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Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.09.2018
 
The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly will soon commence. It will consider the “situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” after a vote to include this agenda item was held on September 21. The vote was 68 in favour, 13 against, with 48 abstentions.
 
Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014 and subsequently occupied Crimea and part of Donbas. Russia wages war against Ukraine to this day. But a campaign of disinformation by the Kremlin has been largely unchallenged in the four and a half years since the invaders from Muscovy came. The horror of Putin at war and the brutality of occupation of the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine by the Muscovites has been masked by Kremlin information warfare. According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, consideration by the UN General Assembly of the “situation” in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine will convey to the world the tragic consequences of the occupation of Crimea and the ongoing warfare in Donbas where Muscovy is the aggressor.
 
President Poroshenko will begin a working visit to the United States on September 24. He will address the UN General Assembly on September 26. While at the UN, President Poroshenko proposes to send a note on Ukraine’s decision not to extend the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation as an official UN document.
 
Iryna Gerashchenko said that Ukraine at the UN should “maximize the use of a high international platform for delivering information about daily human rights violations in the Russian-occupied territories, security and environmental threats.” Iryna Gerashchenko is the First Vice Chair of the Verkhovna Rada, and she’s Ukraine’s representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group under the Minsk Agreement. She has negotiated prisoners swaps for Ukrainians who are being held as prisoners of war and as hostages in Putin’s dungeons in Donbas. She is trying to secure the release of Ukrainian prisoners of conscience who are being held hostage by the Putin regime of state terrorism in Crimea, Ukraine (temporarily Russian-occupied) and in the Russian Federation. Gerashchenko will be at the UN General Assembly session.
 
It is worth noting who supports Russian aggression against Ukraine. The following countries voted with the Russian Federation in opposing having the UN General Assembly consider the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine: Armenia, Belarus, Burundi, Cuba, Iran, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. Tellingly, none of the autocratic countries are substantial allies and none can be of material help to Putin as he invades and occupies Ukraine.
 
The UN General Assembly will have a lot to consider, as the “situation” in Russian-invaded and occupied Crimea and Donbas is dire. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has issued a second report cataloging the grave violations of international human rights law in Crimea. UNESCO has noted the deterioration of the situation in temporarily occupied Crimea in the sphere of education, the use of the Ukrainian language, and with the preservation of cultural heritage. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine regularly documents violations of the Minsk Agreement by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Donbas (an army which the OSCE SMM calls “armed formations” in “non-government controlled” territory).
 
Russia is at war with Ukraine. Crimea and part of Donbas are temporarily and illegally occupied by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. When the UN General Assembly considers the “situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” it will have some chance to cut through four and a half years of massive and mostly successful Kremlin information warfare against the truth. The stories of the captive population of Ukrainian citizens who are being subjected to the vicious tyranny of foreign invaders from Muscovy must be heard in the world’s forum for peace, the United Nations.
Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 22.09.2018 
 
Dozens more families were liberated from Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine on Friday. The Ukrainian army has taken full control of Vil’nyy hamlet in Luhansk region. This settlement – whose name literally means “Free” – is part of Zolote-4 village, and was in the so-called “grey zone” on the battlefront where the Russian Federation is invading Ukraine.
 
On September 21, Ukraine’s 5 Channel broadcast news and footage of the operation, calling it “hot news from the front.” The Joint Forces Operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine planned the operation for almost three days, but its execution took less than half an hour. Russian forces were ousted quickly from Vil’nyy hamlet with no casualties reported.
 
Recently, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have been deploying reconnaissance and sabotage groups to the hamlet. They were opening fire on Ukrainian defenders and civilians in Zolote-4 from abandoned houses in Vil’nyy.
 
The hamlet of Vil’nyy is the last part of Zolote-4 to be taken under complete control by the Ukrainian army. In an operation concluded successfully on July 1, the Joint Forces took full control of the part of Zolote-4 called “Rodina.” They shifted its status from being in the “grey zone” to being an integral part of free Ukraine.
 
