Polish Journalist Punched in the Face After Insulting Russians on TV Debate Show

A Polish journalist was punched in the face on Russian television this week, after telling a debate panel, “Ukrainians want to live like normal people, not in shit, like you [in Russia].”

ED: Am I the only person that finds this funny ?

Polish journalist Tomasz Maciejczuk’s run-in with another man’s fist came during an appearance on the Russian TV show “Voting Right.” The episode never aired, but the TVTs station published the video on YouTube on Nov. 22.

The man who hit Maciejczuk was Ihor Markov, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served briefly in Ukraine’s parliament before the Maidan Revolution. Today, Markov is wanted by police in Ukraine in connection with riots that took place in Odessa in September 2007.

This week’s fight on Russian television broke out when the debate turned to average salaries in Russia. Maciejczuk took the opportunity to point out that the Russian economy lags significantly in this area, saying heatedly, “When we talk about money, I want to congratulate Romania on its victory. And do you know why? Because today the average salary in Romania is higher than it is in Russia. And it’s higher in Latvia, too.”

When pressed to talk about Ukrainians, Maciejczuk let loose his quip about “living in shit.” In response, the show’s host, Roman Babayan, threw a piece of paper in his face, and fired back, “You’re the ones who live in shit!”

It was chaos after this, with Babayan, Markov, and others charging Maciejczuk and demanding, over and over, that he leave the television studio. When Maciejczuk refused to go, arguing that his remarks were no more offensive than comments Russians often make about Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, Markov leaned in and punched in him the forehead. The footage published on YouTube abruptly ends there.

Maciejczuk seems to be okay. On Vkontakte, he remained defiant, mocking political analyst Sergei Mikheev, who also appeared on the show, for his apparent ignorance about average salaries in Russia.

Russia’s state-news media, meanwhile, has described the incident as yet another Russophobic outburst by a foreign journalist. Sputnik’s Russian-language Armenia division, for instance, spoke to Mikheev and historian Armen Gasparyan, who accused Maciejczuk of intentionally staging a scandal. Gasparyan told Sputnik that Maciejczuk even confessed to him in the past that he “knows better” than what he says on the air.

From – https://themoscowtimes.com/news/polish-journalist-punched-in-the-face-after-insulting-russians-on-tv-debate-show-56279

Ukraine Demonstrators Attack Russian Banks in Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine—Nationalist demonstrators in Ukraine on Saturday attacked two offices of Russian banks in the capital amid observances of the second anniversary of the protests that brought down the Russia-friendly president.

Demonstrators threw rocks through windows at the offices of Alfa Bank and Sberbank and damaged furniture and equipment inside. Protesters also vandalized the offices of the holding company of Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov. Police didn’t intervene.

Tens of thousands of people in the Ukrainian capital came to various observances of the “Day of the Heavenly Hundred.” The term refers to those who died during the months of protests in Kiev that culminated with President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing.

Saturday was the second anniversary of the bloodiest day of the protests, when more than 50 people died from sniper fire.

After the ousting of Mr. Yanukovych, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and Russian-speaking separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions launched protests that escalated into a war that has killed more than 9,000 people.

A cease-fire was called a year ago, but reports of violations are frequent. Russia, which Ukraine and Western countries claim has sent troops and equipment to back the insurgents, blames the Kiev authorities for keeping tensions high by failing to push through measures that would increase autonomy for the eastern regions and allow local elections.

But nationalists vehemently reject any concessions to the east and are angered by authorities’ failure to address Ukraine’s endemic corruption. Mr. Akhmetov, whose wealth springs from mining and steel in the east, is a target of their anger.

“We need to have a third Maidan,” said Nikolai Kokhanovsky, a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, using the common term of the protests of 2014 and those of the 2004 Orange Revolution. New protests would “sweep away this corrupt government and pro-Russian oligarchs who have betrayed our revolution of dignity.”

“Russia and the oligarchs are guilty for life in Ukraine becoming worse and worse,” said 21-year-old protester Ruslan Tymchuk, who was dressed in camouflage and wielding a bat.

In recent weeks, political tensions have risen and President Petro Poroshenko this week urged Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a key figure of the 2014 protests, to resign along with his government. But Mr. Yatsenyuk survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

At the observances for those who died in the protests, Mr. Poroshenko vowed that efforts would continue to bring to justice the snipers who killed demonstrators and asserted that despite the eastern conflict and severe economic difficulties “nonetheless, the country is changing and moving forward.”

From – http://www.wsj.com/articles/kiev-demonstrators-attack-russian-banks-1455977173

Russia accuses Ukrainian Security Service of kidnapping of two Russian soldiers in the Crimea

Interfax has reported that the Russian Defense Ministry has accused the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) of illegally detaining two Russian servicemen, and then transporting them out of the Crimea.

“At approximately 1pm on the 20th of November, employees of the SBU illegally detained two Russian soldiers, warrant officer Maxim Odintsov and junior sergeant of contract service Alexander Baranov, and transported them out of the Crimea to the Mykolaiv region,” the Russian agency said.

The ministry accused the SBU of yet “another gross provocation” and demanded “an immediate return of the ‘kidnapped’ servicemen to the territory of the Russian Federation”.

“According to some reports, the SBU are attempting to fabricate charges against Odintsov and Baranov for alleged crimes committed against Ukraine. Psychological and physical pressure will be exerted on the soldiers in order to obtain the ‘necessary’ confessions,” the ministry continued.

It was previously reported that a Russian court in the Crimea arrested two Ukrainians and accused them of organizing “acts of sabotage” against objects of infrastructure in the annexed territory.

On the 10th of November, the Federal Security Service of Russia announced the arrest of members of a “subversive group” in Sevastopol. Two of the three detainees, Dmitry Shtyblikov and Oleksiy Bessarabov, are experts at the Nomos analytical center. The center was doing work in Sevastopol until the beginning of 2014. The third detainee is a captain of the second rank and a reservist, Volodymyr Dudka.

Kiev on edge as thousands mark Euromaidan anniversary

Thousands of Ukrainians gathered in their capital Kiev on Monday to mark three years since the start of the so-called Euromaidan revolution, despite warnings of potential violence by government opponents
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Police and national guard units closed roads in central Kiev from the early hours, a court building was evacuated due to a bomb threat and explosives experts destroyed a suspicious device close to the Maidan square.

It was here on November 21st, 2013, that demonstrators first protested against the unexpected decision of Ukraine’s then president, Viktor Yanukovich, to scrap a historic trade and political pact with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.

That small rally, at which people waved Ukrainian and EU flags, grew into an almost nationwide movement after riot police brutally beat protesters on Maidan nine days later. The square became a vast camp, where people stayed until police shot dead scores of protesters in February 2014, and Mr Yanukovich fled to Russia.

“This is where Ukraine stood up and said no to Yanukovich and his gang – and to Russia,” said Yevhen, a student taking photographs with friends on Maidan on Monday.++

“I wasn’t here at the start [of Euromaidan] but I came when I could. Everyone did something to help the protests, whether bringing food, standing guard, making leaflets or playing music. Ukraine came together here – but it’s hard to stay together. We still have lots of problems.”

The anniversary finds Ukrainians frustrated with the failure of their pro-western leaders to fulfil the main demands of Euromaidan – crush corruption, cut the influence of rich business “oligarchs”, improve the economy and spread wealth more evenly among the country’s 45 million people.

Protests

The government and president Petro Poroshenko face criticism from many sides, including the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party formed by old allies of Mr Yanukovich, liberal civic society and ultra-nationalist groups. The far-right Azov battalion said it expected thousands to attend a march on Monday evening.

On the eve of the anniversary, Mr Poroshenko claimed Russia planned to use political protests to destabilise Ukraine, while continuing to back separatists in a conflict in eastern regions that has killed some 10,000 people since April 2014.

