пʼятниця, 17 липня 2015 р.

Ukraine Mourns Innocent Victims Taken by MH17 Tragedy

One year ago, on this day the world was shaken up by the shocking news. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down from the sky. A total of 298 people, including 80 children were on board. There were three passengers with an “I” next to their names on the passengers list with “I” standing for “infant”. This heartbreaking tragedy that took lives of so many innocent people and put their families through hell left no one unfazed.

Justice must prevail and those guilty in committing this heinous crime should be held responsible.

In an immediate aftermath to MH17 crash, Russian colonel Igor Girkin, one the founders of the “Donetsk People's Republic” terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for shooting down what they considered to be the Ukrainian AN-26 jet, making it publicly available on the Internet and bragging about it on his page on Russian social media Vkontakte. 

It goes: “near Torez the plane AN-26 was just brought down. It knocks around somewhere behind the mine “Progress”. We warned you, don’t fly in our sky. Here is the video proof of the falling birds” 

He, eventually, took the post down, when it became clear that it wasn’t a Ukrainian plane, but rather an international airliner. As if you could bring grieving families their beloved ones back by simply pressing the cancel button. Except that you can’t. 

OSCE team, international and Ukrainian inspectors were not granted full access to the crash site and their work was immediately put at risk. Heavily armed people wouldn’t allow them to inspect the wreckage spread at several tens square kilometers deep in separatists-held territory. As Australian PM Tony Abbott said “having those people in control of the site is a little like leaving the criminals in charge of the crime scene” (Australia lost 27 of its citizens in this crash). 

While victims’ remains were transferred to Netherlands within next few days, crash site forensic examination and the collecting of evidence dragged on for months. After all, first and foremost a gunman would probably do his best to cover the incriminating facts. Guilty mind is never at ease. 

As the majority of victims (193 people) were from the Netherlands, the Dutch Safety Board was entrusted with is leading the investigation and coordinating the international team of investigators. On September 9, 2014, The Dutch Safety Board issued a preliminary report on the crash of Boeing 777. The report stated that “the damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft appears to indicate that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from the outside the aircraft. It does not indicate any known failure mode of the aircraft, its engines or systems. Aircraft broke up in the air”.
This document didn’t point fingers as well as it didn’t put the blame. The final report though will be much tougher as it will finally reveal the truth.
Currently all member countries of the Joint Investigation Team (Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine) are working hard on establishing the international tribunal despite enormous resistance from Russia.
Today, as we mourn 298 innocent lives taken by malicious terrorists and their sponsors from neighboring country, all we want to say is: justice is inevitable.

четвер, 9 липня 2015 р.

Under Russian Occupation, Crimea Remains One of the World’s Worst Places for Journalists and Press Freedom

Freedom House, FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2015, Crimea:

We bring to your attention personal stories of journalists who were forced to flee from occupied peninsular and seek for safe heavens away from home for being faithful in the performance of their duty.

Serhii Mocrushyn. Investigative journalist

In June 2014, Serhii was beaten by so-called “self-defence forces of Crimea”. In March 2015, following multiple searches in the journalists apartments conducted by the FSB (Federal Security Service of Russia), he decided to leave home and move to Kyiv hoping for a better future.

“Immediately after the Crimea occupation, Russia began to mop up the information field. Editorial offices of many Crimean media had to leave and move elsewhere. In the Crimea, there are very few independent media left, and they have fewer and fewer opportunities to work. All Ukrainian channels are blocked, there is no Ukrainian press in Crimea. The Crimean Tatar TV channels and radio stations had been last standing until they were closed earlier this year. There are only compliant to the occupation authorities media resources left”- Mokrushyn describes situation with freedom of speech in the Crimea.

Here you can watch Serhii Mocrushyn speaking at the Conference on Journalists’ Safety, Media Freedom and Pluralism in Times of Conflict, 15–16 June 2015, in Vienna, Austria.

And here you can see an attempt of Ukrainian journalists to get out the message that freedom of speech really matters to Konstantin Dolgov, Russian MFA Human Rights Ombudsman.

Valentina Samar. Chief editor of the “Journalistic investigations Center”

In March 2014, so-called “self-defence” captured the “Journalistic investigations Center” office in Simferopol, where Ms. Samar was chief editor. Few months later, she had to leave the peninsula.

“Ukrainian and foreign journalists served as UN blue helmets in the Crimea in February and March of 2014. They stood between unarmed Ukrainian military and armed Russian Special Forces. The very few honest journalists, who work in the Crimea today, are risking their health and freedom every single day. It is necessary to ensure permanent presence of international observers in the Crimea. It could be the UN Permanent Mission on human rights or the OSCE mission. The international community should have full access to information about the human rights situation on the peninsula in order to make decisions.”

Tetiana Ryhtun. Investigative journalist. She had lived in the Crimea for 30 years

On March 3, 2014, Tatiana was filming Ukrainian navy headquarters siege when she was hit from the back on the head, and she had her video camera stolen. On March 9, after the rally dedicated to the Taras Shevchenko’s 200th anniversary, she was attacked at her home entrance for filming the event. Tatiana was evacuated from the Crimea with the help of the international security firm. She now works in Kiev.

“I had to leave Sevastopol because there was a real threat to my life, because we honestly covered the occupation from the very beginning. In Sevastopol, other local media pretended that there was no occupation, simply not noticing people with weapons. We were the only local newspaper to write about the Ukrainian military units and airports sieges, about the checkpoints on the roads, we published photos and traveled to “hot spots”.

Anna Andrievskaya. News editor

Anna is subject to the criminal investigation of the FSB (calls for the violation of territorial integrity) for her article about volunteers helping Ukrainian soldiers from Crimea in the ATO-area. During the FSB searches in the journalists apartments, the home of Anna’s parent in Simferopol was also checked.

“I know that there are the FSB “black lists” of persons, who are silently banned from entering the peninsula; the people on the list will be detained if they are to move around the territory of Crimea. I was not sure before if I was included in these lists, but after the opening of a criminal case, I am forbidden to go back home.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine together with Andrii Ianitskyi

понеділок, 6 липня 2015 р.

Top Fakes of the Week about Ukraine

Fake #1: Website of Russian channel Zvezda Falsifies Photo of Ukrainian Servicemen.

A doctored photo of Ukrainian servicemen allegedly transporting stolen cattle was spread on Russian and separatist social networks and blogs.

The photo initially appeared on June 20 on the website of the Russian channel Zvezda. It gave Svodki ot opolchenia Novorossii as the source, which stated that Ukrainian servicemen had allegedly stolen cattle from the inhabitants of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic”.

Later the falsified photo was removed from the site and from Zvezda’s social networks, but remained in the cache on the page Vkontakte.

Dumskaya website published the original photo of Ukrainian servicemen in October 2014. It had been taken in Odesa region, where cadets from the local military academy were training in carrying fellow soldiers and equipment.

Fake #2: Ukrainian Mobile Operators Charge Residents of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” for Anti-Terrorist Operation.

On June 7, Russian television channel Lifenews ran a piece called “Enrichment in a Kyiv Way,” during which it falsely reported that Ukrainian mobile operators inform on seizing property and charge the mobile accounts of residents of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” for the needs of the anti-terrorist operation.

Representatives of the mobile operator life:) have denied their involvement in the SMS campaign. The press office of the company informed that all official text messages are delivered with the official way of writing of the brand, that is with the smiley and lower case letter — life:).

Kyivstar press service informed that the mobile operator only uses its brand name “Kyivstar” when sending text messages. Moreover, Kyivstar does not serve customers in the temporarily occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions at all. By the way, there is a spelling mistake in the text of the message — the word “принадлежит” was written as “прЕнадлежит”.