This week it has been 30 days of Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidency. Has he done enough, or, conversely, wasted these days rocking in a leather chair? The head of state gave a lengthy press conference and even said that he would force Kolomoisky to invest a lot of money in Donbas. Meanwhile, the investigation has announced the names of the culprits for the flight MH17 crash in Donetsk, and one of them is a citizen of Ukraine. In the meantime, the students of KNU have arranged mass protests against Portnov’s reinstatement – “the overseer” of courts on the team of Yanukovych. Read about the main events – in the traditional brief digest from Opinion.
Hundreds of students came out to protest under the main building of Shevchenko University in Kyiv, demanding to cancel the appointment of Portnov.
Andrii Portnov, who served as an adviser to the ex-president Viktor Yanukovych in 2011-2014, returned to Ukraine on May 19 after a five-year absence. In 2014, Portnov left Ukraine, lived in Russia for a while, and then moved to Vienna.
Now he has returned triumphantly and was reinstated in his position due to the court’s decision.
The leadership of the main university of the country remained silent until the students broke into the rector’s office. Subsequently, the head of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University Leonid Hubernskyi signed an order to cancel the appointment. The text of the decree was read out by the head of the student’s parliament of the university, it says that the appointment of Portnov as a professor of the faculty of law from March 1, 2019, is canceled.
“The administration of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University canceled the order of my appointment to the university. I calmly accept this decision and continue to work on Poroshenko case,” Portnov wrote in his Telegram channel.
Portnov initiated five criminal proceedings against the fifth president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, which were opened by the State Bureau of Investigation at his request.
What can we say to Portnov? “Good luck” – though this expression contains wrong words.
On Wednesday, Joint Investigation Team (JIT), assembled to clarify the causes of the Malaysian Boeing flight MH17 crash in the Donbas on July 17, 2014, released new results of the official investigation of the catastrophe.
In May 2018, the investigation reported that the plane was shot down over Donetsk oblast by the Buk anti-aircraft missile system of the 53rd air defense brigade of the Russian armed forces, which is based in the Russian city of Kursk.
This time, the investigators announced the names of the first suspects in the crash of the airliner.
In turn, on the eve of the publication of official data, the team of investigative journalists of Bellingcat, which conducted the investigation of the tragedy, published their new report.
It mentions much more names of real fighters who appeared on wiretaps of SBU and were involved in transportation and installation of the Russian Buks that brought the plane down, Ukrainska Pravda reports.
According to Bellingcat, the following people may be involved:
- Igor Girkin — a retired officer of the armed forces who was one of the key leaders of the militants in the Donbas back in 2014 and worked closely with those responsible for the relocation of Buks to the occupied territory;
- major general Sergey Dubinskiy asked to deliver Buk to counter Ukrainian aviation and coordinated the movement of the missile complex on June 17 on the day of the MH17 catastrophe and its return to Russia. In addition, Dubinskiy has mandated the protection of Buk at the launch site near Snizhne.
- Dubinskiy’s deputy Oleg Pulatov — former lieutenant colonel of the Russian Armed Forces, supposedly involved in the protection of Buk at the launch site.
- Leonid Kharchenko — the commander of the “reconnaissance battalion” of the so-called intelligence of DPR, involved in the protection of Buk in the area of the launch site. He may have coordinated the transportation of Buk from Donetsk to the launch site and the subsequent return of Buk to Russia.
At the same time, Bellingcat did not specify who specifically gave the order to shoot the missile or press the start button. The Dutch Prosecutor’s Office issued international warrants for the arrest of suspects, but the Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow “fully denies” the evidence of the involvement of the Russians in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing flight MH17, which was presented by Joint Investigation Team. The Netherlands will not demand extradition because Russia does not extradite its citizens to other countries.
The constitutional court recognized that the decree of the president Volodymyr Zelensky on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada doesn’t contradict the law. The judges noted that this composition of parliament did not restore “the legal regulation of termination of the activities of deputy factions coalition”, associated with the beginning of the current one month term for the formation of the new coalition and the president’s right to dissolve the parliament if the coalition was not created.
According to the judges, there was a “constitutional conflict” between the president and the Verkhovna Rada regarding the early termination of the powers of the parliament.
“At the same time, people are the only bearer of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine; people exercise power directly and through state authorities and local self-government bodies (Article 5, part two of the Constitution of Ukraine). This fundamental provision is specified by the provision of article 69 of the Constitution of Ukraine that the people’s will is expressed through elections. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine stated that solving the constitutional conflict by people through holding early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine meets the requirements of the second part of article 5 of the Constitution of Ukraine,” the court explained its decision.
The decision of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal. Therefore, stock up on popcorn, I mean, get ready for the elections. It’s going to be fun.
The president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky urged business to invest in the restoration of the infrastructure of Donbas. He said it during the forum Dialogue Between Business and Government on June 20 in Kyiv.
“We will do everything in our power to stop the war so that this factor creates minimum negativities for the business climate in Ukraine,” the head of state said.
Volodymyr Zelensky noted that Ukraine needs a strong economy to confront external threats.
The head of state also urged big business to help in solving social problems. In particular, he said that thanks to cooperation with Viktor Pinchuk the issue of providing housing to the families of the 24 captured Ukrainian sailors is being solved. Later Viktor Pinchuk will take care of the providing social aid to all military personnel. In addition, large business funds will invest in medicine and in the restoration of the infrastructure of Donbas. We are talking about the agreement with Rinat Akhmetov, as a result of which 200 ambulances have already been purchased for the Ukrainian hospitals.
“Ihor Kolomoisky will invest a lot of money in the infrastructure of Donbas. But he does not know about it yet,” the president added jokingly.
And while Ukraine tries to collect stones, they scatter them in Georgia. Anti-government protests began in the country. In the evening of June 20, about 7 thousand people came to protest in Tbilisi. They demand the resignation of the chairman of the parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the Interior Ministry Giorgi Gakharia and the head of Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri because of the visit of the Russian deputies to Tbilisi.
The reason for the protest of the opposition and a large part of the public was the participation in the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy of the deputy of the State Duma of Russia, the President of this Assembly Sergey Gavrilov. Many citizens of Georgia were outraged by the fact that he held meetings of the Assembly in the building of the Georgian parliament, although before his arrival to Tbilisi he confirmed that he considers irreversible the recognition of the separatist regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – by Russia as independent states.
After several hours of clashes, the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and the detention of several dozen demonstrators, the police completed the operation of dispersing the protest. As a result of a crackdown on protesters, 240 people suffered in Tbilisi on June 20: 160 participants of the protest action and 80 police officers. Journalists are also among the victims. Now 102 victims are hospitalized to different hospitals.
That’s the price of the public protest against the invaders. Russia is Russia. Berkut is Berkut. Even in Georgia.
By Kostiantyn Rul