It has actually been one of the rougher weeks for Ukraine – this year.
• Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk are relentlessly striking Ukrainian positions, in response to Moscow’s displeasure with Ukraine’s growing pro-Western attitude. Last week, Ukraine was an active and diplomatically successful participant at the World Nuclear Summit in Washington DC.
• Today there were ninety-one attacks on Ukrainian positions by Russian-backed separatists. To better visualize the attacks, a larger map than the featured image is available via the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
• The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), again found itself under fire by Russian-backed separatist earlier today.
• The Legislative Assembly of Transcarpathia, Ukraine’s’ most Western region has demanded autonomy, as a special self-governing administrative territory.
The political élite is not faring well either.
• Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced today that he will officially resign on Tuesday. Even though he survived a non-confidence vote in February, and has remained firm as Prime Minister since. Earlier today, he released the following statement to explain his decision:
“My decision is based on several reasons – the political crisis in the government has been unleashed artificially, the desire to change one person has blinded politicians and paralyzed their will to bring about real changes in the country.”
Although his decision to leave will most likely have a negative effect on Ukraine. The Ukrainian Parliament is in a state of indecision and turmoil, well beyond D.C. levels. His resignation will in all probability result with early elections across Ukraine as the current parliamentary body is highly unlikely to unite and select an interim Prime Minister.
• In reality, Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s decision to resign most likely has to do with the timing of the Panama Papers. In which Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko was listed as an account holder in the scandal.
Poroshenko, referred to as “Willy Wonka,” in Ukraine, due to his prior-outright ownership of Roshen, the Ukraine’s largest confectionery business while running for the Presidency in 2014. During the campaign, he promised voters that he would sell Roshen and cut all business ties with the company. Although it appears that being worth an estimated $858 million is not enough for him. Even though the national median monthly income in Ukraine is $500.00, the nation is in a state of war, and his government has been cracking down on tax evasion and corruption. His actions are reminiscent of the old arrogant adage: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
According to documents recovered from the Panama Papers, Poroshenko never sold Roshen but hid the company along with many his other assets in an offshore holding company, in the British Virgina Islands.
Ukraine is currently bleeding $11.6 billion a year in lost tax revenue thanks to the fiscal neglect of the nation’s élite. The most popular form of this neglect is, offshore holdings. The missing tax revenue is a desperately needed source of income for a country at war with its neighbor and consistently battling an on-going cycle of corruption. Another major issue besides the obvious, is that Poroshenko is emulating the actions of his nation’s primary enemy, Vladimir Putin of Russian. Putin has equally been implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, but with extremely different accounts.
On the front, there are still translation issues, as to the defining “ceasefire” and “Ukrainian border.”
• Active fighting from April 9th, 2016 in the Industrial area of Avdeevka near Promka, Ukraine.
• In this video, self-proclaimed Russian troops ambush a Ukranian Adair, Battalion of Territorial Defense patrol. The video itself is a bit dated, but it clearly demonstrates the cruelty of Russian troops on the battlefield in Ukraine.