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In proposed law, Zelenskyy says Crimean Tatars “indigenous people of Ukraine” but Russians aren’t

Earlier this week, on the anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy sent to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law that declares the Crimean Tatars and two other Turkic peoples of the occupied Ukrainian peninsula to be indigenous peoples of Ukraine.

But the draft legislation, which for the first time defines in Ukrainian law just what an indigenous people is – an ethnic group within Ukraine that lacks a state of its own elsewhere – does not list the ethnic Russians, Belarusians, Poles or Jews as falling into that category. To no one’s surprise, Moscow views this as an anti-Russian act in a double sense.

On the one hand, Russian nationalists say Russians have every right to be an indigenous people of Ukraine because they have been living on what is Ukrainian territory for centuries. And on the other, by extending this definition to three Turkic groups in Crimea, they argue, Kyiv is trying to win over the population of what is now Russian territory.

Ukrainian officials have referred to the Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people of Ukraine in the past, but they had one problem with such references. Ukrainian law does not define who is an indigenous people and who is not. The new measure fills that gap, but obviously it does so in a way that is certain to spark controversy with Moscow.

According to the draft bill, an indigenous people is “an autochthonian ethnic community with its own unique language, which has its own cultural, social and representative organs, recognizes itself as a people of Ukraine and does not have a state formation beyond the borders of the country.”

Under that definition, in addition to ethnic Ukrainians, the Crimean Tatars, the Karaim and the Krymchaks are an indigenous people; and the Russians and the others are not. What has especially angered Russian commentators is that the draft law offers “broad economic, cultural, educational and language rights” to the indigenous peoples but not to the others.

For that reason, Eurasia portal commentator Natalya Makeyeva says, the measure “should not leave any doubt relative to the Nazi essence of Ukraine today.” In fact, of course, it does nothing of the kind. But because the new bill fails to include the ethnic Russians but does include three Turkic groups living on Moscow-controlled territory, some Russians are angry.

Indeed, some commentators in Moscow are suggesting that this latest Kyiv action is all about Kyiv’s policy of Ukrainianization of the population of Ukraine linguistically and culturally and of insisting that Crimea is not Russian but rather Ukrainian and must be returned to Kyiv’s control.

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January 24: Pussian terrorists have attacked densely populated areas of the city of Mariupol

Maidan Community Sector: Dear friends!

January 24 – Representative of Ukraine to the EU, Ambassador Kostiantyn Yelisieiev has stated that there is a need for an emergency meeting of the European Council and Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. "In connection with today's attack on Mariupol by the militants and as part of démarche addressed to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the Representative of Ukraine to the EU Kostiantyn Yelisieiev has urged the EU to provide a resolute assessment of further deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine, amid an actual refusal of the militants to adhere to Minsk Agreements". Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has also issued a statement saying that such an attack on Mariupol along with attacks in Volnovakha and Donetsk provide the evidence needed to recognize so-called People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as terrorist organizations.

January 24 – ATO forces have killed 265 militants in the last 24 hours, – stated the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak during a meeting of the operations center under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk regarding the situation in Mariupol. Disabled also were 14 tanks, 43 armored combat vehicles, 14 MLRS "Grad" and "Uragan", 28 self-propelled guns, 19 vehicles of the enemy.

January 24 – Terrorists of the "People's Republic of Donetsk" have attacked densely populated areas of the city of Mariupol. The time of the attack they selected was also to ensure a large number of victims among city residents. Three MLRS "Grad" released full service rounds aiming at the city – overall 120 rounds. 27 were killed and approximately 100 injured.

January 24 – 800 to 1000 local pro-Russian collaborators and Russian mercenaries are trying to aggravate the situation in Mariupol. They want to break into the city.

January 24 – True Putin's "peace plan" was finally published. In his "peace letter" to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin has offered to move away from the boundary line in the conflict zone, which was previously agreed upon in the unpublished annex to Minsk Memorandum, and legitimize the "actual" boundary line in favor of Russia and its collaborators from so called People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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March 15: Approximately 8.6 thousand soldiers of the Russian troops are currently located in Donbas

March 15 – "Approximately 8.6 thousand soldiers of the Russian troops are currently located in Donbas. Together with illegal armed formations of so called People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Russian group of troops amounts to more than 43 thousand militants, approximately 780 tanks, 1030 armoured vehicles, 500 artillery systems, almost 420 MLRS, 7 flame throwers "Buratino", nearly 130 air defence systems", – said Deputy Chief of Staff of the ATO in sector C Valentyn Fedychev.

March 15 – After the events at Independence Square (Maidan) in Kyiv in winter of 2014, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were ready for any scenario – Moscow was ready to bring its nuclear forces to alert, – stated Russian President Vladimir Putin in a film about the annexation of the Crimea "Crimea. The way home."

March 15 – President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of violating the ceasefire and said that Minsk agreements have failed: since the beginning of a full ceasefire on February 15th, it has been violated 1100 times. This was stated by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in an interview to Bild newspaper before he left for Germany. Also the President noted that the OSCE observers do not have proper access to be able to fully control the process of withdrawal of heavy weapons. The President called to respond to violations of Minsk agreements by increased sanctions against Russia.

March 15 – To Crimea for the disarmament of the Ukrainainn soldiers, the Main Reconnaissance Department of the Russian Federation was sent. This is presented in the movie about the annexation of Crimea, "Crimea -The Road to the Fatherland", which will be transmitted on the Russian television channel, Russia 1," stated RF President Volodymyr Putin. "In order to block and disarm 20,000 individuals, well armed, it is necessary to have a certain selection of personnel. This means not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of quality. Professionals were needed who know how to do this. Therefore, I delegated the task and provided directions to the Ministry of Defense what to hide under the guise of increasing the guards for our army objects in Crimea, to send there the special sub-units of the Main Reconnaissance Managers and units of the land navy soldiers, the paratroopers.

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