“The Kremlin’s aim is constant domestic destabilisation, anarchy… early elections in Ukraine and the strengthening of the pro-Russian forces’ position in the new parliament,” he said.
“If we take the path of sharp domestic conflicts, the country could quickly be thrown into the abyss of chaos and disorder, and be left defenceless before external aggression. As president, I will not let that happen.”

Mr Poroshenko admitted, however, that people “have grounds for dissatisfaction… and the inalienable right to protest”.

“It is exactly this democracy and freedom that are clear achievements” of Euromaidan, he said.

About 6,000 security service personnel have been mobilised to monitor the anniversary events.

Vaysl Hrytsak, head of Ukraine’s security service, said “many officers spent last night at work and will continue to do so to ensure order and security on our streets”.

Pains, gains and enemy within: Poroshenko appealed to Ukrainians

President addressed the people on Dignity and Freedom Day, marking third anniversary of Euromaidan

Petro Poroshenko addressed the Ukrainian people on the occasion of the Day of dignity and freedom, President’s press service reports.

“Three years ago, hundreds of brave young men and women without any politicians gathered at Euromaidan to peacefully protest against the Yanukovych regime which stole their great European dream. Brutal beating of young people by ‘Berkut’ stirred up the whole country. Millions of Ukrainians took to the streets. They came to thwart a plan to transform Ukraine into the ‘Little Russian’ corner of Russian Empire,” president recalled.

“After the victory over the regime, it occurred that the entire state machinery is nothing but a rotten steering wheel. Ukraine was choked seemingly inevitable default. The economy has not recovered from the global crisis. Russia has not only started a war, but also makes a real trade blockade, which caused losses in hundreds of billions. Army and security services were virtually non-existent. This is the depth, from which we started to climb,” Poroshenko said.

“To avoid economical default and disaster, the government had no choice but to resort to tough measures – the same standard steps that our neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe have successfully carried out in the early 90’s. The support of the International Monetary Fund was critically important for us. Though, IMF never subscribes sweet medication. Thus, I understand that we can not help hurting millions of families. No shame in apologizing for that,” the president explained..

He also pointed on some gains: “This year, we abandoned regular mobilization waves and signed up professional contract soldiers from tens of thousands of volunteers… After fourteen quarters of fall, which began a year before the revolution and the war, the economy finally started growing again.”

“But It does not take much effort to make all this come to naught. The enemy does not only attack Ukraine from the outside, but also undermines us from within The aim of the Kremlin is the constant internal destabilization, anarchy, warlordism, in the end returning Ukraine to the imperial stall… At the same time, I ask you not to label all mass actions participants indiscriminately. It is clear that people have reasons for dissatisfaction and every free citizen in a free Ukraine has the inherent right to protest,” Poroshenko stressed.

He mention the drastic topic of visa regime with EU: “We have implemented 144 articles of plan for visa liberalization, completing a number of extremely important reforms. This week, the EU Council unanimously adopted a resolution that recognizes the full implementation of all obligations by Ukraine.”

“Sometimes I ask myself: could I avoid mistakes? Folk wisdom of many nations says: the only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” – the president said.

“The horizon is seen little better from upon high. We’re facing many more problems, and I’m not going to embellish reality. But I have clear vision that the most difficult problems we have experienced already and everything will be all right – if we don’t allow some politicians to roll away the results achieved at such a high price,” Poroshenko assured.

The Dignity and Freedom Day is celebrated in Ukraine every year on November 21. On that day Ukrainians mark anniversaries of the Orange Revolution and Revolution of Dignity.

From – http://uatoday.tv/politics/pains-gains-and-enemy-within-poroshenko-appealed-to-ukrainians-809623.html

Russia to withdraw from ICC treaty after equation of Crimea annexation to war

The Russian Federation intends to withdraw from the Rome Statute on establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the Court called Crimea annexation an armed conflict in the preliminary investigation. The corresponding decree was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it was published on the official website of the Russian Federation legal information.

In particular, Putin agreed to accept the proposal of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, which, as noted, in coordination with other agencies, such as the Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee requested to notify the UN Secretary General about Russia’s intention to withdraw from the contract.

Putin’s decree was published the next day after the ICC issued a preliminary investigation of the Prosecutor, which states that the annexation of Crimea has signs of an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“According to information we received, the situation in the Crimea and Sevastopol is equivalent to the international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict started before February 26 [2014], when the Russian Federation has involved its Armed Forces to gain control over big part of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the government of Ukraine,” the document stated.

Earlier it was reported that the International Criminal Court (The Hague Tribunal, Netherlands) considers the situation in the annexed Crimea to be an equivalent of international armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia. This was stated in the annual report of the preliminary investigation by the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court, published on November 14..

From – http://112.international/ukraine-top-news/russia-to-withdraw-from-icc-treaty-after-equation-of-crimea-annexation-to-war-11075.html

EU states conditionally back visa-free travel for Ukraine

BRUSSELS, Nov 17 (Reuters) – European Union states agreed on Thursday to waive visas for Ukrainians coming to the bloc for short visits, but said implementation could only take place once the bloc beefs up its mechanism to suspend visa-free agreements.

“I am delighted that our decision is able to send a positive message in the run up to the EU-Ukraine Summit on 24 November,” said Peter Javorcik, the EU ambassador for Slovakia, which now holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

From – https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/reuters-eu-states-conditionally-back-visa-free-travel-ukraine.html

Fitch upgrades Ukraine to ‘B-‘, outlook stable

The Outlook is Stable. The issue ratings on Ukraine’s long-term senior unsecured foreign- and local-currency bonds are also upgraded to ‘B-‘ from ‘CCC’, and the sovereign’s short-term senior unsecured foreign- and local-currency bonds are upgraded to ‘B’ from ‘C’, according to Fitch.

The Country Ceiling has been upgraded to ‘B-‘ from ‘CCC’ and the Short-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency IDRs to ‘B’ from ‘C’..

The upgrade of Ukraine’s IDRs reflects the following key rating drivers and their relative weights: external financing pressures have eased. International reserves have increased by USD2bn over the first 10 months of 2016 to USD15.5bn (around 3.5 months of current external payments), due to bilateral and multilateral support, improvement in some export prices, greater domestic confidence and increased exchange rate flexibility. However, the liquidity ratio remains weak and well below the ‘B’ median.

The IMF disbursed USD1bn after completing the delayed second review of Ukraine’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in September, and a third USD1bn U.S.-guaranteed Eurobond issue was placed. Further disbursements from the IMF and other international partners depend on progress in structural reform, which is subject to execution risks, and developments in bilateral relations.

According to Fitch, the current account deficit is expected to widen moderately to 2.5% of GDP in 2016 from 0.2% in 2015 and approach 3% over the forecast period to 2018. However, multilateral and bilateral financing, as well as improving domestic confidence supporting higher net capital inflows, will generate increases in international reserves forecast to average USD2.3bn over 2017-2018.

Inflation is forecast to average 14.9% in 2016, down from 48.5% in 2015, but well above the 4.6% ‘B’ median. The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is working towards putting in place an inflation-targeting regime that seeks to gradually reduce inflation to 5% by 2019, a goal that depends on coordination with fiscal policy and maintaining policy credibility.

Political risks remain significant, but near-term political volatility has eased, Fitch said.

The banking sector has stabilized, but is weak with low capitalization levels and non-performing loans of over 50%, and poses a risk to economic stability and constrains economic recovery.

The main factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to a negative rating action are: re-emergence of external financing pressures, loss of confidence and increased macroeconomic instability stemming from delays to disbursements from, or the collapse of, the IMF program, as well as external or political/geopolitical shock that weakens macroeconomic performance and Ukraine’s fiscal and external position.

Fitch expects neither resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine nor escalation of the conflict to the point of compromising overall macroeconomic performance.

Fitch assumes the status of the outstanding USD3bn debt with Russia does not create risks for Ukraine’s sovereign debt service and access to external financing.

