• Patriot: Working Hard to Bring Home Ukrainian POWs

    The situation with prisoners of war being held in Ukraine’s occupied Donbas is a tragedy. Some have been locked up for over two years, some tortured, and a few executed. Access to them by international missions is usually denied. Despairing families sometimes fall prey to swindlers seeking ransom. Since the war is officially undeclared, these soldiers and civilians don’t have POW status but are instead classified as “illegally held hostages.” The official hostage release process between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine is “completely deadlocked,” mainly due to politicization. But Ukrainian volunteers, working separately from the Minsk process, continue to fervently negotiate for every hostage they can.

    Patriot is an...

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  • Not the Right Way to Bring Yanukovych to Trial

    The Kremlin is well known for pulling former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych out of hiding for its own purposes. Now Ukraine’s leaders have been accused of using Yanukovych as an excuse to push legislation that may have dangerous repercussions for Ukraine’s justice system—while not necessarily bringing Yanukovych and his cronies any closer to justice.

    Yury Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, has been promising to begin Yanukovych’s trial in absentia in March this year. The move and legislative amendments required for that to occur have clearly been coordinated with President Petro Poroshenko. There is considerably less enthusiasm from Serhiy Horbatyuk, the chief investigator into crimes against Maidan activists, as well as from lawyers representing the families of Maidan victims and from other civic activists.

    This is not a question of whether Yanukovych and others should be held to account in a court of law. The problem is ensuring that any conviction...

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  • Ukraine at Twenty-Five

    Twenty-five years ago, after seventy years of Soviet dominance and over three hundred years of rule by Russia, Ukraine declared its independence. This occurred after a national referendum in which over 90 percent of Ukraine’s voters chose independence. Every part of the country, including Crimea—which at that time had a population that was over 60 percent ethnic Russian—chose independence by a majority vote. 
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  • How Ukraine Can Solve Its Local Election Conundrum

    Even when it is effective, diplomacy can be an unsightly business. Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than that ugly, illegitimate child of Mother Russia’s war in Ukraine: the Minsk agreements.

    In recent months, Germany and France have been pressing Ukraine to pass a local elections law as the basis for holding elections in the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow’s surrogates. The Germans and French point out that holding elections there is a requirement of the Minsk agreements, as is the passage of a constitutional amendment providing greater local control to the authorities of the occupied territories.

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  • The IMF Outfoxes Putin: Policy Change Means Ukraine Can Receive More Loans

    Today the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reversed its "policy on not lending into arrears." IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement that “the IMF’s executive board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors.”

    Historically, the IMF has refused to lend to any country that has not serviced its debt to any sovereign. The IMF staff started contemplating a rule change in the spring of 2013 because nontraditional creditors, such as China, had started providing developing countries with large loans. One issue was that these loans were issued on conditions out of line with IMF practice. China wasn't a member of the Paris Club, where loan restructuring is usually discussed, so it was time to update the rules.

    The IMF intended to adopt a new policy in the spring of 2016, but the dispute over Russia's $3 billion loan to Ukraine has accelerated an otherwise slow...

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  • Ukraine Has Every Right to Play Hardball With Its Creditors

    As Ukraine fights Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas, the government is simultaneously engaged in a battle with its foreign creditors for the debt relief it desperately needs to prevent a full-scale economic collapse. Private investors hold about $19 billion of Ukrainian debt.

    To stave off disaster, the International Monetary Fund and other western donors agreed to a $40 billion rescue package for Kyiv earlier this year. The IMF expects $15 billion of it to come from the restructuring of Ukraine's international bonds—meaning that Kyiv must cajole its foreign creditors into taking a loss on their investments.

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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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