Ukraine

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Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze attended a session of the NATO-Georgia Committee yesterday, following the summit of NATO ministers in Brussels. NATO Director General Anders Fogh Rasmussen emphasized at the opening of the session that the committee was organized over the situation in Ukraine. He stressed the importance of cooperation between the government and opposition, hinting at the attempt of Georgian prosecutors to question Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the United National Movement and ex-president.

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Ukraine may receive part of European aid before presidential polls

European Chief Diplomat Catherine Ashton has expressed hope at the European Parliament that Ukraine will receive 1.6 billion euros this month, before tha May 25 presidential polls, RIA Novosti reports.The European Commission formed a package of loans and grants worth about 3 billion euros and loans of the EBRD and the European Investment Bank worth 8 billion euros in early March. The European Commission promises loans worth 1.6 billion euros to comply with the IMF demands and specific conditions of the economic policy.

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Ertugrul Apakan heads OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine

Georgian Envoy to the UN Ertugrul Apakan (2009-2012) has been appointed as the head of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine. Martk Eterington (UK) and Alexander Hag (Switzerland) have become his deputies, according to Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, RIA Novosti reports.The OSCE decided on March 21 to send 100-500 observers to Ukraine for 6 months to monitor the situation. Adam Kobelazci (Poland) was named the head of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Center.Apakan was deputy foreign minister of Turkey in 2006-2009.

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Kyiv wants to improve Naftogaz ties with Gazprom

The Ukrainian government is going take measures to improve the Ukrainian gas-delivering Naftogaz company's ties with Russia's gas-producing giant Gazprom, Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says.

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Ukraine declares Crimean deputy PM wanted

The Ukrainian Security Service has declared Crimean First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgalyov a wanted person. The Crimean official is accused of a inciting a coup and violating the constitutional order of Ukraine.

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Iskander Khisamov, director of the Expert Council Analytical Center, has commented on Ukraine’s plans to quit the CIS. In his words, Kiev viewed the CIS as a format for relations with Russia. Ukraine considers Russia an aggressor and expected no benefit from further cooperation, said the expert. He predicts that Ukraine will turn into an appendage of Europe eventually.

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SOCAR to develop business in Ukraine

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) plans to continue development of business on the Ukrainian petroleum market. The company plans to expand the network of its fueling stations in Ukraine by 50% by fall 2014, Trend reports.SOCAR has 38 petroleum stations in Ukraine. They can be found in the Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Nikolayevsk, Rivne, Cherkasy, Khmelnytskyi and the Poltava Oblasts. The company imports Euro-5 petroleum from Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

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The EU-US council for energy having a session in Brussels today has commended Ukraine’s efforts to diversity sources of natural gas, build a competitive energy economy, implement energy efficiency, achieve higher transparency on the market, integrate in the European energy market, Interfax reports.The council has confirmed commitment of Ukraine to the laws needed for realization of the strategic vision of full integration of Ukraine in the European energy market.The council was chaired by EU Chief Diplomat Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Georgia served as an example for post-Soviet states, noting that it had been sending troops for NATO operations and preparing to join the Alliance, ITAR-TASS reports.The term “security export,” according to Rasmussen, was made for non-members of the Alliance sending troops to its missions, most importantly to Afghanistan.

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said at an international investment conference of Dragon Capital that Ukraine will discuss details of gas contracts with Gazprom, ITAR-TASS reports.The PM is uncertain whether the existing Russian-Ukrainian gas deal is still in force and whether the price formula is preset or not.

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Right Sector websites blocked in Russia

Alexander Zharov, head of the Russian Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications, has told Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov that access to all websites of Ukraine’s Right Sector was blocked, RIA Novosti reports.This includes access to Facebook and Twitter.The Right Sector is a nationalistic organization in Ukraine. It has contacts with the Freedom Party that entered the ruling coalition after the change of power in Ukraine.

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The US House of Representatives has passed a bill today, offering economic aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Russia. The US will freeze assets and set visa restrictions for certain Russian officials. Mikhail Khazin, president of the Neocon Consulting Company, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the impact of the sanctions would be illusionary in the context of the extremely unstable economic situation. He admitted that Russia was vulnerable to mass sanctions but no one would go for that due to losses that all sides would suffer.

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A spokesman for the Pentagon said that the US may send warships to the Black Sea to becalm European allies agitated by Russia’s policy in Ukraine, Interfax reports.A group of US officers plans to visit Europe to discuss joint military drills …

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Gazzayev predicts normalization of situation in Ukraine

Valery Gazzayev, head of the Organizing Committee of the Joint Russian-Ukrainian Football League, said that the situation in Ukraine will normalize, Sports.ru reports.The joint championship, in his words, will improve the quality of football in both states and serve their national interests.

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US congressmen approve sanctions against Russia and subsidies for Ukraine

The US House of Representatives has approved new sanctions against violators of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and Russian officials responsible for mass corruption. The sanctions need President Barack Obama’s signature, ITAR-TASS reports.The sanctions will also affect partners and families of the said officials.

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The Washington Post  publsihed an article headlined "The Obama administration is underestimating Putin’s ambitions." According to the authors of the article, former advisors to Georgia’s government Molly McKew and Gregory Maniatis, the US authorities still don't have a clear understanding of Russia's policies.

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Experts on John Kerry's visit to Azerbaijan

US Secretary of State John Kerry is going to pay a visit to Azerbaijan soon. Vestnik Kavkaza discussed the coming visit with Azerbaijani lawmakers Asim Mollazade and Rasim Musabekov and Deputy Head of the Plekhanov Russian Economic University Sergey Markov.

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