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Thread: Bric-a-Brac

  1. #61
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac

    Right after the election.....



    At the table end, President Volodmyr Zelensky, to his left is oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, to Zelenskyy's right is Chief of Staff Andrei Bogdan who previously worked as a lawyer for Kolomoisky.
    Kolomoisky is well known in Ukraine. This isn't a good look for the new administration.


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  2. #62
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac

    U.S. Lawmakers Invite Ukraine's Former National Bank Chief After Reports Of Attacks


    Valeria Gontareva speaks during an interview in London on September 14.

    9/19/19
    The former governor of the National Bank of Ukraine has been invited to the United States to address lawmakers after she was nearly run over and her home set ablaze. Representative Marcy Kaptur (Democrat-Ohio) told a Washington conference on September 18 that she was troubled by the attacks against Valeria Gontareva, who fought corruption as Ukraine's top banker. "I am trying to get her here to address us in some manner," said Kaptur, who is the co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. "We are following those events very closely, and the idea that fear and crime and murder and destruction are the path of the future is one that we simply don’t accept." Gontareva and her family have faced a series of attacks over the past month in what she says is retaliation for her actions to clean up the banking sector as chief of the central bank from June 2014 to May 2017. The attacks have raised concern in the United States, the biggest supporter of Ukraine, about tycoon influence over the country's novice president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

    Hontareva’s residence in the village of Horenychi outside Kyiv was set ablaze in the early morning hours of September 17. That attack followed the torching of her daughter-in-law's car outside the family home in central Kyiv on September 5. Gontareva was struck by a car in London and hospitalized on August 26. The car drove off and the driver has yet to be found. London police are investigating the incident. Gontareva told RFE/RL earlier this week that she believed that her enemies, including tycoon Ihor Kolomoyskiy, are going after her over her decision in 2016 to nationalize PrivatBank. Kolomoyskiy is now contesting that decision in court.
    I would suggest that oligarch Kolomoyskiy is certainly a person of interest. The Zelenskyy administration would do well to distance itself from this individual asap.


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  3. #63
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac

    It's beginning.....



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  4. #64
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac

    Zelensky faces big test about his intentions at 4-month mark | Kyiv Post



    9/20/19
    All will be forgiven and forgotten if President Volodymyr Zelensky creates an economic boom, brings an end to Russia’s bloody war, and recovers Crimea and Kremlin-controlled parts of the Donbas. But I don’t see how Zelensky is going to do that given the company he keeps and the people he courts. Here’s some of what I find disturbing about Zelensky’s first four months in office:

    Secret meetings
    Zelensky is disrespecting the people of Ukraine by not making all of his meetings known to the public. His press secretary, Iuliia Mendel, says it’s for security reasons. But what about disclosing who the president met with after the fact? They don’t do that either, unless it’s a meeting that the president wants the public to know about. If it’s a meeting with, say, notorious Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov, good luck. Investigative journalists are going to have to discover this on their own, because this president has shown he will not be transparent in this regard. I used to think Zelensky talking into the camera and posting videos on YouTube was cool and clever. But now I think it’s just the sign of a thin-skinned president who doesn’t want to take any tough questions and who can’t stand criticism. And I detect a shift in public opinion moving against him, even if not yet registered by polling. My guess? He’ll get away with this arrogance and unresponsiveness as long as his public approval rating stays above 50 percent.

    Ihor Kolomoisky
    How to treat a person suspected of stealing $5.5 billion from Ukrainians through the largest bank fraud in national history and locked in legal battles with the state to get the bank returned to him with compensation? Well, for starters, Zelensky, don’t invite him to friendly meetings in the President’s Office with your prime minister, chief of staff, and energy minister. It sends absolutely the wrong signal to the people you represent and foreigners (like myself, an American and permanent resident of Ukraine) who care deeply about the nation. And it runs counter to your claim that the oligarchy will be broken up in this nation. Based on overwhelming evidence, including an independent forensic audit, there is a strong case to be made that Kolomoisky should be sitting in prison, not the president’s office, for the money looted from PrivatBank. It would be legalized bank robbery if the state stopped trying to recover the $5.5 billion allegedly looted through insider loans and returned the bank to Kolomoisky. The developments seem to support what Zelensky’s critics warned during the election campaign: that he is indebted to Kolomoisky, whose 1+1 television channel helped the showman get elected president.

    Ripping off Ukrainians
    According to the document, which some economy experts looked at for the Kyiv Post and found credible, Kolomoisky has gone back to ripping off Ukrainians again since July, if he ever stopped. The document says he is accomplishing this by selling coal from his entity, Nafta Force, to state-owned Centrenergo at an inflated price — 40 percent higher than coal under the Rotterdam+ formula of Hr 1,700 ($69) per ton, according to the information shared with me. He is also, in turn, buying electricity from Centrenergo at below-market prices. Kolomoisky properties are energy guzzlers — including the Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant, Zaporizhzhia Ferroalloy Plant, DniproAzot, Pokrovsky and Marganetsky mining and processing plants. Since July alone, the losses on sales to Kolomoisky enterprises has been Hr 555 million, or $22 million. If true, it is typical Kolomoisky: scheming for profits at both ends of the transactions — purchase and sale.

