And from Donetsk, the effective capital of Donbas, Yevhen Shybalov writes of the truce that only pessimists got this one right. Shybalov is a correspondent for Ukraine’s most prominent weekly paper, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (the paper is published in Ukrainian and Russian as Dzerkalo Nedeli – the names translate as the “Weekly Mirror”), and his dispatches have often given a feel for the grimness of life in Donetsk at war.
Serhatskova and a few other volunteers are keeping a list – about eighty names long, now – of local residents whose detention by the Russian-backed rebels in Donbas they have confirmed. But some families are afraid to permit documentation of their missing relatives, and the investigators believe that the rebels hold probably several hundred captives, most of them local people, Serhatskova said.
Former US Ambassador Bryza Urges Stepped-Up Effort to End Political Pricing by Kremlin and GazpromRussia has unsheathed its gas weapon again, demanding higher prices this spring from Ukraine and announcing last week a cutoff in sales to its neighbor unless paid for in advance. (As Moscow twists Ukraine’s arm over gas, it has retreated on its gas price to Lithuania, which may offer a valuable lesson, Agnia Grigas writes.) The West can better defend Ukraine and Europe against Russia’s weaponization of gas sales by demanding that Russia’s state-owned Gazprom sell gas to European Union states at a uniform basic price, says Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow Matthew Bryza.
Ukraine Military’s Most Famous Female Pilot is Now a Captive of Separatist Rebels
She looks tired, her face slightly puffy, but her blue eyes are calm and clear, and she appears utterly unafraid. Dressed in military fatigues, her hair cut short, she sits in the corner of a white-tiled room, handcuffed to a set of yellow metal bars.
Russian-Sponsored Rebels Hold a 'Referendum' on Separation from Ukraine, But a Local Journalist Finds It a Farce
Donetsk resident Ihnat Svyachyshyn sets off to vote in the May 11 Donetsk separatist referendum. He asks his neighbors, a couple in their mid-twenties to join him but they refuse. While they support a federalization of political power in Ukraine, they think the referendum is being held improperly.
Svyachyshyn, a writer for the Donetsk-based news website Novosti Donbassa, starts early in the morning as he heads to vote at School No. 60, in the city’s Smolyanka neighborhood. Few people are present and he is glad to note that there are no armed, masked men. He shows his passport and is given a ballot. His request to also vote for his wife (he actually has no wife) is rejected because he can’t present her passport. An elderly woman standing behind him votes for her entire family, having come with all their passports.
The Ukrainian operation appears “well mounted with concern for the lives of civilians and unarmed pro-Russia forces,” said Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky. It “shows a restoration of coherence” on the part of Ukraine’s interim government that may improve its chances of successfully holding the May 25 presidential election, including in eastern Ukraine, Karatnycky said. A successful election would bolster the government’s legitimacy and its strength in confronting the Russian-backed secessionist campaign in eastern Ukraine