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Ukrainian interest. Requiem for Churkin, intriguing Firtash, and Dutch breakthrough

Death of the Russian permanent representative to the UN was cynically used by Russian MFA in its attempts to manipulate the UNSC. Moscow has once again let Ukraine’s disgraced president Viktor Yanukovych speak up in media. Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtash has become a game in big hunt of the U.S. and Spanish law enforcers. Lower House of the Dutch Parliament has supported the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

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Russian Foreign Ministry this week has gone south with their propaganda whirlpool, exploiting the death of Russia’s envoy to UN Vitaly Churkin in their attempts to manipulate the situation in the UN Security Council. However, Russian diplomats saw no real success, as Ukrainian Permanent Representative Volodymyr Yelchenko did not succumb to provocations. Lavrov’s subordinates have once again confirmed their cynical nature, just like the chief of Russian diplomacy, who claimed the recognition by the Kremlin of travel documents issued by unrecognized Donbas “republics” does not contradict Minsk Agreements, in defiance of Ukraine, Germany, and France.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has offered to reform the UN Security Council by stripping its permanent members of their veto power. The United Nations reform has long been on top agenda of global politics; however, five permanent members of the Security Council show no enthusiasm over the prospects of losing their veto rights. Moreover, the future of the Security Council turning into a kind of prototype of world government seems highly unlikely today.

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Meanwhile, Russia injected another “Viktor Yanukovych” dose into the media space. Judging by the tone of the ex-president's statements, he is tasked with testing the Kremlin's relations with Donald Trump. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the fact that an ousted Ukrainian president currently on Russian life support writes a letter to the U.S. President asking him to give a principled assessment of the current situation. It is unlikely that Yanukovych could count on a dialogue of the equals given the circumstances. He appeals to his deal with the opposition of February 21, 2014, which he considers necessary to fulfill along with the Minsk agreements. Considering that he obviously can’t turn back time, at the moment he agrees to limit his wish list to an all-Ukrainian referendum on the fate of Donbas. Interestingly, he didn’t breathe a word about the fate of Crimea.

At the same time, the world heard some controversial offers regarding the fate of the occupied peninsula, uttered by MP Andriy Artemenko, who until recently was a member of the Radical Party faction. He allegedly managed to pass his “Crimea plan” to Michael Flynn, while he was still a national security adviser to Donald Trump. The Ukrainian legislator, who previously chose to lurk in the shadows of the country’s political life, intends to initiate rejection of Minsk Agreements and a referendum on leasing Crimea to Russia. It seems that there will still emerge a wide variety of “plans to resolve the conflict in Donbas,” and Ukraine must respond as clear as possible –with a strategy of returning its territories that are temporarily beyond government control.

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Another citizen of Ukraine, who hasn’t set foot on Ukrainian soil for almost three years, suddenly faced the prospects of being handed over to either the U.S. or Spanish law enforcers. Dmytro Firtash has rapidly lost his political weight, and his formal release from custody should not mislead anyone. Having plummeted from the heights of being an owner of the incalculable assets and powerful media influence, Firtash turned into a potential source of information about the Kremlin's corruption schemes. And now, the investigators from both sides of the Atlantic are desperately struggling to get the oligarch extradited.

One of the oldest democracies in Europe has supported the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. The Lower House of the Dutch Parliament spoke in favor of the Ukraine-EU rapprochement shortly ahead of Dutch parliamentary elections, which may see the furor of the right-wingers. Now, the Dutch Senate is to have its say on the big deal’s ratification.

Poroshenko not only informed the Ukrainian military on likely directions of Russian attacks but also appointed Ukraine’s ambassadors to Belarus and Iraq. There has been no Ukrainian envoy in Minsk for almost two years, which was actually rather confusing to the Belarusian side. Eventually, an apparent crisis in Russian-Belarusian relations seems to have spurred Kyiv to appoint an experienced diplomat. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s nearest western neighbors in the near future will remain in a special focus amid Russia’s continued attempting to drive a wedge, in particular, in Polish-Ukrainian relations, as stated by Polish Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Peklo.

Yevgeny Magda

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