The parliament now has a month to set the date for the inauguration ceremony.Last week, following Zelensky 's election victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called to congratulate him and invite him to Israel.
The number of political prisoners in Russia has reached above 230 as President Vladimir Putin's government implements an "ever increasing array of laws specifically designed to criminalize acts of everyday life, " according to a new report created with input from the Moscow based rights group Memorial. The report, released on April 29, says that political opponents of the government, civil society activists, and journalists are at particular risk of being targeted.Also in the crosshairs are Ukrainian activists, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists, all of whom face potential prosecution under laws that "allow the authorities to arrest, detain, and imprison anyone they want. " "There has not yet been a sustained effort to sanction the officials responsible for the persecution of political prisoners more broadly. This must change, " it said. "Unless serious consequences are imposed on these officials, the Kremlin will continue to believe it can act with total impunity. " The report, titled The Kremlin s Political Prisoners: Advancing A Political Agenda By Crushing Dissent, was written by Washington based public interest law firm Perseus Strategies with support from the Memorial Human Rights Center, one of Russia s oldest and best known human rights advocacy organizations. The report highlighted how the Kremlin and lawmakers in parliament both houses of which are dominated by the ruling United Russia party have used new legislation, amendments to existing laws, and changes in administrative regulations as a tool to target dissidents and political opponents. Since 2012, the report said, the list of new and updated crimes and violations added to the country's Criminal Code and code of administrative offenses includes:
This story originated in VOA s Russian Service. Pete Cobus contributed reporting.
After the recent elections in Ukraine, Russian state TV channels were quick to celebrate the electoral defeat of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who for the past five years has been one of the main targets of Kremlin propaganda. So far the winner, actor and TV show host, Volodymyr Zelensky, has not been cast in a negative light.
Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy won Sunday's presidential runoff race with 73 percent of the vote, blowing out incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. Russian telephone trolls Vladimir Vovan Kuznetsov and Alexei Lexus Stoliarov spoke to the French president by phone posing as the president elect to gage his reaction.In the phone call, which took place on Sunday, Emmanuel Macron congratulates "Zelenskiy" on his victory, telling him to "enjoy this moment", "since tomorrow you will bear a huge burden of responsibility".
Generally speaking, Moscow will be satisfied with the outcome of the Ukrainian elections. Its main hope mdash; "Anyone but Poroshenko" mdash; came to pass. What's more, it did so without any particular effort from the Kremlin except for pointedly cutting off contact with Petro Poroshenko after the Kerch Strait incident (which derailed the meeting between Putin and Trump in Buenos Aires).
Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy (center right) defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko in a landslide. Vadim Ghirda AP hide caption
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia set an Aug. 12 trial date on Friday. The investigation by federal authorities in Craig was one of the 14 referrals that stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the allegations of the Trump campaign colluding with agents of the Russian government. Craig, 74, is charged with failing to register as an agent on behalf of Ukraine after he spent years as a lobbyist defending Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych s jailing of a political opponent. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, calling the prosecution "unprecedented and unjustified."
Ukrainian circus lion tamer Hamada Kouta was attacked by one of his lions in the middle of a show resulting in screams of disbelief and shock echoing throughout the arena. The video shows the performer locked in a large cage with three different lions as he enacts their planned routine. During the routine, one of the lions in close proximity to Mr Kouta lunges at him and sinks its teeth into his shoulder.At this moment the circus erupts in screams from children and other audience members as the music stops and silence fills the room.
President Vladimir Putin has marked the fifth anniversary of what Moscow considers the day Crimea became part of Russia by visiting Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula, as NATO, the United States, and the European Union again condemned what they called the "illegal " land grab. On March 18, 2014, Putin signed a treaty that Moscow claims made Ukraine's Crimea region part of Russia, after Russian forces seized control of the peninsula and organized a referendum that was not recognized by the international community. Ukraine and the West have slammed Russia's move as an "illegal " annexation, leading to sanctions against Russian individuals and entities. The annexation of Crimea and Russia's role in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have been fighting against Russia backed separatists since April 2014, sent ties between Moscow and the West plunging to post Cold War lows. The conflict in eastern Ukraine has left around 13,000 people dead, some 30,000 injured, and uprooted well over 1 million Ukrainian citizens, according to UN and Ukrainian officials. In Washington, Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, called the fifth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea a "sad day. " "This is an illegal occupation, an illegal seizure of territory, and we fundamentally stand behind Ukraine in insisting that its territorial integrity be restored, " Volker told journalists. In a statement, NATO described the annexation of Crimea as "a serious breach of international law and a major challenge to Euro Atlantic security. " The Western military alliance's North Atlantic Council criticized Russia's "ongoing and wide ranging military build up " in Crimea, and raised concerns over its "efforts and stated plans for further military build up " in the Black Sea region. The allies also accused the "Russian de facto authorities in illegally annexed Crimea " of carrying out human rights abuses against "Ukrainians, the Crimean Tatars, and members of other local communities, " including "extrajudicial killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, violence, arbitrary detentions, arrest, and torture. "They said that there would be no return to "business as usual " with Moscow until there was a "a clear, constructive change in Russia's actions. "
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Kyiv must join the European Union and NATO to protect itself from Russia as he officially launched his reelection campaign. Poroshenko, who is seeking a second five year term in the March 31 vote, accused Moscow of planning to interfere in the election. Poroshenko also charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to destroy Ukrainian independence and described the nation's presidential election as a "general battle for Ukraine. " "Only full fledged membership in the European Union and NATO can decisively and irrevocably guarantee our independence, national security, freedom, and well being, " Poroshenko told supporters in the capital on February 9. The 53 year old Poroshenko, one of Ukraine s richest men, came to power in the aftermath of the pro European Maidan protests that pushed Moscow friendly President Viktor Yanukovych out in February 2014. He has vocally advocated closer integration with the West and criticized Russia following Moscow's seizure of Ukraine s Crimea region and amid a continuing war against Russia backed separatists in the eastern region known as the Donbas. Recent polls indicate former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be Poroshenko's closest rivals in the March 31 election. Ukrainian election officials said a record 44 candidates have registered to run in the election.
January 1 has now been set aside in the country to remember Stepan Bandera, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported Thursday. Bandera was a Ukrainian nationalist who joined forces with the German Nazis during World War II because he believed that they would help his country gain independence from the now defunct Soviet Union. However, he was later also targeted and arrested by the Nazis.The Ukrainian city of Lviv, which was the nationalist s home city, also announced this month that next year would be Stepan Bandera Year, a move criticized by Israel.
But in truth, Russia s latest act of aggression is neither extraordinary nor unexpected. Since the beginning of its confrontation with Ukraine in 2014, Russia has consistently followed a strategy of multi dimensional coercion against Kyiv. This has entailed multiple attempts at subversion and destabilization via the informational, economic, and military domains.Even before the start of the current conflict, Ukraine has been a primary target of Russian disinformation. A targeted information campaign served as the pretext for Russia s invasion of Crimea, in which Moscow announced annexation as a measure to protect the rights of ethnic Russians in the region. Today, Russia continues to spread disinformation that paints Kyiv as an aggressor supported by fascists, and Moscow as simply responding to attack. In much the same vein, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused President Poroshenko of provoking the recent Kerch Strait incident in an effort to boost his standing ahead of the 2019 Ukrainian elections.
In Ukraine since the beginning of the year 89% increase in the number of sales of cars with electric motors.In the period January October 2018 compared to the same period last year, sales of electric cars by 89% to 4214 pieces.