пʼятниця, 3 березня 2017 р.

#UkraineIsChanging: Ukrainian reforms achievements



Ukraine has made more progress in tackling corruption and reforming government institutions in the last three years since the Revolution of Dignity than in the previous 23 years. And we have achieved all of this under the most challenging of circumstances: while fighting a Russian-led war that has cost thousands of lives, and with a Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula and the Donbas region crippling our economy.

In 2014 Ukrainian nation has been faced with the negative trends: corruption, inefficient judicial system, exhausted financial system and dysfunctional army. Since the Revolution of Dignity Ukrainian people decided to achieve changes inside the country.

The challenge for Ukraine has probably been greater than for any other country. It is building a modern functioning democratic state from a starting point of being the most embedded state in the former and now defunct Soviet Union. And in the last three years when it has made most progress it has had to fight a war with Russia and its proxies in the east while at the same time losing the Crimea to illegal annexation.

Anticorruption reforms achievements

Ukraine has set up the new anticorruption institutions and adopted legislation on anticorruption, which it is starting to implement. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) - a new law-enforcement agency - started the first investigations of high-level corruption cases in December 2015.

The National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) is operational since early 2016. NAPC took over from the Ministry of Justice the function of coordinator of the anti-corruption policy in Ukraine. NAPC focuses on political corruption (financing of political parties), monitoring of conflict of interest, and is in charge of the state policy of corruption prevention.

The creation of the new State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and a new High Anti-Corruption Court is still outstanding. It will unite investigative functions on crimes committed by law-enforcement, high-level officials and officers of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s office. 

On 15 August 2016, Ukraine launched a new electronic tax declaration system, as a tool to increase transparency and curb corruption in the country.

The openness and transparency of this system is unprecedented not only for Ukraine but for almost any other western democracy.

Justice reforms achievements

Ukraine launched comprehensive reform of justice to prevent conflict of interest, enhance ethics code & fight corruption.

We are currently evaluating the qualifications and integrity of all judges in Ukraine, and removing those who do not meet the new standards. This process is going to take some time, but it will go a long way to improving the rule of law in Ukraine, and public confidence in the administration of justice.

On June 2, 2016 the Parliament adopted amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in the judiciary field. It significantly speeds up processes of restarting judiciary branch in Ukraine under new ethnic and professional rules.
The Law “On the Judiciary and Status of Judges” strengthens the existing measures in preventing conflict of interest, enhances ethics code and foresees the establishment of the anti-corruption court in Ukraine.

The selection process for the new Supreme Court judges is to be established in March 2017.

New principles of formation and work of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges are widely implemented. Judges are subject to new trainings, tests and updated professional requirements.

Economic development and trade opportunities

Ukraine is mainstreaming the most innovative public procurement system in Europe (ProZorro) which has been recognized internationally for its effectiveness in reducing the potential for corruption in the awarding of public contracts and saving for country $millions of public funds through efficiency savings.

Prozorro won a prestigious World Procurement Award in May 2016 and was named as the best procurement system in the world according Open Government Awards.

Ukraine has climbed from 112th to 80th in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. It is a large improvement in 2,5 years, to climb by 32 positions. The current rank shows that we are moving in the right direction. Moreover, Ukraine is 30th in starting a business ranking out of 189 economies.

Within the tax reform in 2015/16, Ukrainian government introduced a number of measures to encourage businesses: it reduced the number of taxes from 22 to 11, decreased the number of tax reporting forms and administrative regulations and introduced unified and transparent rules for all commercial entities.

Since 1 August, the public procurement system ProZorro has been mandatory for all public sector contracts, and we’ve been able to join the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. We’ve also been able to offer support for Ukrainian exporters who are trying to enter public procurement markets abroad, and we have a team working with the EU on harmonizing our procurement standards.
Total trade between the EU and Ukraine increased by 7.5 % in the period October 2015 — September 2016.

