Ukraine Day 841: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Nadiya Savchenko, the former political prisoner now in the Ukrainian parliament, has two proposals for resolving the conflict in the Donbass: to keep sanctions against Russia in place, because “this country has yet to understand that it has to leave the east of Ukraine,” and to negotiate directly with leaders of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” “without any third and fourth sides.”
Savchenko says she is prepared to hold talks with the leaders of the DNR and LNR “as if they were people’s deputies.”
“Mr. Zakharchenko and Mr. Plotnitsky may position themselves in their authorities; let them position themselve as people’s reputies from the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’. I am prepared to talk to them,” she said.
Yesterday, June 6, Savchenko met with soldiers from the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation]
DRN representative Denis Pushilin said he was prepared to conduct a direct dialogue with Savchenko if she is given the relevant authorities, Novaya Gazeta reported.
During a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group, Pushilin said (translation by The Interpreter):
“It is really strange, but until now, only Ms. Savchenko had the idea of the need for direct dialogue with representatives of the Donbass, and it is precisely this that is laid down in the Minsk agreements. Therefore if Nadezhda Savchenko will be given all the necessary authorities, we are prepared to conduct a dialogue with her.”
By that, Pushilin means that the Kiev government would have to negotiate with her as their representative in the talks. The Minsk agreement contains reference to the Kiev government and “people’s republics” together working out the details of the autonomous status of the regions.
Earlier, DNR prime minister Aleksandr Zakharchekno said he would not conduct a dialogue with Savchenko on exchange of POWs. He said other agencies exist for this, and Savchenko may be killed if she goes to the DNR.
Savchenko was freed in a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine May 25.
Ukrainian news service 24 Today reports that Russian authorities have cut salaries of their employees by 10 percent on the Crimean Peninsula, which has been occupied by the Russian military since before the illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014:
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Krym.Realii, one of the employees said they recently received a warning from the company’s management.
“They told us there are no funds in the budget. That is why they will cut salaries. We used to work during public holidays, and they used to pay for that. Now they are trying not to engage us so that they could save money,” the employee stated. “Soon the vacations are to begin, it is important for everybody to pay the vacation bonus on time and in full,” he added.
The salaries of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet servicemen were cut recently by 40%. The official justification was their service is no longer in another country since Russia annexed Ukrainian Crimea.
Money's running out in Crimea
Russian authorities cut salaries of state employees on the occupied peninsula The Simferopol-based budget organization is cutting the paycheques of its workers by 10%. In an interview with RFE/RL's Krym.Realii , one of the employees said they recently received a warning from the company's management. "They told us there are no funds in the budget.
Russia has been forced to make other financial cutbacks as the result of their budget crisis.
— James Miller
Reformist MP and investigative journalist Serhiy Leshchenko announced today that he is being sued by Yuriy Ivanyushchenko, a notorious businessman closely associated with former President Viktor Yanukovych.
Leshchenko told reporters at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center this morning that Ivanyushchenko had gone to the Pechersky district court in Kiev to demand Leshchenko retract statements that the businessman had been an “overseer” of state enterprises under Yanukovych, and that he had organised groups of titushki or hired thugs to attack protests on the Maidan.
Ivanyushchenko fled Ukraine after Yanukovych abandoned his office and is wanted on charges of embezzlement of state funds.
Ukraine: Battle Brews over Embezzlement Case Against Yanukovych Ally
Nearly three weeks after a Kyiv Court ordered prosecutors to drop an embezzlement case against ex-lawmaker Yuriy Ivanyushchenko, prosecutors are vowing to press ahead with it. The year-long investigation was closed because prosecutors had not taken "any action" to prove the suspect's guilt, according to the court registry.