Saakashvili seeks to come to power, jail Kolomoisky

Ex-Odesa Oblast Governor and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Nov. 11 announced plans to come to power in Ukraine with a newly-created political group, promising to have tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky jailed if he does.

He also said at a news briefing that he had repeatedly rejected President Petro Poroshenko’s offers, made since last year, to appoint him prime minister or leader of the Poroshenko Bloc in parliament, because the president had not agreed to call an early parliamentary election..

Saakashvili resigned as governor on Nov. 7, saying that Poroshenko and other top officials had sabotaged his efforts to make public administration, customs and law enforcement in the region more transparent and corruption-free. Poroshenko and his spokespeople declined to comment.

Ousting profiteers

Saakashvili said he would set up a new political group called the Platform of New Forces and would push for an early parliamentary election “as soon as possible.”

“The current Verkhona Rada comprises only profiteers who bought their seats to keep robbing the Ukrainian people,” Saakashvili said. “They should be driven out of there by the people… We will win when we get rid of Ukrainian political elite – scum and profiteers who are absolutely identical to the Russian ruling class.”

He said that “our authorities can only do one thing – imitate reform, prevaricate, deceive and extort money.”

Though Saakashvili is not eligible to be elected because he has not lived in Ukraine for more than five years, he said he would instead have his supporters elected to parliament.

He said the new group would not recruit people tainted with government corruption – those who have been members of parliament for more than one term, and those who have served in the executive branch for more than two or three years, as well as representatives of big business.

The Platform of New Forces is not the first Ukrainian group affiliated with Saakashvili. He launched the Movement for Cleansing in December 2015, while his supporters announced plans in July to create the Hvylia (Wave) party, though it has not been registered yet.

But Saakashvili said he had not heard of the Hvylia party, and said he disliked the name.

Lost opportunities

Saakashvili also lambasted Poroshenko, saying that he had blocked his reform efforts instead of facilitating them.

He said that Poroshenko “had more than enough opportunities to carry out reforms” but “blew this chance big-time.”

“Poroshenko had a chance to use me for the right purposes -not for intrigues, oligarchic games and election campaigns, but for real reform in this country,” Saakashvili said. “But it turned out that real reform is opposed to his well-being.”

He told the Korrespondent magazine in a Nov. 11 interview that he had repeatedly rejected Poroshenko’s offer of the premiership without an early election because he would not be able to work with a parliament that he thinks is made up mostly of corrupt politicians.

Saakashvili also criticized Poroshenko’s allies and lawmakers Ihor Kononenko and Oleksiy Honcharenko, accusing them of corruption. He claimed that Kononenko was running a protection racket for illegal coal supplies from Russian-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.

Kononenko and Honcharenko have denied graft accusations. Kononenko’s spokeswoman Olga Kovpashko said she could not immediately comment on the alleged coal supply scheme.

Saakashvili also accused Security Service of Ukraine Deputy Head Pavlo Demchyna, reportedly a protege of Kononenko and another Poroshenko ally, Oleksandr Hranovsky, of fabricating political cases on the orders of the Presidential Administration. He said the Security Service of Ukraine had searched the premises of Odesa Oblast’s administration immediately after his resignation.

Poroshenko’s spokesman Sviatoslav Tsegolko and the Security Service of Ukraine did not respond to requests for comment.

Jailing oligarchs

Saakashvili lashed out at oligarchs and their media that he believes are smearing him, including those owned by Poroshenko and tycoon Ihor Kolomoiksy. In Georgia, Saakashvili had clashed with the country’s biggest oligarchs, Badri Patrakatsishvili and Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Saakashvili claimed that Kolomoisky had reached a deal with Poroshenko that Kolomoisky’s media would attack Saakashvili in exchange for the authorities not nationalizing cash-strapped Privat Bank. In a comment for the Kyiv Post, Kolomoisky said this was a “lie.”

“When we come to power, this bank will be nationalized, while its owner will be held responsible under the law,” Saakashvili said. “(Kolomoisky) will be jailed when we come to power.”