Energy efficiency and environment protection 

A new Gas Market Law entered into force on 1 October 2015
Ukraine has made significant progress in reforming its energy markets. We deregulated the price of gas, since the ability to manipulate the price of gas was a key source of corruption.
On the energy issue Ukraine is dealing with European countries and their economies, in the meantime we have reduced our gas consumption and are no longer buying gas from Russia. This move helps us protect our ability to shape our own future — and it makes us a stronger partner for the EU and the transatlantic community.

National security and defense reform achievements 
Ukraine is rebuilding and reshaping the power of national army.
State expenses on defense were substantially increased: from 960 million Euro in 2014 to 1.6 billion Euro in 2015 and almost 2,3 billion Euro in 2016. The expenses on defense in the state budget in 2017 are 3% of GDP.
The trust of Ukrainians in the army increased to 63% from 45% in 2015.
In 2014 157 000 soldiers were in UAF. Until the end of 2016 the number increased to 250 000 soldiers. It is more than in Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Only within the first week of November this year 1600 soldiers joined the UAF according to the contract.
Ukraine improves military industry and gears the Armed Forces with the best developments of national manufacturers.

понеділок, 20 лютого 2017 р.

10 FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RUSSIAN MILITARY AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE


FACT 1: RUSSIA PLANNED MILITARY AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE IN ADVANCE. VICTORY OF THE REVOLUTION OF DIGNITY WAS ONLY A CONVENIENT PRETEXT

Russia launched its well-planned armed aggression against Ukraine on 20 February 2014 with the military operation of its Armed Forces on seizing a part of the Ukrainian territory — Crimean peninsula. This date is not even denied by the Russian Ministry of Defense, as it is indicated on the departmental medal “For the return of Crimea”. In fact, only the next day Viktor Yanukovych fled from Kyiv; and it was already 22 February 2014 that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Resolution “On the dissociation of the President of Ukraine from fulfillment of constitutional powers and appointment of early presidential elections in Ukraine”, used by Russia as a pretext for accusations of the alleged “unconstitutional coup in Ukraine”.

FACT 2: RUSSIAN AGGRESSION AIMED AT DESTROYING UKRAINE AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE

Illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol was just the first Russian step aimed at undermining independence and sovereignty of Ukraine. The Kremlin has always been firmly convinced that Russia will never become a world leader without control over Ukraine, meanwhile a democratic and prosperous Ukraine is a threat to the current authoritarian rule in Russia. That is why the next step of the Russian aggression was an attempt to destabilize the situation in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine in order to form a ​​quasi-state “Novorossiya”. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this plan at the “Dialogue with the Russians” TV program on the First Channel on 17 April 2014. We succeeded to disrupt the full implementation of his plans, but Russian regular troops and its proxies occupied certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

FACT 3: MILITARY AGGRESSION IS JUST ONE ELEMENT OF RUSSIAN HYBRID WARFARE AGAINST UKRAINE

Military aggression is just one element of the Russian hybrid warfare against Ukraine. Other elements encompass: 1) propaganda based on lies and falsifications; 2) trade and economic pressure; 3) energy blockade; 4) terror and intimidation of Ukrainian citizens; 5) cyber attacks; 6) a strong denial of the very fact of war against Ukraine despite large scope of irrefutable evidence; 7) use of pro-Russian forces and satellite states in its own interests; 8) blaming the other side for its own crimes.

FACT 4: COURAGE OF UKRAINIANS AND SOLIDARITY OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY STOPPED RUSSIAN INVASION

Courageous Ukrainian soldiers, National Guard and other defense and law enforcement servicemen stopped the active phase of the Russian military invasion against Ukraine.
Joint political and diplomatic efforts of the international community constitute a crucial element in countering Russian aggression. On 27 March 2014 the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution 68/262 «Territorial Integrity of Ukraine» which confirmed the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine and the absence of any legal basis to change the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The same stance was confirmed by the UN General Assembly resolution 71/205 “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)” of 19 December 2016. Besides that, this resolution unambiguously defines Russia as an occupying power and places all the responsibility for human rights violation in Crimea upon Moscow.
Numerous documents in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders were approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other international organizations.
Political and economic sanctions are the most effective tool of pressure on the aggressor state. They significantly reduced the possibility of a large-scale invasion and forced Russia to sit at the negotiating table, in particular within the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine and Russia are parties to the conflict, the OSCE is a mediator) and Normandy Quartet (Ukraine and Russia are parties to the conflict, France and Germany are mediators). A decision to ease or lift the sanctions will encourage a new wave of Russian military aggression.