The extent of Ivanyushchenko’s personal wealth was made clear when activists photographed his abandoned home in February, 2014:
Anti-corruption activist Tetiana Chornovol says that Ivanyushchenko not only collaborated in his financial crimes with Kremlin-linked banks, but also helped fund the war in the Donbass:
The former Yanukovych ally, Yuriy Ivanyushchenko, organized multiple corruption schemes in which Yanukovych, as president, partnered with Russian banks controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin to sluice millions of dollars in Ukrainian state funds to foreign-based shell companies the two heads of state controlled, notably in Cyprus, Chornovol has reported. She and other journalists say Ivanyushchenko has helped fund the Russian-led war in the southeast and organized the sniper units that killed more than 100 Maidan demonstrators in February. Now, as Ivanyushchenko builds his new home, “trucks are bringing in expensive marble for the thousand-square-meter building, artists are painting angels on the ceilings and the security detail is bragging about protection in high places,” she writes.
But after nearly two years on the Interpol wanted list, Ivanyushchenko was removed on April 19 this year.
Leshchenko said today that he had been told by the Ukrainian National Police that Interpol no longer recommend police forces “arrest [Ivanyushchenko] with a view to extradition,” but “establish [his] whereabouts.”
“This means,” Leshchenko said, “that Mr Ivanyushchenko can enter any European country.”
The MP, who is a member of Bloc Petro Poroshenko (BPP), told reporters that he believes that President Poroshenko himself has been involved in the process of removing Ivanyushchenko from the list.
According to Leshchenko, Ivanyushchenko reached out to old contacts who are now associates of Poroshenko, including BPP power broker Ihor Kononenko, with whom he had a business relationship, Presidential Administration head Boris Lozhkin and Hryhoriy Sukis, vice president of UEFA.
Leshchenko said that the removal of the wanted status and the processing of the legal demand are all links of one chain, which indicates the “rehabilitation of Ivanyushchenko.”
The court is due to review the suit tomorrow,
— Pierre Vaux
The Lugansk regional police report that a Ukrainian man working as a driver for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has disappeared.
According to the statement, police in Severodonetsk were contacted yesterday by the driver’s wife, who said that she had not been able to make contact with her husband, born in 1979, since 9 am on Saturday. His mobile phone is turned off.
The missing man had, as of last reports, left the separatist-held town of Stakhanov on a bus for the Donetsk region in order to collect his Suzuki car in which he planned to drive home.
— Pierre Vaux
One Ukrainian soldier was killed and nine wounded yesterday, reports Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration.
According to Lysenko, one soldier was killed and another wounded near the village of Pishchevik, northeast of Mariupol; three were wounded in Novotroitskoye, on the highway between that port city and Donetsk; two were wounded in Avdeyevka, to the north of the separatist-held regional capital; and one was wounded near Mayorsk, north of Gorlovka.
The Ukrainian military claims that Russian-backed fighters conducted 32 attacks yesterday, using heavy artillery and mortars across the Donetsk region.
Colonel Lysenko told reporters that 150 mortar rounds fell on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk area. According to the ATO Press Center, Russian-backed fighters attacked positions top the north of the city, near Avdeyevka, the Butovka mine and Opytnoye, as well as Maryinka and Krasnogorovka, to the west.
Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed today that one civilian had been killed and another wounded by Ukrainian shelling of the Trudovskiye area, bordering Maryinka.
Basurin also said that one Russian-backed fighter had been killed and two wounded by Ukrainian fire yesterday.
To the south, Ukrainian military press officer Vitaliy Kirillov told 0629.com.ua that Bogdanovka, east of Volnovakha, had been shelled by 122 mm self-propelled artillery.
82 mm mortars were reportedly used in attacks near Pavlopol, Shirokino, Novotroitskoye and Slavnoye.
Ukrainian MP and military analyst Dmytro Tymchuk reported that there had been a four-hour battle last night near Novotroitskoye, as Russian-backed fighters attempted to push Ukrainian forces back to the south of separatist-held Dokuchaevsk.
In the Gorlovka area, the Ukrainian military reports that 40 120 mm mortar shells were fired at positions near Mayorsk, in addition to fire from snipers, small arms and BMP infantry fighting vehicle cannons.
In the Lugansk region, Colonel Lysenko reported one attack near separatist-held Sokolniki: