• Volker: No Donbas elections until Russian troops are withdrawn

    US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said that Ukraine’s international partners will not pressurize it to hold elections in the Donbas while there are still Russia-controlled forces in the region.

    “I don’t see a scenario where Ukraine is pushed toward holding elections while the territories remain occupied. The ‘Steinmeier Formula can only be implemented after elections have been held,” Volker told the TV channel 1+1 in an interview.

    He said that in order to hold free and fair …

  • Russia’s Gazprom starts selling gas to itself

    Following the declining demand for Russian gas in Europe, plummeting spot prices at gas hubs and a whopping cash gap in the budget, the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has resorted to selling gas to itself, finanz.ru reports.

    In the first half of the year, the company’s gas exports to Europe fell by 8.9%. In the first six days of August, the export volume had dropped by as much as 22%.

    Russia’s Interfax news agency reports that Gazprom has been assisted by a mysterious client, which bought …

  • Ukraine budgets $10 billion for defense in 2020

    The Ukrainian government has allocated more than 245 billion hryvnia (around $9.9 billion) to national security in the draft budget for 2020, said Ukrainian Finance Minister Oksana Markarova, as cited by UNN.

    “We are planning to allocate 245.8 billion [hryvnia] to various administrators who are involved in security and defense,” she said, clarifying that not all of it would be allocated to specific administrators.

    “There is a separate new article – these are the funds that are supposed to be …

  • Pope welcomes prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine

    Pope Francis during the traditional Sunday sermon welcomed the release of prisoners by Russia and Ukraine, reports RIA Novosti news agency.

    "Last week a long-awaited exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine took place. I am pleased with the news about the released people who were able to hug their families, and I continue to pray for a quick end to the conflict and sustainable peace in Eastern Ukraine," he said.

    On September 7, Russia and Ukraine exchanged the prisoners according to …

  • Russia begins multinational Tsentr-2019 military exercises

    The strategic command and staff exercises Tsentr-2019 began at Russia's and other countries military ranges, reports TASS news agency. Russian Defense Ministry also invited Foreign Military Attaches to the drills.

    Foreign military representatives accredited in Russia will attend the military exercises. At a press briefing with participation of more than 100 military attaches, representing 71 countries, including 20 NATO member countries, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General …

  • Turkey receives second battery of S-400 missile systems from Russia

    Turkey received all components of the second battery of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, reports the press service of the Turkish Defense Ministry. The equipment was delivered to Mürted Airfield Command in Ankara on August 27.

    Works on the installation of the system and training of personnel are continuing. The system should be operational by April 2020.

    In 2017, Turkey and Russia signed a contract for the supply of four S-400 missile systems with a total cost of $2.5 billion. The …

  • Volker: Crimea sanctions on Russia will remain until ‘de-occupation of peninsula'

    US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said that the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia due to its annexation of Crimea will remain in force until Russia has fully de-occupied the peninsula.

    When asked for his opinion on factoring Crimea out of the peace agreements pertaining to eastern Ukraine, Volker said that it is necessary to differentiate between the sanctions imposed on Russia in connection with Crimea and those relating to the Donbas.

    “First of all, we imposed …

  • Russian Navy escorts US warship in Black Sea

    On Sunday, September 15, the Russian Black Sea Fleet started escorting the transport ship USNS Yuma, which entered Black Sea waters at around 17:30, Interfax reports, citing Russia’s National Defense Management Center.

    “The designated on-duty forces and vessels of the Black Sea Fleet are continuously tracking the American ship,” the article states.

    At the end of June, the Yuma brought a battalion of US marines and vehicles to Odessa, Ukraine, for the Sea Breeze 2019 exercise. According to …

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister proposes to connect Baltic and Black seas

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, during his speech at the Yalta European Strategy conference (YES), proposed to connect the Baltic and Black seas. According to Honcharuk, Ukraine has already started discussions on several ambitious infrastructure projects. "We need to try to build and connect the Baltic and Black seas by water. It is possible, " he said.

    Honcharuk added that to implement the project, Kyiv needs to agree with Poland and Belarus on 40 waterways. "It is important to …

  • Ukraine to resume air service with Uzbekistan after 5-year break

    Uzbekistan Airways, together with Charter Flights Group, are launching a direct Tashkent-Kyiv-Tashkent flight after a five-year break of air traffic between Ukraine and Uzbekistan, reports the Ukrainian Center for Transport Strategies.

    The charter flights will start on October 5 and will be operated once a week, on Saturdays. Departure from Tashkent is scheduled for 23:55pm, and arrival in Kyiv at 02:45am. Flight time is 4 hours and 50 minutes.

    Boeing 757-300 and Airbus A320 aircraft will be …