FACT 5: RUSSIAN AGGRESSION HAS LED TO DIRE HUMANITARIAN IMPACTS

Russian aggression against Ukraine has left about 9800 people killed and up to 23000 wounded. This number includes, in particular,
2819 killed Ukrainian soldiers and representatives of other law-enforcement and security bodies (as of 14 February 2017);
- 298 passengers of MH17 flight, including 80 children, killed as a result of terrorist attack on 17 July 2014, when the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down by the Russian servicemen from BUK missile system that had been transferred to the occupied territory of Donbas from the Russian Federation;
About 1.800.000 residents of Crimea and Donbas are now internally displaced persons after being compelled to leave their homes.
As of today Russia continues to illegally occupy Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea (26 081 km²), Sevastopol (864 km²), certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (16799 km²) — in total 43744 km² or 7,2% of the territory of Ukraine.
The occupied areas have become a territory of fear and terror, the occupying authorities act by repressive measures, resorting to systematic and large-scale violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Alarming human rights situation in occupied Crimea was condemned by the UN General Assembly Resolution 71/205 «Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)»,adopted on 19 December 2016.
Economy of Donbas has been completely destroyed. Equipment of main industrial facilities of Donbas was dismantled and transported to the territory of Russia. Situation with flooded mines threatens environmental disaster. Russian authorities do not allow access of experts for assessing the threats and seeking ways to mend the situation.
409,7 km section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border in the east remains out of control by the Government of Ukraine.


FACT 6: RUSSIA VIOLATES THE MINSK AGREEMENTS ON A REGULAR BASIS

The Minsk Agreements (Protocol of 5 September 2014, Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and Package of measures of 12 February 2015) are a basis for political resolution of the conflict in Donbas. They have been violated by the Russian Federation on a regular basis. Signing of the first documents in September 2014 followed direct incursion of the Russian regular troops in Donbas and intense hostilities near the city of Ilovaysk — the place of one of the most shameful crimes, committed by the Russian Army in Donbas. At least 366 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 429 were wounded there while leaving the city in the so-called “green corridor” under the guarantees of commanders of Russian troops.
In violation of the Minsk Memorandum, Russian troops and Russia-backed illegal armed formations seized 8 pieces of land 1696 km² in area, which had to be on the Ukrainian government-controlled territory according to the line of contact, defined by the Memorandum.
Debaltseve is one of the most telling examples of how Russia violates the Minsk Agreements. Combined Russian-terrorist forces attacked and seized the city and the outskirts on 16–18 February 2015, immediately after the Minsk Package of measures, establishing the comprehensive ceasefire since 15 February, had been signed.
Offensive attempt and heavy shellings of Avdiyivka by the Russian hybrid forces on 29 January — 3 February 2017 were amongst the most recent flagrant violations of the Minsk Agreements. During this period 7148 pieces of ammunition, including 1085 MLRS rockets, were fired by the hybrid Russian forces at the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and civilian areas of Avdiyivka. As a result of attacks and shellings 10 Ukrainian servicemen and civilians lost their lives, 62 soldiers and 9 civilians were wounded.

