Culture and creativity grants for Eastern Partnership region and beyond

Published in Politics
Friday, 27 May 2016 14:49
New opportunities for “artists, explorers and creative professionals”, including those residing and working in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, have been published by the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Program. A dedicated page highlights calls for proposals targeted at artists, designers, multimedia experts and researchers.  It also informs about summer volunteering opportunities, scholarships, summer schools and workshops for broadcast reporters.
The EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Program supports the cultural and creative sectors’ contribution to sustainable humanitarian, social and economic development in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The four-year program will run until 2018, covering topics like cultural leadership, cultural and statistical research, audience development, cultural journalism, advocacy and fundraising. 

Pedro Agramunt warmly welcomes release of PACE member Nadiia Savchenko

Published in World
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 18:00

“The release of my fellow PACE member Nadiia Savchenko is excellent news,” said Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
“I commend both Russia and Ukraine for making this possible, and I look forward to welcoming her in Strasbourg soon – perhaps even at the next session in June, if her health permits.”
The President added: “I hope that both sides can now build on the goodwill that made this possible in order to make further progress on implementing the Minsk agreements.”


Russia frees Ukraine pilot Savchenko in prisoner swap

Published in World
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 15:40

Russia has released jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko following a prisoner swap, local media say. There has been no official confirmation but sources said she was swapped for Russian prisoners Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov held by Ukraine. Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in jail for killing two journalists in eastern Ukraine - charges she strenuously denied. She has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russia at home.
The 34-year-old pilot was being flown from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to Kiev on board Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's plane, sources said. Yerofeyev and Alexandrov were being flown from Kiev to Moscow on board a plane belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine said the two men were elite members of Russian military intelligence but Russia insisted they were not on active duty when they were captured in eastern Ukraine.
The pair were sentenced to 14 years in jail last month after being found guilty of waging an "aggressive war" against Ukraine, committing a terrorist act and using weapons to provoke an armed conflict. A prisoner swap had long been considered likely.

Black and Baltic Sea border agencies to jointly counter security threats

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 15:01
Border officials from Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Moldova, Poland and Latvia participated in a conference for border control agencies from the Baltic-Black Sea region, which was held in the south Ukrainian city of Odessa on 28 April. The event discussed the countries’ cooperation towards preventing the uncontrolled expansion of the migration crisis along the EU’s eastern borders.
Representatives of the EU agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), EU Assistance Mission (EUAM) in Ukraine, EU Border Assistance Mission to Ukraine and Moldova (EUBAM), as well as International Organisation for Migration attended the conference.
“Improving regional border management and customs cooperation increases security and helps to fight organised cross-border crime such as trafficking in human beings, arms and drugs and contributes to preventing and managing irregular migration,” Andrew Tesoriere, Head of EUBAM, said. “Events like this allow the Black and Baltic Sea border agencies to share best practices and jointly strategies in order to better meet future needs and scenarios,” he added.
In conclusion, the event participants endorsed a communiqué highlighting the importance of introducing the key principles of Integrated Border Management, strengthening information exchange and operational coordination. They also stressed the need to create a joint risk analysis mechanism in the Black and Baltic Seas format to effectively counteract traditional and emerging illegal activities, EUBAM said in its press release on 29 April.

Pentagon says Russia can fight in Ukraine and Syria another two years

Published in World
Thursday, 21 April 2016 16:47

It has been two years since NATO and Russia sat at the same table to talk security issues, and the time off hasn’t done much for the relationship. A meeting in Brussels Wednesday designed to break the ice on issues like Ukraine, Syria, and tensions in the Baltics didn’t get very far before all sides agreed they don’t see eye-to-eye on much.
“During the meeting it was reconfirmed we disagree, both when it comes to the facts, the narratives and the responsibilities for the crisis in and around Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said after the sitdown.
The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002 to keep up a monthly dialogue between Moscow and the European defense organization, but ties were broken off in June 2014 after the invasion of  Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine’s east rages on, however, with one senior Defense official telling SitRep that there are 7,000 Russian troops still inside Ukraine, advising pro-Moscow rebels and engaging in the fighting themselves.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the Syrian conflict to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad hasn’t made a dent in the ability of Russia to send more equipment to Ukraine, either. Over the past year, Russia has shipped new rocket launchers, artillery, drones, and advanced electronic warfare equipment to the eastern Donbass region.
“I think they can sustain this for a considerable period of time,” the official said. “Our view is that they could sustain this easily for 24 months” even if oil prices remain low and the Russian economy continues to stagnate. Despite an announcement last month that the Russian military would begin to withdraw forces from Syria, instead Moscow sent more advanced helicopters, and the level of daily airstrikes has remained steady.


EKa Zghuladze will not resign

Published in World
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 17:18

According to the Interior Ministry of Ukraine confirms that the First Deputy Internal Minister Eka Zghuladze is not going to leave post. According to the Advisor to the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Anton Gerashenko, Zguladze is on vacation and plans to return on work on April 29.
As you know, the media reported today that Eka Zghuladze planned to resign. The same information was published about the Head of Ukrainian National Police, Khatia Dekanoidz too. 

