now coordinated all its activities with the authorities and is willing to continue this collaboration for the sake of the health of thousands of vulnerable citizens of DPR.
“We are extremely concerned by this move, which will deprive thousands of people of life-saving medical assistance,” said Bart Janssens, MSF director of operations. “This decision will have life-threatening consequences for the patients MSF is now leaving behind. We are urging the DPR Humanitarian Committee to reconsider the decision without delay in order for us to resume providing much-needed healthcare.”

 “We are almost the only organization providing treatment for tuberculosis in prisons, insulin for diabetic patients and haemodialysis products to treat kidney failure,” said Janssens. “With the termination of our activities from one day to the next, thousands of patients suffering from chronic, potentially fatal diseases will now be left with little or no assistance.”

The DNR authorities have blocked humanitarian workers in the past, and in April and May kidnapped and then expelled workers from the International Rescue Committee.

MSF has provided aid to medical clinics in southeastern Ukraine and treated war-wounded as well as those with chronic diseases unable to get help with the breakdown of the health care system in the war. The organization began work in the region in 2011, caring for multi-drug resistance tuberculosis patients in the prisons.  The region is vulnerable to major health crises without outside assistance.

Three polio cases in southeastern Ukraine in a setting where where immunization is feared and inoculation has been inconsistent have officials worried over the possibility of a major outbreak.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick




The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Elections on Sunday October 25 in Ukraine Unlikely to Solve Problems, and May Bring More
Ukrainians go to the polls on Sunday, October 25 in local elections in which a number of key mayoral and gubernatorial contests could decide the direction of future reforms.

Election in the regions controlled by the self-proclaimed "Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics" have been postponed until February. The Central Elections Commission had earlier ruled that these areas as well as some frontline towns that continued to be under attack even after several "ceasefires" were not safe enough for voting. Elections will go forward in Mariupol, despite Russian tanks within an hour's drive away, in a town where democrats have protested about pressure and manipulation from pro-Russian politicians.

Energy tycoon Rinat Akhmetov who has played an ambiguous role throughout the conflict in the Donbass is supporting Vadim Boychenko who is running for mayor on the Opposition Bloc ticket -- a party rife with pro-Russian Yanukovych supporters Boychenko is director of personnel and social Issues at Metinvest, one of Akhmetov's largest companies. Yet in a Vice News interview, Boychenko is coy about his support:

Boychenko is running as the candidate for Opposition Bloc, a political party rife with former Yanukovych supporters. But he emphasized that his allegiances were to the metalworkers and people of Mariupol, despite his financial backers.

"Our country is made that way, that politicians are mixed with businessmen. But I cannot prove that Akhmetov sponsors Opposition Bloc, just like I cannot prove that [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko sponsors Solydarnist [his political faction]."

Proof of anything is difficult in Ukrainian elections. Earlier this week, angry protesters stormed into the ballot printing building, claiming Opposition Bloc operatives had failed to destroy extra ballots marked as mistakes, which they could use to cast fraudulent votes for Bloc candidates.

In a number of towns, the "Party of Regions" of deposed president Viktor Yanukovych has made a comeback amid the failure to push through reforms and the losses of war.

In Kharkiv, 11,000 police will be deployed to maintain order in a city where there have been violent clashes between Maidan supporters and pro-Russian groups in the past.


The revanchism of the Party of Regions has prompted a backlash. The Ukrop Party, so named for the pejorative term Russians use about Ukrainians (the word is an acronym for Ukrainian Association of Patriots), is supported by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, removed from his post as governor of Dnepropetrovsk Region after a number of violent incidents involving his security forces.

Ukrop has called for the dismissal of Mikhail Okhendovsky, head of the Central Elections Commission, because he came to his position as part of the quota of the Party of Region in the past, and is claimed to be responsible for massive election violations in the past, Unian.net reported.

The mechanics of the elections have been watched closely as many suspect there will be tampering. For example, ballots only just arrived tonight in Uzhgorod, the capital of Zakarpattia (Trans Carpathia), delayed because of a truck breakdown due to a sharp turn on the region's mountain crossings. They have yet to be distributed to the local precincts. The town of Mukachevo in Zakarpattia was the scene of a violent shoot-out earlier this year between Right Sector militants and a parliamentarian from the region evidently part of a turf war over lucrative smuggling routes.

There is still the aftermath of Maidan to cope with. Last week the news broke that Yevgeny Antonov, the commander of the Berkut spetsnaz known for authorizing his men to use physical force on demonstrations on December 1, 2013, was still at his job. An Interior Ministry official has now explained that this is because he served in the ATO in May, and the law requiring removal of such persons involved in the crackdown on protesters passed only in September, and stipulated that police in the ATO were considered to have already "passed" the "lustration" or vetting process.

Already analysts are saying that another area where hopes may be dashed with these elections is progress on the Minsk Accords.

Ukrainian legal analysts have debated whether the Minsk accords are binding international law, and whether the sequence in them -- first elections and Constitutional reform, then recovery by Ukraine of its own border, now controlled by Russia -- is valid, Unian.net reports.

While opinions differ, politically at any rate, and in relations with Western powers, the Minsk accords are viewed as a valid pledge by Kiev and the sequencing is not challenged. At the time the agreements were made, the urgent priorities were to get a ceasefire, pull-back of heavy weapons and exchange of POWs. The wording about how Kiev and the separatists were to "consult" was vague, and the expectation that Ukraine would undergo constitutional reform and de facto federalization misplaced, given Kiev's own political pressures from nationalists -- and violent ultranationalists.

The Minsk agreements are therefore seen as a "trap" that Kiev cannot get out of without losing Western credibility, but essentially forcing Ukraine to cede territory at the barrel of a gun. Russia insisted on the extra step of a UN Security Council resolution to approve the Minsk documents precisely because of the uncertain status of agreements generated by two parallel but not identical processes -- the "Normandy quartet" of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germay and the "Trilateral Group," facilitated by the OSCE, of former president Leonid Kuchma, the separatist leaders, and the Russian ambassador to Kiev.

By placing the relinquishing of the border last in the process, the West has essentially forced Ukraine to accept the reality that Russia can bring about constitutional change in its interests by force.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
X

Acknowledgements