FACT 7: BY LAUNCHING MILITARY AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE, RUSSIA VIOLATED FUNDAMENTAL NORMS AND PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL AGREEMENTS

Resorting to the military aggression against Ukraine, Russia violatedfundamental norms and principles of international law, enshrined, in particular, in:
- UN Charter (1945);
- Helsinki Final Act (1975);
- Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the UN Charter (1970);
- UN GA Resolution 3314 “Definition of Aggression” (1974);
- Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty (1965);
- Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States (1981);
- Declaration on the Enhancement of the Effectiveness of the Principle of Refraining from the Threat or Use of Force in International Relations (1987).
Russia had also violated number of bilateral and multilateral agreements, namely:
- Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances related to the Ukraine’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1994);
- Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation (1997);
- Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian-Russian state border (2003);
- Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on cooperation in use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait (2003);
- Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the status and conditions of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine (1999).
Russian occupation and further attempted annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as Russian illegal actions in Donbas, fall under the definition of aggression according to the points а), b), c), d), e) і g) Art.3 of the Annex to UN General Assembly Resolution “Definition of Aggression” (3314(XXIX)). The following actions are a serious crime against international peace, which entails international responsibility of the Russian Federation at the state level and international criminal responsibility of its leadership.

FACT 8: CONSTANT INFLOW OF RUSSIAN TROOPS AND WEAPONRY IS THE MAIN OBSTACLE TO PEACE IN DONBAS

Russia continues to supply weapons, ammunition and fuel to the occupied territory through the uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border in order to strengthen the units of its regular troops, deployed in Donbas, as well as the illegal armed formations, it backs. Just in January 2017 Russia illegally transported to the occupied part of Donbas 300 tons of ammunition and 2,700 tons of fuel and lubricants. On 2 February 2017 train with 40 pieces of heavy weapons (tanks and self-propelled guns) arrived to Donetsk.
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission repeatedly informed about the presence in Donbas of weapons and military equipment that is adopted exclusively by the Russian army. Just in 2016 SMM observers in Donbas spotted heavy flamethrower system “Buratino”, a radio-electronic suppression complex P-330 “Zhitel”, UAV “Orlan-10”, portable RLS “Grad-P” etc.
It is through the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border that Russian regular troops and mercenaries continue to arrive to Donbas from Russia. Russian mercenaries are qualified as “foreign terrorist fighters” in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2178 (2014) of 24th of September 2014. They constitute significant part of Russia-formed 1 and 2 AK army corpses (command chain consists from Russian officers and generals). The number of regular Russian troops in Donbas is between 3 and 4.2 thousand troops.
In violation of the Minsk agreements, Russia and its proxies continue to impede access of the OSCE SMM to the uncontrolled border. Visits of observers are of sporadic and short-time nature that conducted in the presence of Russian proxies.
Russia is the only OSCE participating State blocking the expansion of the mandate of the OSCE Observer Mission, which is now deployed at two Russian border crossing points “Gukovo” and “Donetsk”, to the entire section of the Russian-Ukrainian state border, adjacent to the territory in Donbas, which is out of control by the Ukrainian government.
Russia refuses to fulfill its obligation under paragraph 4 of the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 on the establishment of security zones in border areas of Ukraine and Russia with ensuring permanent border monitoring and verification by the OSCE.

FACT 9: MILITARY AGGRESSION AND HYBRID WARFARE IS RUSSIA’S STANDARD PRACTICE

Russia’s aggressive policy targets not only Ukraine. Russia violated territorial integrity of Moldova and Georgia, announced its territorial claims and the willingness to “protect” Russian-speaking population in the Baltic States. Russia supports Eurosceptic and radical movements in Europe. It was registered that Russian special services interfered in the electoral campaign during the US presidential election in 2016, carried out cyber attacks against OSCE, Germany and France.
Russia`s brutal military campaign in Syria has resulted in increased wave of refugees to Europe. There are many evidence of close relations between Russian special services and terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

FACT 10: RUSSIAN AGGRESSION CAN BE STOPPED ONLY BY STEPPING UP PRESSURE ON KREMLIN

Political and economic sanctions were imposed on Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine, therefore, stopping Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the reinstatement of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity may be the only reason for their cancellation. In other circumstances, Russia will continue its aggression, extending it to other states in the region.