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Daily review: Biden and Putin talk (again), Germany opposes Russia’s return to G7, Ukraine imposes sanctions for Crimean bridge

Daily review: Biden and Putin talk (again), Germany opposes Russia’s return to G7, Ukraine imposes sanctions for Crimean bridge
Article by: Yuliia Rudenko
Edited by: Alya Shandra
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Past 24 hours in the war zone

  • Russian hybrid forces launched four attacks on Ukrainian positions.
  • In one of the attacks, a Ukrainian soldier received injury.
  • As of 17:00, December 30, no ceasefire breaches by Russian proxies were recorded.

Quick Ukraine news

  • In an interview with dpa, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbok steers clear from directly answering questions about weapons supplies to Ukraine. Her stance is to focus on diplomatic means. “Both the G7 states and the European Union have made it very clear that further military escalation at the Ukrainian border and, above all, a breach of international law and the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would have massive political and economic consequences for Russia. If we set out all our options for action, then we have a long list. However, our priority now is to prevent further escalation. That can only be achieved through diplomacy in the Normandy format as well as through the NATO-Russia Council and within the framework of the OSCE,” she replied to the question about the possibility of military aid to Kyiv. Earlier, German tabloid newspaper Bild informed that since May this year, Berlin had exploited NATO mechanisms to prevent NATO member states from supplying Ukraine with weapons for arms.
  • The President of Estonia Alar Karis will pay a visit to Kyiv in early 2022.
  • Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Ukraine, a group of representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe set to facilitate the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donbas, will meet on January 26, 2022. Earlier, on December 22, the TCG parties voiced support of the July 2020 ceasefire agreement in Donbas. On the next day, Kyiv reported that Russian proxies had committed three ceasefire violations in Donbas.
  • Kyiv will not recognise any vaccine produced in Russia, Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said. But Ukraine is prepared to vaccinate all its nationals at the checkpoints with the occupied territories.

Biden talks to Putin for the second time this month

US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke for nearly an hour on Thursday as rising tensions over Ukraine provided the backdrop for the leaders’ second conversation this month. The call, which was requested by Putin, began at 3:35 p.m. Eastern time (2035 GMT) and ended 50 minutes later, according to US officials, Reuters reported.

According to the first White House statement,

President Biden urged Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine. He made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine. President Biden also expressed support for diplomacy, starting early next year with the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue, at NATO through the NATO-Russia Council, and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. President Biden reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can occur only in an environment of de-escalation rather than escalation.”

EU wants to participate in US-Russia talks

This January, send a letter to a Ukrainian political prisoner of the Kremlin

Most of us will spend the cozy winter holidays with our family and good food. But there are at least 127 Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin who will spend them inside damp prison walls, with prison grub, thousands of kilometers away from their family, despite having committed no crime, forgotten by the world…

Or are they not forgotten? We can show them that we remember and that the world is watching the Putin regime’s crimes closely. That’s why as part of the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign and to share the warmth of the winter holidays, the Center for Civil Liberties together with Euromaidan Press is launching the traditional 2022 Winter letter marathon for Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin.

A letter from Roman Sushchenko, a Ukrainian political prisoner in the Kremlin released as part of a “big exchange” in 2019, with his hand-drawn picture. From the archive of Tatiana Lazda

Putin’s attack against Kyiv runs across the boomerang effect

Since October 2021, messages and news about Ukraine produced by the US leading newspapers and Western intelligence agencies have been mostly about Moscow’s possible aggression against the country, with about 175,000 troops involved. As of today, Russia has built up over 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine. However, according to the report by the Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute, Russia does not plan to invade. Instead, it attempts to cause a crisis in Ukraine in advance of its elections and divide NATO allies.

But these efforts have backfired. Now, a majority of Ukrainians support the country’s membership in NATO. Sweden and Finland are trying to strengthen ties with NATO. NATO’s member states have refused Putin’s veto over its alliances. And the US has, meanwhile, developed a mechanism to punish the aggressor.

RNBO imposes sanctions against individuals and companies who helped construct Crimean bridge

At a meeting on Thursday chaired by President Volodymyr Zelensky, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine imposed sanctions on some individuals and legal entities, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov announced at a briefing after the meeting.

According to the proposal of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, a decision was made to expand the list of individuals and legal entities subject to personal sanctions.

Sanctions were imposed on 6 individuals and 24 legal entities involved in the illegal construction and operation of the railway section of the Crimean bridge, the organization of passenger rail services connecting the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol with the territory of the Russian Federation, and damage to national heritage on the territory of Sevastopol.

