Larry Luxner

  • Ukrainian Jews Find Safe Haven, Challenges in Israel

    Every Sunday and Tuesday evening, Alena Sapiro, 26, takes the hour-long bus ride from her home in Lod to attend Ramit Avidan’s intermediate Hebrew classes at Ulpan Gordon, a Tel Aviv school for new immigrants run by the Israeli Ministry of Absorption.

    Sapiro, who helps develop mobile apps for a local software company, came on a ten-day Taglit program to Israel in May 2014, the same month the war in her native Donetsk began. Within a few months, as Russian-backed separatists intensified their offensive throughout eastern Ukraine, Sapiro returned to Israel with a group of 130 other students from various former Soviet republics—and has never looked back.

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  • Ukraine PM Groisman Visits Israel, Marking Improvement in Delicate Bilateral Relations

    The May 14 arrival of Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman to Israel signals a rapprochement of ties that suffered a temporary blow last December, when Ukraine—along with thirteen other countries—voted to support a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    Groisman is the first Jewish prime minister in Ukrainian history. He was supposed to visit Israel on December 28, but Israel’s Foreign Ministry cancelled the trip after the lopsided vote, in which the United States abstained for the first time.

    “I think now relations between Ukraine and Israel are very positive,” said Hennadii Nadolenko, Kyiv’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, in an emailed response to questions submitted by UkraineAlert. “Look at the dynamics of political dialogue on all levels. Only in the last two years we’ve had a number of presidential visits, including two state visits from both sides, and the first official visit to Ukraine in twenty-three...

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  • Expert Panel Identifies Ways to Defeat Corruption in Ukraine

    A top Citibank executive and one of Ukraine's most popular rock stars were among five luminaries who offered their suggestions Monday for cleaning up the endemic corruption that has long strangled the Ukrainian economy and kept foreign investors away.

    The five appeared on a November 9 panel titled "Securing Ukraine's Future: Winning the Fight Against Corruption" and co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and the American Center for a European Ukraine.

    Social activist Svyatoslav "Slava" Vakarchuk, the lead vocalist for rock band Okean Elzy, shared the stage with
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  • Investigative Journalists Present Exhaustive Report on ‘Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine’

    The Russian government under President Vladimir Putin is “directly coordinating and leading the fight to destabilize and disunite Ukraine”—despite Putin’s increasingly desperate efforts to hide the truth—concludes a damning report issued September 17.

    “An Invasion by Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine” is a joint production of the New York-based nonprofit Institute of Modern Russia and The Interpreter, a daily online journal that translates articles from Russian media while reporting on events in Russia and countries directly affected by Moscow’s foreign policy.

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  • Ukraine Steps Up Efforts to Recover Stolen Assets Abroad

    Two Kyiv-based women—a lawyer who heads a state agency created to reclaim stolen assets abroad and a social activist-turned-politician who's made a career out of exposing official corruption—spoke August 20 in Washington about their efforts to clean up Ukraine.

    Olena Tyshchenko is director of the Agency for Asset Recovery at Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs. Tatiana Chornovol is a member of Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and one of the leaders of last year's Euromaidan.

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  • One Year After MH17 Shootdown, Brazen Act Over Ukraine Still Poisons Atmosphere

    Simon Ostrovsky will never forget the moment he learned that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 had fallen from the sky, with 298 passengers and crew aboard.

    "I was on a train from Kyiv to Kharkiv reading my Twitter feed, and something came down about a plane crash. Somebody said it was a Malaysian plane," the Soviet-born US journalist recalled. "It seemed at first so outrageous and ridiculous. I thought someone was making a sick joke about the previous Malaysian plane that had disappeared. But very quickly, we realized this was a real incident."

    Michael Bociurkiw remembers that moment too.

    "It was horrific," said Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine which was on the scene 24 hours after the Boeing 777 came down.

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  • Ukraine Bank Deputy Dmytro Solohub: Economic recovery ‘difficult, but still possible’

    Dmytro Solohub admits that the Ukrainian economy is "very fragile" and faces "lots of security risks"— but says he's doing everything he can to stabilize Ukraine's currency, control galloping inflation, and return his country to prosperity as quickly as possible.

    Solohub, 37, took over in mid-March as Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). He was previously head of research at the Kyiv-based Raiffeisen Bank Aval.

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  • Wanted: US Strategy for Regional Security in Middle East

    Atlantic Council’s Bilal Y. Saab says Iran nuclear deal will not pacify the region

    As US, European, and Iranian negotiators race to conclude a deal that would limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to punishing economic sanctions, the Atlantic Council’s Bilal Y. Saab says that alone won’t bring security to the region—nor will it satisfy Israel or Iran’s loudest critics on Capitol Hill.

    On June 30, with only hours to spare, officials in Vienna extended their deadline for talks by another week when it became clear that all sides needed more time. But, as Saab, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, explained, “the hard work does not stop here, and in fact, it may have just begun.”

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  • Dilma's Visit Injects New Vigor into US-Brazil Relations

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has wrapped up her historic visit to the United States and is heading back home, where a shrinking economy and a growing corruption scandal at state-owned oil giant Petrobras have made her deeply unpopular among Brazilians.

    In fact, it's that scandal—not the one involving spying by the National Security Agency two years ago—that's grabbing all the headlines in Brazil today. Back in 2013, the NSA's unauthorized eavesdropping of Rousseff's phone calls and emails led the Brazilian head of state to cancel her planned US visit.

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  • Making History, Obama Announces Opening of US Embassy in Havana

    On July 20, the Stars and Stripes will rise over a US Embassy in Havana for the first time in fifty-four years—and the Cuban flag will flutter over the newly reconstituted Cuban Embassy in Washington.

    If all goes according to plan, US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana to witness the historic event. That follows President Barack Obama's July 1 announcement that embassies would re-open in each other's capitals after half a century of hostilities.

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