Linas Linkevicius hopes Georgia will apply visa free regime

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:39

The Foreign Affairs Minister of Lithuania hopes that Georgia and Ukraine will receive visa free regime with the European Union for summer. According to Linas Antanas Linkevicius, it was not easy for these countries to execute all the requirements which were needed for this process.
“They had done it. Now we should implement all the decisions. A lot of representatives of European Union discuss this so I hope that this process will be held in normal way,”-the Foreign Minister of Lithuania said. 

Ukraine’s prime minister resigned

Published in World
Monday, 11 April 2016 09:09

The Ukrainian Prime Minister says he is to step down. Arseniy Yatsenyuk tendered his resignation in a televised broadcast. According to Euronews, he is blaming what he describes as “politicians’ failure to enact ‘real changes’” and says he will inform parliament on Tuesday. His government has been accused of inaction and corruption.
It should say that Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has signalled his support for parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Groysman to replace him after tendering his resignation.
Groysman is an ally of President Petro Poroshenko and if parliament approves his appointment on Tuesday, Poroshenko will have consolidated his power by installing a member of his own party as premier.

Sakvarelidze: I was summoned for questioning in case of $2 million "disappearance"

Published in World
Thursday, 31 March 2016 17:33

Former Deputy Prosecutor General, ex-Prosecutor of the Odesa region Davit Sakvarelidze says the Prosecutor General's  Sakvarelidze says he received no official notification from the PGO - just a call from senior investigator Dmytro Sus.
"I've just had a phone talk with deputy head of the PGO's newly established department dealing with sheer frame-ups, including against my team, "dear" Mr Sus. He invited me to visit him on Friday for questioning in the case of "disappearance" of $2 million. This is the very same Sus who several days ago, threatening with bringing suspicions and having a warrant to conduct searches, blackmailed General Inspectorate employees and urged them to "cooperate" by giving false testimony which was to be used later at a briefing in order to discredit me and our team," he wrote.
According to Sakvarelidze, he offered the PGO representative to send him an official notification containing the information about proceedings, date and time of interrogation.
"I will come for questioning any day of the week and help the investigation, and clearly explain how international technical assistance works when there is confidence in country's state institutions. Unfortunately, for as long as PGO's ideology smacks of Shokin and the like, the lawlessness will not end. I have no doubt that Sus recorded our conversation where I made it clear to him that instead of doing a real work, he was in fact committing a criminal offense, blackmailing and terrorizing the idealists involved in the "diamond prosecutors" case
"In response Sus said he was just doing his job. And this is the tragedy of the existing "prosecutorial ethics" which I dared to violate as you know... I hope that all these illegal actions will not stay unanswered. In order to help Ukraine maximally seamlessly get through this rather scandalous situation involving possible questioning of foreign states' ambassadors by such people as Mr Sus, I'm definitely ready to provide any necessary clarification on the work of donors. By the way, I'll also demand that my interrogation be recorded on video," Sakvarelidze stated.


Saakashvili will possibly resign and move into opposition in Ukraine

Published in World
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 17:26

Odessa Governor, Mikheil Saakashvili and his Georgian team of reformers working in Ukraine, will possibly resign and move into opposition in Ukraine. This statement was made by one of the leaders of the UNM party (United National Movement), George Baramidze, in an exclusive interview with Starvision TV. Baramidze said that the reform process has been accompanied by major difficulties in Ukraine because of the many corrupt officials in government who are creating obstacles to prevent reforms. If the Georgian team is not able to accomplish their reform objectives then they will resign and continue the battle in a different way along with those Ukrainians who want to reform the country. This situation is widely understood in Ukraine and the issue has been the subject of close scrutiny and discussion. “The Ukrainian ministry of Internal affairs, with the help of Eka Zguladze and Khatia Dekanoidze, made serious reforms to the police system. When you reform only one small part of the system and the rest remains in the swamp, than the one little non corrupted island cannot endure for very long. The same thing happened with the prosecution system. David Sakvarelidze has created General Inspectorate of the Prosecutor General’s Office and brought together a good team of prosecutors, however the rest of prosecution system has been left unreformed. All this has defeated many of the already implemented reforms. So it is possible that many other reforms may will fail too..”- Baramidze said. "But the struggle is ongoing. Mikheil Saakashvili is not going to retreat. However I think it is possible that our team will resign and move into opposition in order to be more able to be actively involved in political life and processes without having their hands bound. Saakashvili will be the main political figure in these processes and the Ukrainians will be behind him. They will create a positive climate in the political arena.” “Nothing good and meaningful will happen within the current parliament if everything is not fundamentally changed and if new elections are not held and if a new Parliament is not elected with a normal parliamentary majority. The current Parliament is guided not by the people’s interests but by the interests of oligarchs, so they do not create basic reforms.” Giorgi Baramidze also said that everything now depends on the decision of president Poroshenko. According to him, if there will be the opportunity to carry out reforms, they will continue to operate, otherwise they will continue the political struggle.

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