The sanction list also includes 18 individuals involved in making unjust court decisions on the alienation of property of the Crimean Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

Sanctions were applied to 52 individuals who, holding senior positions in the structure of the occupation administration of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, cause significant damage to the national interests and security of the Ukrainian people.

How Zelenskyy effectively sabotages judiciary reform in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court itself is far from having a clean reputation. Some judges there are left over from the Yanukovych era and cannot be removed. However, instead of reforming it and conducting judiciary reform in Ukraine, president Zelenskyy is trying to get the court under his personal control, appointing constitutional judges in violation of legal procedure. Along with sabotage with the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the president is effectively contradicting his own words and efforts to reform Ukraine’s legal system.

Euromaidan Press spoke to Mykhailo Zhernakov, head of the board at the DEJURE Foundation, the main watchdog analyzing judiciary reform in Ukraine, to find out details and possible consequences of current presidential decisions.

How Zelenskyy effectively sabotages judiciary reform in Ukraine

Washington flies reconnaissance mission over Donbas

With the authorization of official Kyiv, the US flew an intelligence mission over the eastern part of Ukraine to collect data about the developments on the ground two days after Moscow had promised to withdraw 10,000 troops from the Ukrainian border. According to Lt. Cmdr. Russ Wolfkiel, a spokesman for US European Command, Washington operates aircraft in the Black Sea region for intelligence purposes of the US The mission did not fly over the Donbas region where Russia-backed proxies demanded autonomy from Kyiv. But the aircraft sensors gathered data about military development on the ground.

Polish Prime Minister refers to Nord Stream 2 as blackmail

According to the Polish Prime Minister, Putin uses Nord Stream 2 as a tool of gas blackmail, RMF4 reports. Namely, he refers to the fact that Russia’s President mentioned that Nord Stream 2 will stabilize gas prices in Europe. “Today, Russia is responsible and Brussels is co-responsible for very high prices on energy, very high prices for gas, very high prices for energy. They, in their turn, lead to high prices for various products and services,” said Mateusz Morawiecki.

He further added that by his words, Russia’s President affirmed that Nord Stream 2 is an element of Russian gas blackmail. “If you are obedient over there, in Western Europe, we will open tap and gas will flow, if not, you will face problems,” he said.

Estonia to supply Ukraine with Javelin rockets

Another news on Ukraine is that Estonia will provide the country with Javelin rockets, anti-tank weapons, and howitzers. Before it does so, the US, Germany, and Finland as countries of origin of these arms, will need to give their consent. According to the Chief Department for International Cooperation of the Estonian Defense Ministry, since the beginning of Russian aggression, Tallinn has helped in the training of the Ukrainian combat doctors, troops of special service, and in the information exchange between the two armies.

Germany will head the G7. And it will not welcome Russia’s return

Starting 1 January 2022, Germany will lead the G7. According to German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbok, there is no possibility for Russia to return to the format in the near future. She said, “Of course, it is very painful that Russia excluded itself from this circle by annexing Crimea.”

Russia equates defending political prisoners to ‘justifying terrorism’ in ban on Memorial Human Rights Centre

A day after Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the closure of the Memorial Society and all its branches, a Moscow court has carried out the same hatchet job against the Memorial Human Rights Centre.  The latter has played a huge role in monitoring Russia’s repression in occupied Crimea, and the excuses given for demanding its closure may well augur a new escalation in political persecution.

Russian military concentration continues but no signs of imminent invasion yet – OSINT group

The past month saw a further concentration of Russian vehicles in field camps both known and new. The pace of the transfers has not slowed down, but speaking of an imminent operation in Ukraine would still be premature, the Conflict Intelligence Team writes in its latest update.

US-Ukraine Foundation honors 30 Stars of Ukraine who promoted country’s international image

On 29 December 2021 in Washington, DC, the US-Ukraine Foundation named winners of its 30 Stars of Ukraine award. Among the winners are Ukrainian artists, soldiers, organizations, and startups. Among the Stars are Major General (ret.) Volodymyr Havrylov, director of the Veterans Dozen Foundation and former Defense Attaché of Ukraine in the US; Oksana Lyniv, founder and artistic director of LvivMozArt Festival and first female chief conductor of the Graz Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra; and LiveUAMap, a global news and information site that delivers world news via maps.

U.S.-Ukraine Foundation honors 30 Stars of Ukraine who promoted country’s international image



Edited by: Alya Shandra
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