Unpredictable policies

Commenting on the Nov. 8 presidential election in the United States, Saakashvili showed video footage of President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly praising him in the past. He added that both Trump and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had wanted to employ him in the United States to borrow his reform experience, including the creation of facilities for the fast provision of administrative services.

Saakashvili said on Facebook on Nov. 9 that he had been acquainted with Trump for more than 20 years.

“He’s a strong person with unpredictable policies,” he said. “We’re entering a very dangerous period, and unfortunately our government is absolutely unprepared for that.”

From – https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/saakashvili-seeks-come-power-jail-kolomoisky.html

Saakashvili Announces New Political Force, Calls For Early Ukraine Elections

KYIV — Mikheil Saakashvili, a onetime Georgian president who resurrected his political career in nearby Ukraine, has announced the launch of a new Ukrainian political party and called for early elections just days after resigning his governor’s post in Odesa.

Speaking to reporters in the Ukrainian capital on November 11, Saakashvili repeated accusations that rampant profiteering and obstacles to reform are hurting Ukraine, which remains divided two years after Russia seized Crimea and Moscow-backed separatists began fighting against Kyiv’s authority.

“We will create a new broad political power, a platform of new forces, and our goal is to change the present, existing, so-called political elite, who are actually profiteers and social misfits,” Saakashvili told a press conference.

“Our goal is for early parliamentary elections to be carried out as quickly as possible,” Saakashvili said.

He again lashed out at Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a former schoolmate whom Saakashvili accused of sabotaging reform efforts in the Black Sea port region when Saakashvili unexpectedly quit the Odesa governorship on November 7.

Poroshenko Challenged

Saying he once refused Poroshenko’s offer of the post of prime minister, Saakashvili vowed not to meet with the president again until the latter agreed to early elections.

He said working with the president’s ruling Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity party was out of the question.

“There will be no alliance with him or anyone else,” Saakashvili said.

Poroshenko accepted Saakashvili’s resignation earlier this week and suggested that the latter’s political ambitions in Ukraine were stoked by a thumping that Saakashvili’s former party received in Georgian elections last month.

Saakashvili, who now has Ukrainian citizenship, dared Poroshenko at his press conference to kick him out of the country.

Saakashvili — whose reforms in postcommunist Georgia following its so-called Rose Revolution in 2003 won widespread international praise — said his new party would fight for Ukrainian business but oppose the presence of business representatives in politics.

He also said his party would refuse membership to anyone who has served in parliament for more than one term, which could exclude many in the political elite at the time of Ukraine’s Euromaidan unrest in 2013-14.

Road Trip Through The Regions

Western leaders and international financial institutions have repeatedly warned Kyiv that billions of dollars in continued lending and aid is contingent on Ukrainian reforms, including curbing runaway corruption.

At the November 11 press conference, Saakashvili, who seized on the U.S. presidential victory this week of Donald Trump by posting a photo of himself and the New York real-estate mogul together at an event in Batumi in 2012, contrasted the U.S. president-elect with Poroshenko.

“Unlike Trump,” Saakashvili said, “Poroshenko, who has known me even longer, did not want to use my experience because he didn’t want to change Ukraine.” He then played archive footage dubbed into Ukrainian of Trump — who once called Saakashvili “one of the great leaders of the world” — lauding Saakashvili’s reform efforts in Georgia.

Known for fiery confrontations and populist stunts that have included a shouting match at a cabinet meeting and training alongside police during his Odesa tenure, Saakashvili vowed that his new Ukrainian party “will refer to the people” for direction and said he planned a road trip through Ukraine’s regions to rally support.

Saakashvili spent much of his time at the November 11 press conference lashing out at critics, calling their attacks against him “bulls**t.”

“Give me one region in Ukraine that has delivered even one percent of what we achieved in Odesa,” he challenged to the cameras. “Let them shut up now, because they know the truth.”

Saakashvili is sought in his native Georgia on criminal charges related to his term as president that he says are politically motivated.

From – http://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-saakashvili-new-political-party/28110449.html