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Daily review: Erdogan as Russia-Ukraine mediator, Germany convinces US to not sanction Nord Stream 2, SBU launches coup probe

Daily review: Erdogan as Russia-Ukraine mediator, Germany convinces US to not sanction Nord Stream 2, SBU launches coup probe

In this Day in review, read not only about 28 November but about what happened over the weekend.

Quick fire

Russian-led forces launch 2 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Pivdenne & Svitlodarsk, also using heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk.

On 30 January 2022, 27 Russian diplomats to be expelled from US, says Russian Ambassador to US Anatoliy Antonov.

Former head of Defense Intelligence of Ministry of Defense Vasyl Burba to file lawsuit against President Zelensky for accusing him of disclosing classified information.

Holodomor Remembrance Day

On 27 November, the last Saturday in the month, Ukrainians commemorated the victims of the Holodomor, Stalin’s man-made famine that carried away the lives of roughly four million Ukrainians in 1932-33. We prepared a guide to all our materials on this tragic page in Ukraine’s history.

Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov unleashes international scandal and criminal proceedings of the DBR

On this day, Ukrainian journalist, editor of Yuriy Butusov uploaded a video of himself shooting “at Russian occupants” for “each victim of Soviet repressions,” causing a stir on Russian media, as a) journalists cannot be combatants b) the ceasefire in Donbas forbids heavy artillery. Butusov later added in the description of the video that it was shot not in Donbas, but “long ago” during a training of the Territorial Defense far away from the frontline. However, Russian media started using the post to accuse Ukraine of violating the Minsk agreements.

Now, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (DBR), created to investigate corruption of top authorities, announced it is opening a criminal probe into the post on suspicion of “mishandling weapons” and “conducting an aggressive war. Butusov himself sees this as retribution of Prez Zelenskyy, with whom he had a hot argument during the presidential press marathon, where Zelenskyy accused Butusov of publishing on the failed Wagner operation & Bayraktar drone attack. Butusov planned to sue for alleged libel. Ukraine’s MoD has “categorically condemned” Butusov’s post, which “could be used to exacerbate the situation in Donbas & accuse Ukraine of violating weapons withdrawal regime” in Donbas. It announces a probe into possible violations of duties by officials.

Türkiye ready to act as mediator between Ukraine and Russia

Türkiye is ready to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia, President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying by broadcaster NTV on Monday, despite having angered Moscow by selling armed drones to Kyiv earlier this year… NATO member Türkiye has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, though it opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya. It has forged energy and defence cooperation with Russia, while opposing Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Arguments Germany is using to persuade the US not to impose Nord Stream 2 sanctions leaked 

The website Axios has published a non-paper that describes Germany’s arguments to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that disgruntled Republicans are passing as an amendment to the annual must-pass defense bill, with a vote possible as soon as this week. To preserve relations with Germany, US President Biden has last spring waived sanctions on the Russian pipeline Ukraine vehemently opposes as ostensibly endangering Ukraine’s security by creating the final link to render Ukraine’s gas transport system obsolete for the task of transferring Russian gas to the EU.

Arguments include: that doing so will “weaken” US credibility and “ultimately damage transatlantic unity,” that if Russia commits “further aggressive acts around Ukraine” Germany would take steps at the national level, including “strong public messages” condemning Russia’s behavior; “assessing” the suspension of future political meetings; and reviewing “possible” restrictions on future Russian fossil fuel projects — not including Nord Stream 2.

Finns fighting against Ukraine in Donbas

Finland’s national public broadcasting company YLE reported that an estimated twenty Finns used to fight in Russian-hybrid forces against Ukrainians in the unproclaimed war in Ukraine’s east, yet the Finnish authorities don’t investigate their activities in the warzone.

Some 20 Finns fought against Ukraine in Donbas, facing no consequences in Finland – media

Belarus to hold joint military drills with Russia at Ukraine border, support Russia in case of “Ukrainian attack on Russia”

Speaking after a meeting of self-proclaimed Belarusian President Lukashenka with the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, Minister Viktor Khrenin announced a set of planned measures to “shield” the country’s southern border.