The Vil’nyy section of Zolote-4 settlement is five kilometres south of Route 66, the so-called “Bakhmut Road.” This highway is a direct route to the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk. The Russian army has been waging a months-long and fruitless battle to overwhelm Ukrainian defences of the Bakhmut Road, particularly at Krymske on the Siverskyi Donets River. With full operational control of Vil’nyy, the Ukrainian army has secured the front to a greater depth of over a kilometre in the southern defences of the Bakhmut Road. 
 
After four years of living in no-man’s-land and being subjected to the predations of the foreign invaders from Muscovy and their local terrorist proxies, all of the inhabitants of Zolote-4 – including the families in Vil’nyy hamlet – are once again at home in free Ukraine.
 

 

Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 21.09.2018  
 
On September 20, Ukrinform news agency published a hidden camera video from the Hungarian consulate in Berehove, Zakarpattia region, Ukraine. The video showed Ukrainian citizens receiving passports from Hungarian consular officials. A ceremony was conducted, in which the recipient of second citizenship was toasted with champagne. The now dual Ukrainian-Hungarian citizens were instructed by Hungarian consular officials to conceal the fact of obtaining Hungarian citizenship from the Ukrainian authorities.
 
Ukrainian law does not recognize dual citizenship. On the territory of Ukraine, Ukrainian citizens who have another passport are treated solely as Ukrainian citizens under the law.
 
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, said that he would meet his Hungarian counterpart at the United Nations General Assembly to deliver Ukraine’s diplomatic protest at Hungary’s practice of “passportization.” Minister Klimkin hinted that the Hungarian consul in Berehove could be expelled from Ukraine for engaging in activities which violate Ukrainian law and which are incompatible with his diplomatic status.
 
In response to Ukraine protecting its sovereignty from Hungarian threats, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued more threats. Péter Szijjártó said on September 20 that were Ukraine to expel the Hungarian consul in Berehove then Hungary would retaliate.
 
Minister Szijjártó has steered Hungary towards an anti-Ukrainian foreign policy over the past year, and he now does little to disguise his advocacy of separatism in Zakarpattia. The government of Viktor Orbán does not treat Ukraine as fully sovereign in its westernmost territory.
 
Subverting the sovereignty of a neighbouring country with passports is a trick from Putin’s playbook. As part of “Rooskiy Mir” imperialist aggression, the Putin regime gives Russian Federation passports to citizens of Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and other neighbouring countries. These passports are given or forced upon Russian speakers or ethnic Russians that the Putin regime believes have a natural loyalty to Muscovy. “Passportization” is a kind of ethnic cleansing against countries the Putin regime does not consider to be fully sovereign within internationally-recognized borders – especially Ukraine.
 
The Orbán regime in Hungary does not consider Ukraine to be fully sovereign over its territory of Zakarpattia. The Hungarian government regards some Ukrainian citizens in Zakarpattia as Hungarian. It is giving people who are Hungarian speakers or who are ethnic Hungarians passports and citizenship of Hungary, and then demanding they switch their sole loyalty to Hungary.
 
Under Viktor Orbán and Péter Szijjártó, Hungary is slipping beyond authoritarianism into fascism. The rule of law and the values of the European Union are pretty much gone from Hungary. That is why other EU members are initiating Article 7 proceedings against Hungary, leading to sanctions. The Hungarian government’s assault of Ukrainian sovereignty is part of a broader attack on European values the Orbán regime is making. Hungary under Orbán is leaving the European family at the same time that Ukraine after the Revolution of Dignity is well on its path towards Europe.
 
Hungary is up to some obnoxious mischief in Ukraine. Carrying out a policy of “passportization” against Ukrainian citizens in Ukraine is an unfriendly act by Hungary. Ukraine would be fully justified if it decides to expel the Hungarian consul from Berehove. Hungary should stop being another Russia and stop being another enemy of Ukraine. Hungary should get its nose out of Ukraine’s business.
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