    Ukrnafta
    See the Article at the link

    Monopoly on refineries
    See the Article at the link

    It gets worse
    See the Article at the link

    Arsen Avakov
    See the Article at the link

    Dmytro Firtash
    See the Article at the link

    Sept. 10 meeting
    See the Article at the link
    Zelenskyy still has an opportunity to turn this around. Whether he actually wants true reform is the question. Right now he more resembles Petro Poroshenko than a reformer who values transparency above all else. If Zelenskyy is just another bum president in a long line, it's going to be a long and difficult five years until the next election in 2024.


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  5. #65
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac


    1000 strong White Flag protest in Kyiv.


    Yesterday in Kyiv in front of the Presidential Administration building was another "White Flag" protest. These are protests by Ukrainians warning President Zelenskyy to not cave-in to foreign pressures to end the war to the disadvantage of Ukraine.
    The White Flag protest movement warns Zelenskyy again not to cross any "red lines" which are these 10 points.....

    · We do not allow surrender.
    · Russia's aggression taking place in Ukraine is an invasion and not a "civil conflict".
    · The issue of the return of Crimea should be considered only in conjunction with the issue of Donbas. The return of the two are inseparable.
    · The Kremlin must release all imprisoned Ukrainians and Tatars.
    · "Special status" for the occupied territories and elections on them are unacceptable.
    · No amnesty for pro-Russia fighters who killed and/or tortured Ukrainians.
    · Russian occupation forces must leave Ukraine without any conditions.
    · Ukraine needs to regain control of the entire border.
    · Russia is responsible for the war against Ukraine, and Russia is responsible for damages and reparations.
    · Ukraine will maintain NATO and EU membership as national goals of Ukraine.

    Related: Steinmeier Formula and Why Ukraine Agreed to it (beware a disadvantageous Russian interpretation here!)


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  6. #66
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac


    EU, Russian, and Ukrainian government and energy representatives in Brussels.

    9/19/19 - Trilateral talks concerning a new gas transit contract took place yesterday in Brussels between the EU, Russia, and Ukraine.

    There was measured agreement all around concerning the cost to Russia of transporting gas to Europe via Ukraine gas transit pipelines.

    This transit is worth roughly $3 billion annually to Ukraine. The next Trilateral meeting will be in October.


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  7. #67
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac

    President Volodmyr Zelenskyy is doing everything possible to strip power from Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko. For his part Klitschko has ordered the city council to be dissolved and a new election held.

    Zelenskyy has also sacked a perfectly functioning Central Election Commission.

    He's beginning to look like a budding autocrat.


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  8. #68
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac

    Deutsche Behörden stempeln Putin-Pässe | BILD

    What this article from Germany's Bild newspaper says is that Germany is honoring Russian passports issued in the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine. An occupation force issuing passports in an occupied land is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Germany is granting visas to the holders of these illegal passports. While Estonia does not recognize the Putin passports, Germany does. One is still waiting for a Europe-wide solution. The Federal Chancellor and Federal Foreign Minister sing in Sunday speeches their backing for the Ukrainian government. But at the same time it is apparently easily possible to stick a visa in a Russian passport Putin has issued in eastern Ukraine!


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  9. #69
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac



    Former prisoner of Russia from Crimea Volodymyr Balukh (center) testified about physical tortures and threats of sexual abuse in the Russian prison system. He spent time in pre-trial detention center No.1 in Tver, and in correctional facility No. 4 in Torzhok town, Tver region of the Russian Federation. In Tver, he was waterboarded and received about 150 electric shocks to his back, legs and other parts of the body and received blows to the ears inflicted with a wet pillowcase. Balukh also said that from the very first second of his arrival in correctional facility No. 4 in Torzhok town, Tver region, he was subjected to torture and physical violence carried out by the facility staff. “I was beaten by the correctional facility staff. There were many of them, ten or eight people at least. They kicked me in legs, in the area of liver and kidneys, I stood facing the wall, I almost did the splits feeling a pang of wild pain...” Balukh said. He was arrested by the FSB in Crimea on December 8, 2016. Since March 29, 2019, Balukh stayed in the penal colony No. in Torzhok town, Tver region.

    Balukh returned to Ukraine on September 7, 2019 as a result of a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia in 35-for-35 format.


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  10. #70
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    Re: Bric-a-Brac



    Deposed and convicted former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych wants to return to Ukraine.

    He was convicted in Ukraine in absentia of treason and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He is appealing that conviction. If he returns, he should be incarcerated during his appeals.

    He remains under US/EU sanctions.


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