In his turn, self-proclaimed President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that Belarus will take Russia’s side in case “Ukraine will unleash a conflict against Russia.”

Belarus announces joint military drills with Russia at Ukraine border, support for Russia in case “Ukraine unleashes conflict”

Security Service launches probe into possible coup; Zelenskyy fires head of SBU counterintelligence department

The SBU announced it is launching a criminal probe “on the fact of preparation by some citizens of Ukraine and the Russian Federation of actions aimed at seizing state power.” An SBU representative later detailed in an interview that the probe was launched on 28 November, two days after Zelenskyy’s press marathon.

Zelenskyy also signed a decree dismissing Oleksandr Rusnak, head of the counterintelligence department of the Security Service of Ukraine.

At his press marathon on November 26, President Zelensky publicly stated that the Russians, along with some Ukrainian citizens, were trying to stage a coup d’etat in the country and overthrow the current government. According to him, the organizers seem to be trying to involve Rinat Akhmetov, the owner of the largest business in Ukraine, in their plans to change the government. At the marathon, Zelenskyy also said he is “ashamed” for the lack of professionalism of the Ukrainian counterintelligence during the operation to detain members of the Wagner PMC in 2020.

NATO chief says there “will be [undisclosed] consequences” if Russia uses military force against Ukraine again

“We are sending a clear message to Russia that there will be consequences if they use military force against Ukraine again,” Stoltenberg said in an interview, conducted ahead of his visit to Latvia and Lithuania on 27-28 November and before a NATO foreign ministers in Riga, likely to focus prominently on Russia, Euroactiv reported.

However, asked what NATO would do if Russia invades Ukraine, Stoltenberg, who travelled to the Baltics together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said “the first task is to prevent that from happening”. Asked what consequences Russia could face if it launched an assault on Ukraine, the NATO chief pointed towards economic, financial and diplomatic means, without elaborating.

Russian tanks near Ukraine have anti-Javelin and anti-drone modifications

Tank watchers on social media have identified more&more Russian tanks sporting unsubtle field modifications seemingly aimed at fending off Ukraine’s newest weapons: US-supplied Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, and TB2 Bayraktar drones supplied by Türkiye, Forbes reported.

Ukraine’s population projected to fall to 35 million by 2050

Low fertility and high mortality rates together with high levels of outmigration are eroding Ukraine’s human capital and thus the basis for sustainable development. Insufficient wellbeing and lack of opportunities for women to combine career and care for children remain among the factors preventing Ukrainians from having the desired number of children, a UN report found.

As noted, the prevalence of highrisk behaviour and non-communicable diseases are among the main causes for one of Europe’s highest mortality rates, especially among men. About one third of Ukrainians die before the age of 65. More than half of these deaths are preventable. There are an estimated 3 million Ukrainian workers abroad at any given time and numbers are likely to increase.

Birthday of assassinated Belarusian journalist Pavlo Sheremet commemorated in Ukraine 

On 28 November, activists and friends of the murdered Belarusian-Ukrainian journalist Pavlo Sheremet held commemorations on what could have been his 50th birthday, Ukrainska Pravda reported. Sheremet was killed by a bomb that detonated under his car in 2016. Since then, the Ukrainian authorities charged three persons with the crime, but the official version has been found to have multiple incongruencies by experts. A leaked wiretap of the Belarusian KGB publicized in June this year revealed President Lukashenka sought the assassination of opposition journalist Pavel Sheremet.

Our patrons asked what corruption actually looks like in Ukraine, so we created

Speaking about Ukraine’s admission to NATO, Joe Biden said Ukrainians “still have to clean up corruption.” Corruption is among the most frequent associations when it comes to Ukraine. But what exactly does this term mean in the day-to-day reality of Ukrainians’ lives?

New institutions have been created as a result of reforms, and those implemented in particular spheres are mostly free of corruption. At the same time, some still unreformed Soviet rules and practices remain, and they continue to breed corruption. Examples from both sides of the coin give an idea of how far Ukraine has progressed.

What everyday corruption looks like in Ukraine

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